Last week, Fran brought home his writing from the Fall. I enjoyed looking through the folder- and really need to sit down and look more closely. I am remarkably proud that I looked at it as a mother, instead of as a writing teacher. (It's far more joyful that way.) It was interesting to me to see what he chose to share: making an emergency Halloween costume, shopping trips, decorating the tree, soccer games at recess. Looking into his topics is like reading his feelings. I was happy to see home, school, self, and life all reflected on the page.
Also, I understand the need for the classroom to make a clean start with folders. Sometimes when there's too much paper; it's hard to do fresh work. It's all about streamlining: too many books makes it harder to find one to read, too many toys makes it harder to sustain play, too much "gingerbread" in decorating makes for a cluttered, garish house.
If you are finding yourself in a state of ungapatchka (oon-gah-pahtch-kah) relating to your children's school papers or toys, the NYT article "Mom, You're One Tough Art Critic" may be helpful. Hoarding isn't healthy, but it can be instinctual. The article discusses the value of product over process and how we can teach children to pare down what is saved, negotiating that tricky balance of honoring and tossing.
And rest-assured, even if you filter your child's saved work and at times file some of it in the outside recycle bin (without his/ her input), chances are, you will be more supportive than artist Marilyn Minter's parents...