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In two other posts I wrote about our love for pen pals and how we stock our stationery supplies. Organizing pen pal details for 3 children and a busy mama is no small feat. Especially when you consider that my children have over 20 pen pals between them and are members of several pen pal clubs! I have stopped writing to my personal pen pals because I am helping to coordinate over 50 ladies pen pal clubs. We are very much our own little post office!
Rather quickly the volume of paper and details became overwhelming and so we needed a sure fire way of keeping track of everything in a format that was easy to use and easy to maintain.
While I am already contemplating some changes, this is working pretty well for us right now.
First, every one of us has a folder that serves as an “in box” and “to be used box”. One pocket contains letters that have arrived and have not been responded to. The other pocket contains pictures and things that my children have worked on while they waited for a response from their friends. These items will get mailed when it is time to respond to a given friend.
Second, every one of us has a notebook/logbook where we track when we send letters and record the addresses of our friends. This is the piece that I am going to be converting.
When my Arc discs arrive, each child will get their own Pen Pal notebook with these pages as well as any letters that they wish to keep. Right now, we store letters and supplies in the same pen pal drawer (one drawer per child). It is working, but it is messy. When St. Nick brings the Pen Pal “boxes” (scrapbooking color coded plastic lock tight boxes), the kids will keep their supplies in those and their their letters and notebooks in these drawers.
Finally, everyone has a pocket in our hanging file system for their folder and their log book. This hanging system is right outside of our kitchen on the basement steps wall. This is easy access for me, super tidy and out of the way. There are also pockets for our various round robin pen pal clubs and the special friends that we write to every month as part of our family culture (seminarians, deployed military, grandparents, etc.).
My daughter really wanted to know a lot about her friends. Together, we built this form that she is sending to each of her pen pals. She is also sending a version with her information for them. She will bind their responses into her Arc Pen Pal notebook when we have that up and running. I continue to marvel at the amount of problem solving the kids and I must do on a day to day basis to get the most out of our homeschool experience. These organizational “problems” are teaching all of us how to be more well ordered in our thinking and showing us how discipline applied to right thinking can produce incredible systems that really do enrich our lives. I am so grateful for these challenges! We are stretching and growing and learning so much!
(Psst! The pen pal form we created here is ours and we freely share it. Steal it outright with our blessing or use it springboard your own creative thinking!)