Yearbooks. I bet you still have some of your old yearbooks in a box somewhere. Yearbooks preserve those memories of school, friends, those major events and achievements from our youth. Yet, when you are homeschooling you don’t get a yearbook. Those memories can slip through your fingers. As homeschool parents we need to capture those memories and preserve them for our children.
Creating a Homeschool Yearbook
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EDITED – March 2020
I originally wrote this many, many years ago, but now, as so many are going through massive life changes and taking on home education with their kids, I feel it is extremely important to update and share.
This moment in time is a defining moment in our children’s lives. Not only will our world be significantly changed by this global issue, but our children will have their lives redefined. Just like the previous generation was shaped by 9/11. This generation is being reshaped today. It is so important that we preserve this time for them to reflect on for years to come.
Some of this will not apply today. You won’t have field trips and vacations to include, but you can document your lives. Have fun with it! Take pictures of virtual connections, game nights, toilet paper, and all the things that might seem overwhelming now but will be fascinating to view later on.
We are currently living through a major point in history. Create your own special family record of this time so it can be treasured for years to come.
How To Make A Home Education Yearbook
It might seem overwhelming but making a yearbook is actually a really fun and interesting exercise for families and children.
In fact, homeschoolers can create a yearbook that is even more special than traditional school ones because it is uniquely theirs, and they can be an integral part in it’s creation. Here are some tips for making a homeschool yearbook.
The best way to create a great homeschool yearbook is to start the year with it in mind. That doesn’t mean you can’t make one now, but if you know throughout the year that this is part of your homeschool plans, it will make it’s creation easier. This year, one of the things we did was have “not back to school” photos taken at the beginning of the year. We were able to get fantastic photos of the kids laughing, having fun and enjoying life. It was the first year we got “school” photos that we really liked and truly reflected who our children are as people.
From that point forward we set off on our year of learning! The joy of having a smartphone is that I can take pictures whenever great opportunities present themselves. I take full advantage of this and love to record my children’s learning.
At the end of the year I gather all the photos I’ve taken and pick out the best ones. I make sure I’m representing their year by including projects, activities, concerts and performances, plus field trips. I also include pictures from any family vacations.
Then I take pictures of their creations and crafts. I also take pictures of badges (from swimming and scouts), ribbons and trophies they have earned during the year.
Don’t forget photos of friends! I try to include pictures of the boys with their homeschool friends and supporters so they can remember the people who were part of their educational journey.
Things to Include
Here is a list of ideas for photos that would be perfect in a yearbook:
– individual shots of the kids
– group shots of the kids and family
– the homeschool space
– favourite books
– favourite curriculum or subjects
– crafts and creations
– projects and activities
– concerts and performances
– sporting events
– field trips
– badges earned from swimming, scouts, etc.
– ribbons and trophies earned
– any major life events
Another important addition to a yearbook, especially right now, is a journal. Add in thoughts from your children around big events happening right now so they can reflect on what they wrote.
Building Your Yearbook
Once you have all your items together it’s time to build the yearbook. There are a few options for this.
Print a Physical Book
I have all my photos together I go to an online photobook creator and start putting together our yearbook. These online tools offer lots of templates to chose from, and you can simply input your pictures plus some captions explaining the images and preserving the memories. For those more tech savvy you can manipulate the layouts, customize finishes, and create a very unique product, but even their basic templates are quite slick and very easy to use.
Another way to preserve your memories and create a yearbook is to scrapbook it. This is a great idea for the more creative types who love to add their own artistic flare to their creations.
Another idea is to blog or create a virtual yearbook. There are lots of places you can do this. Google Slides or PowerPoint is one option, or create a Google Doc. Maybe you are more savvy and want a private blog or to create something in Adobe. Going this route does require a bit more technical knowledge, but these are skills your kids will need in the future. So why not teach it now? Plus an online yearbook can be shared with friends and family. Just make sure you know how to keep it secure and protect your children. You don’t want just anyone coming and reading your child’s private information and seeing their pictures.
Reflecting on a school year is an important part of an educational journey as children advance from grade to grade, moving up in their educational achievements but also growing as people. The yearbook is a chance for reflection and thought.
The best part is that not only is the yearbook specific to your family, you could even make ones specifically for each child.
On top of that, you could have the child involved in creating the yearbook and turn this into a powerful educational opportunity. Teach them about photography (beyond selfies!), how to use the layout/editing software, and how to organize and chose which photos to use.
Doing a homeschool yearbook is a fantastic activity for all homeschoolers, regardless of age and it doesn’t need to be expensive. Lots of photobook options are available for under $30, and those memories are priceless.
Preserve the memories and celebrate the accomplishments with a homeschool yearbook!