For the longest time I've put off making a school years scrapbook album for my kids. My procrastination was mostly due to the fact that I wanted to come up with a good system that I could use for all of the school years, but I wasn't sure what to include in a school scrapbook album that would make it the "perfect album"!
While I thought about it for seven years, the school pictures and school work samples just kept piling up in a drawer, which is not a long term memory keeping solution. A few months ago I sat down and did a little research and thought about what parts were crucial to a good school album. I came up with a system that I think I can maintain for the long term, but it gives me the flexibility to add to it as my kids get older. Here is my list of what to include in a school scrapbook album:
First Day Photo: Of course this is included. It's such a big deal at my house. Every year I make them pose and hold out the correct number of fingers for their grade level. (11th grade is going to be really tricky) I like to snap a posing photo and a few candid shots of them doing their thing to include on the page.
School Photo: Besides passing out the stack of photos to grandparents, aunts and uncles, and any random stranger who comments on how cute your kid is, this is a great way to use up that photo package you bought. Plus it's a given that you include the school photo in the school album. Make the photo the star of the page. Also-one more note. Be careful when adhering the photo to your page since generally they are irreplaceable. I like to use glue dots in each corner of the photo. Liquid glue can cause weird bubbles in the photo, and I want to have the photo stick firmly but still be removable in case someday my kids want it out of the album.
- Report Card: You can place this in a sheet protector and slip it in the album with no fancy page, but I like the idea of a page that holds the report card in an envelope. You can seal a long envelope, then cut the top off and adhere it to your page, or create a pocket by scoring and adhering tabs on three sides of a piece of cardstock. This is a good place to add a picture from closer to the end of the year so you get the contrast of the first day versus end of the school year.
- Schoolwork: My mom saved every single paper I ever brought home from school. She had a big storage room in her basement and when my parents moved out of my childhood home she called me to come and get "my stuff" which included all of the stuff I left in my closet when I got married and moved out 15 years ago, and a wall of boxes with all my schoolwork. I probably should have gone through it and saved some special things but it was just too overwhelming so I threw it all away. So don't overwhelm your kids. Learn from my mom! I save probably 10-12 papers for the whole year. Things that show their unique art or creative writing get saved. If I can't see their personality in it, I throw it away. You can create a special page with a pocket for it if you'd like, but I just cut the grade level out of vinyl and adhered it right to a page protector. It's easy to tuck it all inside and then they can pull it out and look at it if they'd like.
- A Record of the Child's Personality: I saw once that Becky Higgins includes her child's autograph every year in her children's school album. I love this idea. Since I'm starting kind of in the middle I'll find a paper with my child's handwritten name on it and then copy and enlarge it to use on a page. I think it would also be great to include a little questionnaire to get an idea of your child's personality. It would be fun to record their favorite friends, tv shows, foods, books etc for each year of school.
- Awards and Certificates:Although I'm making a 12 x 12 album, I'm tucking 8 1/2 x 11 page protectors in there too to hold special awards and certificates. I like to use D ring albums rather than post albums so I can work on pages and add them out of order without it being a huge deal. I picked up some Project Life albums including the Black and White Stripe Heidi Swapp album (which I love!)
That got long, but I hope it gives you a starting point. It's a relief to me just to have a plan and a method to working on this. I'm going to really try hard and be caught up with these a few months from now. My plan is to get these basics included for each of the past years, and then add to it as I have time. As my kids get older I'll adjust my method as I include dance pictures and sports awards.