It’s back to school yearbook time. I think I blinked and missed these summer holidays after Hero’s party was over. Probably because I’m in denial that not only is Jensen going back to school for his third year, but that this September my little Lyoto is starting school. He’s still a baby to me. My Yotie. And whereas he’s sure he will love it, being able to see Jensen in the playground at break times and enjoying all of the new friends and back to school activities in his class, there’s a huge, panicky part of me that wants to keep him – or rather, keep them both – at home with me.
Before I start blubbing about my boys growing up too fast and reaching for my tissues [read: Twix bars, I’ve ran out of Chocolate Orange] today I’m sharing a project that we’ve done every August since Jensen started school. If you were a scrapbooker before you had children, this is a perfect reason to indulge in that hobby once again.
What we do is we make a school yearbook. It holds all of the best memories from the school year along with the special little details about that time in their lives. The best thing is that the book is so cheap and easy to make, and it’s so loved. Did I also mention that it helps to keep the clutter down to a minimum when pictures are bought home from school – and stops the end of year panic about what to keep and just what that painting was about. As always with school things, preparation is key – because before you know it you’re snowed under with letters and payment requests and impromptu costume days and bake sales, and your ideal, neat collection of cherished drawings is a mountain of mess.
So, here’s what we do. Lyoto is bursting that he’s about to get his OWN school yearbook and box – and t-shirt.
We get the school yearbook ready before actual school starts because it’s a stepping stone to get them used to the idea of going to school and then when the start of September rolls around there’s fewer tears about the holidays being over.
The book is a simple kraft one from Paperchase. We order them from here because we love the brown covers, but the inside pages are white.
To make the book you’ll need:
- A scrapbook of choice
- Some special glittery or decorated paper
- Some adhesive
- a few little note cards, stickers and whatever else you want to make your book special
- interview questions
- crayons or pens
It’s entirely up to you how your create your book, but here are a few ideas.
Draw around your little one’s hands twice on the decorated or sparkly paper, and cut them out. One set I stick into the book with a little rhyme, and the other set I keep loose and tuck in the back of the book. I have plans for them which I’ll share in another post.
Interview your little person. Try and capture who they really are at that age; what their understanding of the world is like – and what their hopes and dreams are. These are the sweetest things to read back.
Vital statistics – take a close up photo of their face, and a full length one. Include measurements – shoe size, height.
I like to create the books with them and sneakily leave a page inside blank ready for a little first day of school card from me and Daddy.
The rest of the school yearbook we add to over the coming months – well done notes from teachers, pictures from concerts and trips, samples of handwriting, little stories they feel like writing – and anything they bring home from school that they’ve made. If it’s too big to keep, or they want to play with it when it comes home, we photograph it for memory.
Last year Jensen bought home clay bits and pieces, special creations and other bits of treasure like medals and badges that he wanted to keep. Left in the “wilds” of the house, they’d never be seen again, and so the box was created.
We got a 8x8x5 inch kraft box which contains all of the little trinkets throughout the year. We decoupaged last year’s box but this year we’re just going to do the lid. If you want to do this too, make sure you coat the parts of your box that you want to cover in paper with white acrylic paint first and leave it to dry. You will thank me later.
We saw the t-shirt idea on Pinterest even before Jensen was born. You know, back in the days when you could look at Pinterest for fun instead of frantically scouring mid July in search of easy but creative teacher gift ideas in an attempt to avoid handing over a box of Maltesers and a bouquet from the garage. Anyhow… The idea is so brilliant. You buy a t-shirt that will fit an average 18 year old, and each year take a photo of your little one wearing that shirt. When they finish school you have a collection of photos of them growing into the shirt that they finally fit.
Do you have any back to school traditions that you keep?