Just over three years ago, as I was putting together a scrapbook for my kids, I mused about how nice it would be to have a scrapbook put together with a lot of photos of their homeschool activities, field trips, clubs, and classes, that included the names of their friends, so that when they want to reminisce a decade or more down the line and can’t quite remember the name of some child they used to do things with, they could peek into that scrapbook and figure it out. Oh, yeah, that sounds like a school yearbook. I’m lousy at remembering names and didn’t want to have to figure it all out myself, so I decided to recruit others to help me. Thus was born our homeschool support group’s yearbook.
Currently, our yearbook committee is putting the finishing touches on our third annual yearbook. At this point, it includes photos of over 150 children, with their names, and photos of about 40 named families. (Our group includes about three times as many families and perhaps as many more kids, too, but we’ve managed to get photos, with names, of those who come regularly to our activities or who send in their own photos. We’re doing much better at including everyone this year as we’ve learned a few tricks along the way–such as setting up a photo-taking stand at our very popular beginning of the school year meeting as we’ve learned that busy families will often intend to send in photos but many will never find the time.) We have pages for a variety of ongoing activities such as our Debate Club, 4-H Clubs, Marine Science Class, Video/Film-Making Club, Book Clubs, and more. We have pages showing a wide variety of events such as our Science Day, Mock Trial, Talent Show, World Day, and more. We have pages for an assortment of field trips, a page of quotes from the kids about what they think of homeschooling, and even pages of ads. Those ads help us bring the cost of our hardcover, full color, 60 page, photo book down to about $20 a copy–a bargain when I see schools listing their yearbooks for over $70 a copy. Even more of a bargain when I hear my kids count the number of photos they are in and hear other parents talking about being lucky if their child is in their school’s yearbook more than once and some bemoaning being required to purchase the book anyway.
The kids (and adults) have learned how to use a photo-sharing site to produce photo books since they’ve helped produce their own yearbooks. And we figured out long ago that a lot of time and energy is involved, so we give one free copy of the yearbook to those families who put in the effort to help us (and we still manage to keep the cost of the other books to about $20 a copy). They enjoy getting to decide some of the layouts and photos that will get used, and have played a role in getting photos of as many of the other kids and families as possible. But mostly, they enjoy the final results, reading and re-reading them many times over already. I like that I get not only our photos, but photos from multiple friends, and can get others to get, and put together, ads–a job I’d really rather not do. All of which is enough to make this yearbook worth all the effort, even though I find myself up at 2 in the morning, rearranging photos to squeeze in pictures of two more kids whose names happen to fall in the middle of the alphabet.
As another issue is getting ready to find its way to the printer, I’m rather amazed at how a little musing led to such a marvelous creation.