A year full of memories

We’ve all heard it: the lecture on how our homeschooled kids are deprived, how they miss the experience of school, how they may never be able to reminisce their school life with their friends, how they may never go on field trips in a big yellow school bus and feel liberated to be out of a classroom for a day!
Well, I decided last year that we were going to take lots of trips in our little, green minivan with three excited siblings while we make lifelong memories by experiencing life and learning as we go. I decided later to chronicle our trips and have the kids write about each place we visited. The idea developed into a fun yearbook making project. The kids hopped onboard this idea for many reasons:
1) this meant more field trips,
2) this meant working on the computer,
3) this meant access to the camera for snapshots,
4) this meant a tangible show off piece they’ve created and
5) this counted as their writing assignments for school time.
Without much effort our project came to fruition. There are so many websites today that help with self publishing that getting our yearbook published was a breeze. The hardest part, surprisingly, was not getting the kids to write, but choosing which pictures to put up! We chose to go with Blurb only because the My Publisher software was harder for me (the “technologically challenged mama”) to work with. I do know that Smilebox, Student Publishing even Costco have software that helps you create your own books.
The kids had to write, edit, compile and lay out their articles for the different activities they did. We started with a list of classes, field trips and other activities the kids participated in during the last school year. Then we divided the list up between the three of them and each had to write their own review, opinion and information on their topic. Finally we went through our million photos to find the ones that caught the feeling of the activity and laid it out with the typed article. With a little help from the software of online publishing companies, we had our yearbook ready to print. Thirty dollars and a two weeks later, Fed-ex delivered exhilaration to our doorstep! Imagine seeing your work in print, your pictures in a book and most of all your memories collected and bound for anyone interested in coffee table decor to enjoy!
Since this was our first yearbook, there were errors and here are some of the lessons we learned:
-Check various publishers; their forecast and their user friendly software.
-Don’t penny pinch, get the hard bound copy. It will last longer and will look good too.
-Keep a good camera handy at all times. The iPhone doesn’t cut it.
-Start early. We can’t decide to do this one day and finish it in a week. Enthusiasm starts to fade when projects take too long. Smaller parts of the big project can and should be done all year long.
-Get multiple copies printed at once and get the large volume discount, because as soon as grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins see this, they will each want their own personal copy!
The more I see our yearbook laying around, the more I wonder why didn’t I chronicle our schooling like this before? It’s not just a memoir of activities but a catalogue of ideas for younger siblings as they come of age. It also becomes a reminder of how much we have and how thankful we should be with each passing day. Technology has made it easy to get ourselves printed, now we have to make ourselves worthy of it, Ameen.

About Soulful Studies

Home schooling consultant, home educator and mother of 4, blogger
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6 Responses to A year full of memories

  1. Zakkiya says:

    Assalamu Alaikum, thank you for enlightening me on the book publishing. What a splendid idea as I was unaware of this. Thank you for taking the time to post information for others to benefit. May Allah Bless your work sister.

  2. Hana says:

    I wish I could have seen the finished yearbook.  I have been looking for a way to showcase our school year and a printed yearbook seems like just the thing.  I understand it will take time to put together, and now I have a couple years’ worth of photos to compile, so I’ll probably save it till the summer.  Oh, and I still shoot film!  So I’d have to scan the photos, yikes!  Anyway, a year book means you can reprint copies to share, a scrapbook is a one-time project that’s fragile.

  3. Lil Z-Bear says:


    I came upon your blog through Grow Mama, and MashAllah, you have written some very good posts here. We have thrown around the idea of homeschooling in our house as well, and we haven’t reached a decision just yet, but I admire all the homeschooling mamas out there because of the tremendous amount of effort and commitment they put into their kids’ education.

    • Walaykum Salam,
      I’m sure when the time is right you will be just as great a teacher as you are mother! I believe the two go hand in hand. Besides, as mothers we are always teaching our little ones from the time they are born. InshaAllah may you find your path to motherhood enriching and educational as well. Welcome to Soulful Studies!

  4. Tey says:

    I loved the yearbook!!! it was soo neat Masha Allah. Me and the little one are going to have to work on one. Thanks for the wonderful idea! I loved how the kids wrote in them:)

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