Today, I wanted to share an updated look at my girl's school albums. I have done many posts about their school albums over the years, starting back in 2009. You can find any and all blog posts related to these albums HERE, or by clicking on the "my school album system" image on the blog sidebar. I have kept with pretty much the same basic system over the years, and have changed very little of how I go about putting these albums together and adding stuff in each school year.
Keeping with the same system, and approaching each year in the same was as the previous years, makes it really easy to keep up with this project year after year. From the beginning, I knew I wanted to keep these school albums simple and easy. They're really meant to hold all of the "stuff" that goes along with school. Mostly memorabilia, and not so much photos and/or stories. Those can be saved for layouts. My goal for these albums was to contain the "stuff" that comes from 13 years of school.
I think the last time I shared a look inside these albums, I had shared Alyssa's freshman year of high school. So I figured I would share her sophomore, junior, and senior year's for today's post. I should really be fair, and share Sarah's at some point. I haven't added anything in to her senior year yet, which is why I pulled out Alyssa's album.
Each school year starts out with an envelope page. I'm using an older Kit-Of-The-Month school kit from Becky Higgins, from back in the Creating Keepsakes days. They came with these awesome envelopes that had the grades printed on them, and little pockets across the bottom. While these aren't something you can buy any longer, Becky Higgins does sell 12x12 envelope pages that would totally work for this.
Inside the envelope pages, I keep a sampling of their work from the year. Once they got to the higher grades, I saved mostly writing samples, journal pages, maybe a test or two, any cool reports, and anything else that felt interesting enough to save. Even in high school, I was able to find a few drawings they had to do as part of their classwork.
These envelopes came with little pockets along the botttom. I usually stick their school ID in there, if I have them. Sarah seems to hoard hers somewhere, so I hope to track them down at some point and add them in.
After the envelope page, I add in some 8.5x11" page protectors. When they were younger, I would put their class photo in first, followed by their final report card from the year on the backside. Since they stopped having class photos around 6th grade, I usually start out with the final report card from the year. We have state tests they have to do each year here in CA, so I'll add those test results on the backside.
I then add in any awards and certificates. I don't necessarily use one page protector for each certificate, or even put just two in each page protector. Depending on how many they've received that year, I may stick 3-4 in each page protector. While it would be great to be able to see them all, it can bulk up the album more. They're easy enough to pull out of the page protector, so if I need to add a few extra in, I'll do that. I still usually end up with 3-4 page protectors just for awards and certificates.
Once the girls hit high school, we had high school sports to work into the albums. While I have separate sports albums that I'm working on for them, those contain city sports. I wanted to keep the high school sports within their school albums. I use 8.5x11" page protectors for this as well, adding in their team photo, their individual photo, any awards and certificates, and the season's schedule if I kept it.
At some point, I started adding in 6x12" page protectors to hold any band concert or drama performance programs. They're almost always these smaller programs (an 8.5x11' paper folded in half), so they work nicely this way. I simply staple them to a piece of kraft cardstock, stapling them on inside of the program and only at the top - this makes it easy to open them, as well as turn them over to see the back of the program. I will add these to both sides of the protector if needed.
Next up is their official school photo. The school kit that I'm using came with these 12x12" pages, with the grade printed on and an embossed "box" to hold the photo. I add in their 8x10" photo each year. For the younger years, where they did spring school photos in addition to the fall school photos, I just added a 5x7" of their spring photo into the envelope page.
Alyssa was in the county honor band for 3 of her 4 high school years, which had a much larger concert program. I added that into the envelope page, and tucked her patch into the pocket on the front.
I ended up with several different ID cards during their high school years. They had a lunch ID, an internet ID, and their regular ID card. I saved whatever cards were given to me, and tucked them into these little pockets.
I followed the envelope page with several 8.5x11" page protectors, adding in her final report card from the year, as well as any awards and certificates. I must not have photographed them, but they're there.
Followed by high school soccer. The team photos (or even class photos from their younger grades) are 8x10", so I always just adhere them to a piece of white cardstock before slipping them into the page protector.
I usually don't get an 8x10" individual photo, so I'll add the 5x7" individual photo in. But this year, I had an 8x10" photo, so I used it.
Again, a 6x12" pocket page to hold band concert programs. I also added in a 8.5x11" page protector, since I had one program that was larger in size.
After her school photo page, I added in an extra 12x12" page protector to hold newspaper clippings. At some point, I hope to do something with them, even if it's just trimming them up if needed and adhering them to cardstock. But for now, they're all in the album where they need to be.
Senior year. It happened so fast! I haven't looked in these envelope pages for a while, so I can't be sure if I have anything unique in there, as opposed to previous years. I know there's another county honor band concert program in there, since it's a larger sized program with many pages. I know there's also some senior year stuff related to scholarships and college acceptances.
There's a part of me that wants to do something with the girl's patches, varsity letters and sports patches (Alyssa also lettered in music and scholastics), etc. Since they didn't get letterman's jackets, it would be fun to do a shadow box or something. Someday maybe.
The envelope page was followed with some 8x5x11" page protectors. First up, as I did with all the prior years, was adding in her final report card from the year. Then I added in any award and certificates. Alyssa ended up with a ton of those her senior year, so most of these page protectors have multiple certificates in them.
This was the only year they took a band photo for the yearbook. I love it. But it makes me wish they had taken these photos the other years too. Alyssa received some band awards, which I added after her photo, along with some concert programs.
I think this was also the first year they had an official photo for county honor band. I made sure to go online and purchase one, so that I could add it in her album. I think it was originally 8x12", but I knew that I would trim it down to 6x12", since the top of the photo was all white. I also added her high school graduation program into a 6x12" page protector.
On the backside of the graduation program, I added in the program from the Senior Baccallaureate, tickets from graduation, and her senior announcement that we sent out to family and friends.
And of course, her official senior year school photo. Which senior year, they take in the drapes and tuxes. At a photography studio. This school photo cost me a LOT more to add into her album. Lol.
I also added in an extra 12x12" page protector to hold newspaper clippings from the school year. Again, at some point, I'd like to pull these out, see what I actually have to work with, and then do something with them. But in the meantime, they're contained and where they need to be.
And this right here is 13 years worth of school memories. School "stuff". When I first started these albums, I was so sure it would all fit in just three albums. Four albums worked out much better, since the envelopes themselves can take up a decent amount of space. I think they contain a great overview of their school years, and all of the important stuff is added in and easy to find. I'm sure I could go thru some of the envelope pages again and pull out some papers that don't really need to be saved. But if you ask me, I'd rather have a little too much and pull something out down the road, than save too little and regret not keeping something.
There's so many ways to document your child's school years, and I think it's really up to each of us to decide what we think is important enough to save. Or how much time we want to put into organizing what we decide to save. For me, this worked. Like I said, I started these albums back in 2009, and I have kept with the system that I set up at that time. Very little has changed, which is kind of crazy to me. I'm the kind that usually changes my mind about things a lot.
But this system, for me, was easy. Easy to set up, and easy to maintain. It's the one larger project I've started, that I kept up with every single year. And with Sarah's high school graduation only 5 weeks away, I'll be able to get her senior year in the album completed and finished up as well.