I used to be a scrapbooker.
When I say “used to,” I mean that I have a gorgeous book of Ben’s first year of life. And to produce that incredible treasure, I spent hundreds of dollars and countless hours.
I still have an amazing array of scrapbooking supplies — albums, papers, scissors, templates, embellishments — somewhere in boxes in my basement.
If only I had the time to create these glorious keepsakes of his second, third, fourth, . . . twelfth years of life.
Recently, I discovered that I do, with the right tools.
Although Picaboo is popular with schools, it is ideal for homeschool use because there are no minimum purchases required. You can order just one book, or one for each member of your family. The low cost of just $8.49 per book makes it affordable for everyone in your family to have their own. You could even buy one for the grandparents to have (does anyone else feel the need to show extended family members that your homeschool IS a real school?).
Here’s an example from the Picaboo website of a 2-page yearbook spread. Keep in mind, this is from a typical school setting, but it shows how you can place images into your book of many sizes and shapes, at different angles, and how you can add text with lots of font choices.
Producing a typical yearbook wasn’t on my agenda for this book. I had a set of photos on my computer from Ben’s sixth grade photo shoot from last fall. I have had in mind all along that I would do something to pair these images with several Scripture verses that signify hopes I have for Ben’s life.
Creating this Picaboo “yearbook” served this purpose quite well.
It’s super simple to get started creating your book. There are an overwhelming number of background options and lots of page templates. If you don’t see a template you like, it’s no problem, because you can customize them quite easily.
The 20 pages include a front and back cover page, plus nine, 2-page spreads. You begin the process by clicking on “create a yearbook” and then uploading all of your pictures. You can then divide each 2-page spread into “sections” and title them. You might have a different section for different children, or different aspects of your homeschooling life (classroom time, field trips, projects, etc.). I opted just to make the yearbook one section, since I decided not to create a typical yearbook this time.
I didn’t want to distract from the photos with backgrounds that were too busy, so I just chose a color scheme and then found textured backgrounds in the colors I chose — blue, orange, yellow, and green. You can choose certain themes as well.
I opted to make the backgrounds for each 2-page spread the same, but you don’t have to. You can make every single page different if you so choose. Editing the size of your photos, how they are arranged on the page, and the fonts is really easy.
Here are a few screenshots from our yearbook. The first photo is of the inside front cover. The software provides guides so that you can increase the size of your photos without ending up in the fold. Because I like to maximize the size of photos as much as possible, this was nice feature. Otherwise, this first image might have ended up deep into the crease.
All of these photos were the same size when I uploaded them. The placement on the pages and increasing or decreasing the photo sizes was as simple as dragging your mouse.
I loved being able to find these bright colors. I think they really enhance the photos. I used the same font throughout our yearbook, just because I liked the way it looked. But there are many fonts from which to choose.
I completed our book in about 4-5 hours. It’s a very simple lay-out and I realize that had I created a more detailed book, it would have taken much longer. I’m pretty sure the most detailed of pages would not take a fraction of the time I painstakingly spent on that first year scrapbook though. I absolutely love the option of making scrapbooks/yearbooks online and receiving a fully completed book in the mail 3 weeks later.
Actually, my book arrived in about 5 days (the website says to expect a 3-week turnaround) and it is just beautiful. The images are crisp and clear, with amazing colors. The pages are thick and sturdy. I can’t believe that this book is only $8.49. Even with the $8.99 shipping charge, it’s well worth the nearly $20 price tag.
The shipping cost for one book is $8.99, but it’s only about $1 for each extra book you add. For about another $10, you can create a hardcover book just like you got in high school! The ebook version is provided free of charge for Picaboo customers. It looks gorgeous on my iPad.
Do you know how many yearbooks I could have made for the cost of those scrapbooking supplies collecting dust in my basement? Ben and I are both excited about using Picaboo Yearbooks to make books for years 2-12 of his life and homeschool. This is going to be so much fun!
If you’d like to see a wonderful example of a more typical homeschool yearbook, click over to take a peek at the ones my friends, Kate and Candace created. They are gorgeous, but very different from each other and from mine. There are also many more reviews of Picaboo Yearbooks on the Crew blog. You can access those by clicking on the banner below.