School "Memory" Books

Even though I have largely been a slacker about working on my Summer To-Do List...I am still pleasantly surprised with how much I have accomplished this summer.  You know, those things that I don't have time for when we're doing school, because when we're doing school as long as we "do school" and eat three meals a day, I call it good.

I have however, not been good at blogging about it.  A good blogger would take lots of Before, During and After pics of all the rearranging and re-organizing that's been going on here.  We've moved bookshelves...and more bookshelves.  We've moved bunkbeds to a different room.  And then moved them again, to yet a different room.  We've repurposed rooms.  And I'm liking it all.  A bad blogger, however, would not take pictures in order to not document the craziness that ensued - and the mountains of junk stuff that found new homes (whether with friends, Goodwill, or in the trashcan)....HEY!  That's me!  (**waving**)


Here is one project that I did document.  Well, not during the process...but here are some pictures of the final products.

I've only wanted and planned to do this for...oh, about 3 years.  No time like the present!

School "Memory" Books for the children to document each year of school.

The state that we live in does not require us to prepare a portfolio of student work every year, but I've been wanting to do this, just so my children and Jas and I can look back and oooh and aaaah over what the children have accomplished.

We take pictures on the first and last day of school every year.  So I slid the "1st day" pic in the front cover of a 1-inch binder (cost less than $2)...and slid the "Last Day" pic in the back cover of the binder.

Here is the example from Elisabeth's Kindergarten book:

First Day

Last Day

And I'm going to go ahead and show the rest of E's Books, because, well...she's my precious munchkin and I want to.

I love how these books allow us to so easily see the changes in the child from the beginning of the school year to the end of the school year...and from one school year to the next.

And you can easily see changes on the inside of the binders also!

From the 1st week of Kindergarten

I saved a sampling of the children's school work...at least something from the beginning, middle and end of the year work.

Middle of kindergarten year

While it is neat to go back and see their handwriting on early copywork, like above....I really love seeing some of their work when they did writing and illustrating also:

middle of 1st grade

And into the front and back pockets of the binders I've stuck their "composition books" from that school year.

I had Elisabeth and Noah start writing in a "Journal" in 2nd grade because they didn't like to write (I'm mean like that) and I love looking back to see what they wrote about.

Like in this following example - where Elisabeth was having a hey day with quotation marks - we had apparently just told the children that we were starting the process to domestically adopt an infant:

2nd grade
"We are adopting a little boy!"  "He will be new born!!" "I am so so excited!" "We're all ready for the little baby boy!" "We can't wait to bring him home!"  FAITH   HOPE  LOVE  JOY

Elisabeth is incapable of NOT using exclamation points - here she handwrote in 2 on her typed page, after THE END

And yes, I save some examples from the more boring stuff, like spelling, and math...

...but it's much more fun to peek back into their little brains through their writings and their journals:

Today we are going to Natalie's and Neeleigh's house.  We are excited.  Wait...we are not excited at all.  We are very very very excited!  We love Natalie, Neeleigh and Aaron so much!

We could have easily kept more stuff and used 1.5" or 2" binders...or we could have kept less stuff and used .5" binders, but I felt these 1" binders were a good compromise...allowing me to save just the right amount of material to capture a "snapshot" of what the children were like at that point in time.

So, while things still remain on my To-Do list, mocking me...I'm going to revel in this project that I did get done, finally!


  1. Love these! You are amazing, Joli! What a treasure for you and them! And Natalie, Neeleigh and Aaron feel the same way about you all! Love us some S family time!

  2. LOL as I'm thinking...welcome to homeschooling in PA! We HAVE to do that...for each kid starting in 3rd grade. And the local school district needs to then "approve" of your school work.
    I am glad to have them though. I keep each years for a keepsake. Hopefully someday, someone will want to look at them!! All that work...I just can't throw it away!
    Keep posting about My Father's World...I'm really curious if how you like it!
    Thinking of using it next year!
    Have a GREAT year. We started today!



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