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How To Make A School Yearbook

by Jessie Shaneman

One favorite school tradition that has been around for a long time is the school yearbook. The yearbook is a timeless treasure that documents and records a student’s high school memories. It allows a person to remember his/her past: The hairstyles, the clothes and the people who shaped and formed their youthful minds and personalities.
For some time, yearbooks were only distributed among institutional public or private schools. Now that homeschooling and charter schools are becoming more and more popular, they are beginning to create their own yearbooks. The following paragraphs will explain how to make an easy and successful yearbook for your homeschool group. 
The first step is volunteers. Volunteers are very important to the yearbook process. They can take the orders, keep track of the money, organize when and where pictures need to be taken, and most importantly they can proofread. There’s nothing more disappointing then looking through the yearbook and finding your name misspelled. Now, sometimes volunteers are hard to come by. Parents are busy with the job of their children’s education and they just don’t have the time. There is a solution. Make the yearbook into an extra-curricular class. Have one or two parents in charge, but have the students do the majority of the work. They can take the pictures, interview fellow classmates, get the correct name spellings, and they can put their own creativity into the pages. Being on a yearbook committee is a fun and educational experience. It also looks great on a college application. You should also find a company that prints yearbooks. After you’ve completed laying out the hard copy of the yearbook, you will need to have it printed. This should be something you do in the beginning of the year just in case they have certain requirements, such as a certain number of pages or their own sets of rules and guidelines. Each company has its own different and unique styles of putting together a yearbook, so call around and ask for samples. Then decide which suits your school best.
Once you’ve found the company of your choice send the yearbook off. The companies need time to make all of your copies, so make sure you send it early enough. Then, when the books arrive pass them out to the families that ordered them. It sometimes helps to order a few extras because there’s always some families that will want to buy a yearbook at the last minute. 
The second step is deciding what to take pictures of. Try to get a school picture of every student associated in your homeschool group. Then, get pictures of each fieldtrip your school has planned and write down the activities that took place that day. Also, if there are any graduating seniors, get a five- by-seven picture of each and a short summary of their plans for the future. They can also include a favorite quote, scripture verse, or even a favorite childhood memory. These are the most important pictures to include in a yearbook. You can also have family pages. These consist of pictures of family members, pets, and fun activities the family has done together. 
Step three is organizing the pictures you have accumulated throughout the school year. First, start making a table of contents. Never print out your final copy until a few days before it goes to the printer. You’ll find there are always a few activities that are forgotten and have to be put into the book at the last minute. With your table of contents started, you or the students involved, can begin figuring out the order your pictures will go in. Don’t forget to include a title page. The title page can have a picture of your homeschool group on it or your school’s logo and name. It will be the first page seen, so put some time into it and make it stand out. Make sure to include your school’s name and the year!
One way to organize the photos in some kind of order is to have the pictures of the graduating students be first. Allow each senior a page of his or her own. Put the name at the top, then center the picture and beneath it put the senior’s summary. After the senior pages you can put in the family pages. It is best to do the senior and family pages in alphabetical order so it will look uniform. Then, after the family pages you could put the field trips in or a special event, such as your school’s talent show. Remember, there should be a title page before each group of pictures. For example, put “Graduating Seniors,” before the senior pictures and “Our Homeschool Families,” before your family pages. This makes everything organized and easy to understand. 
After you have organized the photos, you have to decide how you will put the yearbook together. Check with your yearbook printing company first. They will advise you on the best way to submit your final version to them. You can either do it entirely on the computer by using some type of layout and photo handling program or you can do it the old-fashioned way: Paper, glue and scissors. You will want to use the computer for your headings and descriptions but other than that you can crop your photos with scissors and glue them onto the paper. Once you’ve decided a technique, start using your creativity. You can make the pages fun, with bright colors, stickers and even computer art with fun, loud fonts. If you like a more standard look, you could use only your school colors, very little art and a subtler font. This is the standard technique. Most importantly, have fun with it and remember this is for the students.
It’s also fun to put a few blank pages in the back of each book. It allows the students to get their friends’ autographs and write something nice about each other. Years later, they’ll look back and read what their classmates wrote about them. 
These are the simple steps to making an easy and successful yearbook. Such a book will allow your children to look back and remember their adolescent experiences . . . their teachers, friends, outings they took, and much more. Years from now, when childhood memories are forgotten, they can look back and remember these old friendships and their homeschool experiences. J.S.