This summer I was given the opportunity to do a review for Picaboo Yearbooks which is a company that helps you, or an organization, create a yearbook for your school, club, church, or homeschool group. Growing up I remember that a highlight of the school year was seeing our annual yearbook. We would have an end of year picnic for our class and you would get your friends to sign your yearbook. Despite the fact that my school yearbooks are buried, (or are they hidden...can you say big 80's hair?) in our garage, they still hold lots of memories about the sports I participated in, the clubs I was involved in, and the friends that I enjoyed hanging out with as a student.
Should not attending a regular school prevent a child from not experiencing this fun aspect? NO!
We have been homeschooling for over 7 years and I believe we are only missing one year that we did not get a yearbook for. In fact, due to the fact that we have belonged to two wonderful groups, we have two yearbooks for several of those years. Both A and Z LOVE to go back through them and just like I used to do, remember the sports, clubs, and classes that they have taken over the years. With some friends moving away they are also able to remember the many friends they have made over the years.
But, I will admit. My participation in creating a yearbook has been minimal and virtually non existent. Even though I know that it is possible some local friends are reading this, (HI!) I will also admit that I have seen homeschool groups split apart and friendships destroyed due to the creation of the annual yearbook. (true story unfortunately) You would think that preserving your children's memories would be fun and bring people together, but it is seriously difficult to get pictures from all of the members, make sure everyone is in the pictures, and get it done by a reasonable deadline. Oh and did I mention getting the money together to send to the company? One other aspect that I have observed is that what one person likes, or appreciates the humor of, a whole group may not. It is just not a simple task. I am very grateful for the hard work of friends in the past that have worked diligently to create these keepsakes that my children and I will always treasure.
I discovered though that Picaboo Yearbooks tries to simplify these things and make it so a whole group can participate in creating a yearbook together. Everyone responsible for contributing to the yearbook is given a password so that they can add pictures and create layouts for each page.
It reminds me a lot of scrapbooking but without the mess. There is a large variety of background pages to choose from along with various fonts. So many choices that a lot of my time spent on the project involved picking out the the background that went well with each page. There are templates that you can use depending on how many pictures you would like to fit on each individual page. It also instantly creates places to put titles and comments about the pictures.
There are also "stickers" you can add to embellish each page, like the apple and soccer ball in the pictures above. I do admit, it took me quite awhile to figure out how to do it all but once I did things went smoothly. If/when I do it again I will keep a better eye on the photos and words towards the inner seam of the books. On some pages it cuts it a bit tighter than I like. Oh, and I do have three "typos" in our family's book. When I was doing the typing it was sometimes hard to see the writing when I was editing it. It gives you many chances to edit it and points out possible mistakes...but for one example instead of a "1" it put a "!". (which is the same key) I wasn't able to see this when I edited it but this might have been user error or the fact I should be using my reading glasses.
I received a 20 page, soft cover yearbook in matte finish. I was pleased with the quality of the cover and pages as they are very sturdy and the pictures were as crisp as they appeared when I created the book. If I was able I would get myself a hard cover and the children each their own soft cover. The soft cover starts at $8.49 for 20 pages but you can add pages for only 22 cents each. The shipping for this size of book would be 8.99. So ultimately you would get the yearbook for $20.00. I will say one of my favorite things about it is that when your groups yearbook is complete each family is able to order it directly from the site and decide whether they want soft or hard cover. You are also able to download an ebook version! That way no one is having to wait on payments to complete an order!
Make sure and check out what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought about Picaboo Yearbooks!