catherine saunders | documenting the start of a school year


Two weeks ago, our older son started kindergarten – a pretty big milestone for him (and us!). As usual, I took way too many photos, but I picked just a few to print for his school years pocket page album.

When I saw Liz’s week at a glance kit, I knew I wanted to use it to document Ben’s first week of school.

Here’s the full layout:



Here’s a close-up of the left side:



And a close-up of the right:



I went with black, white, and grey journal cards and pattern, which I liked next to the colorful photos.



I added some typed journaling under Liz’s hand-lettering to add a bit of the story of the week alongside the photos.



I also included some of my own normal handwriting on a few cards. I think including my own handwriting makes the album feel more personal and intimate, and I like the look of handwriting next to typed text.



On the right side, I used a Design B pocket page, which has space for three 4x6s and six 3x4s. It’s not a go-to for me, but I loved the vertical 4×6 week at a glance journal card, so I wanted to incorporate it in the layout.



It was a really full week, so I used the card to jot down the highlights from each day of Ben’s first week of school. This would be the perfect card for a week spent traveling or preparing for a big event.



I used the “to do list” card to document our after-school routine.



Journaling is a form of documenting even without photos. I didn’t include a photo from our weekend, but I did include what we did that weekend on a journal card. I’ll put the photos in our annual family photobook, but in Ben’s pocket page album, a little mention of our weekend is enough to trigger the memories.



As for photos in this layout, and in this album in general, I’m keeping it really simple: 4x6s and 3x4s, a mix of vibrant color with black and white, and a mix of full bleed photos with white borders.



When you’re documenting a school year, it’s important for me to keep it simple so I’ll actually do it! I’ve found that the formula of simple layouts and photos, handwriting mixed with typed text, and a few layouts per school year is really working for me.



Our youngest starts school next week which is both exhilarating and terrifying! But it’ll mean more time to keep up with some of these projects.

You can see more of my projects, sign up for my newsletter, or check out what’s inspiring me on Pinterest these days. I’d love to hear how you’re documenting the school years for your kiddos in the comments.

xo, Catherine

Blog Comments

Hi Catherine!

I love what you did with your spread! I’m still working on my son’s back to school spread from a few weeks ago. For some reason, I was having a little trouble figuring out what I should include. I love that your layout is simple but includes just the right amount of content to tell the story. This motivates me to go back and finish it!

Also, congrats on the launch of your website! The redesign looks lovely (:

Have a great week! xo

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