Tributes & Video Biographies
Sharing Life Stories, Connecting Generations, Preserving Legacies

Starting the School Year With a Personal History Project


Flickr photo: kyleabedalov

When my own children were young, my father suggested taking a photograph of them every month, in the same location and pose. These photographs, he explained, could later be assembled into a type of time-line of their growth and development. While I did take many photos of both of my sons, I never did manage to do that specific project, although it still think it’s a terrific idea and would have been a wonderful thing to have now.

I did take a photograph of them every year, as they were leaving for their first day of school. Taken at the front door, they had their lunchboxes or backpacks and were ready to go. These photos stopped as they got older but now play an important role in their childhood photo albums.

With school starting in the next week around the United States, its a good time to think about helping your child start a personal history project to document his or her school year and provide them with many memories later on.

A nice scrapbook, photo album or even a good quality archival storage box is the first step. Have your child enrolled in the project from the beginning and create a calendar event once a week or once a month to spend a little bit of time collecting and organizing items to go into the history project. You may decide to go with a video project from the beginning, but you will still need to organize the materials the same way you would any other project.

Some specific things to add to this personal history are:

  • Photographs – of special school events and classroom shots with the teacher and classmates. Right now, some of the most valuable photos my grade-school friends are finding are candid shots taken of school mates around the school yard and in the classroom. Non-professionally posed shots can be so valuable later on.
  • Academic accomplishments – awards, certificates, report cards and even examples of class work are great to add.
  • Extra-curricular activities – band, sports, scouting, art class; all the other activities that your child participates in throughout the year.
  • Notes and comments from teachers and coaches and friends.
  • Try to have your child write a note or two about what they like about their school, friends, studies and activities.
  • Video taken from any of the above mentioned activities.

At the end of the year, this project can be shared with teachers and school friends and any comments and notes collected and added to the project.

Stefani Twyford is a personal historian sharing life stories, connecting generations and preserving legacies. To learn more, visit her web site, find her on Twitter as @stefanitwyford, visit the Legacy Multimedia Facebook Fan Page, or send her an e-mail.

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