Monday, 23 April 2018

Celebrating The End Of The School Year With Snapfish

Is it just me who feels as though we're still in "New Year" mode?! It feels like we're only a few weeks in to 2018 so a few weeks ago, when the team at Snapfish got in touch to ask if I'd like to get involved in their End Of School campaign, I almost choked on my coffee!

But sure enough, a quick check of the calendar shows that we are indeed coming up to halfway through the year already which means that for many people - the end of the school year is upon us.

This year is a particularly poignant one for our family as my eldest niece Amelie will be leaving primary school and heading off to senior school come September. I can hardly believe it, it doesn't feel like 5 minutes since I stood holding her at her Christening and all of a sudden she's going off to high school! There's something particularly emotional about the first child in the family taking that step I think, and all of us are feeling a mix of nervous and excited about I'm sure Amelie is herself!

But in our house, the year hasn't panned out the way we expected it to back in January where school is concerned.

Last September, our eldest son Tyne started school like so many other rising 5s did- and we thought that would be that. We'd spent months deciding on which school was going to be best for him, we were feeling pretty happy and confident with our choice, and we were excited to see where the year took him. But things didn't quite work out the way we thought.

As it so often does, life had other ideas in store for us - and come January,  we opted out of school entirely, choosing home education for our family instead.

It wasn't an easy decision to make, and it wasn't a path we chose without some worries and concerns. After all, we didn't personally know anybody who was home educating their children. We'd both gone to school ourselves so had no first hand experience of it. And we just weren't really sure if what we were doing was going to be the right move.

So for us, the end of the school year means something a little different than it does to most. It's our first milestone in our home education journey.

It's the end of the first year of what has been a rollercoaster of emotions and worries when it comes to Tyne's first steps into education, and it's also the beginning of a new way of life for us.

And so we wanted to mark it with something special.

Much like school children to, Tyne and his brothers amass quite a collection of self made works of art  - they love colouring in pictures, drawing, making collages, and doing junk modelling and like most Mums - I'm met with the decision of what to keep and what to throw out! I hate throwing anything away that one of the boys has made as it's so personal to them and so lovely to look back on, but with three children at home turning out 20+ creations per day - it just isn't possible to keep them all!

When we started home ed I bought a folder to keep all of Tyne's art work in, but 4 months in it's already bursting at the seams!

So I decided it would be nice to find a new way to keep them - by scanning them in and uploading them in to a photo book instead! That way everything is kept but in a far more convenient and easy to store manner.

My original intention was to just create a photo book full of the boys art work, but once I got started using Snapfish's gorgeous photo book templates I found myself really inspired - and instead I ended up creating a book of memories of our first term of Home Ed.

We've done so much together as a family since taking our first steps into this new way of life - we've visited so many museums and historical sites, had so many family days out, learned about so many different topics and done so many interesting projects - it's been amazing, and not only has Tyne learned so much but we have to. It's been a whole family experience, which is one of the things I love most about home ed life (Well...that and the lie-ins and lack of school runs to do!), so recording all of that in a lovely memory book seemed ideal.

The Snapfish site was so simple to use - you can choose from a number of pre-set designs or you can completely the book to look exactly as you want it to. You can choose the number of pages you want to have, and the number of photos per page - you can even upload your photos directly or straight from Facebook or Instagram if you prefer.

Everything about the process is so quick and straight forward, and the results were fantastic! The quality of the book is really impressive, and I know it's going to be something we enjoy looking back on for years to come - infact I fully intend to make a book to record our home ed journey each year!

While I was making the photobook, I started to think about the traditional end of year Teacher gifts that have become so popular now...and I realised that now that we're home educating, WE are Tyne's teachers and I thought wouldn't it be nice to treat ourselves to a little "Teacher Gift" to celebrate everything we've achieved together this year?!

After browsing the photo gift section for a while, I decided on a couple of things for our home that we could all enjoy - a photo panel for the living room filled with family photos and one of our favourite quotes which reflect our family values perfectly.

I also made a collage canvas for the Playroom where we do our home ed work - I thought it would be nice to have a collection of family photos on it, along with one of the quotes about home education that most inspires me to carry on during the inevitable tough days. I absolutely love the canvas, and it's so lovely to have something made that's totally personalised to us.

Snapfish really is an ideal website to use to get that extra special, truly personalised gift that can be fully customised to your own taste and style and the quality of every item we received from them was absolutely exceptional. They were delivered in just a couple of days too!

 Snapfish do a range of unique personalised gifts at amazing prices, if you fancy getting something yourself use the code SCHOOLFUN for a whopping 40% off.

*With thanks to Snapfish for working with us on this post

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