Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Picaboo Yearbooks (A Schoolhouse Crew Review)

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At the end of the school year,  Luke's school (Sacred Heart High School) put out a yearbook, and Matthew and Celia's (Edgarton Christian Academy)  put out one as well.  Celia remarked, "It's a shame since Jude is homeschooled he doesn't get a yearbook..." and I replied, "Well...actually..."  I was so excited to be part of the team that got to review the Picaboo Yearbooks.   We were given an 8.5 x 11 inch, 20-page softcover yearbook ($8.99 each, plus $8.99 shipping per order) to experience the creation process and review the printed book.  It was absolutely perfect for us!

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Picaboo Yearbooks is a division of Picaboo Photo Books.  While I could do a more standard "photobook" style scrapbook, it wouldn't be quite the same.  Often, they're -- well, standard.  What makes Picaboo Yearbooks stand out is you are truly starting out with a blank slate, even from the cover of your book.  If you were to look at SH's book, it's decorated in the school colors, with a lion, their mascot, on the front; ECA's is brightly colored with their school color and pictures of the school.  Jude's yearbook is brightly colored, and has our "mascot" on the front - the little gecko he painted last winter - just like theirs!

Picaboo Yearbook for Adventures with Jude

 Making the yearbook was fairly simple. There were a few glitches getting started, but that was because the program was new to me.  By the time I got to pages 4 and 5, I was sailing right along.  I would say the hardest part was deciding what to put in it, and how to lay it all out.  Uploading photos and making changes was very simple.  I just had a hard time deciding!

Something I liked was I could organize the book into sections.  If you were a larger homeschool, and wanting each student to have "editor status" over a few pages, or a larger group (like a sports team or co-op), you could divide your book so that sections were pre-divided.  You can add and subtract pages from a section, but dividing it into sections before many hands getting involved would help keep your book the length you want it to be.

Speaking of "many hands,"  while I was Editor, Photographer, Copywriter and Proofreader for our yearbook, it is possible for many people to be involved.  Once you create an account, you can give others access to it via a "Team" section.  You can then control which sections they have access to, so your sports editor doesn't step on the toes of your Science Fair department.  Here, I've added Luke to the "Adventure Academy Yearbook Committee." (For the 2013-14 year, he now is the Yearbook Committee. I'm just the Faculty Advisor this year.)

Picaboo Yearbooks editorial invitation

 There were so many options to pick from - layouts, add-on "sticker" art, even text.  Honestly, choosing what I wanted took up most of the time - I couldn't decide!  I love that it had so many things to pick - because it didn't look like the same thing over and over. Each section of our book had its own "theme," and Picaboo let me keep that "separated" feeling.  One thing that I found really cool - I could take a photo and spread it over two pages.  Look how fantastic this turned out!

picaboo preview
Print Preview

picaboo printed book
In the book

 Here you can see how different this section looks from the last one!

pictures of our Schoolhouse Crew Reviews from this year

Here's another great feature.  You have to manually lock each section.  This way, you can check that you like how a part turned out, close and lock it, and not worry about it being messed with.

 And here's a good reminder - if you misspelled something, you can't blame them!

"Officially," from the time you click "Continue to Order" to printing and shipping should be about 3 weeks.  In reality -- I had mine in under a week.  My first thought was "Eh, they knew I was a TOS Crew person, they rushed it."  I was so impressed with my book (more in a minute) that I decided they'd be PERFECT for the grandmothers! I went back and ordered another softcover for my mother-in-law, and a hardcover for me (I paid for those (including shipping) myself; my mom will get my softcover review copy). Those showed up in the same amount of time. Now, of course, I would absolutely give yourself the full three weeks, especially if you're ordering large quantities for a group (orders of 50 books or more ship free), but I was definitely impressed.

So one day, about a week after I ordered my book, a box appeared on my back steps.  It was my book!  Yay!  I'm the first to admit that it's the little things that excite me, but look how it arrived.

Ok, so the box was closed when it arrived,  but look at the heavy cardboard and two kinds of bubble wrap!  There was no way this book was going to get ruined in shipping.  I was expecting it to appear in a mailer envelope, get stuffed in my mailbox, and leave me hunting the huge Family Bible to weight and flatten it.  Nope! Pristine condition upon arrival.

My second order appeared in the same manner.  Box, bubble wrap, softcover book.  Wait.  Box, bubble wrap, softcover book. I ordered a hardbound copy, too. Hmm. Picaboo has online chat customer service, and I contacted them.  This is the transcript the company (automatically) emailed me.

In the end, yes, I had to wait a few more days for the book, but they made it right, so I am happy.  (You can also see how quickly the second book came - I ordered on the 18th and it arrived on the 24th!)

I am very, very pleased with my Picaboo yearbook.  My mother-in-law took hers with her when she went to visit her mother. Mom Mom was thrilled to see it, and see all the things we had done.  I know my mom is anxiously waiting for this to be posted so she can have her copy!  While I do have this blog to look back on and see what we had done, I love having the yearbook and everything is "summarized." Plus, the other kids thought it was pretty awesome that even the homeschoolers had their own yearbook!


©2012- 2013 Adventures with Jude. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://adventureswithjude.com

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