Some of you remember that I was brewing up a book project for the annual Author's Fair that could be completed by families or individual kids, but would not be a collective project as we have done in the past. Well, I have finally figured out how we can do it and make it logical, easy, a great learning exercise for the kids, and potentially a great keepsake! (Even a great Christmas present for a family member!)
Our project is a Book of Months. The idea is for your child/children to capture the rhythm of a year in your family. Each month will have one page describing what your family traditionally does in that month, with one page of illustration (or your child can make more than one page for eventful months--that part is completely up to them/you). Some things that could be included are holidays, birthdays or other annual family celebrations, typical weather, favorite activities for that season, whatever you and your child(ren) think best captures your year.
Since we are just now starting the new year, and have completed our first month, this is the perfect time to begin this project. So anyone interested can make a time in the next week or so to talk about January and what they did as a family that month, what is special about that month, etc. Then have your children write/draw about it while the memories and sensory elements are fresh. Then at the end of each month, look back and do the pages for that past month. If we all do a little at a time, the project should not really impact our other schooling, and the kids will have time to get as involved with the writing/illustration as they would like. Ideally, the project itself will end up being part of the rhythm of this year!
Of course this project does not have to be done so systematically. There is absolutely no reason why you can't just do it whenever you remember, when you have room in your school schedule, etc. I could even see someone doing this project in two weeks--completing one month every day. So I am just setting out the project the way it could most organically be done, and those of you who want to participate can do the pages and art however/whenever you see fit.
My gift to you will be a reminder here on this blog at the beginning of each new month to look back on the past month and write about it while the memories are fresh. : ) The final goal will be for all the books to be completed this same time next year, and we will have a binding party at one of our Vintage Homeschool gatherings!
Since each family will be doing this project on their own, but we hope to show them all together at the Author's Fair in May of 2014, there will be certain simple parameters we will use to give overall cohesion to the project.
--Each child's writing and illustrations should be completed on 8 1/2 x 11 inch white typing paper.
--Only use one side of each piece of paper.
--The text and its illustration will be on separate pieces of paper.
--I strongly urge you to figure out in advance if your child(ren) wants to have the pages horizontal or vertical--we have learned already from experience with this project the sadness that occurs when some illustrations are one way and some are the other! Your author(s) can choose which they want--either is completely fine for this project, as long as their whole book is done the same way.
--The text will be typed out in black ink (unless of course your child believes there is a need for colored text). You can choose the font, but the size should be 14 pt (as long as that fits well on your page--of course you can change it if you think the text length warrants it).
--The text for each page will be centered on the page (both L to R and top to bottom).
--The style of illustration used is entirely up to you and your child as well. You could even practice different mediums on different pages, if you choose; however, I would recommend you choose one style and use it for the entire book, to keep the months having the same visual "weight." So if your child chooses watercolor, encourage them to use watercolor throughout the book.
--You may choose to make the book as a family and have different children do different aspects of the project, or each child may do his/her own book. This too is up to you and your children.
--Be sure to have a safe place to store this project over the year, so the pages are not bent and damaged. Our family started this project about 8 months ago, and some of the pages that the kids were storing themselves have been creased, a little wrinkled. . . not really a big deal, but if this ends up being a beautiful "keeper" book, then in the long run they may be sorry.
Remember, you should not worry about binding the book--we will do that all together next March or April.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments below. I hope you are as excited about this project as I am!
Happy Writing, all!