180 Days: Senior Year Album

 The 180 Days project helps you document the everyday details of your child's senior year in high school.

The 180 Days project helps you document the everyday details of your child's senior year in high school.

I've had several inquiries lately about my 180 Days project post, which sadly went away with my old blog, so I am restoring this post with an update. If you have a question that I don't answer, leave me a comment and I will edit my post and answer you.

One of the best ways to understand this project and how to make it doable, is to watch the following Photo Freedom episode that I did for My Craft Channel a few years ago ...

Now, in short. This is a photo-a-day approach to documenting your child's senior year and helping him or her help you to record the details that will be so fun to look back on. 

I have done this project twice now, for my sons Clark and Chase. I'll post several images from their albums, and at the end of this post, I will share some questions that may help prompt both photos and conversations that will make great content ... 

One of the primary things you can do to be successful with this project is to PREP ahead of time. Set up the entire photo album as soon as you possibly can. And really, you can house this scrapbook in any kind of album, traditional, Project Life, or something much less expensive, like what is pictured here. Photo albums like this are still readily available at general merchandise stores (ie. Target and Walmart). I do like the kind with three rings, simply because  it's certain that at some point I will mess up in some way and pages that can be removed or reordered are more forgiving! 

The photo album I used has a journaling strip that sits between the top and bottom photo sleeve, so as I was using my school district calendar to literally count out the days (marked them with Post-it Notes) I cut strips of colored paper to slide into each page where a new month begins. Sitting down and making this prep happen is (again) so helpful. So, take the time while you've got some new project enthusiasm to add titles and strips/pieces of pattern paper wherever you need them. 

I used most of the journaling strips to record everyday life conversations, Q&A style with Clark. I set a reminder on my phone twice a week to text Clark and ask him a pre-determined question and then I simply jotted down his answer. I'll be honest that I struggled to keep up with this effort, so there are only about half as many Q&A strips in his book as I had originally intended to include. I pre-wrote a bunch of questions, like ...

What did you eat for lunch today?
Which class did you most enjoy today?
Peanut butter or tuna fish?
What are you most looking forward to right now?
Who is your best friend?
What plans are you making for Friday night?
If you had an extra hour this week, what would you do?
Best show on TV?
Most played song on your iPod?
What are you reading?
How much is a gallon of gas?
How much money in your wallet right now?
Which teacher do you most admire? Why?
Last YouTube video you watched?

I think you get the idea. The interesting thing is to look at this list of questions today and realize HOW MUCH has changed since 2011. I mean, TV? We really only watch Netflix now. And songs on an iPod? Yes, my teenagers listen to their iPods, but it's with a free Spotify account. I was told the other day, "Mom, nobody downloads music anymore!" Hence the importance of capturing these seemingly ordinary details that will change and change so quickly!

Now, fast forward two years. I completed a 180 Days project for Chase too, who graduated in 2013. The first thing I recommend doing (which I mentioned in the video above) is setting up a Materials File with pattern papers, pre-cut section tabs, rub-ons, school calendar, etc.. that you will need to effectively update this ongoing project. 

You can see from these photos that I did not use a photo album with journaling strips. So for Chase, I did not record those little details. I don't remember exactly, but I bet I skipped this part, knowing how challenging it was to keep up with for Clark. Looking back now, I'd rather have even a few Q&A type details than none at all. But that perfection monster likes to get in our face and discourage these kinds of efforts that we know are hard to manage. Now, there are a variety of pocket page albums readily available, from Project Life and other companies, like Studio Calico and  Simple Stories. I think when I do this project again, I may choose a 6x8 or 9x12 pocket page album. It's hard to imagine that I'll be back at this process again next year, with another senior in high school. Time flies! 

I hope this overview has helped you catch the vision of this totally doable and very rewarding project. Again, if you have questions. Leave them here and I'll update this post to include my replies. 

Thanks for reading. 
You can do this!