School Days: 5 Minutes for Books

by Jennifer Donovan

Whether your kids start school next week or next month, it’s definitely “Back-to-School” season. This is the time of year I begin to cling to what’s left of summer downtime, while simultaneously thinking about everything we need to buy, and everything we need to do to get ready.

I’m still a real hold-in-my-hands planner user — no e-calendars for me! and fortunately I’ve just gotten my new BusyBodyBook planner, so I feel as if I’m starting over with another chance to get organized (You can win your own BusyBodyBook. Check out my review over at 5 Minutes for Books).

Another area that I’m hoping to start fresh is record-and memory-keeping. I take pictures, but most of them live on my harddrive, not in frames where we can look at them and enjoy them or albums to preserve for the future. I save report cards and other special works, but they are just saved in folders, not kept in any special place.

I love the new School Days: A Keepsake Book for Pre-Kindergarten to 12th Grade from Potter Style.

One thing that is cool is that it’s set up for kids and parents to do together. There are about 3 pages and an envelope within the spiral bound book for each school year.

The first page is a snapshot of the year. There’s a place to put the child’s photo, and stats including school name, teachers, and a few lines for parents’ notes about the year. There’s a place at the bottom for “My Signature” which is a fun feature. I know that whenever I see my 11-year-old scrawl inside a book, or my 15-year-old signature on a paper it brings back major memories.

The second page is written from the child’s point of view. For the elementary years, it includes a scorecard for 4 different subjects, my friends, best thing about this year, what I’m good at, and when I grow up. The secondary years get a little more “real” adding hobbies and activities, this was a big bummer, and summer plans (instead of what I want to be when I grow up).

The third page is a pocket, with suggestions of unique items to include which will show their their growth: sample artwork, awards, note to my future self, a piece of string as long as I am tall, tracing of my hand, a school nametag, a newspaper headline or story, and of course a report card. The secondary years add a note or email from a good friend and replace nametag with school ID.

The back of the pocket is lined, adding another spot for some journaling. The pocket flaps and closes to keep everything secure.

Ideally it’s something that you would do year by year (and at least with Kyle, who is going into first grade, I can start right away), but you could definitely go back a few years to recreate the entries, even cutting and pasting their signature from another paper.

Would you like to give this School Days Journal a try? I have one copy to give away to one of you (U.S. residents only). Just leave a comment below. We’ll announce the winner in our August 23 column.

The novel Long Division is still open for more entries.

The winners of Friendship for Grownups are #10 Beth, #20 tennille, #6 Elizabeth. You should have received an email from me asking for your address.

Disclosure: I received a School Days journal for review purposes.

Email Author    |    Website About Jennifer Donovan

Jennifer Donovan has been a part of the 5 Minutes for Mom team since 2007. She writes product reviews, covers events, and manages the 5 Minutes for Books weekly column and website. She lives in Houston and blogs at Snapshot about life with her family.

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sarah August 9, 2010 at 12:12 am

This is such a great idea:) Thank you for the chance to win!


2 Casey August 9, 2010 at 9:23 am

My mom put together something like this for me when I was growing up. I am
still amused when I look at it. Would live to do this for my daughter. Thanks!


3 Kara August 9, 2010 at 10:50 am

What a cute idea! My oldest just started Kindergarten so it would be perfect timing to start something like this.


4 judy brittle August 9, 2010 at 11:34 am

This would be wonderful for my granddaughter! Thank you!


5 Libby August 9, 2010 at 12:55 pm

With my son just gearing up to start school, I would surely love to win this journal. When it comes to memory keeping, I need all the help I can get!!


6 Jenn August 9, 2010 at 1:16 pm

With my daughter just starting school this would be a great thing for her and I do to together! How cool is this?!


7 Steph August 9, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Sounds like a really unique and fun keepsake.


8 Amy August 9, 2010 at 8:37 pm

What a wonderful treasure! Thank you for the chance.


9 Melissa S August 9, 2010 at 10:17 pm

This looks great. My youngest is just starting this year!


10 Tammy Gordon August 10, 2010 at 5:40 am

Would love to win this!!


11 Terra Heck August 10, 2010 at 6:41 am

What a neat way to keep school momentos. Thanks.


12 Abi August 10, 2010 at 9:40 am

please include me thanks


13 Maureen August 10, 2010 at 11:18 am

Please pick me – maybe doing this will make up for the fact that I wasn’t so great about filing in my twin boys’ babybooks. Thanks, Maureen (jnomaxx at hotmail dot com)


14 LaVonne August 10, 2010 at 12:35 pm

This sounds like a great book. I’d love a copy;


15 Jenny August 10, 2010 at 3:57 pm

I am always searching for a great journal and with my 4 year old starting K4 this year ….this sounds adorable.
Thanks for the chance to win :) Love your blog….


16 Liz August 10, 2010 at 5:02 pm

This looks like a great way to get organized.


17 Jess August 10, 2010 at 10:26 pm

That looks like a wonderful keepsake!


18 Carolyn August 10, 2010 at 11:05 pm

My son is just starting kindergarten so this would be perfect


19 shelly aka allysmama August 11, 2010 at 5:29 am

My mom had something like that for me and I would love to have something like that for my daughter! Thanks


20 Jen August 11, 2010 at 11:07 am

That journal looks adorable.


21 Sherri August 11, 2010 at 2:58 pm

What a GREAT idea! I can’t wait to see if I am the lucky winner!


22 Donna C. August 12, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Would love to win this. Thanks for the chance


23 Sarah - PS Mom Reviews August 12, 2010 at 10:50 pm

This is perfect for back to school.


24 Mary-Frances C. August 13, 2010 at 10:33 pm

Oh, I love this! What a great idea!


25 Robin August 14, 2010 at 11:34 pm

I actually have something similair for my oldest son and we have made it a point that on the last day of school, we take the time to fill in the book. It is almost as important as having new school clothes to start the year. It is like the bridge that closes the school year and starts summer for him. I unfortunately do not have one for my youngest who will start school next year.
Thanks for sharing


26 Michelle August 15, 2010 at 9:08 pm

Perfect timing! My oldest is just starting school and this would so fun to have. What a clever idea!


27 Angi August 16, 2010 at 2:47 am

My nephew starts his first day of kindergarten on Monday. This would be a fantastic way for his mom to record his school years.


28 nan lara August 16, 2010 at 12:56 pm

this would be great my son is just starting school
nannypanpan at


29 Alison S. August 16, 2010 at 1:48 pm

I love to scrapbook and have all these great plans, but never enough time in the day. This book looks like it would be perfect for helping preserve the school years memories.


30 Debbie R. August 16, 2010 at 2:29 pm

My son is starting Kindergarten this year and it would love to start a memory book of his school years.


31 Nancy Frizzle August 16, 2010 at 4:50 pm

This is a great way to spend time with the kids and leave some great memories for a lifetime. Adorable. I love the signature line!


32 Erin Pyle August 17, 2010 at 5:42 am

How neat! I have to have one of these for when my son starts school! Thanks for sharing!


33 Jessica T August 17, 2010 at 12:52 pm

How neat! My daughter would LOVE this!


34 katklaw777 August 19, 2010 at 7:37 am

Perfect for back to school, thanks.


35 Lisa L August 22, 2010 at 10:27 pm

How neat! I’d love to have this for my son when he starts school!


36 trixx August 22, 2010 at 11:22 pm

I love that both the parents & child contribute to this great keepsake!


37 Lynette September 1, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Would love to win this!! Thanks


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