E. and J. have just finished their fall homeschool history project. JUST in time.
The girls tend to work from books for all their main classwork but for history we always make it a little more exciting with a topic project three or four times a year. We have made a medieval newspaper, had Roman feast for M.'s birthday and traveled the world with craft paper passports which get a "stamp" once a culture has been "visited". Having just moved back to the states from a town on the south coast of England (only a little way away from Plymouth) we have been studying the pilgrims and the Mayflower. To most Americans the idea of being completely ignorant of Pilgrim history probably seems incomprehensible but my kids were.
They have had such a great time researching and writing these diary. For example their characters existed and survived the first year in the New World when most of the immigrants died in the terrible conditions. Also E. and J. know where their characters settled married and how many children they had. I had nothing to do with the research and writing (other than book buying/spotting and insisting on a minimum of ten diary entries) just the physical leather manufacture of their amazing Pilgrim Diaries.
We used regular printer paper aged and stained with coffee but not crumpled up a la fake treasure maps. They wrote their diary entries leaving a good size margin on each page so that there was space to trim the paper down to fit leather sheet covers. Which we punched with a bradawl tool and they stitched their diary up using leather thong. They then wanted to mark the initials of the character on the cover. E. was Remember Allerton, and J. Mary Allerton. I didn't have the right tools but my girls really didn't care. A screwdriver did the job nicely.
The leather is rather expensive for a faux diary cover and only comes in one size from Michael's or Beverly's by us but a bigger one might have more options. Having said that the work the girls put into writing up each entry, spell checking the lot and then by hand carefully re-writing them onto diary paper deserved a more noble finish than a fake leather or felt cover so I caved and bought the more expensive stuff. In retrospect it was the very best thing I could have done. Children put value in the things their parents value. By covering their work in leather I told them (inadvertently) that their work was worth something more than throwing away. They are so proud and excited. Just in time to share them with the family at Thanksgiving.