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Educational Helps | 3 Minutes

Journaling Through the School Year

Written by Lexi Detweiler
Journaling Through the School Year

One of my goals this year is to teach my children to keep a journal. As a child, I had multiple journals and diaries. I was shy, and it was a way for me to express myself without any judgment. Many of you can probably relate to this.

Many of us today express ourselves for an audience. No matter your age, if you use social media, you are, at some level, writing, sharing or taking photos for the approval of others. Journaling is a way to express yourself for no one but yourself. It is a quiet place to be you.

Children don’t have to know how to write to keep a journal. My son is three, and my daughter is five. They enjoy drawing pictures of what they saw or did that day or tracing sentences. There are no strict rules to journaling and everyone’s journal will be unique to him or her. Maybe one child prefers to do more artwork, and another prefers to follow writing prompts.

At the end of the year, you and your students can look back through the journal, like a sort of time capsule. You’ll discover what was important to you that year? What did you do? How have your skills improved?

There are different ways to use a journal and you can choose one way, or combine ways. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Copywork - Using journal time to copy Bible verses, poetry or quotes incorporates multiple skills: memorization, handwriting, and spelling. If you have a more creative child, allow them to decorate the page after they’ve copied the lines.
  2. Artwork - Using journal time to draw, paint, stamp or color gives them a creative outlet to express things they may not be able to express in words. This is especially helpful with younger kids.
  3. Nature walks - The mental health organization, MIND, reported that after taking a walk in nature, 71% of participants in their study reported that their feelings of depression were reduced. One reason I chose to homeschool was because I didn’t see a benefit to a six-year-old spending six hours a day seated in a classroom. It’s amazing how differently children see nature each time they go outside.
  4. Feelings/emotions - Perhaps this is more geared toward pre-teen and teen students, but there is really no other outlet for students to express their feelings without judgment. Younger students can use this time to learn about different emotions and draw how they are feeling.
  5. Writing prompts - Sometimes, you’re just stuck and need a little spark to get you going. Writing prompts can help get the wheels turning. Before the school year starts, write down some writing prompts on pieces of paper, fold them, and put them in a jar. Then when your kids are stuck, just pull one out and inspire them.
  6. Lists - Some kids might not like long-form writing, and that’s OK. Help them organize their thoughts with lists. What are their goals? What are some things they need to work on? Etc.
  7. Photos - Printing photos used to be so easy! Actually, it’s even easier now, the problem is remembering to print them. Maybe you took a great photo on a field trip. Print it out on your home computer, paste it in the journal and have your child write a short caption about it.

This is my first year homeschooling, so like most in their first year, I have big doe-eyed ambitions. Even so, I hope this one sticks.