This little girl … this was me.
I wrote in journals most of my life. I put my thoughts and feelings down and wrote about just about everything. I still have some of these notebook and it is so fun to look back on. I used them for various reasons sometimes to complain, to talk about books I’ve read, to draw things I saw, to share my memories, to write what I saw, to make up stories, and so many more reason. It is fun to look at them with my children. I journal now on my blog – one day I hope they will enjoy the memories of their childhood.
Journaling can aid in learning as well. It can be used as pleasure and memories, but it can be used to teach. I took a child development class recently and I learned through that class all about my learning style. I found that I am a textual visual learner. I learned that this is unusual but it surely explains a lot to me. I can’t do read aloud. I have to have my bible with me in church because I can’t follow the readings unless I am reading along with them myself. When I study things I have to write them down before it fits in my mind. I take notes and make lists only to never have to look at them again. The text fits. It helps me organize what I’m thinking. That’s what your children can gain, an organization of thoughts. They can begin to have a love of writing without grades or critiques. Through writing, you may learn more about your children and they may learn more about themselves.
So how do we get started with journaling?
The most important thing to do is decide on a notebook. This goes for every age. It can be as simple as a spiral bound notebook or as fancy as a special decorative journal. It all depends on what your child wants to do with it. If they want to decorate them themselves they might want to go with a 3 ring binder with paper inside or a spiral notebook. It is all their choice and should represent their personality. Here are some examples of things you can use as journals:
- spiral notebooks
- 3 Ringed binder
- composition notebooks (these can be cut in half by home depot to create smaller mini notebooks)
- journal books specifically for writing
- an old book that you can repurpose by painting and decorating pages with scrapbook pages
- My favorite are hard bound sketchbooks. You can get this at your local craft store. Watch for sales on them. The paper is not lined so you can draw too and decorate the pages as you would like.
Now that you have your notebooks I’m going to give you some ideas that you can use when journaling with your kids. I will give you some ideas through the ages. Let’s start with the little ones. Doing a preschool journal is pretty fun and easy. At this age you probably want to do some guided notebooks. Meaning that you guide the activity. You can sit with them and show them what to do.
- Sit with your child and draw different lines. Allow your little ones to try to mimic that.
- Draw shapes
- trace shapes
- use stencils
- draw pictures and then write what your child dictates
- Allow your child to cut out pictures
- Use environmental print
For my son’s (1stgrade) journal this year we used environmental print for his book. This is print that children are familiar with already from day to day use. Like a stop sign or M&M’s. We could save things from his favorite containers and allow him to write a little something about the item. We then kept it in laminated pages. You could use these things with your little ones too. I am sure they will like collecting and saving product items for their books. They will be able to read and practice writing some of the letters they see on the labels. Great start to beginning reading and writing. Below is an example of our notebook.
Then we come to early elementary. There are so many things you can do. One thing we did last year was create journal pages that had to do with the books we were reading and the word family we were working on. I typed some of the text at first and left blanks. Soon my son was writing on his own, but this was a great start. This example is of a writing paper we made along with the book Miss Spider. We were working on the –ug word family.
Here are some more ideas you can use in your journals.
- Have your child trace their hand and write their emotions on each finger for that day. Around the finger write why they were feeling that way.
- Draw a map of the yard and tell something that happened there.
- Draw a picture and write about it
- cut a picture from a magazine and write what you think is happening or make your own story
- Free write for 10 minutes
- Draw a heart and write all of the things you love
- put a picture of yourself in the middle of the page and write all the great things about you.
- Save a ticket or something from a trip and write about it.
- nature journal – draw a nature item and write about it.
Ideas for Middle school and High school students:
- write your feelings and emotions
- write a poem and then create some art around that poem. (example below)
- Cut a picture from a magazine or newspaper and write about it
- Cut out a newspaper article and write your opinion on it.
- Cut out a comic and write your thoughts
- draw a scene from nature and write your emotions
- Use your journals for a scripture journal
- write about a book you love
- share a recipe you tired with directions
- write your prayers to God
- write part of a song and add something to it
The ideas are endless. Your imagination is your guide. Another great thing to do with any age is to share a journal. You write in it today and pass it to your child tomorrow. This could become a wonderful keepsake and a place to share emotions.
Instead of sending you to a million link ideas, I am going to send you to a few of my pinterest boards. They are filled with ideas about writing.
This is my writing folder. It is filled with strategies and ideas for writing.
This one is for working with environmental print.
And this one is for creating scripture journals.
And one last one on sketchbook type journaling.
Nikki Hinkle @ Angels of Heart
I am mom of 5 children, 2 step children and 3 Grandchildren. I have worked in the childcare field for years and currently work for my church as a nursery supervisor. I post all things that I enjoy – God, Home education, being a mom, and about our home. My goal is to create a resource for other homeschool moms who are going through the same Joys, fun, challenges, and struggles.