I am a journaler, a pen and paper girl. I cannot feel that I have completely processed feeling or emotion until I have put it down on paper. My ideas are fleshed out in a huge mess of scribbles and scratches. When I am finished, my brain is less cluttered.
Journaling has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. When I was very young, I would write just to feel the pen moving on the paper. It felt soothing. I would make up things to write; lists, stories and letters.
When I got older, journaling became a method of processing. Every thought, feeling and idea of my adolescent life is scratched out in detail in a journal somewhere. The writing helped me organize. If I could write about a situation, I could break it apart, analyze it and deal with it.
Now that I am even older, journaling is also safety. If I write an idea down, I am less likely to forget it, and if I do, no big deal. I wrote it down!
In some ways, I really can’t believe I am writing a post about this. Journaling has been a part of our homeschooling life almost since the beginning, but I didn’t “teach” my children to journal. Maybe that is why it is now a habit for 4 out of our five children.
Lately, several moms have asked me how I get my kids to consistently journal. I’m almost embarrassed that my answer has been, “I just give them journals.” That said, I have tried come up with a few specific steps that will encourage consistent journaling in children.
3 Ways to Encourage Journaling
Give Them an Age Appropriate Journal
This may seem overly simplistic, but trust me, it works. Make a big deal out of the first journal. It is sort of a rite of passage in our home. As soon as a child can begin to write, even before he can write letter or words, he gets is first journal.
These are some of our favorites. They are inexpensive and can be found in most stores.
The Art1st Sketch Pad has no lines at all and is great for children who are just beginning to draw pictures. Our 3 year old is nearly ready for one of these. He has just started bringing me pictures and naming them.
The Mead Primary Journal K-2nd Grade is great for new writers. It provides them the penmanship guided lines to write, but half of the pages is left blank for drawing. This is a wonderful transition journal.
No Rules or Grades
There are no rules about spelling, grammar or penmanship in the journal and no limits to what the child can write about. If the child is not worried about being graded on any of these things, he can feel free to express himself and is often more creative.
Allow a Specific Daily Time for Journaling
Setting aside a few minutes each day for journaling will insure that the activity is not forgotten. Make that time special for littles. During “Journal Time” they are participaing in a big kid activity. Only bring their journal out during this time or if they request it.
Just in case you need something printable and a little more directed than blank paper, here is a free PreK-K journaling page.
Is journaling a part of your homeschool?