The concept of journaling is not new, but its application in homeschooling as an organic writing curriculum is an idea that continues to resonate with families around the world. I was introduced to homeschooling back in the eighties, and since then, I have been an advocate for methods that prioritize children’s interests over traditional curriculums. In this blog post, I will share my insights into using journaling as a powerful tool for fostering creativity, expression, and lifelong love for writing.
The Journey Program: An Organic Approach
In 2006, I founded Celebration Education to help families explore more organic ways of learning. We introduced the Journey program, which emphasizes fun activities, projects, and experiences like field trips and Minecraft instead of relying on textbooks and worksheets. Our approach for the upcoming year revolves around the theme of “sustainable farming,” explored through various creative means including journaling.
Traditional schooling often turns writing into a mundane task. Journaling, on the other hand, transforms it into a rich, enjoyable experience. By providing children with journals, they are given the freedom to express themselves in a way that matters to them. It allows for immediate correction, building not only writing skills but also confidence.
Choosing the Right Journal
Selecting the right journal can make an enormous difference. While spiral-bound notebooks are a popular choice, sketchbooks might be more suitable for artistic children. Some children may even prefer creating their own journals from scratch, adding colored papers and stickers. This personal touch makes the writing process feel less like an assignment and more like an engaging hobby.
Writing Prompts and Topics
Journaling is highly versatile. From daily experiences to dreams and emotions, there is no limit to what children can explore. Thought-provoking prompts related to sustainable farming can ignite curiosity. In our Journey program, we tie journaling to this theme, encouraging exploration and understanding of sustainable agricultural practices.
Spelling, Grammar, and Punctuation
Done correctly, journaling can be more powerful than your typical language arts curriculum. This is because your child’s efforts aren’t spent on topics they’re already familiar with. With each journal entry, you have the opportunity to assess your child’s writing together. You can assist in rectifying misspelled words and punctuation errors, provide guidance on grammar usage, and acknowledge advancements in penmanship. For areas where they face challenges, you can aid them in discovering supplementary resources and activities aimed at fortifying those specific weaknesses. Consequently, her language arts education becomes more targeted and relevant than a traditional curriculum. This approach allows you to concentrate on the concepts that she’s presently prepared to grasp.
Encouragement and Celebration
Encouragement is key. Celebrate their creativity, efforts, and even mistakes. Corrections should be gentle and supportive, helping to build their skills with care.
Beyond the Basics: Expanding the Journaling Experience
Incorporating Other Subjects and Multimedia
Journaling is not limited to traditional subjects. Even mathematical concepts can be explored through journaling. Incorporating multimedia, like video journals or digital portfolios, adds an exciting dimension to the experience.
Fostering Community and Collaboration
Shared journals or collaborative projects promote teamwork, empathy, and mutual respect, creating a more enriching learning environment.
Instilling Lifelong Skills
The most profound aspect of journaling is its potential to instill lifelong skills like critical thinking, goal setting, and appreciation of the world’s beauty and complexity.
Journaling is a deeply personal, enriching process that fosters growth, creativity, and self-awareness. It is more than a mere teaching tool; it is a way of understanding, loving, and growing together as a family. From handwritten diaries to digital blogs, the act of journaling is a gift that continues to give.
Whether you are a parent or educator, your role is to provide the tools, encouragement, and space for children to explore, reflect, and flourish. The possibilities are endless, and the benefits are profound.
Feel free to ask questions, and I am here to support your learning journey. Start a journal yourself to model the behavior and explore this beautiful way of learning together. Thanks for joining me in this exploration of journaling as a writing curriculum. Happy journaling!