6 Methods to Use Journals in Your Homeschool — dwelling | faculty


Journaling is previous stalwart of college literature lessons — such a stalwart that many homeschoolers dismiss it out of hand, remembering boring afternoons of making an attempt to replenish three pages about nothing particularly. Journals deserve a greater status, although. Used correctly, journals may also help college students develop confidence, not simply as writers, however as thinkers and learners — and never simply in literature lessons, however throughout the curriculum.

“Journal writing is a strategy to personalize each side of your curriculum,” says a spokesperson for the analysis workforce at Saint Xavier College. “In the end a journal is a document of a scholar’s travels by the educational world.”

Wish to make journaling a part of your homeschool? Consider these ideas as a sampler platter of alternatives: Be at liberty to attempt the concepts that appear proper to your explicit scholar, ignore those that don’t, and make all of the changes that be just right for you. Experiment to determine how journals work greatest to your scholar, and preserve experimenting in order that your strategies develop and develop along with your scholar. Like the whole lot about homeschooling, journaling isn’t a “right-way” type of exercise however one which adapts to the actual learners you may have.

Journaling works effectively as a low-tech funding: Although the concept of a giant, fats journal filled with empty pages could seem inspiring, some writers have a tendency do higher with very small, fill-up-able journals that want frequent alternative. Experiment with completely different sizes to determine which is the most effective match to your youngster — it’s possible you’ll discover that completely different sizes swimsuit completely different functions. (Fortunately journals might be pretty low cost!) Research present that college students do greatest in the event that they get significant suggestions on journal entries — but in addition that journals are much less worrying when college students know they’re personal. Compromise by asking college students to decide on which entries you learn.

1. Use a journal to encourage on a regular basis writing

The extra you write, the extra your writing improves — particularly you probably have an area the place writing is all about expressing your personal concepts and ideas and never about producing a remaining product that’s going to be evaluated critically.

“Journaling helps college students make connections between what is actually essential to them, their curriculum, and their world,” says Kay Burke, writer of The best way to Assess Genuine Studying. Some college students could have a lot of concepts about what they need to write, however for college kids new to journaling, a immediate may also help rather a lot with getting began. One enjoyable strategy to generate matters is to make use of a MadLibs strategy: Brainstorm a listing of nouns, verbs, and adjectives, and write them on strips of coloured paper — blue for nouns, yellow for verbs, and so on. Then, draw phrases to fill within the blanks of a easy sentence: A/an (adjective) (noun) (verb). Tack on a prepositional phrase — earlier than breakfast, in springtime, on the zoo — to connect with one thing related to your youngster’s present life. Set a 9-minute timer, and let the writing start.

Tip: This sort of journaling might be simplest should you do it, too.

2. Use a journal to construct evaluation expertise

Consider two-column journaling as annotating with hand-holding: By actually drawing a line between the textual content and your personal concepts, you’re encouraging college students to have interaction straight with what they’re studying. For newbies or actually difficult texts, it’s possible you’ll need to preserve it easy and ask college students to easily summarize as they go, however as you get extra snug, you’ll be able to monitor issues like themes and symbolism throughout readings. You may copy passages right into a journal, however college students can even deal with this like a type of superior annotation and write straight within the books they’re studying. This sort of journaling works greatest whenever you’re writing proper beside the textual content you’re writing about.

“College students make these connections on a regular basis, however two-column journals push them to articulate and defend these connections,” says Burke. It’s typically helpful to steer new journal-ers towards one particular concept at a time — search for symbols of hope, or concentrate on this explicit character — in order that the probabilities don’t get overwhelming.

For brand new college students, this will imply choosing out brief passages for them to start out with. It’s simple to print a paragraph, clip or tape it inside your journal, and write on the other web page. In case your scholar is having hassle figuring out passages to jot down about, you’ll be able to prep a couple of for them to select from in order that it’s simple to get began. Typically it could really feel like doing a part of the “deciding what to jot down about” half to your scholar is an excessive amount of handholding, but when the writing is the purpose, make it simple for them to get to that half. You may concentrate on figuring out essential passages one other time if you wish to concentrate on that ability. Considered one of my large homeschool classes has been that you just’re more likely to really feel profitable should you preserve your concentrate on one factor at a time.

Tip: Begin with a brief poem, and provides every line its personal web page.

3. Use a journal to encourage deeper pondering

When college students are prepared to maneuver past summarizing what they’ve discovered, it’s time to dive into the world of asking large questions. For some children this comes naturally, however different college students want a bit extra steerage, and journaling can present a helpful framework.

Ask college students to jot down three questions they’ve after each new chunk of studying — it is perhaps a chapter of a novel, a podcast in regards to the Norman invasion, or a brand new math idea. Assist college students work out if their questions are informational — are they clarifying one thing? — or theoretical — are they contemplating how concepts, implications, and assumptions prolong past the textual content? Over time, college students can have an increasing number of theoretical questions and grow to be higher at recognizing the place info gaps manifest of their studying, two issues that push deeper pondering.

I discuss extra about the best way to encourage children to ask questions utilizing the Good Thinkers Toolkit in episode 4 of the Thinky Homeschool podcast. (hyperlink to the HSL Patreon)

Tip: This journal approach works greatest should you use it constantly.


Our names are Fareedah and Kamilah Amoo. We are seven and five year’s old sisters and live in Ontario, Canada, with our parents and little brother, Awad. We love writing stories, painting on canva, coding, reading books, and enjoying arts and crafts. Our goal is to motivate every child worldwide to read more books.

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