Since my children were in the early elementary grades, I’ve had them write journal entries, either once a day or just a couple times a week. Sometimes they would write about events such as trips, celebrations, or visits from family. Other times I would give them a particular assignment, such as, “If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be, and why?”
In Kindergarten or first grade, my goal was to have them get used to writing. Once they had written an entry, even though it most likely had errors, they had finished the assignment. By second grade, though, I was correcting their work, and they had to re-copy it on a separate sheet of paper.
These simple journaling assignments have yielded big results. Not only do the children become better writers and more able to put their thoughts on paper, but their grammar and spelling drastically improves. What’s more, they have a fun record of some of the things they’ve done growing up.
Recently, I’ve heard some great ideas that add a twist to journaling:
- Incorporate lessons from other subjects into the journal assignments. For example, if you’re studying the American Revolution, have your student write a journal entry describing his day if he were an apprentice of Paul Revere. If you’re studying animals, have your student pretend she is on an African safari. What animals will she see? What do they look like? What are they doing?
- Turn the journal entries into a family newsletter. You can be the editor of the newsletter, or you can assign that job to the oldest child. Then, once a month, the editor can choose a journal entry from each child to include in the newsletter. You can even email the newsletter to save on postage.
- Write or publish the journal entries on the student’s own blog. If you have a student who loves computers, he’d probably enjoy choosing the theme, layout, and widgets. Share the address with family members so they can read the blog, too.
However you decide to do it, try to make journaling part of your school day. Not only are your students learning, but they’re creating a wonderful keepsake as well.
Homeschooling Reading Curriculum by SmartTutor.com
Guest Blogger: Samantha Bell
Picture By: edenpictures