Journaling isn't just about writing what you did yesterday.
One of the kindest things you can do for your children in homeschooling is to show them that journals can be for self-exploration and freedom of expression.
Keeping a journal doesn't necessarily mean just writing about things that happened to you - that's more of a kids diary.
Instead you can write about your thoughts and feelings, or work through a problem you may be having.
'Free writing' whatever comes into your head has long been recognised as bringing great benefits to adults - and children can have all those same benefits too.
Benefits of Journaling for Kids
Journaling for kids is a wonderful way to open up new horizons. A journal can be a friend, a confidant and a mentor.
You can use them to be creative, find out more about yourself, develop intuition and solve problems. By getting thoughts out of your head and down on paper, you can gain insights about yourself that you’d otherwise never see.
Journaling is a way to process and think things through very effectively - helping you to make decisions. It strengthens your sense of self and helps your realise your potential. It is a great way of clarifying goals and learning to trust yourself. And it gives your child a safe place to play around with their creativity and writing capabliities.
For me, journaling keeps me grounded and focused. Or even more theraputic - it gives me a place to have a really good moan!
For my children, it gives them a way to explore who they are now, and who they want to be.
How to Get Started
Teaching children how to journal can be one of the greatest gifts they ever recieve. Those empty blank pages can become a tool that will stand by your child in their darkest moments - and cheer them on during their triumphs.
One of the easiest ways to introduce children to journaling is to begin yourself. When they see you scribbling away in a lovely blank notebook they are almost guaranteed to want one for themselves!
Encourage them straight away to use their journal as an expression of who they are, with felt pens, glitter sticks and a box of stickers. Help them to see a journal as a place where they can draw, glue and paste, write freely or just make lists. This 'no rules' approach will help them get the most benefits. Let them use it as a place to write (or draw) memories, storys, wish lists, ideas and musings.
In her book The New Diary, Tristine Rainer encourages new journalists to "write fast, write everything, include everything, write from your feelings, write from your body, accept whatever comes."
I think children are naturally good at this anyway - so you only need to encourage this absence of rules!
Here are some top tips;
Keep it fun. Keeping a journal should be a fun and enjoyable activity. It isn't something we feel we 'have' to do every day. Take your journal out and about with you for when you feel you have something to say.
Get nice pens. Seriously. Biro's just don't write nicely. They are hard to push around the page and make your hand ache. Go to a stationery shop and let your children try out all the pens (we like gel pens). Then buy them a nice one.
Try out different books. My children have become extremly fond of certain types of notebooks (bound, no lines, hard-cover!). We have tried larger and smaller journals, spiral bound, thin paper. There is a lot of choice in notebooks, so let your children experiment.
Keep it private. To really get the benefit of journaling for kids, your children need to feel comfortable that they can write freely. If you think you won't be able to resist the temptation, then buy them a cash box with a lock to keep it in.
More Homeschooling Ideas
As they get older you may like to introduce them to 'journaling tools' to help expand their writing awareness.
For example, one idea we have used was to make a list of 13 topics to cover (one topic a week, covered four times a year). We used each weeks topic as a 'theme' for journaling that particular week. So one week we may have the topic 'family' and another week 'dreams and goals' or 'kindness'. We ponder that weeks theme during our writing.
Another great way to explore journaling for kids is through journal writing prompts. These are questions or pictures that will 'prompt' them into writing about something new and different. Pictures especially can evoke quite strong emotions, and this is a great place to start in exploring your feelings about things.
If your children are visual, then why not try 'visual' or 'art' journaling. How can I do this justice in words? Here are some pictures!
I hope I have inspired you to give journaling for kids a try. If you are still looking for ideas, then check out the links below.
More journaling ideas? Introduce your kids to the idea of keeping a kids diary.
More creative writing ideas? There are lots of ways to encourage your children in homeschool writing.
Do you Homeschool? Get creative. Ditch the curriculum for a time and try some new ideas. This website is all about great projects and creative activities you can use in your homeschool. Click the button below now to get inspired!
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