Journaling is a great way for kids to get their thoughts out on paper without a stifling format. A kids journal functions as fabulous writing practice, but it’s also a great way to process emotions.
Journaling for Kids
When kids journal, you can take even reluctant writers and give them a low stress format to gain confidence in their writing abilities. A daily journal is a powerful tool for increased academic performance, an outlet to process difficult emotions, or as a creative outlet.
Why You Should Encourage Journaling
You should encourage journaling in your homeschool because it’s a no prep way to work through multiple academic and emotional skills. When kids have their own journal, they take ownership of it, and it becomes a fun way to write about what they’re thinking on a daily basis. There are different ways to approach journaling for kids, but you really can’t go wrong with any method.
The best part of journaling is that it is open ended. Many children freeze when they see a scripted writing assignment about a specific topic. But when you introduce your kids to journaling, they can take the lead and write about whatever they are interested in! You are able to encourage growth in writing skills without fighting over official writing assignments.
Journaling for Academic Success
Journaling is an effective tool for academic success because with regular journaling, kids of all ages are getting daily practice in writing. Writing skills obviously need regular practice in order to improve, and when you can have an enjoyable activity like journaling as a part of your regular routine, your kids’ writing will improve as their writing stamina grows.
Plus, journaling helps with reading skills, especially when your children use a reading log for kids to record their reactions and thoughts as they read books. It will help them pay more attention to details.
Journaling as an Outlet
Journaling has great benefits as an outlet to process through difficult emotions. Young kids may have trouble expressing their thoughts verbally, but a kids journal can be a safe personal space for working through emotions in a healthy way.
The beauty of journaling is that it doesn’t have to only include words. A kids journal can include doodles, stickers, pictures, and other meaningful scribbles. A regular journaling habit can reduce stress in children.
The Benefits of Journaling for Kids
There are many benefits of journaling for kids. First, no matter the type of journaling you use, a kids journal becomes a meaningful personal space to process what your kids are thinking. Whether their journaling is tied to their homeschool work, or it is more of a creative outlet, kids love to have a special place that is just for them.
Journaling is a useful activity with emotional benefits. In a kids journal, your children can work through negative emotions. You can add free emotions downloads to journal as well. Older children and teens may appreciate a place to process their ever changing moods and perspectives. And of course, there are academic benefits to a daily writing routine.
Builds Writing and Communication Skills
A daily routine of journaling helps build writing and communication skills in children. Even free writing is an excellent way to build writing stamina!
As homeschool moms, we can tend to think that everything needs to be scripted and structured. Yes, you can use journal writing prompts, but young writers will still grow academically even with a blank journal where they are encouraged to write about anything that interests them.
The simple act of writing in a journal really has a complex mental foundation to it.
Think about it.
You have to first formulate the idea in your mind, then think of the proper words to use, bringing spelling and vocabulary knowledge to bear, and finally writing it down coherently. Even if your children don’t’ use complete sentences in their journaling like you might want, writing in a journal on a regular basis will build their writing muscle.
Improves Reading Comprehension
Consider including a kids journal activity along with reading lessons to improve reading comprehension. When your kids know they will need to reflect on the characters, plot line, or setting of a story, then they’ll be more likely to pay closer attention when reading. All of this aids and improves reading comprehension skill over the long term.
Teaches Reflective Writing
Journaling for kids is a great way to teach reflective writing. A great way to do this is to have your children keep a gratitude journal. Not only does this give them a private space to process sometimes big emotions, but it allows them to consider different perspectives on events in their lives.
Sometimes writing about a difficult situation can allow your kids to reflect on what they can be thankful for, even in hard times.
Many types of journals encourage creativity. By giving your children regular story prompts, they are able to enjoy the creative process of journaling as they create a narrative.
Art journals naturally lend themselves to fostering creativity. They become a wonderful portfolio of your child’s increasing art talents.
Nature journaling is another way to encourage creativity. As your kids explore the natural world, encourage them to add sketches of the flora and fauna they discover to their nature journal for kids.
Add a few interesting lines from a favorite poem. Make a diagram of a scientific concept. When kids keep their own nature journal as a record of what they learn, it can be far more meaningful than a pile of low-level worksheets.
Teaches How to Express Thoughts
A kids journal also teaches them how to express their thoughts. Younger kids can keep a feelings journal, where they have a safe space to write about their emotions. Older kids will appreciate a personal journal where they can track their feelings through difficult times and see how they worked through them.
Sometimes it’s hard for kids to express their thoughts out loud to their parents. When you encourage journaling, your kids may be more likely to work through and express their thoughts.
Ask your kids if they are open to having you read their journals and respond in them. Sometimes this can become a meaningful way to talk with your kids through the written word.
Improves Attention to Details
When kids are writing down their thoughts, this necessarily requires attention to detail, more focus, and increased observation skills. All of this is necessary as children have a thought in their head and then proceed to write it down in a journal. This is why a science journal instead of a pile of science worksheets will be much more meaningful and helpful for your kids!
You can still give your children specific topics to journal about in your homeschool, but then give them the creative freedom to capture that information in their own way. This is another reason why journaling can be so powerful for kids that struggle with traditional schoolwork. Dyslexic children will appreciate journaling through science rather than struggling through fill-in-the-blank worksheets.
Guided Journaling or Journal Prompts
There are different kinds of journals that can give your kids just the right amount of structure to get them writing.
The main two types are guided journaling or using journal prompts.
Guided journaling takes the stress out of writing because you’re given a topic to write about. Many kids appreciate a guided journal instead of a blank page because it helps them prime the pump and just get going. Sometimes the hardest words to write can be the very first sentence. So when your kids use guided journaling, even reluctant writers are more successful.
Guided journaling works well in homeschool content areas, like science and history. Your children will write about the topic they just studied or read about. There is still a fair amount of freedom involved in the writing process, but the topic has been set out for them.
Give your kids some of the main people, places, and things to include in their guided journaling if they need even a bit more structure.
Journal prompts are great for free writing and creative writing. Many times journal prompts are funny or thought provoking questions to have your children write about in a journal.
Here are a few fun examples of journal prompts – and you can get a full list of 30 of these prompts from AOP!
- What’s your favorite memory?
- What do you love about your family?
- If you had $10,000 what would you buy and why?
- Write about the funniest thing that ever happened to you.
How to Get Started Journaling
So if you want to jump in with a regular kids journal time in your homeschool, it’s very simple to get started. You can even start with plain notebooks and allow your kids to decorate the covers.
Figure out how you want to fit journaling into your daily routine with your kids. Will it be a purely creative outlet where they write about anything? Will it be connected to a specific subject in your homeschool? Or will your kids respond to a daily writing prompt during morning time? No matter how you decide to do it, journaling can be a great addition to your homeschool.
It’s a great activity to easily fit into your daily routine. And you’ll enjoy the many benefits as your kids journal throughout the year.
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Founded in 1977, Alpha Omega Publications is a leading provider of PreK-12 Christian curriculum, educational resources, and services to homeschool families worldwide. AOP follows its mission every day by creating and providing quality Christian educational materials to thousands of students through curriculum, support services, and an accredited online academy. Visit Alpha Omega Publications online or call 800-622-3070 to learn more.