In my June blog post about the summer scaries, I talked briefly about different types of writing “assignments” that you could give your homeschool student over the summer. In this post, I want to focus on one type of summer (or year-round) writing for your student: journaling.
Journals—the hip, gender-neutral cousin of the diary—have risen in popularity over the past few years for several reasons. They’re a private place for self-expression. They serve as a catchall for anything in the writer’s mind from to-do lists to poems. And, of course, they’re great for recording the events and thoughts of each day.
The summer scaries may still encroach upon your peaceful summer, and if so, consider suggesting journals as a fun and low-risk writing activity to your homeschool student. They’re private, they’re portable—and sure, you can’t exactly check or grade this kind of writing unless your student wants you to. Regardless of what your student is writing, however, they’re writing—and practicing this skill over the summer is the goal.
As journals have grown more popular, more types of journals have been created. Below are several types that will appeal to different personalities of students. Hopefully, your homeschool student will be intrigued by at least one and spend the latter half of the summer beginning their new writing experience, maybe even continuing it as the year progresses.
Disclaimer: this post is not sponsored by any kind of journal. These are just great examples that I have found or used!
The appeal of the bullet journal is its inclusion of symmetrically-organized dots (or bullets) that fill each page instead of standard lines. These dots can then be connected to create boxes, charts, tables, lists… anything that you can think of! The dots themselves are fairly faint, so plain old writing is still an option as well. The bullet journal is a great option for the homeschool student who enjoys structure but may feel constrained by ordinary journals or planners. Name-brand bullet journals run a bit pricy, but no worries—you can find cheaper options that are exactly the same thing.
One Line A Day Journals
The One Line A Day journal provides one page for each day of the year, from January 1 to December 31. Each page is then divided into five spaces—one space for a different year, resulting in a total of five years of comprehensive journaling. Each space is small, designed for (you guessed it!) roughly one line detailing the events of the day. This journal is my personal favorite and is perfect for homeschool students who may feel overwhelmed by the large, blank pages of a less-structured journal or by the need to write copious amounts about each day. Plus, it’s fun to see what you were up to in previous years!
I’ve seen various layouts for this kind of journal, but the basic idea is that, for each entry, the student can write in the lined portion and draw in the blank portion. Inspired by old-fashioned fieldbooks, in which the writer would both take notes about and sketch what he or she saw, this type of journal enables the student to pair writing and drawing together in order to create a comprehensive entry. This journal is an encouraging nudge for homeschool students who can readily express themselves through art but may struggle to do the same through the written word. By putting art and writing together, the student has a brand-new product.
There’s always the tried-and-true option: a lined journal, perhaps with a space for writing the date, that is ensconced within an appealing cover of anything from Batman to inspirational quotes to incredible amounts of glitter. Many homeschool students want the pages, length, and space to express their thoughts, recall the day’s happenings, or jot down some creative ventures with no fuss and no muss. For these students, the classic journal is the way to go—plus, there’s no shortage of fun covers that appeal to the student’s interests.
Your homeschool student may show zero interest in journaling, and that’s totally fine. These four types are simply suggestions to help you explore the world of journaling and perhaps include your homeschool student in that exploration as well. The ultimate goal here (as it often is within my blog posts) is to show your student that writing is more than paragraphs and papers. It can be fun, personal, and individualized—and journaling is a great way to discover this.
Essentials in Writing