Monday, December 17, 2012

Dear Diary...

I had a hard time accepting the fact that I was a nerd in high school.  Okay, all the way through school.  I liked learning in general, but especially taking notes and anything to do with writing.  I was (and am) proud of my handwriting.  It's very neat, and I distinctly remember a friend of mine in 6th grade trying to figure out how I wrote so pretty.  I think the secret is that I enjoy writing, and I like the look of a page full of neatly written script (I admitted I'm a nerd, let it go.  I'm bearing my soul here!).  Now, in the digital age, handwriting is slipping away and I refuse to let go.  So I still use pen and paper and diligently write in my beautiful script daily in all my numerous journals. 

Perhaps the most important journal that I keep, and the one closest to my heart, is the one I refer to as my Teacher's Log.  I have filled several (handwritten) notebooks since we started homeschooling. It's not just a record of academics as the name suggests though.  I do record educational progress, but academics are only one branch of a child's development. 

I don't have a degree in teaching.  I have never taken a parenting class.  What I do have, is an obsession with observation and notetaking.  I watch my children. Then I record what I deem important.  I also work through issues, whether is an attitude problem or a new method of teaching math. 

My Teacher's Log is also a sanity saver.  The simple act of putting pen to paper (and keeping to my high standards of handwriting) forces me to focus.  On the days when I feel like I've accomplished nothing, I end my writing session triumphant after realizing everything we did do.  Even if we veered (way) off course. 

You may have awful handwriting, or just prefer to use an app, but journaling is an excellent way of capturing your little darlings as they learn and grow.  So, here are some tips to help you along in your journaling endeavor. 

1.  Write regularly.  Daily is best because everything is fresh in your mind, but at least shoot for once a week, even if you only jot down some bullet points. 

2.  Create a Joy List.  Designate a spot in your journal for a list of the things that bring your children joy.  As your child grows, and the list does too, you will harvest valuable information.  Look for patterns and themes that may point to your child's calling.  This will be a huge benefit when it's time for high school schedules, college options, and career choices.

3.  Have the kids keep a journal too.  Even young ones that haven't learned to write yet will be more than happy to draw their thoughts and let you translate.  You will gain valuable insight here, too.  If you can't keep up the writing paper supply, download my Primary Lined Writing and Journal Paper.

4.  Keep a Wish List.  Start a list of everything your child wants to be, have or do-even if it came from the farthest corner of their imagination!  Check out my ABC's of Me activity.

5.  Scrap it!  Are you more visual than verbal?  Use photographs, drawings, quotes, etc. and make a visual journal.

Happy Homeschooling!

Mrs. Redd

Mrs. Redd's Classroom
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