One of the things that I learned immediately when we started homeschooling last year was that Kaelyn loves to draw and write! As a former Pre-Kindergarten teacher journaling was something I always had in the classroom. The children always had an art center with all the supplies needed to journal and we also did former journaling once a week in notebooks. There are many ways to introduce journal writing to young children, but the best way is to let them explore it on their own. All you need is a few simple supplies to get started.
Journal Writing Supplies
- A special notebook – my suggestion is to begin with a notebook without lines and once you begin letter practicing you can introduce handwriting paper
- Crayons, markers, colored pencil
How do I know my child is ready?
The best way to know if your child is ready to begin journaling is to pay attention to their art work. When your child draws a picture, ask them about it. Have them tell the story behind what they have drawn. Those are the beginning signs that your child is ready for their very own first journal.
Early toddlers will begin with scribbles, shapes, numbers, and letters they already know. Labeling pictures as they tell you about their story is a great way for them to see the beginnings of writing and how words describe what we have drawn on paper.
What do I do if my child is ready for more?
One thing to remember is that every child is different and will learn at their own pace, but sometimes your child is ready for more. I know… because Kaelyn is always waiting for more. The most important thing to remember is that you want to have a positive and loving introduction to writing. You do not want to push your child if they are not ready, but if they are like my daughter and they are ready for more then there is no need to hold them back. This is about the time that I introduced handwriting paper to my daughter.
How many times a week should we journal?
Honestly, it’s what really works for you and your child. Children ages 3, 4, and 5 are usually drawing or creating their own work, remember this is part of journaling as well. Kaelyn journals on her own every single day and I have the stack of drawings and stories to prove it 🙂 But we only journal formally twice a week. On one day we formally practice our letter formations and then on another day I will give her a topic to write about.
Encouragement is the Key!
Make sure that no matter what to encourage your child! They will be hard on themselves sometimes and our job is to make sure that they keep their head high and let them know how amazing they are.
If your child is struggling, just take it slower.
If they do not show any interest, let them be for a bit.
I can assure you that they will be, but pushing them to do something they do not want to do or don’t feel comfortable with will bring a negative aspect to their writing.
What works for us?
Like I mentioned above, Kaelyn is always waiting for me to give her more and that is why we had to switch our curriculum at the end of last year to be more challenging and structured. Kaelyn turned 4 in August, and she is working on a Kindergarten curriculum as of right now. She thrives on new ideas, concepts, work, and structure.
Every week we have a theme or specific topic we work on, that’s where we usually get our journaling ideas. We only do former journaling twice a week and what I mean by formal is that she sits at her table with her pencil box. I then write a sentence on our board and she finishes it off with an answer. She then copies the sentence into her handwriting journal notebook and draws a picture of what she has written.
Believe it or not, this is her favorite thing to do every week. It is the ONE thing that I do not have to push or ask her twice to do. She is more than happy to work on her journaling all by herself. I usually talk to her about the writing and if there is a letter written incorrectly I just point it out to her on our alphabet wall so that she knows for next time.
Here is a journal entry she did in November. We started working on sentence structure, making sure she had an upper case at the beginning of the sentence and a punctuation mark at the end.
Here is a recent one from February. You can see the difference in her letter formations and even on how she is spacing her words.
Do you have any tips on journal writing that has worked for your family?