Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Learning Journal - A New Method To My Madness

     I've only been homeschooling for a year and a half and its been preschool level.  But even so, I have already changed my curriculum, methods of teaching, teaching styles, etc, many times.  I like the idea of trial and error, because it gives me hope that I will make progress and continue to improve as an educator.  Especially as I begin to take more of an "unschooling" approach, the methods of homeschooling can be surprising.  It leaves flexibility for endless possibilities in terms of education.
     My latest approach is called The Learning Journal.  It is a product I came across on Instagram.  The book provides pages and pages of spaces for kids to document their educational activities.
There is a heading labeled "What I want to learn about" along with sections labeled "What I read" "Where I went" "What I did" and "Conclusions."  I loved the concept right away.  As you can see I tweaked the format a bit to meet the needs of my preschooler.  Instead, I divided the sections to be a place where Marley could dictate to me what she did, and then she could copy my writing.  This gives her a chance to give her thoughts to document like in a real journal and then she can practice her writing/spelling/reading.  I made the third section a spot where she can draw and color a picture of her activity.  I made the "Conclusions" section a place where she will sign her name.  This way each time she does an entry she is practicing how to write out her full name.

    So far the Learning Journal is working out nicely.  Every day Marley is able to choose any activity she wants to do, like visiting a park, doing an art project, doing a science experiment, or (as pictured) celebrate National Pancake Day. ;)  After the activity is over, we sit down at the table to write about it in her Learning Journal.  She gets some academic practice in one short sitting and she is documenting her experiences.  I love that it also gives her practice in regularly using a journal.

     The Learning Journal comes with 210 pages and can be purchased on Amazon.com for $14.  It's simple and adaptable for many purposes.  One small feature I also like is that at the top of each page there is an interesting quote about education or learning.  I may be a bit of a nerd, but I think that is so fun!  I think this is a perfect accessory to homeschooling or educational supplies.