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Reading Journals - Live life with your kids - Issue 048
April 04, 2008
Hi! ....

This week:

Where has this week gone! It has been a very full week with catching up with friends returning to town for just 2-3 weeks before they relocate elsewhere permanently. The girls have been diligently working on their quilts, with the end in sight it is very motivating for them to put in extra time. Josh has been reading and thinking about how to teach game rules to people and had a great opportunity to teach his dad the rules to Risk as they set in for the evening of gaming together. We've had many discussions on the important things in life - our values. We've finished our read aloud and had a big discussion on Reading Journals - which is why that is the topic of our newsletter this week!

Live life with your Kids!



Reading Journals



Reading maketh a full man
Conference a ready man
And writing an exact man

- Francis Bacon

This quote is the basis of Reading Journals in our family. (Peter and I also use Reading Journals not just the children.) Reading opens the doors to knowledge. As we talk about what we are learning, our thinking gets clarified but it is as we write our thoughts that the expression of our ideas become finely tuned. When you write you cannot rely on body language or on context – you only have your words to make your ideas be understood.

This progression of learning skills is in keeping with Charlotte Mason’s ideas of Narration. As the children talk (retell) about what they have read/heard they are connecting their knowledge, they are forming opinions and beliefs, they are consolidating their knowledge. Starting a Reading Journal is a natural progression from Narrations.

Writing is nothing more than thoughts on paper. We have to give our children the confidence to think, to be able to express their thinking and eventually to be able to write their thoughts down, clearly enough for someone else to understand, and possibly be inspired by them.

To make the connection from oral narrations to reading journals some children need a little guidance. While my children were getting into the habit of using their Reading Journals I would go and discuss their reading with them during their Reading Time. This time was very deliberate. I would use the same kind of questions that I ultimately want them to ask themselves. My questioning would make them think. After some time of just discussing, thinking and talking together they would become ready for a Reading Journal. I would continue to discuss things with them but would then suggest that they write what they had spoken about.

As our children get more and more independent in their learning we must remember that there is three parts to this learning / thinking process: Reading, Talking, Writing.

One of the biggest issues that make kids reluctant to write is that they either don’t have anything to say or they can’t process what to say, how to say and how to write – and be neat – all at the same time. In talking through their reading content you are making them think which in turn means they have something to write about. You are helping them reduce the stress as they work through this process.

Gradually my children started to ask themselves these questions and were already thinking before I turned up. I could tell this was happening by the things that they told me without any prompting. Once they reached this stage I was able to give them the responsibility to go straight to their Reading Journal and record their thoughts and ideas.

We still discuss a lot but

  • They have learnt to have a conversation with the author,
  • They have learnt that their lives can change as a response to what they read
  • They have learnt that there is something to glean in most of what you read.

Most importantly they have learnt to ask themselves questions, to dig into the reading matter, find wisdom, and not just to be entertained.


Website Updates

If you would like to read a little more on Reading Journals, here is the link to Newsletter 009, Introducing Reading Journals.

This week I added

  • Tweaking Homeschool Methods for Highschool where you will see that many of the homeschool methods that we use in primary school are just as relevant in highschool – only they need a tweak.
  • Get over the Mess Hands on projects often create so much clutter and at times chaos. Here are some thoughts that have helped me get over the mess.

My My Sitemap is a quick reference to all you will find on Lifestyle-Homeschool.

Keep up with future additions with the Lifestyle Homeschool Blog throughout the week.

Until next week
Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!


Contact me: If you have any comments, questions or content ideas I'd love to hear from you. Make your comment here.

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About Live Life with your kids Newsletter Knowing that homeschool mums are busy with lots to read, this newsletter comes out in small portions – one portion every week.
  • Being a Deliberate Parent – Encouragement to continue in purposeful and intentional parenting.
  • Using Life resources – Spotlight on a particular resource and notes on how to use this in your life (not in a school room)
  • Character Education – Each month we focus on a different character trait – The newsletter will include application for Mums, as well as seeing character training opportunities in everyday life.
  • Beyond the Quote – Take a moment to really think about that quote!
  • For those who are not into RSS feeds yet, the newsletter will serve to keep you updated with Lifestyle-Homeschool

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