A few years ago, the kids were in public school back in our home town, and the girls had the greatest teacher when each of them was in 5th grade. Mrs. Shriner still holds a special place in our hearts. She was tough and didn't put up with any garbage, and at the same time, she was extremely smart and witty. She and Maddie had a special banter, and when Morgan came along, there was a wonderful relationship between them. "We Love You, Mrs. Shriner--and planting flowers with you in the park, and getting muddy at Swamp Stomp, and not getting to say "fun" until Friday."
Ok...on with the program before I get too homesick...I can feel that little twinge in my heart starting...the sniffles are brewing...I miss my mommy, wait, my mommy's here...I miss...my house....I miss...my brother...I miss... I miss...better stop now
(Mrs. Shriner probably won't approve of my "...'s", sorry....I'll work on that)
One of the really great things Mrs. Shriner did with her students was "Paper Talk". Once a week the kids would write her a note asking her anything they wanted, and she would respond by writing back. It ended up being a really down to earth way for her to communicate with the kids. It seemed like school time was business time, but these notes allowed a more playful side of communicating with her.
We decided after two years of public school we were going to homeschool again, and I've always believed that a good idea is a good idea, so why waste it! We created our own version of "Paper Talk". We call it "Journal Talk".
Every school day for the last two years, the kids have kept daily journals. Each day they write their goals, the week's memory verse, and then we simply talk. They can write about anything that they want, funny things, serious things, emotional things, plans....anything! One of the goals I had for Journal Talk was to make sure that if they had anything really important that they wanted to talk about, it could be done here. There have been times when they felt like they could write out a concern easier than saying it, and it opens the door for us to talk face to face. It's kind of like it gives them an opportunity to get some things off their chest without interruption.
I really wish we had started these years ago, even when they were little. It would have been hysterical to look back at what the kiddos were thinking in 1st grade.
We use Mead Composition Notebooks that have 200 pages in each. That works out perfect for the 180 day school year, and everything in the journal entry is included on one page. It prevents them from feeling like they have to write a ton, but there are plenty of extra pages in the notebook if they do.
Here are the kids Journal Talks. They like to put stickers on them.
Even in High School, stickers are still important!
Here is an example of the Goals section of the page. I try to encourage them to be specific and not give a generic, "get my work done today." The page is also dated so we can keep track of attendance through this as well.
This is Maddie's entry...she likes to draw little pictures...It's her journal, she can express herself however she wants.
We have a memory verse every week, and I try to encourage them to use journal talk to work on their penmanship. They do pretty good!
This is one of Wesley's journal entries, and as you can see at the bottom, his dad responded this day. Sometimes we both do, sometimes it's just me. But every day one of us will.
Here's one of Maddie's journal entries.
Notice the crazy cat! She has a crazy cat named Dash that licks on her face at night. He deserves his own post!
Morgan is my "Poochie Pooh"...my baby girl.
This was an entry that her dad and I both responded in.
Let me tell ya, your kids will love it! In fact, if there is a day that I forget to respond, the day does not begin. I'll have three journals in my face with them saying, "You didn't do Journal Talk!"
If I could pick one thing that is my favorite part of the year, it would be this. There is now record of our daily lives from three different perspectives, and I hope one day they will enjoy looking back and remembering all they did.