Keep a Learning Journal

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by mom and blogger, Catherine, of Adventures With Kids.

Many professionals, from engineers to artists, scientists to writers, keep a written reflection of their work.  These learning journals provide a record of what these professionals were interested in, what they were learning from their work and more.

Learning Journal

Children too can benefit from keeping a learning journal. Journaling is a way to process information and think things through.

Recording does not have to be restricted to writing.  Children can use drawing or collage.  This incorporates different learning styles and allows young children to express themselves with limited writing skills.

By keeping a journal they gain skills in

  • recording events
  • communicating understanding of concepts
  • communicating observations and ideas
  • questioning events and ideas
  • expressing information in different forms
  • linking disciplines
  • reflecting on what they have learned

What do you record in a learning journal?

In the photo above my son is creating a directory of people he knows.  We included the person’s photo and wrote their names beside the pictures.  When my son writes to these people he is now easily able to spell their names.

The simple answer to ‘what should my child record in a learning journal?’ is: record whatever your child is interested in or wants to learn about.  For example, in a learning journal, children might like to

  • record questions they have about any topic as a reminder to find out the answers
  • draw and design art or craft projects
  • recount what they did and what happened in science experiments
  • record patterns they find in numbers
  • note words they want to remember
  • include photographs of something they have made, an experiment they have done or the best Lego car they ever built.
  • draw and label a picture of something that interests them in their surroundings
  • make an ABC list (for example, if your child is into dinosaurs, list dinosaur names from A to Z)
  • make a list of books they want to read, activities to try and so on.  They could make the list by drawing pictures or cutting and pasting from catalogues rather than writing.
  • record the weather

I kickstarted my son’s learning journal by starting my own learning journal at the same time.  This provides a reminder for my son that learning never ends and seeing me use my journal motivates him to use his journal.

Using the journal has given my son a real reason to write and has helped me to tune in to what he is interested in.

But the greatest benefit for my son has been using his journal to preserve ideas for later.  We can then follow through on all his best project ideas, instead of putting them off till never.  And he is learning a lot about planning and implementing big projects!

Bio: Catherine is mum to 2 boys, living in North Australia. They read lots, run lots, love to learn new things and are good at finding fun and mischief. Catherine blogs about her family adventures and opportunities for everyday learning at Adventures With Kids.

Note from Melissa: I would love to know who else is doing this or if you want to start. I’m going to start small – a few days a week. Thank you, Catherine for this fantastic idea!!

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  1. I’m a student teacher about to start my final teaching placement with a class of Year 2’s. I’ve been considering introducing this concept to my students, but this post might have given me that extra boost of confidence to do it. It also reminded me not to restrict it to writing as I know this will put some kids off straight away!

  2. I like the idea of a learning journal. We could keep our memory journals separate. This idea will encourage more writing from my kids who are always learning something new. It might even inspire more learning this summer.

    Yes, we will be making some recylced journals and get started this week. Thanks for the inspiration and sharing this post at We Teach.

  3. Novel idea that would be fun for kids and a good review of the material they’ve been studying or interested in. A nice keepsake too for them to look back upon too.

  4. Thanks for the wonderful journalling ideas. I’m surrounded by notebooks that I record story ideas but I think I’ll construct a journal for something different. I used to scrapbook but now I spend all my time writing. I miss the tactile side of scrapbooking so I think I’ll add it to my writing journal.

    Thanks for the inspiration. I can’t wait to get started!


    1. Renee — me, too and I’m don’t have a very good organizational system for my journals. Do you? I’m considering copying what I need for later and filing it.

  5. My son and I will start vision boards soon. He journals on the computer during each of our road trips. I think I will take Catherine’s lead and journal with him in a notebook (vs. only online). Journaling is both cleansing, revealing, and a great way to check how we progress in life!