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Practical Homeschooling® :

The Joy of Journaling

By Sam Blumenfeld
Printed in Practical Homeschooling #100, 2011.

Suggestions on how to use a journal to help remember your homeschool years

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Sam Blumenfeld

The most obvious reason for keeping a homeschool journal is to have a record of your child’s education. This will be needed when your grown child wants to apply to a college or university sometime in the future. So it has to be a daily record for it to be complete and verifiable.

You can keep the journal in a hand-written notebook, which can later be typed up as a computer document. When the time comes, it can easily be printed out and bound with a spiral binding. By copy-and-paste, you can produce several versions: one as a school record, one as an autobiographical study, and one as a book about a family’s homeschool experiences.

You can put in your journal anything you want, apart from the details of what you taught on a specific day. You can record the weather, the changing prices at the supermarket, a review of a movie you all saw with a rented DVD, what you had for dinner, experiments in the kitchen, visits of grandparents, reactions of relatives to homeschooling, books you’ve read for pleasure or edification, progress in your garden, visits to museums, and how you all started a home business. If the children are also learning to play musical instruments, their progress should be recorded. The journal notebook should be available to everyone in the family who wants to write a paragraph or two.

Sports is another activity which should be written about: tennis, golf, swimming, gymnastics, etc. Also your reaction to current events or your volunteering in a political campaign. Our nation’s political life has become increasingly important for the average individual, and homeschoolers do not live in a vacuum. There are establishment forces that would like to ban homeschooling or regulate it to death. Your efforts to protect your educational rights should be recorded in your journal.

As you can see, keeping a homeschool journal clearly serves more than one limited purpose. Many of your day-by-day incidents might make interesting articles for a parenting or homeschool magazine or your local newspaper. In fact, an overall picture of a homeschooling family over twelve years or more is history—an original-source historical document.

If you have homeschooled a large family, you will have a wonderful story to tell of your family’s life, the methods you used in teaching, and how each child developed in his or her own way. You will also be able to relate how homeschooling enhanced your family’s life and gave all of you great and priceless experiences you would never have had without home education.

Perhaps, that is the greatest benefit of homeschooling: how it gives family life a naturally strong source of bonding through learning and loving, out of which can come an inspiring book about how to improve family life.

Parents all over the world need such books to provide them with proof of how effective and joyful home education can be. It will prove how unnecessary government education is and how much better home education is for both child and parent—and ultimately for the country.

What is particularly interesting is how parents manage to homeschool as many as nine or ten children who all turn out to be super human beings. I remember speaking to one homeschooling mom at a homeschool convention who homeschooled nine children using Alpha-Phonics. Each one of them had gone on to bigger and better things in a great variety of endeavors, including the military. It was an incredible success story which I know must be duplicated by many other large homeschooling families. What a blessing for America!

At a time in our history when the traditional family is being attacked and criticized as outmoded and intolerant of different life-styles, it’s essential for the homeschooling family to let the world know of the tremendous positive values that homeschooling has for family life and the lives of its children.

Your homeschool journal will record the facts of your own family’s experiences for posterity, so that when the history of this period is written it will be shown that there was an important sector of American culture that held the ground for biblically based family life and values.

Homeschooling families may represent a small percentage of the total families in America, but what they continue to produce is a small but well-educated army of Americans who believe in the principles enunciated by our Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

And no one should forget that the principles in these documents are derived from the God-given Ten Commandments. Indeed, “In God We Trust,” for we have all learned the hard way that the politicians in Washington can’t be trusted.

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