Works for Me: Summer Journaling

Lots of summers in the past I haven’t required anything schoolish from my kids. But every fall I’ve been appalled at how much the kids forgot over the summer. And this year I really want to help our home-10-months school-aged daughters continue to work on catching up to grade level. But I enjoy my summers and didn’t want anything too tough. I did some thinking and came up with a fairly simple plan.

Basically there are two components. The first is half an hour of computer education games a day. The ‘new’ girls (10 and 12) are doing multiplication games. My 10 year old sons are working on Rosetta Stone Korean– we are planning a homeland tour to Korea with them next spring and I would like them to know just some basic Korean when we get there.

The second component is an hour of reading a day. 15 minutes of it needs to be to me, or to their 3 year old sister within my earshot. 45 minutes is on their own. During that hour of reading, they are also to work on a journal entry, and this really is the heart of what I wanted to share with you today.

I bought each child a small spiral notebook and came up with 6 simple questions for the kids to answer. You of course could make up your own, but here are the ones I’m using
#1- Today I read______________
#2 – (Write one sentence talking about what you read, in your own words.)
#3- I am looking forward to____________.
#4- I am thankful for _________________.
#5- I had fun ____________________today.
#6- I am praying about___________.

Besides encouraging the kids to think about what they’re reading, and to count their blessings (we’d had some cranky moods that I’ve been wanting to work on!), these little journal entries have also turned out to be a good intro to writing for my newly arrived girls. I’m asking kids to give a different answer each day. They’re working on spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and getting just a touch of practice at paraphrasing what they’ve read in their own words. Plus it is giving me just a little chance to chat with each child about what’s concerning them and what they’re enjoying (or at least remind them of something they SHOULD be thankful for! grin). It is a nice chance to touch bases, esp in a household as busy as ours.

This project has turned out to be more valuable than I imagined. I am glad to see the kids still learning, even during the summer! It works for me!


  1. What a quick and fun way to keep them in “school mode: without burning them out! Love it!

  2. I love the idea of the summer journal, and my daughters will love/fall for anything that involves new notebooks!

  3. What a great idea! How fun to be able to look back on this after years.

  4. I really like this idea.

    I organized all of my homeschool stuff last week to see where we were and where we would pick up in the Fall.

    I ended up making a reading list for the kids, and set each pile of books on our work bench. The kids can come and go, “checking out” books.

    I also decided that they kids would do a science journal. I bought a nice 3 ring binder for each, some card stock paper like the kind used to scrapbook, a pound of some multi-colored cardstock scraps, and a big set of washable markers. We are working on astronomy this summer, so each day they read, they make scrapbook page of what they learned. The binder is large enough to hold teh next 2 years of home school science (Flying Creatures of the 5th Day, Swimming Creatures of the 5th Day and Botany)

  5. Okay, you have totally inspired me with this one. Off to find some journals.

    Thanks for the great idea.



  6. Sounds like a great plan. Even though we don’t homeschool, I think I will implement something like this for Biniam. He definitely still has some catching up to do, plus he needs something to do while I am working part-time and this would be perfect. Thanks for the idea!

  7. We have implemented something similar this summer, but in the form of acquiring more tv viewing time.

    They each get an 1 hour a day of tv and if they want more they need to earn it by checking off 5 activities from our chart that we prepared (everyone pitched in that way it wasn’t just mom deciding)

    We have all sorts of activities on our chart, like reading, drawing a picture, playing outside, helping a sister clean-up, counting to 100, writing a book report, etc.

    We even made tv watching cards that they must have with them while watching tv. Now, we just need to get them laminated.

  8. I love this idea. Just two weeks ago, I purchased a journal for my daughter and told her that she needed to write something in it daily during the summer – just what’s on her mind and her prayer requests. But I love the idea of writing prompts – I’m going to use this and when she gets back from Bible camp, we’ll give it a whirl. 🙂


  9. What a great idea! I was intending to continue with a bit of school this summer anyway. I like the journaling idea.

  10. This would also be a great idea for my own journaling. Often I don’t know what to write or am overwhelmed by ALL that I want to write.

    Your 6 questions helps me stay in touch with me. Without stress or overwhelm.

  11. 3kids2jobs1dog says:

    I just started journaling with the girls recently and this is a great idea. Sometimes they have trouble getting started!

  12. texasknights says:

    That is great.
    I am about to start (we will see how it works) something similar. I only have three kiddos so I am writing to them personally every evening in their journals. When they wake up, they will read what I write to them and then respond. I have been wanting to do this in my 1st grade classroom but answering 18 journal entries is a big endeavor!

  13. I like this idea VERY much. Keeping my older two writing is a big goal for this summer.

  14. We school year-round, and still I LOVE your journal idea! *THANK YOU!* sooo very much for sharing! (((((HUGS))))) sandi

  15. Your journal ideas are fabulous. I am stealing them. Thanks. 🙂

  16. I love, love this idea! My older two (7 and 5) will be doing this 🙂