Last week, when we were on a field trip to the Leanin’ Tree museum & factory in Boulder, my friend and I had a talk about homeschooling / unschooling. How do you measure what your kids are learning. In school they would have tests, but since we don’t really believe in the necessity of testing, how will you know what they learn.
At the beginning of this year I did a course on Project Based Homeschooling (PBH) by Lori Pickert. One of the important things about PBH is journalling. Just observe what you see your children are doing and write it down, unbiased. Listen to your children, provide them with why they think are the necessary materials, if necessary you can ask questions. But most important: let them work on their projects and as a parent observe. Hence the journalling. Now I have never been a diary writer and my PBH-journal consist of a little bit of text, some small notes and lots of pictures. What are they interested in, what are they doing. I would write questions they have down in my journal, so I wouldn’t forget.
Back to last week. My friend showed me photos on Instagram and said enthusiastically that “she loved that presentation of learning. How she wished she had that. That it will give a more fulfilling feeling, because you can see what you did during that day.” Free interpretation of her words, since my memory is not really working yet. After I got home, I went back to that Instagram page and I must admit, she was right. This looked so cool, no better than cool, it looked awesome! So I started following Learning Journal from Sarah Barak. If you want to follow her too, you can find her here.
Interview with Sarah Barak
How did you come up with this idea?
I created it as a tool for my son. But as I was putting it together, I realized I wanted one too! If I did, I was sure other people would find it useful as well, so I set out to publish it.
How do you use The Learning Journal?
My son is too young to use it himself right now, but we do projects together that I write about in the Learning Journal. It also keeps me learning fun things every day that j can share with him. Like I did a page on why trees leaves turn red in the fall. Now I’m prepared for that question that he will inevitably ask one day.
Why would anyone want to keep a Learning Journal?
First, as unschoolers, it provides us with a record of things we have learned and done. Second, tracking your learning allows you to be reflective about your learning. You can see how and what you are learning, easily follow your own interests, and see how you (or your children) learn best. Third: it’s FUN!!!
Who, do you think, really needs The Learning Journal?
It’s been really popular for homeschoolers, parents, and kids who attend traditional schools.
Are people happy with the Learning Journal?
Parents have told me over and over how much it helps to motivate their children to learn. One parent told me their children are coming home from school running to their journals to do another page. Another told me her homeschooled child used to complain and out of his freewriting, but the Learning Journal gives him just enough prompts for him to decide what to write about and how to do it. Another parent told me her homeschooled child used to cry and have temper tantrums when it came to homework, but now is more motivated all around thanks to the Learning Journal.
Did you expected this success?
I never imagined the impact the Learning Journal would have when I set out to create something to help my son. I’m thrilled and grateful for the people I’ve met along the way and the wonderful community it’s created along the way.
Did it change your look on learning?
For me personally, it’s helped me to keep my mind open, be curious, and never just wonder: find out why!
Entries in Sarah’s Learning Journal
The Learning Journal when it is brand new
I think, this is just what we need. To be able to document in a structured way what we’ve learned. I wrote before about my insecurities and unschooling and I do believe The Learning Journal is a good resource. To journal, to observe and to reflect.
To me, The Learning Journal looks appealing and especially after seeing Sarah’s beautiful entries, I am anxious to start myself. And I am curious if Maxigirl and -man would be as excited as I am when they see this Learning Journal. At the same time I find Sarah’s story inspiring. She created something for her son and now her idea is being sold on Amazon. How cool is that?!! I am proud to have the opportunity to write this article.
When you are as excited as I am, you probably like to now where you can get this. The Learning journal is being sold on Amazon. If you click here , you will go there straight away.
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