Notebooking 101: Freewriting Journals

(the perfect tool for kids who hate to write)

the perfect tool for kids who hate to write

Do you have a child who positively hates to write?

Does any mention of an essay, report, or even a paragraph induce your child to tears – or worse – tantrums?

Today’s Notebooking 101 tip may be just for you. 🙂

What do you think of when you hear the word “journal”?

Some people envision a diary. Others picture a book (often a Bible) with colorful notes, quotes, and illustrations in the margins.

What do I think of?


Homeschool journals

What is freewriting, you might ask? It’s nothing more and nothing less than the freedom to write about whatever one wants and in any format one wants.

This utter simplicity is what makes it the perfect tool for helping reluctant writers to be more comfortable with the process of getting their thoughts on paper.

Getting started with freewriting journals:

Before we begin, let’s ponder for just a bit the reasons that some children may be less than enthusiastic about writing.

Looking back on my own days in school and even some of the writing curriculums my children and I have used in the past, there is one common theme:

They are too restrictive.

Think about it. Most writing assignments offer guidelines that must be followed and require a certain topic or writing style to be covered.

Many kids are okay with this. And, like it or not, just as many kids are not.

The fact is, not all kids are natural writers. Just like not all kids are naturally good at math, or art, or spelling, or any other “schoolish” subject you can think of.

That’s perfectly normal.

When it comes to approaching writing with those children who would rather not do it at all, sometimes all that is needed to encourage them is freedom. Complete freedom over what to write about, how to write about it, and even how long it will be (more on that later).

Some ways they may choose to express themselves in their journals could be as follows:

  • diary-type entries
  • creative writing
  • copywork
  • comic strips
  • illustrations
  • song lyrics
  • poetry (either their favorite poems or their own original work)
  • lists (one of my children likes to keep a list of ideas for her YouTube channel)

The possibilities are endless, and they certainly aren’t limited to the few examples I’ve given here.

Everything is up to your child – the author.

How to implement freewriting journals into your homeschool:

(This post contains affiliate links.)

Composition books are perfect for journals, and they are inexpensive, but what you choose to use for this purpose is entirely up to you.

How often you incorporate journaling into your homeschool routine is also up to you. Whether you do it every day, once a week, or twice a week depends upon your schedule and how well your child will tolerate it, but getting started is as simple as this:

Give your child their journal and tell them that this book is entirely their own. They can write about whatever they want, however they want, and you, dear homeschool mom, are not going to mark it up with your trusty red pen.

Journaling is not the time for worrying about correcting their writing mechanics. It is a time for allowing your child to grow into the writing process and to learn to – if not love it – then at least approach it with confidence.

Some kids may write page upon page every single day, while with other kids it may feel like pulling teeth – at least, at first.

But as they grow used to the idea of having free reign over their journals – without exception – they will begin to write more and more over time.

As for those children who refuse to write more than a sentence, let them – at first. After a bit, however, encourage them to try adding another sentence or two. Continue this process until they are writing a decent amount without your prompting.

But remember…

This is their journal, and you mustn’t lay too heavy a hand on length. Encourage them to write more at times, but don’t go crazy with it.

You don’t want this to backfire. 😉

When it comes to learning, children aren’t given the option of being self-directed nearly as much as they should be. Freewriting journals are a perfect first step to encourage a child to learn how to make their own decisions about what they will learn or write about. After all, it is their education in the first place, isn’t it?

Homeschooling and education are my passion. It is my fervent hope to one day devote more time to creating content for you. If you’re interested in helping to make this a reality, consider supporting me on Patreon @
Thank you so much. I appreciate each and every one of you!





Author: Shelly Sangrey

I'm Shelly, a Christ-following, homeschooling Mom of eleven children ( okay, not ALL children. My oldest is 23.) I met my husband right after graduation, and we've been together ever since. Though my life can be hectic at times... okay, ALL the time, I wouldn't change it for anything.

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