One of the best things about homeschooling for my 3rd grader is her journaling assignments. Every morning, prior to the start of her school work, her teacher provides a prompt and asks the students to reflect on the prompt. For the past several months since school started, my little girl has been writing her heart out. It is the most beautiful thing to watch. One of the prompts at the beginning of the school year focused on what she would like to learn through the year. My daughter, (bless her heart), said she would like to learn how to be a doctor. Not just any doctor, but a pediatrician. She felt that in 3rd grade, she should be exposed to medical science that would allow her to practice medicine. I was in awe.
Warren Berger’s book A more beautiful question, helps me understand the power of journaling among children. Berger emphasizes the power of inquiry even for children as young as my daughter. He suggested that questions, especially when posed to children, can be used to gain information, foster a desire to know more while enhancing an awareness of what they don’t know. One good journaling question posed to a 3rd grader can give rise to several layers of answers, inspire decades-long searches for solutions, prompt changes in entrenched thinking and ultimate generate new fields of inquiry.
Reading my daughters journals this school year have been gratifying. The floodgates of her imagination seem to open up every time she journals. Watching her unlock her potential every time she writes has also been quite stunning. Whether it’s her thoughts on ways to be a good friend or why she would rather live in a tree-house instead of an Igloo or a sandcastle, I see firsthand how crucial it is to ensure that children write. Her curiosity and creativity with every journal entry helps to maintain her propensity to inquire and learn in profound ways even now as a 3rd grader. She would live in a treehouse by they way, as it would have a fun slide and allow her to see or have a good view of everything. That by they way is why writing as a child matters. It fosters inquiry. Keep encouraging it.