When you start picking out Fun-Schooling journals, it’s recommended that you start with a core (main) journal and build your curriculum around it. Many Fun-Schooling families use the core journals a little differently. There is no right or wrong way, just whatever fits your homeschooling needs. I personally think they are best used for your children to study their majors and/or minors (their interests and passions.) There are other, subject-specific journals they can use to cover other areas of history, science, etc., not pertaining to their interests if needed!
These journals have pages covering a variety of subjects such as spelling, reading, copy work, drawing, geography, logic, history, nature studies, math practice, and more. Your children can use the resources they picked out for their interests to answer the research prompt questions . If you have them pick a wide variety of resources for each interest, they can use these resources to cover every (or most) of the subjects covered in the core journals.
Core journals can be Christian or secular; themed (such as Minecraft, horses, animals, etc.) or not; gender specific or not; etc. Most of them can cover a wide range of ages, grades, and/or levels…even more so than what’s in the description. Just because a journal says “Grades 6 to 8” or something similar, doesn’t mean that a 4th, 5th, or 9th grader can’t use it. You know your child best and know what level he or she is on. Many homeschoolers are on different levels in different subjects anyway. There is no such thing as BEHIND (or ahead) in homeschooling!
The journals themselves are pages filled with research prompts and act as a place to record whatever information the instructions ask you to get from your resources. The actual “learning” comes from the resources. To make a journal suitable for older children, simply have them choose harder resources (age or level appropriate personal or library books, audiobooks, videos, movies, documentaries, apps, websites, magazines, games, and more) and if you feel like you need to, you can add to and/or change the instructions in the journal to require additional or different information. For example, if the journal page is asking a child to find 20 four-letter words to use for spelling and you want to make the page a little more difficult, change the number of letters per word to six and/or require five of the words to be nouns, five adverbs, five adjectives, and five verbs. For a copywork page, an older child could copy the passage then underline the adverbs and circle the adjectives. If a younger child wants a journal meant for an older one, that’s fine too. Help the child pick out resources on his or her level and change the instructions to make them easier if necessary. One of the things I love most about these journals is their versatility…you can really make them YOURS!
Once you’ve narrowed your choices of core journals, you can watch video reviews that show the inside pages online on “The Thinking Tree Branch” (link below;) on Amazon in the reviews; or on YouTube. Then show your children the ones that you decided are appropriate for them and let them choose the ones with the covers they like the most! My grandson has two core journals that we alternate.
From the home page of “The Thinking Tree Branch” website, you can browse and shop journals based on criteria such as levels, subjects, etc. Pressing on the pictures of the journals will take you to Amazon so you can purchase the journal; pressing on the name of the journal in blue should take you to a video review of the journal and/or a written review with pictures of the inside pages. While on the website you can also check on current sales for Fun-Schooling Books and Dyslexia Games, see some recommendations for resources, and examples of completed journal pages. A big THANK YOU to Linda Beltran for all her hard work creating and maintaining this super helpful website!!
Here are just a few of the MANY Core journals your children can choose!!
The pictures above show just a few of the core journals available! The two pictured below are ones we are currently using:
Here are some of the pages inside our core journals: