How to Build Your Child's Character Through Journaling

Charlotte Mason might refer to journaling along the lines of "oral composition" and you can flesh that out here.

What do I mean when I talk about journaling

Let's start with a definition so that we're all on the same page. (Don't you love a good pun?)

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Journaling is essentially a record of things. It can be driven by writing prompts, emotions your're experiencing, or it can be study specific.

For our purposes (we're using Easy Summer Planning, remember?) we are going to define journaling as keeping a record. That's easy, isn't it? Yes! But- we'll be recording more than facts. 

Now, let's lay down those rails.


Journaling as Research and Reasoning

With any writing endeavor, keeping a journal included, there comes reading and research. With this research comes reasoning. As children interact with the research, they use the information they have on hand (what they know), and are sometimes inspired to search for additional information (what they could know).

When we think of research, we tend to picture someone slumped over piles of books, looking for answers. We can call this search a quest for truth.

This aspect of journaling then provides two parts of a rail that build character. Diligence in the search and wisdom in distinguishing truth from error. By allowing our children the joy of searching the Scriptures as the foundation for all research and reasoning, we can further mold their character. Research grounded in truth brings wisdom.

Rail: Diligence in the search and wisdom in distinguishing truth from error.

Journaling as Relating

Once a student has gathered the facts and reasoned through them, they are called to make a decision. Note: this decision-making can also happen during the research and reasoning portion of journaling. But, it's true in either case that a decision is made on whether or not the fact studied applies to the topic at hand.

If your child is studying birds or music, they may begin with facts about the birds or information related to a composer or piece of music. They will have to make a determination if the facts at hand relate to the specific topic being studied.

This is an important process in becoming an independent learner.

For further example, let's say your student is studying a particular piece of music. During his study he comes upon information about a certain type of music written for a specific time period. The principles of music he may uncover that apply to one type of musical piece may not apply to another. He has to know when the information fits.

Journaling as relating can lay the rails of diligence, insightfulness, creativity, and logic.

Rail: Journaling as relating can lay the rails of diligence, insightfulness, creativity, and logic. 

Journaling as Recording

This is what most people think of when they think of keeping a journal, the actual writing and recording. But, it can be so much more than that. 

If we can think of journaling as recording not just what the student has learned, but as a way for the child to do the actual growing, we can begin to see just how much value it has. 

I think of this in terms of my own life - I have been keeping a reading journal, and as I look back through my books - where I have marked things that jump out at me - there is a lot of growth happening through my journaling. 

Consider a quote I journaled from A Well-Tempered Heart

 How to Build Character Through Journaling

What a gift it is for our children to look back on their thoughts - what has had meaning to them - and how they have grown through their journaling.

The pages where the recording takes place are made of, in a sense, the blood, sweat, and tears of a child's growing in wisdom and stature. It's not a mere intellectual exercise. As she matures from childhood through her teens and into adulthood, so do her thoughts, her reasoning ability, and the depth of her entries.

This is such a privilege to witness as a mom. It's a true treasure. It lays down the all important rail of stick-to-it-iveness. And in life, few character traits serve us better than this one. 

Often in life our success is measured in our ability to hang on longer than anyone else. When this is healthy, it shows up as "getting the job done" and "going the extra mile" - qualities that show our character to the world. 

Rail: Journaling as recoding lays down the all important rail of stick-to-it-iveness. 

For Easy Summer Learning

These rails aren't difficult., but they are deep. They aren't complicated, but they do require commitment. But, this deep commitment will pay big dividends during your school year and during the rest of your student's life. 

Bullet Journal Planner Pens Colored Pens Fine Point Markers Fine Tip Drawing Pens Porous Fineliner Pen for Journaling Writing Note Taking Calendar Agenda Coloring Art School Office Supplies, 18 ColorsTwilight Garden Journal (Diary, Notebook) (Small Format Journal)Watercolor Collection Be Still Hardcover Wirebound Journal - Psalm 46:10Antique Monogram Journal (Diary, Notebook)Calligraphy Kit: A complete kit for beginnersLettering and Modern Calligraphy: A Beginner's Guide: Learn Hand Lettering and Brush LetteringHand Lettering 101 BookCrayola Beginner Hand Lettering Kit with Tutorials, Easier Than Calligraphy, 45 PiecesLaying down the Rails : A Charlotte Mason Habits HandbookLaying Down the Rails for Children: A Habit-training Companion; Books 1 and 2The Family And The Nation: Biblical ChildhoodThe Read-Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your KidsArtist's Choice Sketch Pad ,75 sheets, Pack of 2The Principle Approach® PrimerHabits: The Mother's Secret to Success (Charlotte Mason Topics) (Volume 1)A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on The Gentle Art of Learning(TM)For the Children's Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and SchoolTeaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakable Peace


This post is part of the series Laying Down The Rails in Your Homeschool.

Celebrate National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day

Want to win the fun mom award?

Make a BIG memory for your children with just a little bit of effort.

Take a plain old ordinary day and turn it into a celebration! 

August 4th is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. Here's what I'm thinking...

Don't let your kids know it's coming - just wake them up in the morning, cancel homeschool for the day, and tell them you are going to make cookies, eat cookies, read books, play games, and anything else that might strike your fancy along the way.

(I did this once and declared a boring Thursday Angry Birds Day and my kids STILL talk about it.)

 Celebrate National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day

I'm going to throw out a bunch of ideas in this post... Feel free to use as many or as few as you would like.

Just have fun with your kids and make some memories.  (I'm thinking memories with cookies are pretty good, right?)


Five Chocolate Chip Cookie Facts

  • Americans eat an average of 18,928 cookies in their lifetime
  • The chocolate chip cookie was invented by Ruth Graves Wakefield in 1938. Her husband ran the Tool House Inn - do "Toll House" cookies sound familiar? Nestle's bought the rights to the name. And you know the rest of the story!
  • Chocolate chip cookies were first called "Butterdrop Do Cookies".
  •  The world's biggest chocolate chip cookie weighed 40,000 pounds and had a diameter of 101 feet. It was created in 2003 by The Immaculate Baking Company in Flat Rock, North Carolina.
  • It's America's favorite cookie. 53% of American adults prefer chocolate chip cookies over peanut butter cookies (16 %), oatmeal cookies (15%, and any other variety.


Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes

We use two of the very BEST chocolate chip cookie recipes in our house - and they come from both of my children's grandmothers. I love it that these cookies have memories attached to them - the time spent and the love shown through these cookies made an impact on my children. 


Grandma Jane's Chocolate Chip Crispies

These cookies are just different - and everyone wonders why they are so crispy.

If you look at the recipe, you'll see the secret ingredient that adds just the right crunch - and here's a tip: these cookies freeze well and are actually super yummy straight out of the freezer!

Grandma Jane's Chocolate Chip Crispies
Yield: 3 dozen cookies

Grandma Jane's Chocolate Chip Crispies


  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups Crisped Rice Cereal (Rice Krispies)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In large bowl, beat butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; mix well. Add flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Stir in cereal and chocolate chips. Drop tablespoonfuls of cookie dough onto parchment-lined cookie sheets, about 2 in. apart.
  3. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown around edges. Cool cookies on cookie sheet 3 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack; cool completely.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Grammy Ruth's Chocolate Chippers

These cookies are made with shortening, which makes them very light and crunchy. 

Look out, I remember these literally VANISHING one Christmas holiday when my mother-in-law made them. 

I made these for a birthday party one year - with vanilla ice cream in the middle. All of the kids loved the ice cream cookie sandwiches! 

 Grammy Ruth's Chocolate Chippers
Yield: 3 dozen cookies

Grammy Ruth's Chocolate Chippers


  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 6 oz. package semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. Cream shortening, sugars, egg, and vanilla till light and fluffy. Sift together dry ingredients; stir into creamed mixture; blend well. Add chocolate chips. Drop from teaspoon 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Bake in moderate oven (375 degrees) 10-12 minutes. Remove cookies from sheet immediately. 
Created using The Recipes Generator

Read Books About Chocolate Chip Cookies

From learning about the inventor of the chocolate chip cookie to having fun with the classic rhyme "Who Stole The Cookies From the Cookie Jar?", these books will set the stage for your baking adventures (or fill some time while you're waiting for your cookies to bake!).

Or, you might want to bake your cookies, serve them with a glass of milk, and have read aloud time while you are enjoying your delicacies!

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (If You Give...)The Cookie Loved 'round the World: The Story of the Chocolate Chip CookieThe Chocolate Chip Cookie Queen: Ruth Wakefield and Her Yummy Invention (Inventors at Work!)Mimi's Adventures in Baking Chocolate Chip CookiesThe Last Chocolate Chip CookieWho Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar?


Serve Others With Cookies

Once your children have baked their cookies, it would be a lovely idea to share them with others.

  • Deliver several dozen to your local fire and police departments.
  • Deliver to neighbors
  • Visit a local nursing home and deliver your cookies
  • Invite friends over for a chocolate chip cookies & milk social
  • Freeze batches of cookies to have on hand when you think someone needs a pick-me-up


Chocolate Chip Cookie Math Games

We can always sneak in some learning, yes? 


And, I'm happy to offer you this adorable Chocolate Chip Memory Game: 17 pairs of matching cards for your children to learn from and enjoy! 

Download Your Matching Cards Now



I hope you have OODLES of fun on National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day! (and remember, you can celebrate this day any old time - it doesn't have to be August 4. Any day with our children is cause for a celebration, don't you agree?)