J is for Journal: Wolf’s Trip Chronicle Begins

Wolf has been going to an amazing school for the past two years - Bambini Creativi. As part of his program, every day he has had dedicated time for journaling. There were so many things I liked about this activity. It gave him dedicated time to reflect and process whatever was happening in his day, along with a regular opportunity to practice his emerging drawing and writing skills.

As we thought about what we wanted his learning experience to be while we traveled, we knew we wanted to incorporate journaling. Today, a week into our trip, he made his first entry. Since we had never actually journaled with him at home, we weren’t sure what the process looked like. I handed him a brand new journal, crayons, colored pencils, and told him to journal about whatever he wanted.

He looked at me expectantly. Journal about what? He asked.

I told him that he should decide, and then rattled off a few things that we had done in the last couple of days - like visiting Dinosaur National Park, or today’s visit to what turned out to be a terrible mosquito infested beach (in Utah, of all places).

He liked the idea of journaling about the mosquitoes, but told me he didn’t have any idea how to draw a mosquito. That’s okay, I said (cooking dinner) - daddy will help you.

Matt did help him, and in a totally different way than I would have. It was a pretty wonderful difference to see.

I probably would have gotten the computer out, googled a picture of a mosquito, and then helped him draw it.

Instead of doing anything like that, Matt asked Wolf questions - like, what kind of insect is a mosquito? Does it fly? What does it need to fly? How does it sting? How many legs does it have? Wolf started drawing.

Then more questions: Where is the mosquito? Are you and mommy near it? What else is nearby?

Thinking through Matt’s questions, Wolf added a beach, and then him, and me - running away from the mosquitoes on a golden sandy beach. He drew the water behind us.

The last addition to the picture was the caption.

What do you want to say about the picture, Matt asked.

Wolf wasn’t sure, and so Matt suggested: “We camped by the beach and were attacked by mosquitoes.” Wolf liked this idea, and Matt dictated the letters for him to write - along with the two exclamation marks (because the mosquitoes were really, really, really bad).

It’s exciting to think that over the months to come, his journal will slowly fill with pictures and words directly capturing his experience with our trip.

I can’t wait to see how it progresses!