Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Review of Do it Yourself Homeschool Journal & Delight-Directed Learning Handbook

I received this product in an exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

We were given the opportunity to review several journals for Sarah Janisse Brown and The Thinking Tree. This is the journal I am reviewing today:">Do It Yourself Homeschool Journal: & Delight Directed Learning Handbook (Home Learning Guides) (Volume 1)
 My 13 year old, 7th grade daughter, is using this journal everyday. {Just to clarify: She uses Khan Academy for math and Easy Grammar and Daily Grams for grammar everyday.}

How we use this journal: Mikaela chooses around 10 library books on different topics that interest her each week. She uses several of these books each day {see below} for different pages. She chooses at least one history book {biography or event}, one science, one geography and the rest are up to her. She has chosen books on cooking and baking, different animals {wolves, cheetahs, horses}, biographies {Clara Barton, Helen Keller}, Greek myths, Ancient Rome, voting, the Republican party, hurricanes, and so many more topics!

There are lots of different pages in this journal, and I am going to include a list of each with a brief description and picture {for most of them}.

Date Page: Mikaela circles and writes the date each day. This page shows her where to start and stop each day.

Start Your Day Page: This page includes a space to write a Bible verse or quote, prayer list, and to-do list.

Art and Logic Games: This page provides the student with logic and thinking skills practice. Mikaela has to finish the pictures, making them look exactly like the one before. {They are all different!} This has actually helped her with logic skills.

Write a Short Story: Mikaela has to write a short story about the picture at the top of this page. These pictures are beautifully drawn, so Mikaela doesn't usually color them.

Reading Time: Mikaela chooses 4 of her books to read, each book for 15 minutes, totaling 1 hour daily. {She sometimes reads longer!} There is space for her to write a few sentences or interesting facts from the books. Sometimes she draws pictures, too.

Nature Study: Mikaela can either go outside and draw a picture from nature, or she can use a book to drawn a plant or animal. Sometimes, she just draws pretty butterflies!

Spelling Time: On this page, Mikaela has to find 20 words with a certain amount of letters from her library books. This is a great way to do spelling, and all of my children love these pages!

Screen Time: Mikaela is to watch a documentary, tutorial, or educational movie and write and draw about it.

Copywork: On this page, Mikaela copies an important paragraph from one of her  books.

Creative Writing: She can write anything she wants on this page! She has written stories, poems, lists, and facts about animals on these pages.

My Fun Page: This page is just for fun!

Math Practice: This page has graph paper for drawing graphs, maps, or geometric designs.

Fun Writing Practice: This page is for handwriting skills.

Listening Time: These pages are for drawing while listening to music or an audio book.

Coloring: There are also many beautiful coloring pages throughout the book.

Mikaela loves this journal. It gives her so much freedom and creativity in her work. She is retaining so much information and enjoying learning. Being able to choose her own topics and books is a major motivator for her. The spelling and logic pages seem to be helping her with seeing details and spelling correctly. I love to read her Reading Time pages to quickly see what she is learning. When I ask her about something, she can elaborate on it so much  better than she used to.
This journal takes her around 3-4 hours each day, depending on how much detail she puts into it and how much coloring and reading she does.
I love this journal, and I love this style of learning! This journal would work well for a girl ages 8-14 {in my opinion!}. I definitely recommend this journal for anyone who is interested in delight-directed learning but wants structure and direction. I don't worry about making sure she is doing enough, because, as you can see, these journals are so full of variety, yet give her the structure she needs.
Check our Sarah on Facebook, her website, or on Amazon!
Also, Mikaela uses gel pens and colored pencils to make her journal look so pretty! Check these out:">Top Quality Gel Pens - Set of 60 Individual Colors with Case (1)
{60 pens for $24!}">US Art Supply® 50 Piece Artist Grade High Quality Colored Pencil Set, Full Size 7 Inch Length * Now Includes a FREE Reusable Plastic Carry Case
{50 colored pencils for $22 - half off today!}

Some of these links are Amazon affiliate links. If you click and purchase from my link, I will make a small percentage. Thank you.


  1. I'm still praying over how to incorporate these into our school days. I've got some ideas floating around... it's a topic I'm pondering for the upcoming school year. Darling drawings, too!

    1. Thank you! We are so thrilled to have found these journals.

  2. Great review!!! I'm looking into getting more pens and markers too. I bought some but I'd like more ;) Maybe I'll find some in my stocking :)

    I want to start a link-up (thanks for the idea) but won't be able to until after CHRISTmas. I do have a Thinking Tree Spotlight post- posting tomorrow if you'd like to leave a link to this post in the comments section that would be wonderful.

    I need to figure out a button and stuff for it =) I think it will be a great way for all of us Thinking Tree homeschoolers to share ideas and such.

    1. I think it would be a great idea, too! I will leave a link in the comments.

  3. Awesome review. We discovered Sarah's books by accident and I ordered the Winter book for my girls, 1 each and they fell in love with it. The book is amazing. I ordered the Spring book and the DIY Field Trip books for Christmas presents for the girls. Looks like your daughter is enjoying her book as well. Happy Holidays to you and your family !

  4. My middle son would go nuts for these. Thinking of buying him one for next year....

    1. I will be giving away a boys journal sometime in December, so check back for my giveaway! We LOVE them.