Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Combining the Thinking Tree Journals with Our Curriculum

We have been using The Thinking Tree's Fun-Schooling Journals {among several other journals} since October of last year. We dove right into the journals, abandoning our curriculum choices all together. The journals are wonderful, and they are absolutely enough on their own. However, we picked up Bigger Hearts for His Glory a few weeks ago {per my children's request!} and started using Bigger with the journals.

How does that work? I'll tell you how we are doing it, and maybe it will give you ideas on how you can do it, too!

This is how Mercie and Eli are doing this: We follow Bigger Hearts mostly as written {sometimes we leave out a silly activity or modify it for the journals}. We are using the science and history portions of Bigger Hearts with our journals. The science is very light {in my opinion} in Bigger Hearts, so there is no problem adding in the journals. And we omit some of the activities to make a journal page.

For example, we are reading "One Small Square: Woods" for science. On the days that all we are instructed to do is read a few pages and narrate, I will have the kids draw something from those pages - the lifecycle of an insect, the tracks of animals, or even some copy-work from the pages. Eli even had a "Meal Plan" page, and I had him look up the diet of a bear and write what he thinks the bear would eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert.

I also assign the kids a few extra pages each day {Thinking Time, Math Time, Story Time, Bible Time, etc}, plus I have them reading one page in "Don't Know Much About the 50 States" and drawing the state bird, flower, and some interesting facts. So instead of doing 6-10 pages a day in the journals {which is what they were doing when they did the journals alone}, they are doing 1-3 pages a day in addition to their curriculum. 

Mercie also uses the Fun-Schooling Spelling Journal daily and the Bible Time Kids Devotional Journal several times a week. I have ordered Eli the Bible Time Journal and he will use it several times a week, too.

This is how Mikaela is doing this: She uses her Fun-Schooling journal in addition to science and math. She uses the math time pages on Fridays for fun games and activities {see this post}. She reads her science book {It Couldn't Just Happen!} and draws and writes various things from her book. Here are some examples:

She also does 1-2 extra pages a day {Thinking Time, Story Time, Coloring, etc}.

Mikaela has the Teen Girls Quiet Time Journal that she works in each day. This journal has room for Bible Journaling, topic pages like love, faith, truth, and room for doodling.

Mikaela also has the Spelling Time Journal and the "Are You a Math Genius?" math and logic book that she uses almost daily.

So, it has been really easy to combine the journals with a regular curriculum. I really love the extra creativity elements added by the journals. My kids are drawing and doodling more, and it helps them remember information once they draw it or write it down. If you don't want to use a curriculum, but if you aren't sure you are ready to dive into "unschooling", you could always choose a few books {even textbooks} to read to your child and help him choose activities to complete in the journal. It is so easy to adapt the journal pages to fit any book or activity! I am so glad we chose to do this.

Linking up with Linda!



  1. Way to go mama! You are doing a wonderful job with combining your journals with HOD.

    Thank you for linking up!!! I will be missing your Junior High Junction on Monday. I have family from out of town visiting so we took the week off from school.

    1. Thanks, Linda! I will miss you Monday, but I understand!! Have a good visit!

  2. Hi Megan. Love your blog. I added your button to my blog page :)
    Stop by and grab my button and link up our pages. YOu can grab my button as well if you like,

    1. Thank you! You just made my day. I will grab your button for my blog, too.

  3. We started our spelling time journals this week... and math genius too; I'm definitely getting hooked on these books!

    1. For sure! I love the gentle approach to everything!

  4. Curious.... are you still combining the two? How did that go?