Documenting your summer - the art of the journal

If you ever have the opportunity to visit the Bronte Parsonage in Haworth, you will see a collection of mini-magazines and  journals created by the Bronte sisters and their brother. The isolated house is a treasure trove of creativity. Like the Bronte sisters, your child may well go on to be an inspirational writer but even if they only dip into writing as a distraction from their day job, the writing bug is worthwhile catching!

One way of inspiring your child to write is to start a holiday journal which can be gifted to an older relative when the family returns from a trip. The journal itself doesn't have to be expensive, an exercise book will do. Decorate the cover - be creative! One of my students used a cheap copy book to describe her recent trip visiting schools (as far North as Fettes College in Edinburgh, and West as Canford!) and decorated the cover with train tickets from the various journeys she took.

The journal itself should be a collection of observations, pictures, interesting quotations and descriptions. Emily Bronte included sketches of rooms in her journals. Try not to be prescriptive but set aside a time every day for your child to add updates. I did a school visit to Pilgrims with one student and we used the travel time to write.

If you are going on a holiday to a foreign country, your child might like to include menus, wrappers, tickets to events, anything which catches his odor her eye. The key here is to encourage creativity.

Resist the urge to correct spelling and grammar, the journal is the story of a period in your child's life, not a school exercise. Finally, try not to give up. Journals often start with good intentions and tail off into blank pages after a few days. Write little and often and your child  will create a souvenir which may be part of their own personal museum one day.

More information on the parsonage and the Bronte connection here)


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