Tell Me A Story: Journaling One Day At A Time For the Budding Writer is a 25-page booklet of writing prompts for Christian homeschoolers. The prompts are idea for students from about fourth grade through eighth grade, but most prompts are also appropriate for high schoolers.
There are 180 prompts in all--50 each for the autumn, winter, and spring, and 30 for the summer. Thirty-six of the prompts are for free writing, so there are 144 unique prompts. The prompts are numbered with the idea that they will be used in order. Here are two examples, both from the Autumn section:
What is the most frustrating thing about living in your house? Why? How do you handle this frustration?
What sorts of things are you learning in math? Can you describe the sorts of problems you’re working? How do you imagine that adults use this math?
Occasionally, a prompt will refer to another that preceded it. For example, one prompt asks students, “What is something that is happening in the news this week? Can you summarize?” The next prompt says, “Today, tell how you feel about the news item you wrote about yesterday.” Then a third prompt continues with:
What do you think God feels about this news item you’ve been writing about this week? Why? Can you write your concerns about this issue in the form of a prayer to Him?
This is the only instance I found of three prompts linked to each other, but there are other instances where two are linked, including one that refers to a prompt that the student wrote about three days ago. Even so, students can still use prompts out of order as long as they pay attention to any dependent prompts that should be used.
A number of the prompts refer to God, prayer, Bible characters, and Christian living, so they will not be suitable for non-Christians.
I think that it would be great if students can get into the habit of daily journaling, but realistically, you might settle for journaling fewer days per week. At the back of the book are a few pages with additional tips and suggestions for journaling that might be helpful.
As with any set of writing prompts, students are likely to find some prompts open a floodgate of ideas while others do not. Parents should adapt them as needed, keeping an eye on the goal of inspiring children to write.
Note: Tell Me A Story is based on Michelle Van Loon’s out-of-print book, From Heart to Page, and was adapted with her permission.