I give this a silly name, but we’re studying the Netherlands right now, and Anne Frank is from there. I’ve been reading all about how she heard of how she was living in times that would be studied in history books, and she went through and revised the start of her diary, and wrote with the plan of someday publishing her diary. Which got me thinking, about how this will go down in history. We talk about the Spanish Flu Epidemic from 1918. Will people be talking about the Corona Virus Epidemic of 2020? If so, we probably want to write our own virus journal for future historians.
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Some books to inspire your virus journal writing
I love the Dear America books, and they have one for the Spanish Flu: Like the Willow Tree. You know, I don’t actually own this one, I might need to pick it up…
Miep and the Most Famous Diary– A great story of how Anne Frank’s diary went from just a diary, to the most famous diary ever. When I read it outloud to the kids this afternoon, I very nearly cried, it’s going to get much worse when I have the kids read the actual diar next year…
A bit of advice from a historian, write a virus journal
This was actually what first got me thinking about keeping a journal right now, but reading all of those Anne Frank stories furthered the idea.
Advice from a historian in the Boston area: Start keeping a journal today, ideally a hand written one if that’s within your ability. Write about what you’re seeing in the news, how yr friends are responding, what is closed in yr neighborhood or city or state or country. Save it.
— Shane Landrum, PhD (@cliotropic) March 12, 2020
If you’re on Twitter, I encourage you to look through the replies, there are some examples of journals started by kids as assignments by their teachers (hey parents suddenly homeschooling, this counts as WRITING/LANGUAGE ARTS).
What I’m putting in my Plague Journal
First, I’m not calling it a Virus journal, it’s actually part of my general paper brain that holds everything from our weekly schedule, my notes for history, Bible study, and my fiction writing. Now it’s also got my virus journal, but I’m calling it a plague journal because that makes me laugh.
I went to the grocery store on Friday just to get a couple of items we were running low on, and ended up buying more than planned because I didn’t want to face craziness like that again for awhile. While I was there I took photos of the empty shelves.
That went into my journal, and then I just wrote down observations as I thought about what was going on.
I’m printing off memes that particularly amuse me. I’m also texting them to my kids.
Apparently that is not helpful to their homeschooling, something about distracting them and keeping them from working.
I maintain innocence, and that I am expanding their cultural literacy as I tell them “Shakespeare wrote King Lear while in quarantine. Sir Isaac Newton discovered the laws of gravity while in lockdown.” They seem to think I’m off my rocker.
That may well be.
However I’m entertained, and I’m sure that’s what really matters.
Oh, and I’m having lots of fun coming up with a different way to refer to quarantine each day.
Day 1 of my exile for the good of the realm
Day 2 of social distancing
Day 3 of my unjust exile
I need more suggestions for how to refer to it, so what would you add in?
What will you put in your plague journal?
This is weird, I’m rather used to my posts being these in-depth history studies, and taking an hour or two to write. This plague journal is only 500 words and change, and I haven’t even finished the video about Victorian Chemise and Drawers I’m half-watching as I write (and that’s with a brief distraction to FB and Twitter to grab a few random laughs).