Living History: Sharing Family Quarantine Journal Ideas


History is in the making as we navigate the effects of COVID-19, and making a family quarantine journal will help preserve the realities of it for generations to come.


When I was a junior in high school, 9/11 happened. I remember walking into my first class of the day – government, ironically. Our teacher had CNN or MSNBC on the TV every morning when we came in. That morning, we watched history happen right before our eyes as the second plane crossed the screen and hit 2 WTC. Throughout the remainder of the school day, life stopped. Teachers weren’t teaching. Students weren’t learning. Every classroom played news coverage all day. No one was talking about who dated who. No fistfights broke out at lunch. It was calm. It was still. Fear existed in the hallways. We lived history in 2001, and today my 15-year-old learns about it in her history books. However, a history book can’t begin to describe the feelings and emotions of the people who lived it, but memories and personal words can.

I certainly never imagined living through another historic crisis less than 20 years later. I don’t know about you, but when COVID-19 was all over the news in China and Italy, I never once considered it actually being in the US. Naive? Yes. Nonetheless, here we are practicing social distancing, seeing our favorite businesses shut down indefinitely, living under a shelter-in-place order, and watching the number of cases and deaths within the United States rise daily. It’s fascinating. It’s scary. It’s surreal. It’s history happening in my own small part of this big world.

I started thinking about how this situation would be relayed to our future grandkids someday. They would read the medical facts. They might see photos of the nurses, doctors, grocery store workers, and first responders on the front lines of a pandemic. They might even see pictures of our empty grocery store shelves and laugh about all those who hoarded toilet paper. However, unless we all leave them something, will they ever really be able to grasp what we lived through? While my story may not seem as significant as someone working in a hospital or lying in a bed fighting for their life, it’s still part of this insanity that we’re all living. Enter in: our new “family quarantine journal.” 

Below are the resources I’m using to put this together. You can decorate it, have your littles add pictures, ask them one thing they’re grateful for every day, or one thing they had fun doing. Add in facts as the numbers grow and hopefully decrease. Maybe note how crazy you and your spouse made each other. Write about your home projects that you did on a whim out of boredom or how creative you had to get with meals because grocery stores were running out of everyday items. Have fun with it!

What you’ll need:

  • binder or folder
  • cardstock/paper 
  • 3-hole punch
  • glue stick
  • printer
  • time & creativity


Create a timeline of how events unfolded for your family:

Quarantine journal COVID-19 Timeline

Create daily quarantine journal pages:


Daily updates for Missouri cases: Facebook – Matthew Holloway

I also printed some information about the disease and included that as well – linked here. It’s just a way to show what has been learned about it so far. Can you imagine the new information that will be available by the time our kids open this binder with their own kids?!

Make this your own, get creative, and happy journaling with your family!

family quarantine journal binder