That could pretty much be the entire blog post right there.
Read good books.
It seems too good to be true. Too simple. How can anything truly produce good results if it doesn’t make us want to pull our hair out from time to time?
While there is value in suffering – that’s for another time and place. Homeschooling shouldn’t bring about suffering each and every day! If it’s a constant battle of the wills, what exactly is that teaching our children?
Learning is a burden.
Learning for the sake of learning isn’t fun or fruitful.
If it doesn’t bring stress it isn’t worthwhile.
Don’t get me wrong, we are not blissfully happy with each other all the live long day. But we are not constantly butting heads either.
We do what works best for our family and our dynamics and we read! It starts with our Power Hour and goes throughout the day.
Reading good books increases vocabulary, empathy, and helps children experience situations they would never normally be able to experience. When they are reading good books, they will become better spellers and better writers.
Reading in a Large Family
Don’t be misled into thinking that we sit around quietly and everyone listens intently while I read. Perhaps that happens in some homes, but not ours. I often have to stop because kids are fighting or talking or just generally not paying attention. I have always let my kids draw, color, or play with other quiet toys while I read. As they are getting older sometimes I have them fold laundry!
I recently said “no more!” to Legos during reading time because that sound of the kids digging through the Lego bin was making me crazy and it’s certainly not very quiet.
Do what works in your house, but don’t think that if your children are sitting perfectly still all the time you are doing something wrong. You are not!
I also tend to tailor my reading selections to fit that of our oldest children, especially for our afternoon read aloud time. I believe my younger kids are picking up more than they realize and are also working on the habit of attention. Something all of us (myself included) in this “give it to me now” world need to work on.
Reading in a Special Needs Homeschool
Reading aloud with special needs children doesn’t really look all that different from reading in a house full of typical learners. The same applies as above, I can challenge my children to listen to books that are way above their own personal reading level. Even if they aren’t getting everything my older/typical kids are getting, it doesn’t mean it is a waste of time. I do though, make sure to spend time reading books that are closer to their level because even I still enjoy reading a great picture book!
What is a Good Book?
A good book is not twaddle. If you have read anything about Charlotte Mason you will know what Twaddle is and why you should avoid it. Twaddle is the stuff the seems to be more and more filling the shelves of our libraries. Occasionally my kids read twaddle. Sometimes those books do make their way home from the library, but I’m very careful about the books that I purchase. No twaddle.
After a while and after you say no to certain books again and again, your children will become more discerning about the types of books they want to spend time reading. Often I will let a twaddle book come home, we read it and then compare it to a good book. Slowly they are beginning to see the difference.
Start kids reading quality books from the beginning and it will pay dividends. But, it’s never too late to start!
Honestly, I’m still trying to figure this one out. My oldest is not a book fan. I don’t know how that can be as I did everything “right”. Growing up he always loved listening to books, he reads well, and has good reading comprehension, but now he finds books a “waste of time”. It’s like a dagger to this homeschooling mom’s heart!
However, my work around with him is audio books. It’s not cheating to listen to books. What different does it make if my kids listen to me read or to another person? Not one bit. Even now that he is in school when he has a book assigned I get him the audio book. Often he will follow along with the print version while he is listening to the audio version.
I’m hopeful he will come around and discover that books aren’t so bad. Until then I will keep gently encouraging.
Sometimes I still find audio books a bit mystifying. If you are in need of a good explanation as well as some recommendations to get you started, start with the audio section of Plumfield and Paideia.
Finding Good Books – Resources
My favorite resource for the whyÂ of reading good books and how it can truly change your homeschool, is Homeschool Made Simple from Compass Classroom. Carole Joy Seid is a breath of fresh air!
Read Aloud Revival Podcast – the podcast is free and there are always good reading suggestions to be found.