A few days ago, I did something I haven’t done in a long time. I visited our county library’s website. I have a friend who will be homeschooling her kindergarten age son, and I wanted to see how many books on her booklist would be available through our library system. As I began to search for different books, my mind was flooded with a sea of memories of homeschool days gone by. I read many, many books to my children when they were little(and when they were older too), and many of the titles and pictures of bookcovers that I viewed were very familiar. Sitting there remembering how I used to spend hours putting books on hold through the website, I suddenly became choked up, and a tear came to my eye. This year will be my last of homeschool.
I can honestly say that besides teaching my children about God, my favorite thing has always been reading out loud to them. Many years ago, I read a pamphlet written by a former homeschooled student entitled, “Hand That Rocks The Cradle.” This booklet contained an essay explaining the advantages and value of reading aloud to your children. It also gave an extensive list of quality classic children’s books along with book reviews on many of the books. Many of the books I selected to read to my children were based on this list. I have many fond memories of sitting in our living room and traveling through various historical eras and to different states, countries and regions via the simple vehicle called a book. Often I recall closing a book at the end of a chapter and announcing that I was done reading only to have one or both of the kids shout and plead for me to read more. I fully intended on it. I was just trying to gauge their interest level, and most times, I was just as interested, if not more than they were.
Reading outloud is a very simple way to “kill two birds with one stone” as the expression goes. Actually, you can kill more than 2 birds. Reading outloud often introduced the kids to new vocabulary words. Many of the books I read were somewhat over their heads, so we would often come across new words, providing me with a natural and almost effortless way to teach new vocabulary. As I would read outloud with expression in my voice, it provided the children with a model of how to read outloud themselves. Finally, the books that were read opened up many opportunites to teach great moral lessons as the kids would ask questions about “why so and so did what” and “how could that happen?”, etc. etc.
Every once in a while, I will give my children a little “book quiz”. I will ask them questions about identifying the person that made this quote or in what book did this event take place. They almost always will get the right answer. I was telling my daughter the other day that next to teaching the Bible, that reading aloud was my favorite part of homeschool. She was quick to say that that was her favorite part too.
So, I may be a little older now and not able to read outloud as much as I used to, but my son who is a senior is going to hear at least 2 more books before he graduates, and during the summer at a time when we’re all together, I will probably sneak in one of our family favorites. If I get to the point where I’m desperate to read, and there are no more kids around the house, well…………………I may have to rent a little one for a few hours. 🙂
Some of our favorite books
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
This Present Darkness
Piercing The Darkness
Island Of The Blue Dolphins
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle
Watch For Me, Wait For Me, Eula Bee
Call It Courage
What are some of your favorite books?