Thursday, June 25, 2015

Reading and Us in our Homeschool

I sometimes get asked questions on Reading, especially how to ignite the spark. I'll be honest, I don't know. I'm an avid reader and I somehow passed that down to my kids. I read to my kids in the womb, I read to them as week old babies, and as Middle school kids: I still read to them.. I took them to every library book reading, and anything else I could. The biggest thing I did, in my opinion, is that I read. Kids tend to mimic, what they see. My mother always said, "Monkey see, Monkey do."

 It was not as easy for Mini Him to be one. He has dyslexia, and by the time we pulled him from school, he had solved it by himself, well mostly, but was way below where his reading level should have been at that time. It is a work in progress, he says.. He's not perfect and has grammar, spelling issues and all the other issues associated with dyslexia (vocabulary is a big one). He reads levels above where he should be, and even if he didn't it still would be okay. We would rather he love reading than be forced to read and hate every minute. A love of reading,is a great way for him to continue to learn. That is what we is something we wanted to install in our children.

Mini Her on the other hand, left school at grade level, and last time we checked, she was way beyond. She likes to read in quiet places, like the bathroom for hours, if left unchecked. She sometimes goes to change clothes and hours pass. I have to laugh because it is something I did, and I still try to do. Since I did this, I sometimes may let her stay up, very late, and finish a book.

In fact, her newest punishment is not reading, except for school. It is very effective. I knew it may work, well, I may have had it a time or time.

 Here are a few of things we do for reading:

1. I let them pick what they want to read (also known as independent reading).  That one kind of explains itself. This is for school, which we require between 45-60 minutes each and every day.

2. I pick a book. We call it Book in a Box. I pick out a book and they are required to read it.(It goes into their school crate) I try to expand what they read into different genres, more difficult reading, etc. I have to say, we sometimes pick a new one for them, if they present a good argument on why they don't want to read the book in the box. They read this about 30-45 minutes when we school.

3. Book Discussions. We all read the same book and have a discussion about it. We take turns picking one to read and we read a certain amount at a time and discuss it. We have read nonfiction and fiction books for this. Since we read a certain amount of chapters at a time, the reading time will vary. I say we read between 30 minutes to 45 minutes a day. We sometimes blend it in with #4.

4. Read out loud: I will admit this is one we need to work on. We pick a book and take turns reading it out loud. Since they are pre-teen and teen, we all take turns. I try to do a chapter or two, but at this level of reading, it gets intense and sometimes it is more or less pages read. I would say 30 minutes a day. We still pick out props occasionally.

5. Classical books: I noticed we were all picking newer books and some of my childhood favorites. The "Tom Sawyer" and "Around the world in 80 Days" were collecting dust. We sometimes make it our read out loud, book discussion, or book in the box.

6. Books on a subject: We read many, many books on the subject we are studying. I think our African book list was around the 40-ish. I find the library a very, useful source. I think you can see from the list above we are there a lot. They know our names and probably, our card numbers required to check out the books..
7. I do a little Stewing on a table I have. Here is a link on the idea;
( I don't expect them to pick up and read everything I put out. I'm pleasantly surprised by who and what they pick up often(My husband picks things up and reads them. I guess it works at any age.. I use other places for different thing I strew but I always have a strewing book table.
*FYI: I consider us an "eclectic" style of family. We blend some many styles, I often want to say we are eccentric.*   

8. Subject of the month:  For some reason, this was all on our mind. We were talking about school, and it came around. We can pick anything, nonfiction or fiction.  All month long we will read books on that subject, watch movies, and hopefully find some art or craft to go with it. This month it is Dragons. Next month, we are doing Fairies. We will probably make something to pick out of each month.

 9. Interest: You would think with all this reading, we would not want to pick up books. I, myself, am reading three books at this moment. My son picked something to do with robotics the other day. My daughter picked up some books in a series she is reading.

10. Movies or TV shows based on a book or series. This is one of our newest things. We see a show, find out it is based on book, and then we read the book. Then we spend some time dissecting every little detail. There has not been many shows that end up better than the books.

Okay, I know you are looking at this list and the time we spend reading. All members in our family have medical issues. We spend lots of time at doctor appointments, doing test, having procedures, etc. That gives us lots of opportunities to read. We sometimes don't do all of the thing on the list, and sometimes we do. We are "eccentric" and just do what works for us.

I think that doing what works for you is the most important part of homeschool. There will be people who look at this and be inspired to do almost all. There also will be families that none of these ideas work for. It would also be beneficial to know my kids are in the middle school age. I can't imagine doing this in the preschool years or early elementary years.

I'm also just a mom who is homeschooling. I'm not an expert. I'm just doing what works for my family. I could pull up lots of articles I have read, but that still doesn't make me an expert.

Thank you for stopping in and reading part of our lives. My kids like to read so much, they read to their younger cousins. 


  1. I like that you allow your kids to pick their independent books,and how you teach them by certain selection.

  2. Thanks! As is everything, we go with what works.