5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials, #3: Books, Books, and More Books
(This week several members of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew are giving everyone a glimpse into their daily lives by sharing “5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials.” )
It seems so obvious, I know, but that’s why because it’s so essential. After God and my husband, books are up there near the top of my list when it comes to the essentials of homeschooling. The thing that makes books so important is that they are bridges to any information we might want to learn. When seeking knowledge about something, we can almost always find a book that will help us learn more about it. A love of reading means any gaps that might remain in our children’s education when they graduate (and there will be gaps!) can be filled in if ever the need arises because our children know where to go to find the answers.
One of the keys to successful homeschooling is nurturing a child’s natural love of learning, and I can think of no better way to do that than to introduce them to the wonder of books. The best way to do that is to read to them, and to do it often. My husband was rather amazed at first by how often I pulled out books for Ian when he was a baby. He hadn’t grown up reading a lot or loving books the way most of my family did. It didn’t take long, however, for him to see how much Ian loved them. Eric quickly caught on to the fact that books were a great way to grab some quality time with our children. And now not a day goes by that he doesn’t read to each and every one of them. (Well, our 4-month old probably doesn’t get it every day, but the other three do, and I’ve seen Nicholas getting his share of book time with Daddy as well.) Every night as the boys head to bed, they go browsing through our library looking for a story for Daddy to read to them and books to look at in bed until they fall asleep. Consequently their beds regularly look like mini-libraries. I don’t know how they manage to sleep like that but they do, and I’m so glad they share my love of books that I don’t make an issue of it. All three of our older children love books, and if all we do for schoolwork some days is read aloud, I still consider it a successful day.
Many people rely on libraries to supply books for their homeschool, but, while I do utilize our local library at times, personally I love having books at close range to grab when my children ask a question. The other night the house was all abuzz after I had seen a mouse scurry across our kitchen. (A first for me. Don’t get me started.) As Eric and I were trying to figure out where it had gone and where to set traps, I heard Ian calling from the school room, “What do you call a mouse?” At first I was completely baffled as to what he was getting at with that question, but then I saw that he searching the section of our bookshelves with animal books, particularly the “About _____” series by Cathryn and John Sill . “Oh! They’re called rodents. Do you see a book on that?” He immediately found About Rodents and proceeded to curl up on the couch and read the entire thing out loud. He was just disappointed it didn’t have more information in it. It’s a great introductory series, but it’s not the place to go when you have lots of questions. Still, I love that he remembered those books (we’ve pulled them out several times, including when we read The Salamander Room and The Grouchy Ladybug) and knew right where to go when he wanted to find out more about an animal.
He goes to our shelves frequently to satisfy his thirst for knowledge, and I love that we can structure our school day around his interests. I often say that I homeschooled myself as a child in the hours when I wasn’t in a public school classroom. I just always loved to learn, and I was continually picking a subject and devouring books on it to educate myself. When I met several homeschool families as a teenager, I was so jealous that they got to do that same thing and call it their schoolwork, while I had to do both. What a blessing that my children can enjoy such freedom in their education!
I can’t imagine trying to homeschool without books. Thank goodness for my husband, who accepts my walls of books without complaint! And thank goodness for local libraries, for when I get a chance to plan ahead and want to supplement our studies without breaking our budget!
In case you missed them, here are links to my other posts in this series so far:
Click on the picture below to see what the rest of Crew is blogging about this week!
Or if that list is too daunting, get started with these blogs:
Marcy @Ben and Me
Lisa @ Golden Grasses
Tess @ Circling Through This Life
Victoria @ Homemaking with Heart
Kayla @ The Arrowood Zoo
Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
Melissa @ Grace Christian Homeschool
Beth @ Ozark Ramblings
Rebecca @ Raventhreads