All the greatest minds in the world are in books. Amazingly, we have access to all of them! This is quite reassuring as a homeschool mom! There is no special formula to learning that somehow the formal school system has codified. They read books! They assign books to be read! Even at the collegiate level. We have all we need here at home to learn about all the grandest ideas and concepts. If I can build a homeschool around the love of books I have done my job!Something I’m most concerned about at the preschool level is motivation. I want my children to develop an absolute love for books and learning. That way, at the secondary level they have the desire to use the tools at their disposal to soak in all of the concepts available to them!SO we are reading as often as we can in the most leisurely and enjoyable ways possible! We are building our family culture around books that will carry us through the school years and develop into life long learning.Here is a comprehensive list of HOW!
What we bring into our home reflects what we value. And children are keen to notice. Mine know that we value books because they are everywhere. Our reading nest- This is where we gather every morning and every afternoon to pour over books. It’s an inviting comfortable space with cozy pillows, books at their level, and small things for them to do with their hands as they listen to read-alouds.Bed book baskets- each child has a basket in their beds and a flashlight so that they can spend their own time pouring over books!Relevant materials- Whether its an art project, nature study, or block building I try to set up corresponding books with relevant material to add ideas and insight to their work.
color mixing session
clay work building beetles
swamp sensory play
Limited screen time– This one is huge. I think even as adults we’d rather be watching TV. I’m the worst! And it starts with me. I implemented a rule for myself a while ago that I would only be on my phone during nap and when the kids are asleep. That’s been a huge change. Not only do I engage them like I should, they have a model for what an “unplugged” life looks like. We only watch one 30 minute show each day while the girls eat lunch (other than family movie night). If we want a family culture around books we must push back and set limits. I think adults and children naturally choose TV over books! My kids choose to read, play outside, build blocks, and paint pictures because screen time is not an option.Carved Out Time
What we spend our time doing reflects what we value. If I carve out large or many parts of the day around reading my children recognize that its something I place value upon.Morning basket- each morning we gather in the reading nest (or outside on a picnic blanket!). We pray, recite memory verses, read through the gospels and pour over book after book. We eat breakfast and draw. The girls take turns choosing a book. They love to take over and “read” either books they have memorized or they “read” the pictures. This is our largest reading session.Tea time- When the girls wake from nap we drink tea in the reading nest and typically read something more classical like Beatrix Potter! The girls adore this time.Frequent the library- We visit the library weekly. We go there to play and meet friends but we love to browse and bring new books home.Bonus
Audio books- This is new one in our home and it’s added so much to our lives. We love to take them in the car and read them over and over again! I made sure to get the picture books with the disk so the girls have physical copies to follow along with. I also grabbed the books that had two copies so that each child could follow along in their carseat. Some of the tracks actually ring a small bell to indicate when to turn the page!!Authoring stories- Every so often the girls and I will write a story together! The last one was about a Princess named Powgee who gets swallowed up by a bad guy named Purdo Gurdo! We later added in illustrations. I laminate each book and add them to our book shelves. The girls love reading the books they’ve written.
Storytelling- This doesn’t happen often because it’s a lot to set up but we have a story telling basket with figurines and props to help us retell a story after we have read it. This goes really well with stories we’ve read over and over.
Encourage pre-reading- When the girls ask to take over the read-aloud I always say yes! And I never correct. Sometimes they read from memory and sometimes they read the pictures (a lot of times its verbatim the text). But what they “read” doesn’t matter. What matters is that they see themselves as readers.Take books on vacation- We always bring a basket of books on vacation. Whether they get read or not. They are a part of our lives!
Build your library- We check out books from the library! You can keep them for 3 weeks but you can renew for around a year or more. We’ve had around 40 books for 6 months. We have a running list of books we MUST own when we return ours. The library is a great way to have many books for free and to find the gems you must own forever.Tips
Tip 1) Start small and take on one new habit at a time. I accumulated all of these habits one at a time over months and months. I’d start with screen time and the library! Tip 2) Keep the same books for a long time and read them over and over!Tip 3) Read the author and illustrator, the kids will have them memorized and so will you for finding new good books.Tip 4) Give those little hands something to do while you read. They retain so much while eating/drawing/playing. You will be amazed.Tip 5) Have fun!!! If it’s just not working. STOP. Try again later. Reading used to be a source of frustration in our home until I slowly changed our habits. I wouldn’t force it. Don’t do that!For more encouragement/ideas/book-lists go to read aloud revival! I’m pretty sure Sarah coined the phrase “building your family culture around books” and I just love her.
May we do all things to connect with and learn from each other ✨