I’m a book hoarding, classics loving, library visiting, book worm, homeschooling mama who loves a good book list more than just about anything! You might be surprised however, that I don’t have any required or assigned reading lists for my children in our homeschool.
What? No assigned reading? Won’t my children only read comics, Disney books, or not at all? Don’t you have to make your children write book reports so that they can learn? That hasn’t proven to be the case around here, in fact, it’s just the opposite!
Here’s why I don’t do assigned reading and book reports in our homeschool:
I don’t want to kill the love of reading
Nothing makes children (or me, ahem) despise something like requiring them to do it. Ever notice how your 2 or 3 year old just loves to help you clean the bathroom or empty the dishwasher, but your eight year old, not so much?
I’m really serious about wanting my kids to love reading, and I want to fan the flames I see growing, not extinguish them.
I think learning happens best when the learner is inspired
This isn’t to say that I let my children choose the content of their education. Not at all! But handing a child a book (or a list of books!) and saying, “Here, read this and write a report” is surely not going to produce the type of learner I hope to nurture.
So, how do I ensure that my children are properly inspired? By providing them with a constant supply of quality and applicable reading (and listening!) material.
We have weekly library visits, and my children are allowed to choose as many books as they like, while I choose the books I would like them to read. You know what? A lot of what they choose is fluff or “twaddle”. Much of it is not what I would prefer. The interesting thing is though, that they quickly chew up those less satisfying choices and then hunger for the better choices. These “better choices” they find conveniently placed in our book basket beside a comfy chair. It’s pretty rare that I’m returning books I’ve chosen for them to the library unread.
I don’t have to
This is really the biggest reason of all — I just don’t have to. My oldest is begging for good books. I just can’t keep enough available for her. As long as I entice her with a steady supply, she’s more than happy to read just about anything I put in front of her. I’ve even had to hide books from her if I wanted to save them for a particular lesson!
So far, setting the feast of learning with a wide selection of good books and ideas has been all that is required to keep my children hungering for and feeding on excellent choices — which has left this mama very satisfied!
I’m not sure how this will play out in the years to come, but for now I’m glad that I haven’t bought into the idea that my young children need to read a list of pre-chosen books in order to learn. The day for assigned reading is coming I know, but for the time being, I’m going to keep myself warm and cozy as I watch the fire that is growing within them!
I just started assigned reading in the last few months. We are studying New France, and there were a lot of historical fiction books that my kids needed to read to really connect with the people of the time. It’s worked well – they love to read and gladly took on the books in addition to their own choices – both good ones and twaddle too. 🙂
I can see that this time will come for us eventually too — but for now, I have a “learning basket” for all the history/science/etc themed books and my oldest ends up reading most of them anyways. She thinks that it’s her choice so I’m just going with it for now 😉
excellent choice I think.
I had to assign a 20 minutes you must read aspect to my son’s day or he simply wouldn’t read, electronics being more important to him. But now he reads because he can, and that’s, in my eyes, a very good thing. But I haven’t assigned him reading at this point either (though this year that might change)
Up until this past year I didn’t even have to tell my daughter she had to read at all — but she loves reading and I often have to tell her to STOP reading LOL! It sounds so wrong, doesn’t it?
Thanks for commenting Annette!