Words by: Jimmie Quick for BookShark, who is graciously sponsoring this post.
Because my daughter is moving to another state for her first after-college job, I’ve been decluttering and purging. As I was going through the few leftover homeschool items on the shelf, it was easy to toss the subtraction flashcards, the dogeared handwriting paper, and the old math practice problems written in her childish handwriting.
But the books. Those are different.
These novels that I read aloud to my daughter fifteen or more years ago still cause a strong wave of pleasant nostalgia to sweep over me.
- How can I get rid of Ginger Pye, the poignant story about the missing dog that made my daughter sob from heartbreak?
- How can I part with Charlotte’s Web, the book I read as a child myself? The story was sweeter when I read it as an adult and joined in my daughter’s laughter and wonder.
- And then there’s The Wheel on the School, the inspiration of a quote we still repeat when searching for something missing: “look where [it] could be and where it couldn’t possibly be.”
- By the Great Horn Spoon! and The Great Turkey Walk are keepers, too. Who knew American History could be taught through such hilarious novels?
Discarding these books from my daughter’s elementary homeschooling years would be akin to getting rid of old friends. Of course, over the years, I have downsized and donated, culling my bookshelves until a handful of precious children’s and YA books remain that I cannot (won’t!) part. The emotional pull is so tender and wistful.
This is the legacy of a literature-based homeschool curriculum—a library of books that elicit positive emotional triggers and hold shared family memories. It was one of the best choices I made for my homeschool for these four key reasons:
1. Emotional Connections Foster Empathy
When you immerse yourself in literature, you look at the world through the eyes of the characters. This ability to shift perspective is the very root of empathy. It doesn’t matter that the characters may be fictional; the emotional connection is honest and crosses over into real-life experiences.
Reading great books together exercises your children’s emotional literacy.
2. Shared Stories Nurture Family Bonds
What’s better than savoring an engaging mystery or enthralling adventure? It has to be sharing it with someone else who can discuss it and join in your excitement!
This communal nature of reading books aloud together generates strong family bonds and develops a unique family culture as you take the same literary journeys together.
3. Reading Together Is Effortless
Handwriting sometimes does elicit tears. Math can be a battle until you find the suitable methods and curriculum. Writing paragraphs and essays can be torture for some kids.
But, listening to a great book? That’s easy! It’s delightful and just plain fun.
4. Literature-based Learning Builds Academic Strength
And best of all, even though reading books together is so enjoyable, it’s a compelling way to give your children the academic foundations they need. When you read and discuss books with your children, they are building a variety of interconnected skills:
- vocabulary development
- an intuitive grasp of grammar and composition
- a sense of the scope of history
- critical thinking
- reading comprehension
Although these concepts can be taught in isolation through workbooks, contrived exercises, and textbooks, the literature-based, natural approach is more enjoyable. Why go the bland route of struggling and hamper their natural curiosity when you have an option that gets them excited about school?
If you’re still unsure that a lit-based approach truly works, maybe my experience will reassure you. My daughter was homeschooled from K-12 with a rich diet of great living books. She ended up with a full-tuition scholarship to a state university, where she graduated magna cum laude with a degree in a STEM field. She is now working in a laboratory, self-supporting and happy. Homeschooling with a literature-based curriculum works!
My story is only one example of how a literature-based homeschool gives kids what they need to excel. Thousands of other families have the same stories! Request a BookShark catalog to rewrite your family’s educational story with the best literature for children.
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