Wednesday, August 14, 2019

10 Benefits of Literature-Based Homeschooling

10 Benefits Literature Based Homeschool


It is good for the brain!  Research has shown time and time again that reading to children improves the parent-child bond and increases language skills - including visual imagery, vocabulary and comprehension!


Books are more fun than textbooks and workbooks.  Have you ever met an interesting textbook?  Did you really enjoy all comprehension questions and fill-in-the-blank worksheets?  No?  Me either.  Living books, however, are full of real people, excitement, emotion!  A story sticks with us much more than a bullet point list from a textbook!


Real books increase attention spans.  Think about the studying you did with a textbook.  You probably had to re-read sections, take notes, highlight passages . . . all to force yourself to remember the material.  How often do you find yourself doing that with a novel?  With real books, following the narrative is almost intuitive; we tend to absorb stories without much effort!  When we're reading longer books over a period of time, we must continuously recall the previous parts of the story, and our minds are working to connect the differnet elements and layers of the story, to make meaning of the events and to predict what's coming next.  When some plot twist happens, we suddenly have that moment where exclaim "Oh that makes sense now!"


You can cover almost every subject with a book!  If you know how to hunt down quality living books, you can find "spines" for subjects like history, and supplement with excellent biographies.  You can learn about faraway places through beautifully written travel stories.  Nonfiction science books written in literary form are also plentiful!  You can supplement your composer stories and picture studies with well-written biographies.  Living Math is a website dedicated to helping you explore mathematical concepts in real ways, and includes many math readers!  Life of Fred is an entire math curriculum written in story form that seems to be very popular!  If you're a Charlotte Mason homeschooler, you probably know how vocabulary is not a random list of words to define, but  is learned organically as part of the bigger story.

Literature can bring together multiple ages!  If you read aloud to the family, everyone can enjoy the same story at their own level. CS Lewis said "No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally - and often far more - worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond."  Children can comprehend books at a higher level when you read aloud to them, and everyone takes away from the story what is important and meaningful to them.



A literature based homeschool can be nearly free. A library card can get you lovely picture books, classics, historical fiction, non-fiction, reference books, audio books and access to so much more!  Books in the public domain are also easily found online for free as ebooks, or audiobooks at places like librivox.org!  Here's my list of Free {or inexpensive} Audiobook Resources for Homeschooling.


You don't need a lesson plan.  You can just pick excellent books and read, read, read!  You can follow a general scope and sequence, but you can make your own schedule and follow your own desires!


There are excellent literature-based programs available!  If you do desire a curriculum, you can find one!  There are Charlotte Mason programs, CM-inspired programs, and others that just use literature as a starting point.  Almost all of them will help you identify the best of children's literature and give you a game plan for exposing your children to great ideas through living books!  These are my favorite resources, though there are many more available:

Ambleside Online - Full Charlotte Mason curriculum, and it's FREE!
Five in a Row - my favorite go-to for picture books, and a lovely curriculum in its own right!
Beautiful Feet Books  - great history selections, with a few other subjects as well!
Simply Charlotte Mason - Full history curriculum, and many science and literature suggestions!
Sabbath Mood Homeschool - Science booklists and curriculum following the CM method


You can inspire "non-readers" to read more with the right books!  I have one son in particular that doesn't particularly care about reading, but is highly interested in comic books and movies.  I've picked up biographies on people like Stan Lee and George Lucas, as well as decent graphic novels on topics of interest.  We're planning to read at least one Shakespeare play this year written as a graphic novel--more if I can find them in original language!  Since he loves movies, movie night is a reward for a book well read!


Living books speak to you!  They are the classics, the well-written books that you treasure because they opened your eyes to something special, or they made you understand a person's motives or appreciate a moment in time.  These books help us make connections between our lives and what's going on in the world.  They are the books that engage the heart, the mind, the soul!







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