Lots of folk have asked us what we read as a family, and how and when we fit reading into the day. Then when they hear what we read they ask us if we do anything else… honestly not really!!! As our homeschooling journey goes on it becomes quite hard to figure out, what we are reading for school and what is for fun. I realise that while we just had our summer off, our reading schedule stayed the same as we wound our way through the year. The trick really is that our reading is broken into little bits throughout the day… and we read from all genres of books and all ages and stages. There is time for school reading during the morning and immediately after lunch we all spend time reading on our own. That time after lunch provides a bit of quiet time for all of us, which essential to our (read my) well being.
Family School Reading
We start our school day around the kitchen table after breakfast… we do some reading, and a couple of other things. Some books happen every single day and others once or twice a week. Everyday we have something biblical and something historical (and therefore geographical) to read.
Our bible themed book at the moment is a fabulous read… just a chapter a day. If your children wonder why you believe what you believe, or how to live in the world where there are more than a few theories of how the world began and each seems more elaborate than the last; where folk wonder about the truth of the bible and the historicity of it all… this book answers those questions in a way that you can understand the answers. It is packed with great questions, the sort of questions we might think we shouldn’t have about our faith and the sort of questions your children ask as they drift off to sleep and leave you up all night pondering. It has been a great read for myself and for them.
For family history this year we are reading the History of the World in a Thousand Objects (click on the link for a review). We are loving this book… we just read a page a day and leave it up on the kitchen counter for folk to pursue at their leisure.
Otherwise, on Mondays we pick a country of the week and mark it on our Map; on Tuesdays we read a Shakespeare Story, we absolutely love Shakespeare and have a Shakespeare day every week; on Wednesdays we look at South African Studies this year we are looking at our National Parks and Nature Study, you can’t beat the “My first books from Struik publishers for that; on Thursdays we read poetry and Afrikaans picture books from the Library; and Fridays we read something from the library pile that was strewn on the Coffee Table all week and needs returning.
Meal Time Reading
At lunchtime we read a christian biography, not always a kids biography, but always a good biography. I am all for reading great biographies, nothing beats real life stories for intrigue, and it adds a bit of history and geography to the mix. It also provides our children with a much bigger picture of the world than “their own” and gives them a chance to ponder at their place in the grand scheme of things. We just read David Livingston, from the Christian Heroes then and now series… it was a natural choice since I will be traveling a similar route in a couple of weeks.
Now that it is winter there is an evening lull between sundown and dinnertime and my kids naturally tend in from outdoors and gather at the kitchen table to work on projects or in their journals… filling things in, drawing or crafting. At that stage I put on an audio book while the day finishes up… I always look of the longest books and the fattest collections on audible, I am all about getting more for your buck. Right now we are listening to the stories of King Arthur…
And for desert a family chapter book at the end of the day, just one chapter (!)… we have had a long break from the Swallows and Amazons but are about to begin Winter Holiday…
And at bedtime the kids wind down with library books and I read library books to the little people, they each get se7en books a week from the library, which is perfect, a pict. So for my little guys that is a bedtime book a day. Everyone collapses on my bed and listens in, so it is really a couple of picture books before bed.
And that’s it… most of our reading together is snuck in at the end of meals when little people might still be lingering and before others dash off. Our kids have grown up around “being read too…” it is not a new habit that we suddenly began to cultivate. Perhaps because they don’t remember a time when reading wasn’t part of their lives it is easier to just read and read. Whatever, this is what works for us and how we fit heaps of reading into our day, it really is snippets piled up on top of each other.