I love books. Are you with me? Chances are, if you’re a homeschool mom, books are as much a treasure to you as they are to me. Let’s face it. When a child learns to read, it opens up an entire world of knowledge to them.
Today I’m going to help you not to sabotage that. 🙂
One of the hardest things for us homeschool moms is to realize that you simply don’t have to replicate school in order to give your children a quality education. Unfortunately, that mentality is often all-encompassing and can potentially turn a child’s love for reading into a loathing of reading.
Take it from me. I’ve been there.
5 Common Reading Mistakes to Avoid in Your Homeschool
1. Focusing too much on reading/grade level books.
As a homeschool mom, of course we want to know where our kids are at with their reading skills. Regrettably, what often happens is we begin to rely too heavily on those “handy” little reading level labels on the back of many children’s books.
In fact, we can become obsessed with them.
In this case, I am going to give you the same advice I give people for using teacher’s manuals – avoid using them, except in the rarest of cases.
Instead of fretting over the fact that your 4th grader is interested in reading a 2nd grade level book, rejoice in the fact that they want to read at all.
Instead of discouraging your 3rd grader from reading a 6th grade level book because it will be “too hard” for them, let them give it a whirl. You’d be amazed at what a child can accomplish when they are genuinely interested in something. If by chance the book truly is too advanced for them, offer to read it to them as a read-aloud or, better yet, read it together with them, taking turns.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
2. Expecting a book report for every book or a summary for every chapter.
Look, I get it. You want to make sure your kids are fully understanding – and actually reading – their silent reading or assigned books, but I’m going to give this to you straight:
There is nothing that is going to make an older child hate reading more than expecting them to write about every single book or every single chapter.
Believe me, I know.
I am a bookworm. I am a writer. You’d think combining the two would be a ton of fun for me, but nope.
A while back, I used to write book reviews here on my blog in exchange for free books. Here’s something I learned very quickly:
Knowing that you’ll be expected to write about a book you’re reading completely sucks the enjoyment out of it. Even if you honestly like the book.
Some alternatives to book reports for every book or summaries for every chapter could be to:
- Simply talking to your child about the book. Have a conversation with them about it. Show a genuine interest in what they think about it without sounding like you’re interrogating them.
- Having them write occasional book reports or chapter summaries. That’s right. Occasionally. One piece of advice for this is to ask them to write the report or summary after they’ve finished reading it. Don’t even mention it beforehand. That way they will avoid feeling the potential dread of knowing they have to write about it and can thus enjoy it to the fullest.
- Ask them to keep a notebook for it. I strongly suggest that you would not have them do a notebooking page for their book every single day, but if that is what you prefer, give them a wide variety of choices in how they will notebook about it, such as writing comic strips, alternative endings, detailed illustrations of a scene, etc. Don’t expect a written summary every single time.
3. Not giving your kids a say in what they read.
I am fully aware of how tempting it can be to assign every book your child reads because there are so many fantastic books out there.
Your kids might not always agree with your choices, however.
Allowing your kids to choose their own books every now and then will not only show them that you trust their judgment in literature choices, but it’s likely to help them to enjoy the act of reading all the more.
4. Insisting upon using reading comprehension workbooks.
Ah, those time-worn reading comprehension workbooks.
The bane of my existence.
Have you ever actually read the selections in most of these resources? They are boring, longwinded, and completely irrelevant. As an adult, I have a hard time paying attention to these passages, yet we expect children to not only pay attention but to complete two to three pages of comprehension questions afterwards??
Please save your children from this. I’m going to refer back to #2 for suggestions on how to evaluate your child’s understanding of a book, because these workbooks? They are the pits.
5. Completely ruling out “twaddle.”
This is actually related to #3. While some homeschool moms may be more than willing to let their children choose some of their books, there are many who refuse to let their kids read anything that would be commonly referred to as “twaddle.”
What is twaddle? Simply put, it refers to books that might be considered “just plain silly,” and they’re not written quite as eloquently as what are considered living books.
While this description may be accurate of many books, let’s not discount the fact that it is a very rare book which doesn’t hold any value at all.
There is something to be learned from everything – twaddle or not.
A child who grows up in an environment that encourages a love of reading is a child who will have an endless number of possibilities of learning about the world around them. All we homeschool moms need to do is to take a step back and trust the process.
So enjoy the ride.
Homeschooling and education are my passion. It is my fervent hope to one day devote more time to creating content for you. If you’d like to support this ministry, consider supporting me on Patreon.
Thank you so much. I appreciate each and every one of you!