About Build Your Library Curriculum

Build Your Library – secular homeschool curriculum, literature based – building young minds, one book at a time!

Have you been looking for a literature based homeschool curriculum that is secular? How about a way to incorporate narration, copywork, dictation and memory work into your child’s education? Or art study that ties into history? What about a secular science that is mostly literature based in the elementary years? Well, you have come to the right place! Welcome to Build Your Library Curriculum!

I am a homeschool mother, not unlike you. I spent years searching for a curriculum that fit my needs, and having to tweak each program to death to make it work for my family. Then one day, I realized it would be simpler to just write my own program. That is when Build Your Library was born. I thought I must not be the only one looking for a literature based program that was also secular. So I set to work to create a homeschool curriculum that would fit many needs.

I wanted a curriculum that was rich in great literature, not just old fashioned tomes, but modern children’s literature as well.  I wanted a curriculum that was history based but didn’t drown you in historical fiction. I wanted to make narration a priority, but in a way that was fun and easy. A curriculum that took passages from the books you and your child are reading and turned them into copywork in the elementary years and dictation at the middle school level.  I wanted to incorporate art study that was connected to history and included fun art projects. And I wanted to include science – literature based in the elementary years, and I use Elemental Science’s logic stage program in the middle school years.  It was a tall order – but our children are worth it.

I hope you will try out a program and join the Build Your Library family, – building young minds, one book at a time!

Current Full Grade Level Products Available for Purchase –
Kindergarten – Grade 1 – Grade 2Grade 3Grade 4 – Grade 5 – Grade 6
Grade 7Grade 8

Current Unit Studies – Supplemental Educational Products Available for Purchase
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s StoneHarry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsHistory of ThanksgivingA Jan Brett Christmas Winter Holidays Around the World –  The HobbitDarwin and EvolutionSharks! – World War IIPrehistory

Other Educational Products –
Narration Cards
  Book of Centuries and Timeline Figures

 

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Tips for Teaching Multiple Grade Levels

Multiple Grade LevelsOne of the challenges when homeschooling more than one child, is figuring out how to juggle different grade levels. One of the questions I’m most frequently asked is how to use one grade level with multiple ages.  If you have children who are relatively close in age (less than a 4 year gap), then combining them into the same content-based subjects is the easiest method for handling multiple ages. You can easily use one Build Your Library grade level with 2 or more children.  I have addressed this in a previous blog post: Can I Combine My Children in One Program?

But what if you have a wider age gap? Or children with wildly different interests? If combining just won’t work in your situation, you will have to adjust to doing 2 different levels at the same time. But this is not impossible! I have a 11th grader, two 8th graders and a 1st grader this year. While I have often combined my 3 eldest children, I didn’t this year, and my youngest is doing her own level apart from everyone else too. I’m going to share some tips with you today to help you teach multiple levels without losing your mind!

Streamline your curriculum. We live in a time of great abundance when it comes to homeschooling resources. It is easy to over do it. And when you are teaching several grade levels, curriculum overload can quickly get out of hand! Whenever possible, make your life easier by using curriculum that is reusable and that can multitask. Build Your Library covers quite a few bases, for example, teaching literature, history, science, language arts and art. The more you can get our of a resource, the better!

Get organized. Since you are going to have to deal with different grade levels, you need to look ahead to be able to see what you will be reading each day, materials you’ll need, etc. I like to print out a week at a time and keep those schedules and notes in my Mom binder. I keep a piece of paper in the front where I can jot down notes about things I need for the week, field trip possibilities, needed supplies, etc. If you aren’t a paper person, you can do the same thing on your computer using something like Evernote or Google Calendar. The idea is to stay a week ahead so you can keep all your ducks in a row.

Be flexible. This goes along with staying organized – sometimes you get behind, or the book you needed to check out at the library is already checked out. Sometimes kids get sick, or you have unexpected company, or a fun field trip opportunity randomly presents itself.  Homeschooling tends towards chaos. When you know that, you can plan around it. Expect the unexpected, and leave some wiggle room in your schedule.

Stagger your day. When you are teaching 2 – 3 children, you need to plan your day so that everyone has something to do. I generally do the family read aloud at breakfast. Then I work with my 8th graders, and go over their day while my high schooler does her courses online (she’s studying with an online high school this year). My youngest gets dressed and has a quiet activity until her turn. While the 8th graders are working on their independent work (math, reading, writing assignments), I sit down and work on lessons with my 1st grader. Because she is young I still need to sit with her the whole time, but we also only do about an hour of lessons at her age, so we can generally get all of her work done while her siblings are working on their independent work.

It sounds like it would take all day to teach 3+ separate lessons, but for the most part, we are finished by 1 PM, leaving our afternoons open for other activities. For example: I am studying Grade 1 with my youngest and Grade 8 with my twins. At breakfast I’ll read the Grade 8 read aloud with everyone, then while the girls are occupied with other activities, I’ll read a chapter from Story of Science, or a reading from our history text and go over any activities we’ll be doing later in the day. I’ll hand out their checklists and send them off to do their work. While they are working, I’ll sit down with my 1st grader and we’ll do her school work. I save her read aloud for last to give my voice a break. Sometimes I’ll do it at bedtime if we’re having an an especially trying day. The only way this works is if I break up the time I spend reading aloud throughout the day. Otherwise I’d go hoarse very quickly!

Use checklists to inspire independence. I have been writing out daily checklists for my older children for years. It only takes a few minutes to write them out, but then they can easily see exactly what’s expected of them each day. I just check in a few times a day to make sure everyone is staying on task. I wish I could say that my children were disciplined enough and always stayed on task,but they are not. Some of my children are chronic dawdlers. Some of them are easily distracted. But having checklists makes it much easier for me to just point to the next assignment and get them moving. I made a video about how I do our checklists:

Stick to a routine. This goes along with everything else I’ve already said and it might feel a bit redundant to say it here. But sticking to a reliable plan most days will make homeschooling multiple ages that much easier. When everyone knows what they are supposed to be doing, even if that routine is very simple: read aloud at breakfast, math after getting dressed, science after lunch…that’s enough to keep your days flowing smoothly. I like to peg activities that I want to make sure happen on activities that always happen. That’s why I read aloud at breakfast every day. We’re all sitting at the table, everyone is occupied in a quiet activity, so it makes sense to read to them at that time. Maybe you could peg narrations to the time you are folding the laundry. Or if you have an infant or toddler who naps, you might peg messy art projects or serious school work that requires concentration and quiet to that time. Having a basic daily routine can be the thing that saves your homeschool from burning out.

Plan your meals. This doesn’t sound like it has anything to do with teaching multiple ages, but trust me on this one. If you have dinner planned ahead, you are going to save yourself so much stress. There is nothing worse than the 4 PM panic of figuring out what you are going to make for dinner. It can be as simple as sitting down at the beginning of the week and making a list of meals, or as elaborate as doing a month of freezer cooking in advance. Find what works for you and stick to it.

Delegate chores. When Mom is stressed out, everyone is stressed out. And a messy house is a great way to make Mom stressed! If you are trying to homeschool, meal plan AND clean the entire house on your own – that is a recipe for burn out. You can’t do everything! Delegate chores to your children – even the 7 year old can help fold and put away laundry or wipe down the kitchen table. When everyone helps, the job becomes that much easier, and it frees up time for you to read, plan lessons, or just have a moment to yourself.

Teaching multiple ages doesn’t have to be an impossible challenge. When it gets overwhelming, take a minute to remember why you are doing this in the first place, and then evaluate and figure out why you are so overwhelmed. With a little discipline, you can smoothly sail through your days using more than one level of curriculum.

Do you have any tips or tricks that make your days run smoother? Please share them in the comments! I’d love to make this an even better resource for the frazzled homeschooling mother!

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It’s Time for the Annual Spring Sale!

New Spring Sale picSpring is taking hold finally – the air is warmer, the trees are starting to bud, and flowers are beginning to bloom. It’s my favorite time of year, not only for the weather, but because it’s also time to start thinking ahead to the new school year!

Which means it is the perfect time to buy Build Your Library curriculum, because we’re having our Spring Sale! For the next two weeks (April 1 – 15) you can take 20% off your entire purchase. So whether you were planning on buying a full year program or just wanted to try out a unit study or two to test the waters, you’ll want to shop the sale!

Just use the code: SpringFling at checkout and we’ll take 20% off your entire order. It’s that simple!

Check out Build Your Library’s full year curriculum guides – Kindergarten – Grade 1 – Grade 2Grade 3Grade 4 – Grade 5 – Grade 6 Grade 7  – Grade 8

Now is also a great time to dive into one of our unit studies! We have a wide variety of units ranging from literary titles (The Hobbit, The Harry Potter series) to science (Darwin and Evolution, Sharks) to History and Holidays (Prehistory, WWII, The History of Thanksgiving, Winter Holidays, Jan Brett Christmas). There is something for everyone!

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Charlotte Mason in the Secular Homeschool

Secular Charlotte Mason

 “I am, I can, I ought, I will.”*

UnknownIf you’ve been homeschooling for any amount of time, chances are you’ve heard the name Charlotte Mason. She has made quite a name for herself in the modern homeschool movement, despite the fact she lived over a hundred years ago. Charlotte Mason (1842 – 1923) was a British educator who advocated for improving the quality of education for children. She promoted the idea of a “liberal education for all” not just those of a certain social class.

If you’ve ever searched for Charlotte Mason inspired curriculum or information, you probably found a variety of resources that were nearly all Christian in nature. While it may appear that the Charlotte Mason method of home education is not compatible with a secular lifestyle, I strongly disagree. Even though many of her ideas were based on Victorian era Christian ideals, her education methods can and should be used in any homeschool today – secular or not.

“Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.”

When I first began homeschooling my eldest child several years ago, I discovered Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophy. I was drawn to the idea of educating with living books, so now much of what I do is based on this foundation of teaching. But it’s more than just reading beautiful literature. It’s creating a unique atmosphere of learning. Load your bookshelves with the best literature you can find. Hang beautiful, thought-provoking art work around your house. Watch history and science documentaries as well as good movies and television programs. Listen to beautiful music (which, of course, is open to interpretation). Filling my home with beauty and grand ideas is one of the best ways that I have found to inspire my children with the best ideas the world can offer. And you can too.

“The question is not, — how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education — but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?” 

There are many basic tenants of the Charlotte Mason method of education that I feel you should try to incorporate into your daily homeschool routine.

Living Books

20150223_112258Literature is the foundation of the Charlotte Mason philosophy of education. Rather than studying from dry, formal textbooks, your children will be immersed in lovely prose and vivid writings from authors who care deeply about their subject matter. A living book is one that evokes emotion and draws you deeply into the story. Living books offer much for thoughtful contemplation, not just simply providing information to the reader.

The majority of Charlotte Mason websites, books, and curricula available on the market today focus on Victorian era literature. While those books are quite lovely and can be valuable resources – there have been literally thousands of books written since 1923 that beg to be explored and appreciated. These wonderful books are just as worthy of yours and your child’s time. A few suggestions such as: The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, One Crazy Summer , Phineas Gage: A True Story About Brain Science and George vs. George: The American Revolution as Seen from Both Sides are not to be missed.

Living books appeal to all ages – they aren’t childish and they don’t have to be compartmentalized by grade level. You can read them aloud to your whole family, and everyone will get something from it. In a Charlotte Mason style homeschool, replacing your uninspiring textbooks with fascinating and well written literature and non-fiction will bring your studies to life.

You can learn more about living books: Thoughts on Living Books and Charlotte Mason 101: Living Books

 

Copywork and Dictation

“Perfect Accomplishment.–– I can only offer a few hints on the teaching of writing, though much might be said. First, let the child accomplish something perfectly in every lesson––a stroke, a pothook, a letter. Let the writing lesson be short; it should not last more than five or ten minutes. Ease in writing comes by practice; but that must be secured later.” 

20150727_141210Copywork and dictation form the backbone of language arts in the Charlotte Mason method. In the beginning, copywork doubles as handwriting practice, and focuses on the neat and careful handwriting of single letters, then words and finally sentences. Once your child is comfortably writing full sentences, choose beautiful passages from the literature you are reading for them to copy. This is “killing two birds with one stone,” in that you are working on their best penmanship, but also filling your child’s thoughts with grand ideas and exposing them to examples of good writing. Consider this learning to become a good writer by osmosis. If your children are immersed in a world full of living books and lovely thoughts, they will also learn what good writing looks like and therefore, learn to write well.

When students become proficient at writing, you can begin dictation (usually around the age of 10). Dictation is similar to copywork, in that you will still choose beautiful passages of literature. But the difference is that instead of just copying the words in front of them, you will read the passage aloud for them to transcribe. This gives them the opportunity to take those passages of good literature and work on learning the mechanics of writing, such as where to place the commas, end punctuation, grammar, and spelling. This cultivates the skills of observation (they must study the passage first), listening, comprehension skills, and learning proper sentence structure.

Learn more about copywork and dictation: How to Teach Copywork  and How Does Dictation Work?

Narration

DSC03633Narration is the basis for composition in a Charlotte Mason style homeschool. It takes the place of reading comprehension quizzes, inane discussion questions and tedious book reports. Narration is simply retelling, in their own words, what they have read or heard. Children naturally want to tell us about things they saw, heard or watched, so narration is a natural extension of that. Ask your child to tell you what they remember after a reading. By telling it back to you, they will recall more clearly and for a longer period of time. It is essentially an oral composition exercise. They will have to focus their attention on the reading, then organize their thoughts and learn to express themselves clearly and coherently. To keep it interesting, narration can also take the form of creative assignments, such as creating a skit, a piece of art, or a short story – all based on the reading.

Once your child gets older and has been narrating orally for a while, begin written narrations. The method is the same, but now they put their thoughts into writing. Again, to keep it interesting and not merely writing a summary of the reading every time – they can create a character journal, write a letter to the author, conduct an interview with a character, all while developing the skills of literary analysis. Coach them early on, and watch as they naturally pickup better writing skills on their own.

Learn more about Narration: What is Narration?  You can learn about Build Your Library’s exclusive Narration Cards here.

Nature Study

“This is all play to the children, but the mother is doing invaluable work; she is training their powers of observation and expression, increasing their vocabulary and their range of ideas by giving them the name and the uses of an object at the right moment,–when they ask, ‘What is it?’ and ‘What is it for?'”

20151213_115955In Charlotte Mason’s day, nature study was the only science students would study before high school. In Victorian times, there wasn’t much of a need for the average student to deeply study science. It was only necessary to grasp a basic understanding about the immediate world around them such as local flora and fauna. To them, keeping a nature journal was more than just a scientific study, but a piece of artwork with beautiful plants and animals hand-drawn or painted in great detail.
In our modern world, it can feel like nature study is unnecessary. Why bother, when there are more important and interesting sciences to study? But nature study has many benefits that are too important to be overlooked. By getting outside and experiencing the natural world, your child will develop observational skills, a keen sense of wonder, and a desire to deepen their scientific knowledge.

It may be easier to just stay indoors and watch a nature documentary on television, but our children also need the experience of seeing it in the real world and become a part of nature, and own the knowledge by collecting it themselves.

So how do you do it? You can get out once a week for a nature walk, learn the names of all of the plants in your neighborhood, go on a hike or walk along a nature trail once a month, visit a nature reserve or state park, choose a tree in your yard to study for a year, put out a feeder and observe the local birds, or choose a few insects to collect and study. The Nature Connection by Clare Walker Leslie is an excellent resource to get you started.

Learn more about Nature Study: Nature Study Tips and Tricks

Short and Varied Lessons

At first mention, short lessons sound somewhat fishy to most people. Considering that most children spend upwards of 6 – 8 hours of their day in school then a couple additional hours working on homework – how can short lessons be a good thing? But the idea of short lessons is such an important aspect of Charlotte Mason’s method, and if used correctly, we cannot overlook it.

“You want the child to remember? Then secure his whole attention.”

Short lessons allow you to keep your child’s attention focused. Remember back to those hour long lectures you would sit through in school – it was inevitable that your mind would wander. Charlotte Mason suggested that a better way would be to spend a powerful 20 – 30 minutes engaging your child’s mind. Rather than completing a page of 50 math problems, assign 10 and be sure your child can do them well. There is no meaningless busy work in this method of education.

Instead of watching the clock and spending an hour on math, an hour on history, and an hour on language arts – spend some time focusing your child’s whole attention on those 10 math problems. When they are done, read a chapter from your history book and add something to your timeline or label a blank outline map. Then spend some time outside in nature. Upon coming indoors, you both go off to do some independent reading for 30 minutes. Short lessons discourage dawdling and encourage your child to give their best effort. Your formal lessons can be completed by noon, and the afternoons can be filled with errands, art, or just leisurely pursuing your passions.

“The end result of a Charlotte Mason education is the children find knowledge so delightful that it becomes a pursuit and source of happiness for a lifetime.”

At first glance, Charlotte Mason’s methods of education may appear old-fashioned and overly religious, a philosophy of her time period that shouldn’t fit into our modern, technology driven world. It would be easy to dismiss, but the core of the method is still very worthwhile in a modern, secular homeschool. You don’t need to follow her original reading lists, or even follow the method strictly in order to give your child the best possible education. Just fill their environment with beautiful and worthy ideas, spend time out of doors exploring the natural world and pursuing their passions. Give your child a world full of heroes and myths, big thoughts to think about and things to fall in love with, ideas to ponder and inspire them. That is the best education possible – one in which they see learning as a life-long pursuit and not something that must be done within the “schooling hours” each day.

Learn how to put it all together: Literature-Based Learning: Creating  a Rhythm to Your Days

The Build Your Library curriculum is a perfect example of a modern approach to Charlotte Mason’s methods of education. For more information about our secular Charlotte Mason based homeschool curriculum, please see our About Build Your Library page and further explore our webpages.

I hope you will try out a program and join the Build Your Library family, – building young minds, one book at a time!

*All bolded quotes are from Charlotte Mason’s writings: Charlotte Mason’s Original Homeschooling series

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Happy Darwin Day!

Today is Darwin Day, a day to celebrate scientific ingenuity and bravery. Charles Darwin was just one of many scientists who strove to change the way people think about the world.

Charles-Darwin-Evolved-Marketing-Leader1

Here are some tips to help you kick off your own Darwin Day celebration!

There is a wealth of information about Darwin and evolution at the Darwin Day website. You can learn about Darwin’s life, as well as find links to many different websites and documentaries to learn more.

What better  time to begin using the Build Your Library Darwin and Evolution unit study! Teach your child all about the Theory of Evolution, as well as the origin of the Earth and the life of Charles Darwin. In this comprehensive, multi-age unit study, I have scheduled 8 books to help you explain these ideas to your children. They will create a huge Timeline of Life, journey around the globe with Darwin on the HMS Beagle, become a naturalist and study the world around them, learn about fossils and make their own, and much more.  While this study is best suited for children in 4th – 8th grade, I have scheduled several books for younger students and many of the activities are easily adapted for younger children.

And let’s not forget about some truly fantastic books to share with your children:

One Beetle Too Many: The Extraordinary Adventures of Charles Darwin – This is a great introduction for younger elementary aged children to learn about the life of Charles Darwin. They’ve just released a paperback version for a very good price, but if you can splurge and get the hardcover, the illustrations are worth it. 😉 (recommended in the Darwin and Evolution unit study)

Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be – This book is a fantastic resource for explaining Evolution to children. (Scheduled in the Darwin and Evolution unit study)

Evolution: The Story of Life on Earth – This is a graphic novel, perfect for sharing with teens and tweens. Jay Hosler’s writing is witty, and he explains science in a way that anyone can understand.

The True Adventures of Charley Darwin – This historical fiction novel is a great book for those wanting a little more story to their history. Follow Charlie from his childhood in a boarding school for boys to his adventures at sea on The Beagle where he first began to realize his theory on natural selection and evolution. (scheduled in BYL Grade 8)

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate – I adore this book. Calpurnia lives at the turn of the century in Fentress, TX, and is the only girl in a family with 7 brothers. She befriends her grandfather and decides to become a scientist. This book is hilarious, sweet and heartwarming. (scheduled in the Darwin and Evolution unit study and BYL Grade 6)

The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate – The sequel to Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, this book picks up just a few months after the events of the first book. There is a lot of information about veterinary science, as well as the Galveston flood.

Our Family Tree: An Evolution Story – This is a perfect introduction to evolution for very young children. It’s beautifully illustrated, and makes a lovely bedtime story.

Perhaps you want to curl up on the sofa watch a movie or documentary to enhance your Darwin Day celebration? You could try one of these:

What Darwin Never Knew
Darwin’s Darkest Hour
Charles Darwin & The Tree of Life

How do you plan on celebrating Darwin Day in your homeschool?

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What’s New at Build Your Library

You’ve probably noticed that it has been quiet around here lately. I never mean to neglect social media and my blog, but life takes over and projects happen, and well…you get the idea.

So I thought I’d take a moment to share what I’ve been working on. 🙂

First, I’ve been doing a lot of writing. I started working on a book over the summer, and just yesterday I finished the first draft. I’m really excited about it, and finally feel ready to share a bit about that project with all of you.

Literary Education draftI still have quite a bit of work to do, but I’m at the point where I feel confident that it is going to get finished. I wanted to write a book that I would have wanted to have read when I first started homeschooling. This would be useful to homeschoolers who want to teach with living books but don’t know where to start, as well as inspiring for those of us who have been in the trenches for a while. I am really excited about it and I cannot wait until the day when I can share it with all of you. As far as publication goes, well I haven’t gotten that far yet. I hope it will happen sometime this year, but as to when, I cannot say.

Second – now that my oldest child is a year away from graduation (!!!) and my twins are going to be starting their high school journey in the fall, I needed to start really thinking whether or not I was going to write high school level plans for Build Your Library. Well, gentle reader, I have embarked upon that quest. Ninth Grade plans are happening. I have been researching and collecting books like a mad woman, and I thought I’d share some of the results with you today. So here is your sneak peek at Build Your Library Grade 9:

Third, I hope to tackle at least one more Harry Potter unit study this year. I had big plans of having all 7 units done in 2016, but then I got slapped with the reality stick. I will be happy to get the Goblet of Fire unit written and published this year, ecstatic if I get to the Order of the Phoenix unit.

And of course, in the middle of all of that furiously happy writing and reading, I’m still chugging away at homeschooling my 4 children – an 11th grader who aspires to be a writer, twin 8th graders who want to be heavy metal musicians, comic book artists and video game designers, and a 6 year old 1st grader who keeps us all on our toes with her wild antics.

Here’s to an exciting and successful 2016!

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Happy New Year And a Freebie!

Can you believe another year has gone? Time just seems to fly these days!

happy-new-year-quotes

I think this might be one of my favorite times of the year – there is something so exciting about having a whole brand new year with no mistakes in it yet hovering on the horizon. I love goal setting and planning, and there is nothing more motivating to me than curling up with a notebook and a favorite pen and writing up lists of goals for the new year, as well as favorite memories and favorite books read over the last year.

I like to sit down and chat with my children about what they’ve accomplished and what they’re looking forward to in the New Year. It’s a great time to reflect, but also to make goals. I’m not a fan of resolutions, because they are often too open-ended and quick to be forgotten. Instead, I like to set realistic goals. For example, rather than say I’m going to lose weight and exercise more, I’ll set a goal that I’ll eat more vegetables and less sweets (and then plan meals accordingly!) and set a fitness goal like walk one mile 3-4 mornings a week. This works the same way for our children – help them to set a goal to work towards or choose a skill to focus on and they’ll be able to make it happen.

Of course, if your kid are anything like mine, it can be hard to get them to talk about things like goals and plans for the new year. That’s why I created this printable freebie to help you and your child reflect on 2015 and think about the new year ahead.

Download New Year in Review Here

Happy New Year from my family to yours. I hope you and your family have an amazing 2016!

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The Benefits of Reading Aloud to Teens

I made a video today for my Youtube channel about why I still read aloud with my teens, and I thought I would expand upon it here.

 

Everyone who knows me, knows that I love books. I surround myself in stacks and stacks of books of every genre. So of course I want to encourage my children to love literature too. And the best way I know to help them to fall in love with reading, is to make it a shared experience. When we read together it becomes a family activity, one in which we all take part. I may be the one doing the active reading, but I expect that everyone will have something to add to the discussion.

For the record – my kids are just average teens. They love video games and anime and watching their favorite youtubers. They will read something if I assign it to them, but if left to their own devices, they might never voluntarily pick up a book. So I read to them every day. While they might joke around about how much they dislike books, they will always happily quote from a favorite read aloud, or muse about why the Harry Potter movies left out Peeves, or discuss amongst themselves which book character could defeat the other in an epic battle. Little by little, I’m breaking down those “Books are dumb” walls, and maybe someday, they will become readers.

Maybe you worry that your teen will think listening to their parent read aloud is lame? And they may even think that is true, but chance are good that your teen will secretly enjoy the experience, even if they don’t want to admit it… My advice to you is to give it a try. Choose a book that is very exciting and has a lot of action and cliffhanger chapters. This will keep them coming back for more.

Like Dory in Finding Nemo, “Just keep reading…just keep reading…what do we do, we read!” The more you read with your teens, the more the benefits will start to pay off. I promise that you won’t regret it. 😉

Here are the books I mentioned in my video:

Harry Potter Paperback Box Set (Books 1-7)
The Hunger Games Trilogy box set
A Wrinkle in Time
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
To Kill a Mockingbird
Watership Down: A Novel
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Folger Shakespeare Library)
Leon Garfield’s Shakespeare Stories

 

 

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Build Your Library Holiday Gift Guide

2015giftguideAre you still scrambling to find the perfect gift for your child? Do you want to inspire a love of learning? Then you have come to the right place. I have compiled some of our favorite educational and fun gift ideas in one place! From art supplies to magnetic poetry, to board games and more – I’ve got something for everyone!

Language Arts Inspired Gifts  Do you have a budding writer? Or possibly a reluctant writer that you wish to inspire? Or maybe your child is a bookaholic and you want to find them something new to read.

Science Inspired Gifts I have tons of ideas for your young scientist! From experiment kits to Goldie Blox and K’Nex, there is something here for anyone interesting in science.

History/Geography Inspired Gifts I’ve got your young historian covered – from globes to games to books and more!

Math Inspired Gifts  Whether your child is obsessed with numbers or is math phobic and you want to make math fun – there are so many great math resources to share!

Art Inspired Gifts With an artist in the family you can never have too many art supplies! I have some great ideas for your little artist!

Cook Family Favorites! I asked my kids to come up with a list of their favorite things, from games to movies and toys, they came up with a great list of favorites. There’s literally something for everyone!

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Shop Our Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale!

Holiday Sale

It’s my favorite time of year! The air is crisp, there’s a fire in the pellet stove, and my children and I are baking up a storm! There’s just something so homey and warm about a Christmas tree and holiday lights. It makes me want to snuggle on the couch with a good book and some hot chocolate.

To kick off the holiday season, we’re having a sale you won’t want to miss! From November 27 – December 5 you can take 30% off your entire purchase when you use the code “HolidayFun” at checkout.

If you’ve been wondering if Build Your Library is the right program for you, this is a great time to try it out and see for yourself.

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Charlotte Mason 101 – Living Books

I’ve been doing a series at my youtube channel called Charlotte Mason 101, where I talk about different aspects of the Charlotte Mason philosophy and how I incorporate them into my homeschool. Today I made a video about living books, so I thought I’d share it here with all of you!

I hope you enjoyed the video! If you like it and have any ideas for future videos in the series, please let me know! I will see what I can create. 😉

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