Monday, May 17, 2010

Homeschooling and Reading

Homeschooling fosters a love for reading.

That may sound like too broad of a statement for some, but I believe it's true. The reason for this is pretty simple - homeschooling parents (usually mothers) cannot possibly teach all the kids at the same time. Many homeschool families have multiple children at different levels of learning. While the parent instructs one child, the other children need to be doing something. The natural thing for them to do is read.

I'm thrilled that all three of our kids love to read. I was reminded of this again on Saturday at our daughter Mary's birthday party. We bought her a set of six or seven books she had been wanting. When she opened it, she gave a small cry of delight. She can't wait to begin reading those books.

I take little credit for our kids' love for reading. My wife does the vast majority of their schooling. We do encourage them to read, but not out of drudgery. We want them to love it. And they do.

Two things have helped that go along with their homeschooling. First, they don't waste time sitting in front of the TV. We do occasionally watch videos, but we got rid of our cable TV subscription a while back and it is one of the best things we've ever done. Second, both Alice and I love to read so it is easy to model this in front of our kids.

Reading has many, many benefits. It opens kids' eyes to all sorts of different learning possibilities. Bobby comes to me several times each day telling me something new he has learned in a book. Reading now prepares them for reading later. A kid that loves to read will have little difficulty dealing with heavy college reading loads.

The best benefit is that people who love to read will also (we all hope) love to read their bibles. God has revealed Himself through His written word. When we instill a love for reading in our kids, this makes it more likely that they will read the scriptures.

Homeschooling, however, is not automatic in bringing about a love for reading. There are certainly kids who have been homeschooled who don't like to read. Maybe the first sentence in this post should say, "Homeschooling done well fosters a love for reading."

Regardless of how you choose to educate your children, I highly encourage you to do all you can to instill a love for reading in them. Model it for them, read to them, give them time to read, give them good books to read, discuss what you and they are reading. Reading opens a broad world that TV just cannot compete with.

4 comments:

Jessica said...

that's what drew me to Sonlight because it has you read and read and read... and when they get into a book it's so neat to hear it come out in everything they do, their vocab and in thier play... it's just neat.

Eric said...

Jessica,

I agree. Reading opens their imaginations. It is a blast to hear what they have to say.

John said...

Sounds a lot like our home. We have a television, but no service. We only (occasionally) watch videos, so our family entertainment is reading. Though our children are younger than yours, they are already developing a love of books.

Eric said...

John,

I'm always glad to hear about other folks who have gotten rid of TV subscription. Reading brings creativity while TV stifles it.