Saturday, March 5, 2016

Reading, Our Life [Homeschooling]

If there's one thing we do well in homeschooling, it's reading. A lot. Of books.

People ask me often how homeschooling is going, and I think the best way to answer that for this year is that we've read lots of great books, and Sophie has been learning how to read and can now read short first readers, like Miss Rhonda's Readers. We've done some other things throughout the year, but these are the two main things we have done.

We begin our homeschooling day with "morning time," and I'm fine if this is all that happens. As Sophie is a preschooler (age 4), I don't feel pressure to do much more than read good quality literature with her and her sisters. I love the idea of a morning basket, and I've adopted the idea. Basically, it means I fill this basket with all the books I deem important and want us to go through in a day. Mostly, the books stay the same. I trade a few in and out each day. We do this sometime in the morning. It typically works best if I do it right after breakfast, but sometimes it happens later.

On the day I took the pictures, this is what was in our morning basket. We typically start with a hymn because the girls prefer to. We're trying to memorize a few hymns this year... great songs that I want the girls to have hidden in their hearts. This week, we sang "Stand Up for Jesus," which is Brielle's favorite song. We next move to the Child's Story Bible which we have really loved. It is very detailed and includes most of the stories in the Bible rather than just the "big ones." Sophie sits through the stories and generally enjoys them. Brielle and Lyla don't always sit through the whole thing. We then read a few nursery rhymes from The Real Mother Goose and a poem or two from A Child's Garden of Verses. We nearly always read several children books, either from our own library or from the town library. Some days they're in the basket and some days the girls pick them out. At some point in the day I like to read a chapter (or a few) from a chapter book. This is mostly for Sophie, so sometimes we read it in the afternoon. Right now we are reading The Trumpet of the Swan, and we both love it! Brielle was even talking today about how the swan can't say beep; it was cute :)

We read lots of other books. I love reading to the girls. We go to the library about once a month, but we are also growing a nice library of our own. I love seeing book lists and what books others like and recommend, so here are books we have liked and recommend.

I asked the girls to grab their favorite books from the bookshelf, and I took a picture of them with them. Here are Sophie's favorites: Ferdinand, Angelina Ballerina, Brown Bear Brown Bear, Charlotte's Web, The Lion King, and The Milly Molly Mandy Story Book.

Brielle picked: The Big Red Barn, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (her absolute favorite right now), The Little Red Hen, and We're Going on a Bear Hunt.

I didn't have Lyla pick any out, but her favorite book right now is a little nursery rhyme book we have. She loves singing and hand motions.

I picked out some of my very favorite books too, just so you all can see what book I recommend!

Below are my favorite board books (Harold and the Purple Crayon isn't actually a board book but this is the category it fit in best): We're Going on a Bear Hunt, Goodnight Moon, Harold and the Purple Crayon, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Snowy Day, and the Big Red Barn.

You can find a Little Golden Book version of just about any story there is.  I don't love all of them. But we really like some. Below are my favorite Little Golden Books: The Saggy Baggy Elephant, The Three Bears, The Little Red Caboose, Tootle, and The Little Hen.

I love Robert McCloskey books. The stories are nice and the illustrations are beautiful! The three listed below are One Morning in Main, Make Way for Ducklings, and Blueberries for Sal.

I also love Virgina Lee Buton books. Below are Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel and Katy and the Big Snow. We also love The Little House which Sophie is getting as a birthday present at the end of this month :)

Below are a mixture of some of my other very favorite books to read with the girls: The Complete Tales of Winnie-The-Pooh, James Herriot's Treasure for Children, The Velveteen Rabbit, Roxaboxen (and other Barbara Cooney books... this is just the only one we own), and The Tale of Benjamin Bunny (and all Beatrix Potter books!).

Here are our two favorite children's Bibles right now. I love the Jesus Storybook Bible and have been reading this with the girls for years. It is great for really young children (babies includes). We actually started renting the DVD version of this Bible from our church library, and the girls have liked hearing this story in a different way. We have started reading the Child's Story Bible this past year, and I highly recommend it! It's very detailed and long. Sophie (age 4) loves it, but she has always loved being read to and sit for a long amount of time to listen, so some kids may not be read for it until a little later.

And just for anyone who is wondering, this is the book we have used for teaching Sophie how to read. It hasn't been perfect for us, but we have really loved it for the most part, and Sophie has learned how to read from it! She's come so far this year. It's amazing looking back at the first lessons and seeing how much she has developed and learned (we are on Lesson 83 now). It's really great for a mom who wants to teach her child to read but has no idea how to do so. It guides the parent in teaching the child.

We have found lots of great books at the library too! I like making a list before we go, and then I can find them easily when I get there. If we love the book, then I put it on the girl's Wish List.

Some day I will finally learn how to take pictures in good lighting without shadows, but until then... I'm loving this picture of the girls holding their library bags that their Grandma Lori made them, and I'm posting it anyways.

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