Have you ever had to jump start your car? You walk outside to head out for a field trip, errands, or a food run. The car won’t start. Turns out someone (in the backseat) left an overhead light on all night, or accidentally left a device charging. You are going to need a jump start.
Sometimes, we also need a jump start in our homeschool. You can so easily burn out on textbook learning, assignments, and tests. You need to breathe some new life into your homeschool. What you need is the power of story. I’m giving you permission to ditch that curriculum and jump start your homeschool with books. Good books. Togetherness. Story time.
As a homeschool mom, I know how mentally difficult it is to set the curriculum aside. Many of us tend to have this innate need to check off all the boxes and finish all the pages. That’s not such a horrible thing unless it gets in the way of learning.
Curriculum getting in the way of learning? Yes, it can and does happen.
Don’t blame the curriculum and toss it out permanently. It’s just trying to be a guideline for you. It’s my own fault that learning becomes boring when I use my curriculum to dictate our entire learning experience. All the textbooks and worksheets and assignments are meant to encourage learning, but if they just don’t seem to be doing their job anymore, or your kids are crying out for a change, let me make a suggestion:
Grab a stack of books and read together instead.
Why? The benefits of reading are numerous, but I want to highlight the benefits that make reading worthy of taking over your school day. A day here, a week there, maybe even one day every single week. Here are some reasons why it can be a good thing to ditch your homeschool curriculum and read together.
Ditch that Homeschool Curriculum because Reading Improves Vocabulary.
The more your kids see words and decipher them within a story, the more comfortable they become with these words. Even if they don’t know the exact meaning, they can use analytical skills (more on this later!) to understand. A vocabulary word that is set within an engaging story will be much more likely to stick in your child’s mind than if its meaning is simply committed to memory.
Ditch that Homeschool Curriculum because Reading Increases Knowledge of our World.
A good book can take your kids to places they’ve never even imagined. They’ll get to sail the ocean and climb a mountain, and everything in between. Not only will they get to visit strange new places, they’ll also meet new people and experience different cultures. They’ll have the opportunity to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.
Ditch that Homeschool Curriculum because Reading Encourages Empathy and Understanding.
I’ll never forget the first time my youngest daughter experienced empathy. She was about 18 months old, and I was reading Goodnight Gorilla to her every night, five or six times, before bed. She hated being in her bed, and really struggled staying asleep on her own. More often than not, she ended up being brought to our bed because we just could not (trust me, we tried all the methods and we tried them *long enough*). One night as I read her the story again (for the umpteenth time), all of a sudden, she gasped out “Me!” “I’m the gorilla!” It was an AHA moment for her, and it resulted in her deepest empathy for all of those poor animals being tucked back into their zoo cages (aka baby cribs in her mind) each night.
Studies have shown that getting lost in a story, especially literary fiction, increases feelings of empathy. Your child will learn how to view life from different perspectives and be more understanding of people who think differently than they do.
Ditch that Homeschool Curriculum because Reading Enhances Analytical Skills.
When our children are given the freedom to dig into a book that they enjoy, they’ll be more likely to use critical thinking skills in their reading. They may try to figure out the ending before reaching it, or they’ll decide for themselves if the plot is any good and works well with the rest of the story. They’ll be able to ask questions of the text (i.e “What does this word mean?” or “Why did that happen?”) and search out answers all in the midst of reading.
Ditch that Homeschool Curriculum because Reading Sparks Imagination and Curiosity.
My daughter was recently listening to Anne of Green Gables as an audiobook. Anne’s fascination with nature sparked my daughter’s interest in nature. She’s been searching out books related to nature in both fiction and nonfiction forms. She’s been wanting to spend more time outside soaking in God’s creation much like Anne does in the book. Reading can take our kids on adventures far beyond the last page.
Reading can cover just about any subject you feel the need to cover in your school day. It can even lend to better understanding and focus when you dive back into your regular curriculum! You might find you don’t even want to go back to worksheets and textbooks. Either way, taking a break from your curriculum for some quality reading time can reap amazing benefits that could last a lifetime!
Lovely post! I love the way you wrote this. I’ve been homeschooled since, well – forever!
My family have never stuck to a strict curriculum (apart from when I sat exams). I agree that it’s so refreshing to just learn from books!
Lee @ Dragon'sEyeView says
Like Abby is, we’ve been homeschooling forever and never stuck with a curriculum that long (maybe Math-U-See)…but reading — ah, that is where we learn. Even if the book isn’t about dragons!!
We learn so much from books, too! Lately I have been ditching all curriculum and just pursuing my 11 year old son’s interests, which is refreshing! I even come up with my own story problems for him in math and don’t weigh him down with it. He asks math questions on his own and we just explore as the need arises. We have learned so much from books, video games, going on nature walks, and board games. I wish I was schooled this way when I was a child!