How to Establish a Reading Life in Your Home

Second installment of notes from my talk at the Gulf Coast Home Scholars Expo last Saturday:

So what does all of this reading encouragement and motivation have to do with the practical day-to-day business of homeschooling?


In order to take full advantage of the way God made us to love stories and to learn from each other and from WORDS, we’re going to have to change the way we live and the way we do school. I think they should be the same, or as near as we can get them. To homeschool effectively and, dare I say, joyfully we need to have a learning lifestyle. And my advice to you, after almost thirty years of experience in living with and teaching my own children, is to make books and discussion and observation the center of that lifestyle of learning.

“Education is a life. That life is sustained on ideas…we must sustain a child’s inner life with ideas as we sustain his body with food.” ~Charlotte Mason


Simplify, Simplify, Simplify.
Morning time (Cindy Rollins): Read the Bible, prayer, read aloud(s). You can add lots of things: a history read aloud, a hymn, art, a poem a day, science read aloud, Shakespeare, nature study, journaling . . . But start off simple.
Math time: choose a math curriculum and do math every day. But spend less than an hour a day on math, maybe just thirty minutes a day.
Independent reading time: Everybody reads.
No grammar, no writing practice (until they ask), no spelling, no PE (except going outdoors to play), music practice only if that’s what you want to do, art if you and your children enjoy art.
Chores: assigned each day

This list is very similar to Melissa Wiley’s (Here in the Bonny Glen) Rule of Six. She says that in each day for herself and her children she tries to include six things:
• Good books
• Imaginative play
• Encounters with beauty (through art, music, and the natural world—this includes our nature walks)
• Ideas to ponder and discuss (there’s Miss Mason’s “something to think about”)
Meaningful work
• Prayer

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