Sharing a Love of Reading: Book Clubs for Young People

Written by Simple Homeschool contributor Heidi Scovel of Mt. Hope Chronicles.

Have you ever finished reading a book and craved to share the experience with someone? Maybe you wanted to find out if they loved the same characters, if they identified with the emotional theme, if they were frustrated by certain events, or if they understood why the author chose to weave the story in a certain way.

My most favorite way to treat myself socially, emotionally, and intellectually is to attend a monthly book club. I’ve been involved with the same wonderful group of ladies for over six years. We each anticipate the evenings of sharing our love of reading. Through this connection, we deepen our understanding not only of the books we read, but also ourselves.

Our children can benefit in the same ways when they are regularly involved with friends, family members, or mentors who encourage their appetite for books and the ideas within.

For homeschooling families, book clubs may also be a valuable way for children to gain experience and confidence sharing their thoughts and ideas within a group atmosphere.

The possibilities for book clubs are as endless as one’s imagination, but I’d like to share a few spring-board ideas for organizing groups for young people.

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Art and Creativity in the Great Outdoors

Written by Heidi Scovel of Mt. Hope Chronicles.

Summer. There is something delicious about that word, especially for a mother of three young boys after an even-rainier-than-normal Pacific Northwest spring.

Children need to stretch their lungs, their legs, and their imaginations. The great outdoors are calling.

We may be inclined to set down our formal spelling and grammar programs, but summer is a great opportunity to sneak in some of the fun extras we might have trouble finding time to share with our children during a traditional school year.

Time spent outdoors lends itself to creativity and an appreciation for the art of nature. Many famous artists have been inspired by nature, and it is a joy to learn from the masters.

“Keep your love of nature, for that is the true way to understand art more and more.” ~ Vincent Van Gogh

Here are a few ideas to spark a summer study of art and nature.

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Around the World ~ One Picture Book at a Time

Reading books about other places and cultures opens up a previously unknown world for children and adults alike.

Picture books have an added dimension:  a visual feast within their illustrations.

Sunny, colorful worlds. Quiet, dramatic worlds. Peaceful worlds. Chaotic worlds.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Giving Our Children the World, I want my children to be world travelers, even when we don’t have the ability to go far from home.

Travel is available to anyone with a library card.

The following is a list of beautiful picture books to help you get started on your journey.
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Keeping Your Head Above Water: Homeschooling in Survival Mode

One of the beauties of homeschooling is the ability of the parent-teacher to weave together life and lessons. For some, creating that integration and balance comes naturally. For others, like myself, it is a constant work in progress.

But many of us, at one time or another, face huge waves of life that overwhelm our lessons.

Maybe it is a cross-country move, extended out-of-town visitors, caring for an elderly parent, home remodeling, early pregnancy nausea and fatigue, the birth of a baby, or an illness in the family.

We can use these waves as opportunities to embrace life (and all of its challenges) as a family and show our children that learning can happen anywhere and under any circumstances.

Don’t be afraid to let your children see and experience the waves of change within the context of a supportive family. I believe this will help develop their coping and problem-solving skills, give them a healthy understanding that life is not one long stretch of straight highway, and build strong family relationships.

There are several ways of shifting the balance to reflect our educational priorities, even when life seems to be up to our chins.

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Educational Goals for the Whole Child

Have you ever just sat and gazed at your child, wondering: Who is this person? What is she feeling? What is he thinking? What moves her? What does he aspire to be?

After researching, dreaming, and planning my children’s education even before they were born, I have found it to be a fundamental shift in my parenting life as I realize that their education isn’t about me.

The boys I am raising and teaching are individual people. Children who have their own thoughts and desires.

These children in our care will become adults with their own lives.

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