10 Picture Books that Teach Important Life Lessons

Today I’m guest posting at Simple Mom on one of my favorite topics–books.

From my post:

“Often as parents we get consumed by the details of our days–life speeds past while we try to catch up and just keep everyone fed, clothed, and healthy. Sometimes the rush of our busy routines leaves little time leftover to contemplate and discuss life’s important issues with our children.

When, exactly, are we supposed to find the time or the words to talk about meaningful topics like injustice, simplicity, death, or faithfulness?

Thankfully we can walk into any library and have abundant assistance to tackle life lessons with our little ones. All we have to do is open a book, enjoy it together, and let a natural discussion unfold.”

Read the rest over at Simple Mom!

Five in a Row: Enlarge your Preschooler’s World with Books

I love the eagerness, innocence, and curiosity of preschoolers. They have so many questions about the world, and their genuine interest in finding out the answers make them ideal candidates as natural learners.

Add to this my own daughter’s precociousness and voracious interest in learning to read, and I knew I needed to add a bit more to our day than my own ideas to satisfy her thirst (and my sanity).

So this past “school year,” my daughter and I learned together via Five in a Row. As a four and five-year-old who loves to read, this was an ideal format for her to explore the world in a sort of big picture way, covering a wide variety of topics while still living a super flexible lifestyle.

Five in a Row isn’t just for preschoolers — it can be done through high school, in fact. But I found it an ideal curriculum and learning style for our family’s lifestyle and my child’s temperament.

Here are some of my favorite things about FIAR.

[Read more…]

Preschool Counts

“When did you start homeschooling?”

“Well, my daughter’s only three, so I’m not sure it really counts yet.”

I’ve heard this conversation many times since I began the homeschooling journey a few years ago.

In fact, I even attended my first homeschooling conference when my boys were both two-years-old–somehow I felt like it wasn’t completely legitimate for me to be there. But I couldn’t wait to learn and I felt I had the perfect opportunity–a couple of years before my kids reached school age to devote to reading and research.

Looking back, I believe those years of research made all the difference to my confidence as a home educator.

So what exactly is your preschooler learning at home, whether or not you’re formally schooling?

Consider these three foundational areas. [Read more…]

Choosing Good Books for Your Children

Today let’s talk about what we should read to our little ones.

With thousands of children’s books published each year, choosing can feel overwhelming. Poor quality literature may entertain, but it’s also mind-numbing.

High quality literature is thought-provoking as well as entertaining. It inspires greatness and character development, and doesn’t shy away from dealing with difficult topics.

Think of it this way: it’s our job to nourish our children’s minds as well as their bodies. My kids really love candy, but I don’t allow them to eat large amounts every day. It wouldn’t be healthy. I need to pay the same attention to the quality of reading material they digest.

Here’s how to choose the best books for your little ones.

[Read more…]

The Importance of Reading to Children: Where?

Last week I began a series about reading aloud to children. In my first post I wrote about why we should read to our children. This week I want to discuss where we should read to our little people.

Where we read to them? Does it matter — isn’t the sofa a good spot? Yes, of course. In our house we do most of our reading on the living room floor. It’s easy, convenient, and all three children have an equal opportunity to share Mommy’s lap.

But there are also times to shake things up a bit. To make memories and follow the “spark.” Special times to form new traditions and fill everyone’s love tanks.

Here are some ideas to add variety to your storytime locations.

[Read more…]