Long before we made the final decision to homeschool I’d been doing my research. I had researched all the different philosophies of homeschool, a ton of different curricilum, and had even picked out exactly what we were going to do. Until one day I found a post about “what kind of learner is your child?”. Which got me thinking… all the stuff I’d picked out was about the things I loved… not necessarily the things she loved, or the way she learned. 🙁 It didn’t take long, one day exactly, to realize if she didn’t like it, it wasn’t going to work!
One of the biggest, heck the main reason we chose to homeschool was because every day, every year, in public school my daughter’s love of learning just disappeared. I can remember when she walked into her very first classroom, she was simply buzzing with a love of learning. That buzz is gone now. My goal for this, our first year of homeschool, is to bring back that buzz, to help her reconnect with that love of learning.
Reading is one of the biggest areas where her “I hate learning” attitude shows up. She says she hates to read. Refuses to read. Which really sucks. 🙁 Especially for me, an avid reader who thinks reading is probably the most important thing in the world. (yeah, I’m not exaggerating!) When I saw Build Your Library I had these grand ideas… but I quickly remembered the whole “I hate reading” thing. 🙁
I left language arts on the sideline for the first month or so. She picked out books at the library, if we could find an audio for them we would listen to them in the car while she read along. Sometimes she’d read a chapter on her own, sometimes a page. Many, many books were returned to the library without being finished, heck, many were barely started!
As time went on, and many a conversation were had in homeschooling facebook groups, I realized she was reading. She reads the American Girl catalog cover to cover. She reads her Which Way USA books every month when they show up in the mailbox. She reads descriptions and information on videos she watches on YouTube (yes, those super annoying unboxing videos that everyone seems to adore, and I just can’t get my head around). She was reading. She is reading.
I started thinking about my job in this whole scenario. If my goal, this year, is to help her reconnect with her love of reading, what could I do?
I thought back to the time when she LOVED reading the most.
Ugh. Really? I can’t seriously have my 5th grader reading PICTURE BOOKS, can I?
Then I found this post and everything started to change. Not for her… for me. I began to see things in a totally new light. More and more posts started showing up, showing me how I can use picture books with my 5th grader. So many posts started showing up I made an entire Pinterest board for picture books and homeschool reading.
I began to see how I could teach anything, and everything with picture books. I started getting excited. Then I found this language arts curriculum using picture books. I got out my bullet journal and started making lists of picture books. Picture books for the language arts curriculum. Picture books for learning diversity. Picture books to learn grammar. Picture books for reading comprehension. Picture books for figurative language. Picture books for Geography. Picture books for advanced concept math. Yes, math!!
And the Picture Book Experiment was born.
Now when we go to the library we leave with a stack of picture books. Some we read together. Some I strew for her to pick up on her own. Some get left in the car (because she seems to be really open to reading in the car). Some have questions she answers when she’s done reading. Some don’t. Some we talk about. Some we dig into further. Some are fun and done.
Picture books have completely changed the tone of our homeschool. We’re having fun. We’re reading. We’re connecting. She’s laughing and smiling, and not crying when it comes time to pick up a book.
And guess what... she’s secretly been reading chapter books in her room before she goes to sleep. She accidentally let the cat out of the bag when she packed the chapter book she’s currently reading when we went on an overnight field trip to dig crystals recently.
It’s working. She’s beginning to remember. She’s beginning to feel the thrill of a good story again, and it’s still the beginning of our homeschool year.
That’s what I love about homeschool. Your only limit is your ability to get creative, to try new things, to be flexible and throw things out that aren’t working, and brainstorm to find something that does. Stay tuned… I’ll be sharing some of our favorite picture books as the year continues.