Happy August 1st!
I’m kicking off the back-to-school season with something a little different here on Fridays and I really hope you enjoy it!
Homeschool Mom Confessions is all about sharing real stories about the crazy journey of homeschooling. Not the Pinterest versions we’re surrounded with online, but the my kid complains about math every day kind of stories we don’t see enough of.
My hope is to inspire other homeschool moms to share their stories even the messy ones!
Each Friday you’ll get to read confessions from some of my favorite homeschooling bloggers!
So without further ado…
Meet Mackenzie Monroe of Bold Turquoise.
MacKenzie is a homeschooling mom of 3 (with the 4th on the way) who enjoys sharing her passions for all things counter-cultural through blogging, speaking, classes and personal consultations. She’s a suburban girl living a country life and you can find all of her musings at BoldTurquoise.com.
Death by Read Alouds
For all intents and purposes you would (probably) think we are a sweet, typical little homeschool family. You know, the kind who spend hours curled up on their couch reading book after book together in a blissful dreamland of read alouds. Can’t you just picture the scene? It’s the middle of winter, the fire is roaring and every child has a steaming cup of hot coco in their impossibly sweet little hands as they hang on their mother’s every word! It’s picturesque and a lovely vision of what homeschooling could be.
So, as a blogger who covers her homeschooling life as well as being a homeschool speaker and private coach & consultant, you would probably never guess what I am about to tell you about myself and my sweet little family. Not only has our read aloud time never looked like that and likely never will (until maybe when I quit having babies and my youngest child is 7, at a minimum), there’s an even bigger confession to make…
I hate read aloud time.
There. I said it. Read aloud time often feels like a slow and painful death to me. Like, “Put me in the mental home before I have to read you people one more ridiculous book about puppies or bunnies!” kind of death. I never know if anyone is listening because they are either standing on their head or constantly interrupting me for goodness knows what. The toddler quietly stalks off to another room to maniacally destroy something in absolute silence, which I of course do not notice because I’m all “caught up” in this riveting story about Boo Boo Bunny. And I basically reach the point when I would rather tear my eyes out than have one more person place a book in my lap!
More over, it’s rather surprising! I am a former actress for goodness sake. Telling great stories is in my blood! Doing crazy voices and really embracing the part is what I am all about! Crazier yet, I LOVE reading! I read book after book, I just can’t get enough! So why, oh why in heavens name, do I hate reading to my kids so much?!
A few months back I realized that I had better get a grip and do some serious introspection to address this issue. I have always known that books and read alouds are good for my kids and I want them to enjoy books throughout their lives, so it became quite clear to me that I needed to work on dealing with the deeper causes of my read aloud loathing. I mean, my kids stand on their heads half the day anyway, so what’s the big deal during read aloud time? Plus, for this coming school year we are switching to an entirely literature-based curriculum because as I reviewed what we had accomplished last year it dawned on me that the only things my kids did seem to remember at. all. were the things we read in stories, as few of those stories as there might have been.
Yup, I was going to have to handle this problem and fast if I had any chance of avoiding being checked into Betty Ford by the end of the year.
Surviving Read Alouds
As I did my soul searching I actually did start to come up with some answers, which was greatly reassuring. First off I realized that I didn’t mind reading the good books so much. My kids typically calmed and listened more when they were really into the story, and those stories were typically the more classic ones that you find on any good children’s literature list. So, step one- purge the twaddle from our home and just stick with the good stuff!
Second, despite my theatre history, I realized that I hadn’t been fully getting into character for our read aloud times. Whether it was being self conscious over my husband hearing me from the other room or just not having good material to work with, my reading aloud had been rather… boring! As soon as I started really getting into the books it was like little fireworks went off in my kids brains and I actually did find those enraptured looks on their faces! I even got a few, “Hey mom! You do really good voices!” comments from the peanut gallery! Hmmm… not too shabby having your very own fan club.
Third, when I had the realization that it didn’t have to be me reading it aloud to count as a “read aloud” it was so freeing! Ever since that moment my oldest son has been devouring audio books from our local library’s digital database like they were going out of style! I mean, he’s listening to two and three classic children’s novels a week! Who cares if I’m not the one reading them!?
Fourth, and possibly most of all, I started diving into book loving blogs and podcasts. Taking cues from families who truly embrace reading aloud as a way of life in their family has made such a difference in my attitude. The Read Aloud Revival Podcast and accompanying website alone is packed with so much wisdom and goodness that you just can’t help but want to “Build your family culture around books” as Sarah Mackenzie the author and host touts. I also love any of The Clarkson’s books on homeschooling and the book lists they include, most notably Read for the Heart by Sarah Clarkson. Sarah Clarkson has even just launched a new sight called Storyformed that is all about this “family based around books” concept as well.
Now, I’m not going to sit here and say that now I just loooove read aloud time and we have become that picturesque little homeschool family. What I will say is that my attitude is changing and I really love seeing the fruit of good books getting into my kids. Read aloud time may never be my favorite part of the day (especially when it’s right before bed and I just want them to go. to. sleep!) but it’s getting better and I’m even, dare I say, enjoying experiencing some of these classics books with my kids for the first time too.
So, if read aloud time makes you feel like you die a little inside each time you sit down for it- solidarity sister. It doesn’t make you a bad homeschool mom and if I can find ways to make it more tolerable then anyone can! Best wishes on your read aloud walk from shame to success.
She had me at the title on this one!
How about you?
Do you read aloud with your kids?
Love it or hate it?
I think I’m sort of gonna love this series.
For more information about Homeschool Mom Confessions and learn how to get featured be sure to visit this post.
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