Something I’ve been pondering lately: Do you have to be a book nerd to homeschool, or does homeschooling turn us INTO book nerds? 🙂
Over the past 11 years, I have developed an addiction to books. Now don’t get me wrong, prior to homeschooling my own children, I usually had a book, or two, or three, laying around with bookmarks in them. They don’t tend to collect too much dust, because I am a READER. In grade school, I read everything I could get my hands on. Shampoo bottles in the bathroom, cereal boxes at breakfast, TV Guide whenever I happened across one, etc. My mother passed her voracious reading habit on to me, and I still enjoy it thoroughly. I would rather read a good book than go to a movie. Of course, I really can’t pay enough attention to my book if I’m holding E’s hand, so we save that for going to the movies. 😉
What do I like to read? I love a good story. That means all elements of a story: A good story line with twists and turns, likeable (or UNlikeable) characters are a must. A writer must have a distinctive voice, so as not to bore me to sleep. It doesn’t happen often, but it happens. I love good literature, although I seldom have the time it takes to really get into a serious work. Presently I am reading Wuthering Heights, and while it interests me, it is hard for me to get into while sitting in the living room with my kids making noise around me. I save that one for reading in bed where it’s quiet. I love adventure and action in books. I’ve recently downloaded several G.A. Henty and Ballantyne books, which I’m told are historical novels written for boys. I will probably love them.
As a child I remember reading and rereading The Swiss Family Robinson, Heidi, Black Beauty, The Three Musketeers, Robinson Crusoe, Bambi, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. I think 20,000 Leagues was abridged, and Crusoe probably was too. The others were the original works which I jumped into around 4th grade. I remember struggling a little with the names in The Three Musketeers, but otherwise I loved that book. I still own the same one I read as a kid. It is so old the copyright is expired. (Which means it is probably on the book-burning list the CPSIA recommends!! NOT in my house!) I actually still own several of those books from my childhood. I wouldn’t give them up, because I want my own kids to enjoy them.
As a teen, I took forays into literature which wouldn’t make my mother proud if she’d known what the books were about. As a parent, I must just simply warn you that V.C. Andrews was a sick woman and her books, which are aimed at teen girls, should not even be on shelves. If you’re a fan, please don’t try to defend the benefits to a teen of reading pornography and incest, because there are none. And I read most of those in JUNIOR HIGH, when I was 12 & 13.
I got heavily into Stephen King (another sick man, but he can write a good story) and read everything he published prior to 1994. That was around the time my life became very busy with infants and toddlers, and my reading time dissolved for a few years. By the time I got that time back, I had given my life to Christ and left all of those books behind me.
I also enjoyed James Michener’s writing, still do actually, but attacking one of his novels was a summer project! At 800+ pages, you really have to know you’re going to have the time to spend to read one. Alaska was probably my favorite, although even as an anti-Christian teen I didn’t buy the whole evolutionary beginning of the book.
These days, I go between Christian fiction and serious literature. Ne’er the two shall meet, with the exception of C.S. Lewis of course. I love the Narnia books dearly, and am in the midst of reading them to my sons at bedtime. I confess, I have read and enjoyed the entire Left Behind series. (OK, I read the whole series three times now, I think.) I also love anything written by Frank Peretti, or Ted Dekker. My 17 year old stepson is also hooked on Dekker’s books. Now HE writes a GREAT STORY! Blessed Child and A Man Called Blessed were AMAZING reads.
My current reading list is as follows:
The Gospel of Ruth by Carolyn Custis James (we’re studying this in Ladies’ Bible study at church)
Wuthering Heights by Charlotte Bronte
A Postcard to Heaven by Duane Parrish (He’s a missionary to VietNam who spoke at our church a week ago… his testimony is amazing!)
Home Education by Charlotte Mason
The Book of 2Corinthians in the Bible and waiting for when I finish Duane Parrish’s book, is The Visitation by Frank Peretti.
So which came first, the chicken or the egg? As a Christian, for me that answer is so obviously easy! (God created the chicken, folks.) My question remains: Do you have to BE a total book nerd to homeschool your kids, or do you BECOME one through the process of homeschooling?