This weeks Unschooling tools is all about reading. Like each “tools” list I have pondered what I wanted to write for days. I really like these posts that Stephanie, over at the blog Ordinary Life Magic, has put together. They have made me stretch my mental muscles a bit and put into words how unschooling looks in our home.
They have also brought closer to my “school at home” days and have helped me to move on. That is why my posts always seem to start out with what I “use” to do to what we “now” do. It helps *me* to read about how much we have changed since radical unschooling. I can now see all the positive in our home and “let go” of all my negative regrets (and boy do I have a lot of them).
Man did I mess up “reading”. Just like all the rest of my tools posts, I learned the hard way that you can not instill the love of reading into a child by putting limits on everything else.
If you were ever to stumble back into this blogs archives you would read posts about how we were a book loving family. The “truth” is my girls liked books because they didn’t have any “screen” time. Once the television, video games, and the computer were introduced our reading time changed tremendously.
I can already hear some readers of this blog saying “See screens *are* evil.” (hmm maybe I shouldn’t be writing about hearing voices in my head 😉 ) but the thing is I didn’t say our reading changed for the worst. No instead it instilled the love for reading to an all new level.
I loved the term used in a radical unschooling egroup recently that the “digital revolution” has begun. Yes, it has! “Reading” no longer means books anymore. Coming from a *huge* book lover this was very hard for me to understand.
Thing is though I am not *just* a lover of books. If I really stretch open my mind and think a bit, I realize that what I really love is a great story. Whether it be watching a movie ( I mean someone had to write a script) or getting in with a video game, or what I like to call interactive story books :). Then, if you turn on subtitles while you watch a movie (seriously watched all three Lord of the Ring movies this way) you can even “read” while you watch too. Reading is everywhere.
Books were written for entertainment before movies. Movies was entertainment before television. Television was entertainment before video games and video games was entertainment before the internet. How lucky our children are to get to choose which way they want to enjoy a great story. How many movies triggered *me* to go and later read the book?
So what does reading look like in our home and what are our favorite “tools”?
The internet is probably our most used reading tool in our home (for everyone). (Miss Sky reading Kids Science in the News. http://www.sciencea-z.com/scienceweb/newsarchive.do )
There are all kinds of free stories “strewed” throughout the internet like Mainlesson.com http://mainlesson.com/ or the Project Guternberg. http://www.gutenberg.org/ They even have stories for beginning readers at Starfall. http://www.starfall.com/
But that is not the only way the girls enjoy reading on-line. Miss Sky loves to read the reviews at Amazon.com before she makes a purchase and she likes to pull up all kinds of video game strategy guides.
Speaking about books how *do* they play a part in our home? Again learning the hard way (by now having a tons of books stored just in case the girls *might* want read them because *I* did in school)now I follow my girls interests.
Miss Sky *always* loved Junie B. Jones, so much to the point this series is what sparked her to *want* to read in the first place. Honestly *all* of us loved Junie B, but then while out in homeschooling circles I started hearing words like “twaddle” and people saying things like “I would never *allow* my child to read that garbage” and I started questioning our reading choices (don’t do it!). Thank goodness, I could never bring myself to rid ourselves of Junie. So many wonderful memories. 🙂
Miss Sky has outgrown her love of Junie B and has moved on to Marvel comics and the Ology books. http://www.ologyworld.com/ Others books I found out Miss Sky enjoys are the very books that are dismissed in homeschooling circles as “twaddle” like encyclopedias. Miss Sky likes reading short descriptions of things much better than “living” stories. When she is interested in finding out information like about bookbinding, she doesn’t want to read a whole book about it and guess what? Neither do I! Her favorite book to drag around is The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay.
Little Sis *loves* the Elephant and Piggie books.I’ll even share a bit of honesty here and say Little Sis really never enjoyed our “read aloud” time and now I understand why. She likes short and to the point stories too. If the story gets too long she loses interest and will walk away. Now she lets me know when she is ready for storytime. 🙂
But what about all the classic stories I have been wanting to read out loud? Well since *I* was the one who wanted to read them in the first place, I read them myself.
Since opening my mind to “see” all the reading my girls actually do daily I have been able to let go of any negative judgement I have towards “screens”. Instead of putting down their interests like in video games, I am sharing and *enjoying* them right along with my girls. I can truly see them for creative outlet that they really are.
We have never stopped “evolving”, standing on the edge of a new transition in time has helped open my eyes to see that.