“Read All About It”

This weeks Unschooling tool 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 the archives of this blog 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 group 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.

The 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 were entertainment before television. Television was entertainment before video games and video games were 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 Gutenberg. 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 online. 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.

Which brings me to another favorite reading tool, periodicals.We have subscriptions to Highlights Hi Five, My Big Backyard, Ranger Rick, Game Informer, and Nintendo Power.

I mentioned above how many movies triggered me to read the book, well the same goes for the girls. I can’t list all the times, movies or cartoons triggered further reading, investigating.

 Speaking about books how *do* they play a part in our home? Again learning the hard way (by now having a ton 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 story time. 🙂

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 judgment 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 the 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.


2 Responses to ““Read All About It””

  1. ingridmccarthy Says:

    Wow I loved this post – so thoughtful!

    I loved that you think outside the book-square for reading, enjoying stories and getting information.

    I totally love that reading is an intrinsic part of life – gaining information, enjoying a story or just progressing through something.

    I don’t get “living books”. I’m with you – wanna find something out? Just look it up (google it). I came across an interesting article after I read this blog and think it is relevant:


    How good is “twaddle”??? Myself, I’ve been known to read the odd Who magazine or two! I love reading blogs and articles that people post on Facebook. My son loves graphic novels and Captain Underpants books. Who cares, as long as you are happy and enjoying reading or finding out new information?

    We still enjoy “read aloud” – I’m actually amazed at how well my kids (who have limited attention at the best of times) listen and follow along! Stuns me!

    We didn’t start the fire is on of our all-time favourite songs – we adore it!

    • dkjsv05 Says:

      Thanks for sharing that article! Yes there are places for people who like “twaddle” ;).

      I have been doing a bit of thinking lately about certain traits we are born with, that people view as not being normal, and how they fit into the workforce (and how we try to train people out of them).
      Like shyness. I was extremely shy! Anytime I needed to get up in front of class I would throw up, I hated it!

      Well I have one daughter that is *very* shy and one who doesn’t have a shy bone in her body. People would like to assume the shyness is from homeschooling. No it isn’t, it’s who my daughter is and who she will always be. There are people who make a living at working alone (monks, writers, Benny Hill comes to mind). I see this trait following her and will play a part in whatever career she decides.

      It really does take standing “outside” the box a moment to see these things and to be okay about them :).

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