Friends, we just ended the best homeschool year we have ever had! It was filled in rest, truth, beauty, and goodness. There were many things that contributed to this but today I want to talk to you about the Read-Aloud Revival podcast and what it did for my family.
It was a year ago, last summer, that I first started listening to the Read-Aloud Revival podcast. We had just finished our third year in homeschool and I was concerned for my eldest son who seemed to be a struggling reader: he was eight, soon to be nine. He could read well but he wasn’t confident in his own reading skills. He was intimidated by a lot of words on a page, so he decided that he didn’t like reading which worried me.
Although he proclaimed that he didn’t like reading, he did enjoy being read to.
From the Beginning
A few years ago, I shared a blog post called, Our Journey to Homeschool. In that post I shared how homeschooling was something that my family hastily jumped into as we heeded the Lord’s calling in our lives. We weren’t very prepared, to say the least, but we followed.
As God has proven himself faithful, time and time again, He led my family to using the My Father’s World curriculum. It follows a Charlotte Mason and classical method of education with a biblical worldview and international focus.
This curriculum melded beautifully with my family’s biblical views and lifestyle. It’s gentle in the beginning years, adheres to short lessons, focuses on the importance of God’s creation and being in nature, is literature based, and lays a solid foundation in Biblical history and truths. I praise God that he brought this curriculum into our lives at a time when this Mama was feeling completely overwhelmed with everything homeschool.
Once I started homeschooling my oldest son and using the My Father’s World curriculum, I realized that I didn’t read aloud to my children often enough. Big Brother was five at the time and although we read board books, bible stories, and the such, we weren’t a “reading” family.
I can honestly say I was ignorant to the importance of reading to your children from birth.
After homeschooling a few years, we started reading more and more. Mostly what our curriculum suggested and that which we found at the library. Throughout this time, although Big Brother was reading on grade level, he still wasn’t fluent so I continued to worry (face-palm!).
Enter the Read-Aloud Revival
Once I started listening to the Read-Aloud Revival podcast the light bulb clicked. Everything I was learning through the My Father’s World Curriculum and Charlotte Mason came alive through the Read-Aloud Revival podcast.
The Read-Aloud Revival podcast is hosted by Sarah Mackenzie. She is a homeschooling mother of 6 and shares her passion for building a family culture around books. Her guests vary from distinguished scholars, reputable authors, to seasoned homeschooling mothers.
Each episode has inspired and encouraged me to simply fill my children’s ears with truth, beauty, and goodness.
Friends, I did it.
I took to heart every message from that podcast and started lining my book shelves with good quality literature. I ditched some of the curriculum suggestions in favor for books that we all enjoyed reading together.
You know what happened in just one school year?
My children have started speaking more eloquently. Their attention spans have grown. They are reading better. They are enjoying stories, fables, and poems from yesteryear, rich in beautifully written language.
Besides the podcast, the Read-Aloud Revival also hosts live author events, has a great book list you can get for free, and this past year they even started a read-aloud challenge. We took part in January’s Read-Aloud challenge where my children read aloud every day for 31 days. All 3 of my children did it: I was so proud of them!
It was in that challenge that I saw Big Brother’s reading take off! Oh what a joy that was for this Mama. To see my son not just read because he had to but because he was starting to find delight in it.
Big Brother will be 10 at this end of this week. He just finished third grade and although reading is still not his favorite pastime and a lot of words on a page still overwhelm him, I no longer worry since I now know that the important thing is to continue to read aloud to him good quality literature: the rest will come in time.
There’s delight and rest in that.
Read-Aloud Chapter Books we Read this Past School Year
Since I have two rambunctious boys, I chose chapter books this past year that were filled in heroism and adventure! We really enjoyed each of the books below. Big Brother’s favorite read was Jotham’s Journey. That book was intense! Little Brother’s favorite read was The Green Ember. Heather and Picket have captured our hearts! My favorite read was Dominic by William Steig. We all had a wonderful time traveling with heroic Dominic. Personally, I was captivated by William Steig’s written prose as it often reads as poetry.
Stuart Little is no ordinary mouse. Born to a family of humans, he lives in New York City with his parents, his older brother George, and Snowbell the cat. Though he’s shy and thoughtful, he’s also a true lover of adventure.
Heather and Picket are extraordinary rabbits with ordinary lives until calamitous events overtake them, spilling them into a cauldron of misadventures. They discover that their own story is bound up in the tumult threatening to overwhelm the wider world.
It’s time for a change, so Dominic packs his collection of hats and his piccolo and heads out, letting the world take him where it may. When Dominic encounters members of the Doomsday Gang, he easily foils their attempt to rob him. Legend of his victory quickly spreads, and each new friend Dominic meets tells him a story of their own less-fortunate meeting with the villains, and asks for help from the heroic dog. But can one lone dog bring down an entire band of hooligans?
The story chronicles the adventures of a young girl named Dorothy Gale in the Land of Oz, after being swept away from her Kansas farm home in a cyclone.
Abel’s place in his familiar, mouse world has always been secure; he had an allowance from his mother, a comfortable home, and a lovely wife, Amanda. But one stormy August day, furious flood water carry him off and dump him on an uninhabited island. Despite his determination and stubborn resourcefulness―he tried crossing the river with boats and ropes and even on stepping-stones―Abel can’t find a way to get back home.
In this widely popular, exciting story for the advent season, readers follow ten-year-old Jotham across Israel as he searches for his family. Though he faces thieves, robbers, and kidnappers, Jotham also encounters the wise men, shepherds, and innkeepers until at last he finds his way to the Savior born in Bethlehem.
Bambi’s life in the woods begins happily. There are forest animals to play with and Bambi’s twin cousins, Gobo and beautiful Faline. But winter comes, and Bambi learns that the woods hold danger—and things he doesn’t understand.
Terribly unhappy in his family’s crowded New York City apartment, Sam Gribley runs away to the solitude-and danger-of the mountains, where he finds a side of himself he never knew.
As far as homeschool, this next year we are moving away from My Father’s World and moving into a full fledged Charlotte Mason education. My Father’s World was just what I needed at the time and I’m now feeling confident enough, guided by the lovely woman at A Delectable Education, to forge a new path in homeschool.
Within the next week, I do want to share our year in review as well as a post about our homeschool co-op and how I plan our art classes based on Charlotte Mason’s methods.
I promise, after that I’ll tackle the anxiety series and share with you where my family is at in our new homesteading journey.
Eeesh, so much to share!
Sarah, Thank You!
Sarah Mackenzie, from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for your ongoing work at the Read-Aloud Revival. Your work influences and blesses many. I’m honestly shedding tears because your work has changed my family’s lives. I cannot thank you enough! May God bless you.
Have you listened to the Read-Aloud Revival podcast? Tell me, what are some of your favorite books?