There is a lot of advice concerning how to homeschool your younger children from individuals who support a boxed curriculum to those who will tell you play is best. I firmly believe you should let your children and your own feelings guide the decisions you make about homeschooling – (while keeping in mind the requirements of your state or country). If you are looking for a more a middle road – between a structured curriculum to unschooling, perhaps you might consider homeschooling with children’s books.
One of my favorite things to do when my children were little was to take a child’s book and create lessons and crafts surrounding it. While preschool-aged, these lessons could last a short time – perhaps a week or less. The book might be the starting point for a discussion on colors as in when we read Black Bird Yellow Sun and then worked with a new-to-use art medium. We also learned new vocabulary learned about astronauts when we read Moustronaut .
How Do You Create Lessons Based on Children’s Books?
Look through your own shelves or the shelves of your library and pick out a few books. You can choose ones that follow a theme – like pick ones that are all about animals – or perhaps you want to spend some time discussing history and you have several biographies of the presidents on hand. These books can be ones that you and your children have read numerous times or are brand new ones to your family. I just recommend reading it several times before sharing it with your children so you know exactly what you want to talk about in terms of the book and outside activities.
After you have picked your books and read them, think about what you would like your children to remember from the reading of the books. For example, we have an adorable book called Diary of a Wombat written by Jackie French and illustrated by Bruce Whatley. If I was creating a lesson based upon this book, I would include discussions on the days of the week, writing a schedule, general information about wombats (where they live, what they eat, etc.), how to grow carrots, and maybe even some research as to what animals might be similar to wombats in our area. Since I like to share my lessons based on books, I generally write down these ideas in a notebook and then sketch out some craft ideas.
My children LOVE crafts so when we read a book, I often look for the opportunity for them to draw, paint, glue, or create something. When thinking about a craft to go along with the book, I look around at what materials we already have, think about what craft we last made together, and think about what we will do with the craft when it is completed. While I love keeping cute crafts our kids make, I like them to have a purpose or for the crafts to be easily displayed or stored. For Diary of a Wombat, I might take some brown felt and have the kids create a little wombat pillow. They can practice their sewing skills and create a little plush friend, too.
One can easily use books to create homeschool lessons if you plan ahead. From children’s picture books to non-fiction books, there are so many options as to what to read with and to your children as they grow. And creating a love of reading books can be a great side effect to using books daily in your homeschool. (Now I think I am going to go create a lesson or two based upon Diary of a Wombat. Perhaps a new post will appear on my blog soon!)
Kristen is a housewife and mother to a teen stepson and two younger children (son, 5, and daughter, 3). She is a certified social studies teacher and has worked as a volunteer at a National Park site, in the education department of a metropolitan zoo, and as a high school history teacher. Kristen has maintained a blog where she relates her family’s learning experiences at A Mom’s Quest to Teach since 2015.