So much of our homeschooling is based on literature. Boiled down, it is the written, oral, or practiced word that instructs. I’m not always able to sit by my children and verbally instruct them… this is where good literature comes in handy. I can find incredible resources in many places some of which are so much fun!
1) The local library – of course! This is an amazing resource for the homeschooler. We love using the library – as long as we keep track of which books we have taken out. There is also a wealth of information on the Galileo system. If you library uses this, you can get free access with a passcode they provide.
2) Invest in good books – books can be expensive… but we can usually find good resources through Amazon.com or on half.com.
3) Online resources – you would be surprised at the amount of books that are available through the internet. Many of the classics that my girls have read during their high school years have come from internet sources – all for free.
Project Gutenburg – free ebooks
4) Homeschool Literature is also a great place to find quality literature for homeschoolers. We love that site for many reasons but most of all because there is a whole section dedicated to literature written by homeschoolers!
My life is usually the definition of busy. Even when I purposely try to slow things down, they still seem to whirl out of control. Yet, during the summer… we do slow down a bit… and in between visiting relatives… I like to take a little vacation at home. I sometimes call it my “book-cation.” I just gather all the books that I have been wanting to read all year… and take time off to read them!
This isn’t just for me though, I try to get the kids all into the reading mood as well. We try to gather their favorites and make sure they have a comfy place with no interruptions and just dive in. It’s a great way to encourage them to read and relax. It’s also a great alternative to the heat.
If there’s no room in your budget for a vacation… try this! A book is an awesome way to visit new places, participate in exciting adventures, and even visit other worlds. There is lots of great literature out there. In fact, there is a ton of great homeschool literature out there. You can join homeschool literature’s online book club and even access lists of great literature written by homeschoolers. A great place to jump start your little “book-cation!”
Have you ever thought about doing a unit study just using books about homeschoolers or homeschool authors? I have been putting together one for my children using these types of books. I think that it would be pretty exciting and encouraging for my kids to see how other homeschoolers live as well as the literary accomplishments that others have made. Here are a few book suggestions for a unit study like mine…
1) I am a Homeschooler by Julie Voetberg
2) Freya and Heath are Home Educated by Kim Holding
3) Love Lessons (Homeshool Series #1) by Margaret Daley
4) Real Lives: Eleven Teenagers who Don’t go to School by Grace Llewellyn
5) Schoolroom in the Parlor by Rebecca Caudill
If you are like me you try to get your children to read at every opportunity. Since, we are directing their reading experience on our own, what should they read? Have you ever wondered what books are considered “important” to read for your child’s age and grade level? I am listing books that are considered “classics.” Yes, I know there is a lot of good contemporary fiction, however, I feel that the classics are time tested, typically non-controversial, and proven to benefit. So, to be safe… we will stick with those. Also, an interesting new genre that has received its own website is Homeschool Literature. This site is exceptionally interesting to those of us that homeschool. There are book lists as well as books about homeschoolers listed on this site. Definitely a great resource.
4th grade – many of these books are available at www.coreknowledge.org
More extensive lists are available at Seton home study.
King Arthur and the Round Table, by Malory, abridged by the Core Knowledge Foundation
Pollyanna, by Eleanor H. Porter, abridged by the Core Knowledge Foundation
Robin Hood and His Merry Outlaws, by J. W. McSpadden, abridged by the Core Knowledge Foundation
Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe, abridged by the Core Knowledge Foundation
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving, abridged by the Core Knowledge Foundation
Treasure Island, by Robert Stevenson, abridged by the Core Knowledge Foundation
Hiawatha, by Henry W. Longfellow
John Henry, retold by Julius Lester, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
Johnny Appleseed, retold and illustrated by Steven Kellog
Paul Bunyan Swings His Axe, Dell J. McCormick
Paul Bunyan, retold and illustrated by Steven Kellog
Paul Revere’s Ride, by Henry W. Longfellow
The Secret Garden, Little Lord Fauntleroy, and The Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Story of Dr. Dolittle, by Hugh Lofting
The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame
The Black Stallion, by Walter Farley
The Chronicles of Narnia, (a series of 7 books) by C. S. Lewis
A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens (recommended edition: The Whole Story, ISBN: 0-670-88879-6)
Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
An Old-Fashioned Girl, by Louisa May Alcott
Anne of Green Gables, by L. M. Montgomery
Blue Willow; and Hercales, by Doris Gates
Caddie Woodlawn, by Carol Ryrie Brink
Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes, abridged by the Core Knowledge Foundation
Sherlock Holmes, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, abridged by the Core Knowledge Foundation
Gulliver’s Travels, by Jonathan Swift, abridged by the Core Knowledge Foundation
A Journey to the Center of the Earth, by Jules Verne
Around the World in Eighty Days, by Jules Verne
Adam of the Road, by Elizabeth Janet Gray
Alice in Wonderland, and Through the Looking-Glass, by Lewis Carroll
All Creatures Great and Small, by James Herriot
Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley – (Recommended edition: The Whole Story ISBN: 0-670-87801-4)
Call it Courage, Armstrong Sperry
Old Yeller; and Savage Sam by Fred Gipson
Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens
Swiss Family Robinson, by Johann Wyss
The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien
The White Company, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson
Kipling, R.; Captains Courageous – story of a boy who grows up in a few months
Lewis, C. S.; The Chronicles of Narnia – adventure stories, conflict of good and evil
Stevenson. R. L.; The Black Arrow – swift-paced adventure of soldier, War of the Roses
Stevenson, R. L.; Kidnapped – David, a cabin boy, fights off a villainous crew
Stevenson, R. L.; Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Wells, H. G.; The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, War of the Worlds – science fiction
A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens –
The Scarlet Pimpernel, Emmuska Baroness Orczy – abridged versions for this age
Many different types of biographies would be excellent for this age group
Tanglewood Tales, by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Grandfather’s Chair, by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Otto of the Silver Hand, by Howard Pyle
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
O’Hara, M.; Green Grass of Wyoming – adventure with horses on a ranch
White, T. H.; The Sword in the Stone – boy must be made worthy to become king
Wibberley, L.; John Treegate’s Musket – boy involved in the American Revolution
O’Hara, M.; Thunderhead
O’Hara, M.; My Friend Flicka
Poe, Edgar Allan; The Tell-Tale Heart
Richter, C.; Light in the Forest – boy raised by Indians is reunited with his family
Steinbeck, J.; The Pearl – the consequences of finding a pearl for a man and his wife
more lists to come…
Smart boards, computers, netbooks, technology… and gadgets all arounds us… all that aside… Literature is probably the most powerful teaching tool known to man. Learning has taken place around the written word for centuries. It is the core of knowledge, and every homeschool needs to take reading and literature studies seriously.
What do you do to meet your homeschool literature needs? Many homeschooling families take advantage of our public library system and supplement their reading needs from exhaustive public library resources. Libraries almost always have the classics… which is a great place to start any literature study. Not to mention that the library is a great alternative to purchasing expensive books.
Other families use the internet extensively for research, and for augmenting their reading with literature based resources. These resources can take many different forms such as: literature unit studies, literature based word lists, color pages, literature connected recipes, and on and on the list could go. Whichever method you use, the importance of literature in a solid education is fundamental. Research has proven time and again that the more we read the more we learn.
I have recently discovered a new website that has compiled a FREE book list containing stories about homeschooling or homeschoolers. Isn’t that cool? I have seen booklists about everything you can imagine, but never one that completely covers the homeschool culture like this one. For inspiration in finding some new and interesting literature for your fall studies… check it out… you’ll be hooked!
Full many a gem of purest ray serene The dark unfathom’d caves of ocean bear; Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, And waste its sweetness on the desert air. ~Thomas Gray