Ten Reasons to Use Great Books in Your Homeschool

I firmly believe that one of the great benefits of homeschooling is that we can choose the approach that works best for us and for our kids. Some families may thrive on more structure while some love flexibility. Some homeschool moms may prefer to keep each child on grade level, working independently while others like to use resources that allow the whole family to work together. Homeschooling allows for this. And I definitely encourage homeschool mamas to choose a homeschooling method that works for them.

I am definitely an eclectic homeschooler. I don't use any one method exclusively. I do what works for our family. But there's been one consistent thing throughout all of our homeschooling years. I love to use great books- both fiction and nonfiction. No matter what homeschool methods you choose, I encourage you to make great books an important part of your homeschool.

This post is the second in the series- Five Days of Literature-Based Homeschooling. You can find the landing page with links to all of the posts in this series here. You can also find a free Living Books catalog here. This catalog is designed to help you choose great books to use in your homeschool, and I add to it regularly.

Ten reasons to use great books in your homeschool

So why should you use great books in your homeschool? Here are ten important reasons.

Great books draw kids in and inspire them to learn more.

When we read good books, we want to read more and more. If you use great literature as a base for learning in your homeschool, kids are going to want to keep on reading because they are drawn in and interested in the subject or the story line.

Using real books to study a subject gives kids the opportunity to go deeper.

Textbooks can be good for getting an overview of a topic. But they're typically trying to cover a large body of information, so they don't go very deep into any subject. When I used a world history textbook with my middle school girls, I realized quickly that there were some subjects we just really wanted to know more about. But this book was trying to cover world history from ancient times to modern times. And there was no way it could cover any topic very fully.

We decided instead to use the textbook as a jumping off point. We could read the overview of a topic or time period. But then we went deeper into that topic with real books. This is great when kids find a subject that particularly interests them. Real books give them the opportunity to read and learn about that subject in more detail.

Great books stir kids' imaginations.

Great books can help you to see, hear, and smell what's happening. They can inspire the reader- or listener to imagine what's going on and what could happen. They encourage the reader to think creatively. Even well-written nonfiction can do this.

Great books help kids to develop a worldview and value system.

Reading about characters who make difficult but right decisions in hard times can inspire and encourage kids as they're developing their own worldview and value system. When kids read stories of characters who are brave and courageous, they can be inspired to develop those values as well. Great literature can encourage this development of worldview and values.

Reading good books together inspires great discussions.

Some of the best discussions I've had with my kids have been centered around something we're reading. Does the character in a story face a difficult situation? Talk about how he handles it. Predict what will happen in a story. Talk about alternate endings when you're reading fiction. Great books inspire great discussions.

Well-written books help to develop kids' vocabulary, comprehension, and writing skills.

Kids who are exposed to good writing from early on develop vocabulary, comprehension, and writing skills. We tend to mimic in vocabulary and in writing. So when kids are reading well-written books- either fiction or nonfiction- they are going to develop good vocabulary and good sentence structure.

Great books encourage critical thinking.

Want to get kids thinking big thoughts? Have them read thorough, deep, thought-provoking books. Good books -fiction and nonfiction- will inspire kids to think creatively.

Kids can often relate to the characters and situations in great books.

Too often a textbook isn't very relatable. It's written in a straight-forward, report style. There often isn't anything for kids to relate to. A real book, though, has characters and situations that kids really can relate to. This is where great historical fiction comes in especially. Historical fiction books for kids have characters who are the age of the target reading audience, so readers can relate to what the character is thinking, feeling, and doing in the situations that arise.

Reading great books helps kids make connections with real life.

Because good books- both fiction and nonfiction- are more relatable to the reader, kids can make real life connections when they are reading. Making these connections will increase comprehension and understanding of the material in the book.

Great books help kids become independent learners.

One of my ultimate goals in homeschooling is to help my kids become independent learners. Reading great books contributes to that. There's no way that kids can learn an entire body of knowledge about all subjects throughout their school years. But if they're taught to learn from great books, that can carry over into their day to day life, allowing them to continue learning long after their official "school" time is over.

Ten reasons to use great books in your homeschool

No matter your choice of homeschool method, I hope that this inspires you to use some great literature in your homeschool.

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