Ten Proven Benefits You'll See When You Homeschool With Living Books

Do you homeschool with living books?



The kids listened. Sure, they fidgeted or drew or even crawled under the table. But they listened. Their eyes grew big when the tension in the story built. When it was time to stop and move on to something else they begged to read more.

That year we learned about constellations, the Ottoman Empire, and how to design a family crest. We read parts of Hamlet, Paradise Lost, and Tom Sawyer.

We were using living books- specifically the Narnia series- as a full-year unit study. And it was amazing!

I am definitely an eclectic homeschooler. There is no 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 homeschool with living books- both fiction and nonfiction. No matter what homeschool methods you choose, I encourage you to make great living books an important part of your homeschool.

Benefits of homeschooling with living books

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So why should you use great books in your homeschool? Here are ten important reasons. (And keep reading for resources that will help you to homeschool with living books!)

When you homeschool with living books, kids are drawn in and inspired 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.

Kids can go deeper into the subject when they learn from living books.

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.

Well-written 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.

Homeschooling with living books can 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.

When you homeschool with living books, you'll 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 a good book.

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 good 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.

Homeschooling with living books can 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.

Homeschooling with living books


No matter your primary choice of homeschool method, I hope that this inspires you to homeschool with living books!

Need some help to do that? Check out my free living books catalog to find living books for various ages and subject areas. And, if you want to make living books an integral part of your homeschool, try out a literature-based unit study! Pick up my book of free unit study ideas below and check out the complete unit studies in my shop.



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