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Becoming a Homeschool Read Aloud Momma + Homeschool Read Aloud Q&A

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Becoming a Homeschool Read Aloud Momma + Read Aloud Q&A

How Homeschool Read Aloud Time Gently Started In Our Family

Early on in my homeschool mom journey, I fell head over heels in love with reading to my children. I remember years ago living in our little apartment when we were only in the toddler and preschool years. I read both little boys a variety of storybooks that we gathered during our weekly trips to our local library. We read Dr. Suess, Thomas the Train (*lots* of Thomas the Train :), and a huge stack of animal and nature books each week. That’s how it all started. It was natural for both little boys to snuggle up on the couch with mommy (Don’t Forget: You are the BEST Homeschool Preschool Curriculum, Momma), and read story after story. 

This picture shows the ages and stages of our early read aloud years about 2004-ish. 🙂

Homeschool Mom Research

I was reading a lot of homeschool mom books by then including Educating the WholeHearted Child and The Three R’s along with a thick stack of homeschool magazines. I had joined our first homeschool group and began going to meetings when our boys were only two and four years old. You see the whole homeschool idea and lifestyle sounded fantastic to me. It felt like a peaceful extension of motherhood and like an educational option that encouraged gentle family learning and life together. 

Although with my early homeschool mom research, I couldn’t read enough books and articles about the benefits of reading aloud to our children. Every homeschool support group meeting I attended usually had some veteran homeschool mom sharing how her family devoured read aloud time together. Those stories made me thirsty to read amazing books for hours to our boys. 

Introducing Our First Chapter Book Read Aloud

Like a lot of homeschool moms, I wasn’t sure where to begin with picking homeschool read alouds. I didn’t know how the mechanics of reading aloud would work when trying to read longer chapter books. I went with my momma gut and thought about the kinds of stories my adventurous by then five-year-old son would enjoy. After years of storybooks, one afternoon during the two-year-old’s nap my new kindergartener and I took the plunge. We started by having short 1-2 chapter reading times, just the two of us. He would sit by me and fiddle quietly with his Legos or draw in a notebook. I kept this time as gentle and laid back as possible. The primary requirement was he needed to sit with me and listen while I read. He was quickly pulled into the story. When I stopped reading, he would ask for me to read a little bit more. Before I knew it, we’d read for an hour or more most afternoons. 

 

Continuing to Grow in Our Homeschool Read Aloud Dynamics 

Our oldest son and I continued to find new chapter books to soak up during afternoon read aloud time. We read all the E.B. White Classics, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, the entire Little House on the Prairie Collection, Swiss Family Robinson, Ralph S Mouse, the Narnia stories, and many, many others. Jadin would save cardboard from cereal boxes or other packaging and during our read aloud time he’d clip and glue on the floor by my feet creating 3D works of art. We both enjoyed this time together immensely. 

We continued this routine of just the two of us reading each afternoon. Then we added a baby sister who would take her naps during our afternoon read aloud time. By this point, little brother had outgrown naps, and he began to join in reading aloud time as well.

50+ of Our Favorite Homeschool Read Alouds 

Here are my Amazon affiliate links for several of our favorite homeschool read aloud classics that we’ve enjoyed over the several years. This is by no means an exhaustive list. 🙂 

Again, we have hundreds of favorites! Don’t forget to share some of your favorites in the comments below. 

Adding a Child to Read Aloud Time

When I added a 2nd child to afternoon reading time, I knew it would be an adjustment. However, since nap time was when the longer reading times took place, and one brother was already a pro at listening while working quietly with his hands on a creative project, the next child quickly got the hang of it. I had also read him story books for years (especially those Thomas Books! :). He knew reading was a special time together. 

It was during this period we started our heavy Lego years with the two oldest boys. We worked through biographies of Clara Barton, Helen Keller, Harriet Tubman, George Washington, and Stonewall Jackson. We learned about the French and Indian War, Revolutionary War, and Civil War together while Lego creations covered the living room floor. We also created Literature Lapbooks to go along with our glorious reading time. 

Here’s Naomi about five years old working on sewing during read aloud time.

Through the years we’ve graduated other kiddos from toddlerhood naptime to homeschool read aloud time. Each time it takes a few days for them to get the hang of doing a quiet activity while listening to mommy read longer books. Before we know it, they are hanging on every word and begging for just one more chapter. 

Our Large Family Read Aloud Time Today

I shared last year on Instagram, “Today it was much chillier in the morning than we expected here in the mountains of Virginia (I actually turned the heat on! ?). By afternoon it warmed up enough so we could enjoy our current #readaloudhomeschool selection of James and the Giant Peach ?. In my mind (and mamas you know it’s busy in there) we should’ve finished this book last week. But here we are with a brand-new week, and we’re trucking right along. Hoping to wrap this book up in a few days and watch the movie.”

Fast forward many homeschool years later, and I’m no longer the homeschool mom reading to two early elementary boys, surrounded by heaps of Legos, reading my sixth chapter for the day, while baby sister is napping. Slow and steady through these years I’ve crossed over into homeschooling a herd while growing a baby, wearing a baby, or nursing a baby as well (you can read this post from 2011 to see what read aloud time looked like for us then).

Here’s one of my huge used chapter book hauls from several years ago. You can see one of my more recent used book hauls here. 

We’ve had days as a family where we have done nothing other than reading an entire chapter book in one day. Although we’ve only accomplished this a handful of times, all the kids the remember marathon reading of those books. We’ve also had periods of time where we got in a lot of reading aloud time at night before bed. This happened more often during the several years my husband worked the night shift. 

From our front porch on Instagram, “We are FINALLY reading The BFG for a #homeschool#readaloud WOOT!”

How Read Alouds Have Changed During High School Years

These days I don’t read aloud as much to our oldest teen boys, although I’ll forever cherish all those years we devoured great books for hours together. The big boys have stretched into heavier high school level work stacks and chew through many excellent books on their own. We discuss many of these in great detail. And don’t worry, there’s still a lot of horse play like this :). We do still read aloud during family Bible time at the dining room table, and I continue to read to the entire family from missionary stories like the Christian Heros Then And Now Series. We also listen to many Audio Books as an entire family in the van. Recently we listened to The Green Ember and The Hiding Place (again). I would love more than anything to have all seven children still listening for hours to just me reading, but at this point with the teenage outside work commitments, high school studies and hobby schedules, it doesn’t happen as often. We’re growing in a different season. It’s a beautiful season in its special way. 

An excellent audio book for the entire family is Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place.

Our younger crew is currently ages 10, 8, 6, 4, and 2. We still spread out with Legos in heaps for indoor read aloud times. Naomi works on her bracelet making or sewing. Some days large stacks of paper, stencils, and crayons come out. Our family read aloud time is a creative time for all. 

We’ve also continued to develop and grow in outside read aloud time as well. If the weather is wonderful, we love nothing more than to spread out at our first nature bridge in our forest and read chapter after chapter. In the past year, we’ve read through most of the Roald Dahl collection outside in the fresh air. We’re currently working through The Little House on the Prairie Collection yet again (these are new stories to several of the little ones.)

Recently I shared on Instagram, “We’re currently reading through Little House in the Big Woods in our big forest by the little stream. Today while I read, the kids built dams and stick houses, plus other creative nature play.”

What I Do But Would Have Never Planned

Something new that has happened with Daniel, the current two-year-old, is he sits in on many of our read aloud times. I would never try to plan this or expect it to work otherwise at two-years-old. However, he will sit right down and fiddle quietly while I read, right along with everyone else. On more than one occasion he has stayed up through the entire homeschool reading time. Then he takes a later afternoon nap while we do our table work lessons. I think the biggest aspect that is helpful is he’s following the lead of many siblings. I’m sure there are also personality factors involved. I’ve had many kids who would be napping instead during this time. 

Homeschool Read Aloud Questions

In today’s Becoming a Homeschool Read Aloud Momma + Homeschool Read Aloud Q&A I chat about several read aloud questions I’ve received on Instagram, Facebook, and in the YouTube comments. You can watch the video here to chat more about homeschool read alouds. 

 

 

In this video, I share more about how we started to read aloud in our home. I also answer questions such as:

  • How do I read loud enough for all the children to hear me?
  • How do I know if my kids are listening?
  • How do I handle it if they start to make noise?
  • What are the best chapter books to use to jump into family reading?
  • Where do I find my chapter books, and more!

 

Click here to watch the full Becoming a Homeschool Read Aloud Momma + Homeschool Read Aloud Q&A.

Homeschool Read Aloud Book Lists and Resources

Great Booklists for Read-Aloud Families from Read Aloud Revival

Top 25 Read Alouds for ages 5-12 Simple Homeschool  

What is a Read-Aloud from Sonlight 

The Massive Guide to Homeschool Reading Lists and yes, it’s massive!

The Homeschooler’s Read-Aloud Guide {book lists, websites, and more!}

Favorite Read-Aloud Books for Preschoolers from Simply Charlotte Mason


The Ultimate List of Book Lists from Sarah at My Joy-Filled Life

Middle School Reading List great list from Weird Unsociliated Homeschoolers. Even though this is a Middle School list we’ve done most of these during the elementary years. The middle schoolers revisit these on their own though. 🙂 

Tips for Reading Aloud from Homegrown Learners

Great Big List of Living Books Links gasp, I love her wagon full of books! It looks so dreamy.

Our Third Grade Homeschool Reading List Jolanthe also has reading lists at the bottom of this post for grades 4th through 11th. Don’t miss those if you’re looking for more ideas!

10 Family Favorite Annual Homeschool Read Alouds I compiled this list several years ago of books we’ve devoured multiple years. 

Roald Dahl Homeschool Style ~ including complete homeschool reading guide, resources, and comprehension questions!

More Homeschool Encouragement

These are a few of the homeschooling articles I’ve written over the years that other mommas tell me they greatly enjoy. xoxo

Letting Go & Letting God: How the Lord Took Over Our Homeschool one of the very first article’s I ever shared online in 2011. This article is also very fun because this boy is our son who is nearing graduation. Let them homeschool in their Batman capes, moms! xoxo 

Homeschooling with Little Ones Underfoot and Keeping Your Sanity

8 Things I Want New Homeschooling Moms to Know

Why Homeschool: The Gift of Time

How I’ve Saved Thousands on Homeschool Curriculum

Homeschool Routines and Curriculum Plans for 2016-2017

Mommy, YOU’RE the Best Homeschool Preschool Curriculum!

 

Please share your thoughts, experiences, and questions about being a homeschool read aloud momma! I would also love to hear some your favorite stories. 

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