I get asked the question all the time “at what age can my child read Charlottes Web, Pride and Prejudice, Anne of Green Gables, Call is the Wild?” And the list of classic books goes on and on. Many families in homeschool communities have advanced readers. This means at the age of 7 they are capable of reading a 5th grade level book.
However, just because they can read the book by reading skill level doesn’t mean they should read it.
Before I go any further in this thought I would also like to caution those who use audio books for listening to stories this is another way your children can “read” (listen) to books above their age level. Again I would say just because they can listen and it holds their attention doesn’t mean they should read it.
I completely get wanting to rush to let your children read classic books that you loved as a child. It’s so fun to watch them experience these same lives, meet characters that shaped your childhood, and enjoy these same stories. We want our kids to be yelling “get em Dan get em” as they dream of a dog like Dan from Where the Red Fern Grows, laugh till they cry at the silly situations Anne with an E gets herself into. These are sweet moments that every child should experience.
However just because they they can read it doesn’t mean it’s the right time! You can only read a book for the first time once.
Let me say this again: you can only read a book for the first time once!!!
Yes, your child might have the skill to read or listen to the audio book at a much younger age, but until their emotional make up is advenaced enough, humor has developed enough, processing skills have formed they miss it. They miss learning the skill of reading and processing well. They also miss the opportunity to learn to write like their favorite authors because they lack the writing skill. And this is always my encouragement to parents with advanced readers - gear what they read more to their writing capabilities then the child’s reading capabilities in younger early elementary years. Though at 9 your daughter is capable of reading Pride and Prejudice - don’t steal from her the joy of falling in love with Mr. Darcy because she’s to young to process romance. Wait till she’s a teen and she’ll be dreaming of her own Mr. Darcy!
Just wait! Save some of the really great classics until the age it’s recommended to read. I promise there are plenty of great reads that will hold your children’s attention in and around their current age and writing skill level.
If you are looking for recommendations on books for your children to read I’d love to suggest Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt or Honey for a Teen’s Heart. Her books are packed with the best of reading lists! Use her books as a guide for what and when your children should read. You won’t run out of book ideas using Gladys Hunt books!
Planning for the upcoming homeschool year? This can be exciting and sometimes overwhelming. It’s important to walk into your purchasing of new or used (new to you) curriculum with a good game plan. Here are a few tips and tricks to make sure you are ready!
Before purchasing or planning anything for the new homeschool year take time to pray. Our homeschool foundation should be built on the Lord. Keeping our homeschool in the center of His will is so important. Ask the Lord for direction, wisdom and above all that what you plan will cause you and your children to grow closer to Him.
No one knows you like your spouse! I can’t tell you how many times my husband has talked me out of an unwise homeschool decision due to time or style of curriculum not working with a child. Having your spouse to bounce these decisions around with puts you on the same team and helps keep you accountable.
What is or isn’t working right now in this school year. Write
it down so you remember in the summer what you were or weren’t liking about each curriculum. Don’t change curriculums just for the sake of change. If something is working great and everyone is loving it then leave it alone. If a curriculum isn’t working well, try to figure out why so that when you look for a new curriculum you have a better idea of what you do or don’t want.
Yes, we have homework too! When researching curriculums
you are interested in buying ask around. Who do you know that uses it, get their opinion. See samples. Most curriculums have a sample
online but touching the curriculum is so helpful so try to see it in person! I believe this is one of the most important reasons you can go to a homeschool convention - they have tons of vendors available so you can see all the curriculum options available and touch and feel it all. My favorite homeschool conference is Teach Them Diligently CLICK HERE to see their website.
Research the curriculum and determine style of curriculum. Is the curriculum written from a classical bent and you don’t like classical - then the curriculum probably isn’t going to be a good fit for you. If you don’t know a lot about styles of curriculum CLICK HERE to read a bit more on this topic.
Who is the author of the curriculum? Curriculums is NEVER neutral, authors will write with a bent - faith, teaching style, and personal beliefs all play into what they write. Make sure your money is supporting someone that aligns with you and your faith. If you are getting all secular curriculum from a charter school this is different - in which case be diligent to be aware of things that conflict with our faith to point out to your children. But, if you are financially supporting- by purchasing with your own money curriculum please
do your homework on who these authors are and what their faith is. Wouldn’t you rather purchase a curriculum written by a Christian homeschool family, supporting another brother and sister in Christ?
I can’t stress this one enough. Be realistic with yourself! If you are struggling to keep up this school year don’t add 3 subjects next year. If science isn’t a strong subject for you to teach don’t pick a labor intensive science program. If you have a baby or a big change coming in your next school year then keep the year simple! The last thing you need is to start your year discouraged because you were too ambitious with yourself.
Know your children too. Don’t pick something you know they will hate. Chose wisely your year literally depends on it!
These are just a few things to get you thinking about this up coming school year. If you are wanting to see a few of Raising Arrows favorite curriculums that we recommend check out the Resource Page or CLICK HERE. Hoping these thoughts will set you up for success in your upcoming school year. The Lord has equipped and prepared you for this upcoming year. Bring it before His throne regularly and rest in Him!
Here is a quick and simple resource for you - a blank attendance tracker you can use. Keep track of your school year or use this before the school year to plan out the year. You can simply X each day or you can add more complication like H for holiday F for field trip. You make this what you need it to be!