Looking for tips for using living books in your homeschool?
Have you ever noticed how kids cling to the things that interest them the most? You can learn all about a topic, using dry, old textbooks and kids can hardly tell you a single thing you’ve taught them. But if you try a new, more exciting approach, they can tell you all the details, even the things you may have missed.
I had no idea how boring I was as a homeschool teacher when I was teaching from a typical curriculum. In fact, I found history to be way more intriguing than it had been when I was a kid so I thought I must’ve been doing something right. But when my husband would ask my kids what they were learning and they simply couldn’t answer, I knew it wasn’t working.
Workbooks, monotone textbooks and old-school worksheets just weren’t their thing. But when I started using living books, I noticed an immediate spark of wonder in my kids. They loved the stories and I loved the connection I felt to my kids while reading awesome stories to them.
But, like everything else, living books come with a whole new set of issues. Thankfully, these were tiny problems that we were able to solve without much effort at all!
3 Common Roadblocks when Using Living Books
Okay, okay. So we all know that kids prefer living books over tedious textbooks. But there are 3 common issues that intimidate homeschooling parents and keep them from diving in headfirst and using living books in their own homeschool:
My Kids Just Won’t Sit Still:
This is probably the most common struggle for people who are thinking about using living books. They often expect kids to sit still for long periods of time, while listening to the stories. However, kids require movement, especially in the younger years. The sooner we accept this realization, the better off we’ll be.
I’ve found that my kids struggle to really get “into” a book during the first few chapters. After they’re invested in the characters, plot and story, they’re much more apt to crawl into my lap and listen intently as I read.
But until they fall in love with our read-aloud, I encourage them to play with Legos or Playdoh, color, doodle and draw, bounce on a large exercise ball or enjoy an easy snack. I’ve found that they really listen and retain the information better when they’re quietly moving.
Planning Activities to Go with Literature:
Another huge task that parents feel will overwhelm them is planning activities to go along with their living books. We all know and enjoy the lessons more when we can do hands-on activities, too. The fun and engaging crafts, art lessons and enjoyable activities really bring lessons to life and help the students absorb the information better. But who wants to spend hours searching Pinterest for activities to go along with every single book you read? Certainly not me!
Knowing What to Read Next:
Once you start using living books in your homeschool, you’ll quickly fall in love with this approach. The ease and pleasure that the literature brings to your lessons makes your homeschool more peaceful and effective.
But, how will you know which books to read next? If you don’t have a plan, you’ll feel like you’re skipping around, missing important parts of history or geography.
That’s why we’ve grown to love Beautiful Feet Books!
Not only does Beautiful Feet Books offer the very best of the best when it comes to literature, but they have simplified living books for parents, as well. Beautiful Feet Books offers K-12 history, literature, and geography curriculum using only the very best books available today.
The literature-based curriculum includes suggested scriptures, copy work and question and answer type of narration. You can do as much or as little of the activities as you want. But rest assured, there is no busywork and the students love that just as much as I do!
Beautiful Feet Books may seem a bit pricey compared to other curriculum but when you see exactly how easy it is to use, you’ll understand why. Besides getting a massive box full of incredible literature delivered straight to your door, the time and effort that you save when using it is unmatched. Honestly, my time is so valuable as a busy homeschool mama but we often forget that when purchasing cheap curriculum that I have to spend hours preparing!
Instead of opting to save a few bucks, I’ve decided it’s worth it for me to invest a little bit more into a curriculum that has done all the dirty work for me. And, thankfully, it’s saved hours of time each week!
My favorite thing about Beautiful Feet Books is that it has all the unit-study type lessons laid out for me, piece by piece.
The Teacher Guide tells parents exactly what to do, from which pages to read to the questions to ask. You can really just “open-and-go.” It doesn’t require hard-to-find items but instead uses the books to teach your kiddos. There is basically no prep work required since it’s all done for you! It just doesn’t get any more simple than that!
If you’ve always wanted to try a more relaxed and enjoyable approach to homeschooling, living books is the answer. The way they tie in nature, art, music and additional reading makes it a breeze for me to teach.
Your kids will fall in love with reading, while you fall in love with the time spent, gathered on the living room couches, enjoying amazing literature together.