How Our Homeschool Reading Time Has Been Revolutionized

Homeschool reading time

One of the best changes in our homeschool curriculum, routine, and philosophy this year has been in the area of reading.  I wish I could turn the clock back and implement these ideas years ago.  My strong and interested readers have grown, as well as my reluctant reader.  My sanity has been saved in this area and it has been easy on the budget!

Three items have contributed to this reading revolution.  Let me unveil them and then I’ll explain.

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Read “The Book Whisperer”


If you haven’t read this book yet, put it on your list.  If you are a parent (homeschool or not), “The Book Whisperer” is helpful in forming a reading philosophy for your family.  It also provides encouragement and will equip you for the practical side of follow-through.

The author’s basic philosophy is that every child can be a reader, but you have to model it authentically and give space and time to pursue it.  

We used to follow the traditional school model of graded reading books, worksheets, and book reports.  Reading was just a subject to get through as fast as you could and there wasn’t much enjoyment in it.  When classic literature was included in reading books, many times the story was abridged or dumbed down.  

Now we have embraced a reading culture in our home more than ever.  Hubby and I always have several books going at a time.  But how do you pass that on to your kids?  Give them the time in their schedule to read and enjoy it!  Require grade-level timeless literature but also allow them to find what they enjoy.

homeschool reading

My history loving son conquered a book about the 1001 top battles of all time.  And it was nearly 1000 pages!  But it was fun for him.  Another boy loves cats and for his “fun reading time” he dives into the Warrior Cat series.

After I tossed the grade-level reading textbooks (that, by the way, cost a pretty penny!), I had to find a great resource for required school reading for each child.

Find a Reading List

For this, our homeschool has turned to this classical reading list organized by grade level.  We are able to borrow some of these titles from our library, while others have been purchased and added to our bookshelf for younger siblings.

homeschool reading

Buy a timer for each child

And finally, the biggest change in our homeschool reading culture has been the freedom to linger longer in our favorite books.  Who doesn’t love to be required to lounge on the couch in front of the fire with a mug of hot chocolate and just read for a whole hour?  And this is school?  Oh yes!  

If my children can become better readers by reading several hours a day, and if my children can learn to love learning, and if my children can embrace their natural curiosity and interests, they will be lifelong learners!

homeschool reading curriculum

So, instead of zipping through a “story” in a reading textbook, we have minimum time standards for Reading List titles and Free Reading time.  (I have looked to “The Well Trained Mind” for great guidelines in organizing our school day with time suggestions per grade level.)

Enter the simple digital timer.  We have several floating around our house.  Grab a timer, your current book, and cuddle on the couch for the next hour, able to enjoy reading.  It’s not a task anymore!  We all love the change.  And it’s great for mom — do you know what happens when four boys are quietly reading for several hours each a day?  Yeah, I can hear myself think 🙂

Now, maybe your kids don’t need timers.  My oldest reads much more than his required time each day.  But for some of the others, it helps with responsibility.

It may seem simple — a new reading outlook, a great book list and freedom to enjoy reading?  Yes!  This is the best change we have made in our homeschool.

Visit my pinterest board for more great book lists!

8 thoughts on “How Our Homeschool Reading Time Has Been Revolutionized”

  1. Sounds great, Abby. I had a recommended book reading list also. It was a great resource. Well, back to my couch to read more of: “Hudson Taylor and Maria, pioneers in China”.

    1. Hi Amy! Glad this post was helpful. I really wish we had changed it up sooner around here.

  2. Aunt Sylvia sent me this site, I would love to be included in your posting…..I enjoyed reading your revolutionize your children’s reading, Loved the pictures, everyone is growing so fast…..I wish I would be able too see you all when you are at Whithead,,we feel it would be too much for your Mother with other family members around at the same time also……thank you Abby, Aunt Louise

  3. I sat up till midnight reading Donalyn Miller’s book “Reading in the Wild” because the library didn’t have the “Book Whisperer.” I can’t wait to get our girls home from Ethiopia and start reading to them!!!

    1. Hey, that’s great! Did you ever get your hands on the “Book Whisperer”? That one is my absolute fav!

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