This is the time of year when we like to choose something spooky for our family read-aloud.Halloween is my favorite holiday, and I love a good ghost story or something similar to get me in the mood for it.
The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury is the perfect chapter book to read with kids because it’s spooky while still being mostly kid-friendly and it contains a pretty accurate history of the holiday. Accurate enough to spark some cool history lessons, anyway. I’ve not yet seen the animated film based on it, but it would be fun to read the book and then watch the movie.
This book, y’all. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a little hair-raising for kids. But it’s such a cool look at the history of Halloween and the way humans have always feared death and the dark. There are so many ways you could turn a read-aloud into a history lesson, a geography lesson, a sociology lesson…
You get me. I mean, Bradbury was a genius, after all, and if you don’t appreciate this book simply for his skill with the language, then something is seriously wrong.
No, really, the descriptions in this book reach down deep into your heart and pull out everything you love about autumn and Halloween until you feel all choked up and nostalgic.
I can’t think of a better way to kick off the autumn season.
You may not know this about me, but one of the reasons I pulled my boys from public school was my dissatisfaction with the way they’re teaching kids how to read now. I have literally seen it set kids up to be unable to spell or sound out difficult words. Of course, my boys were both already reading when they started kindergarten, but you know that scene in To Kill a Mockingbird where Scout’s teacher has a hissy fit because Scout hasn’t learned to read from the school?
Well, maybe it wasn’t that bad, but the lessons on how to read with sight words and all the other rigamarole confused them, for sure.
Y’all, reading is too important to risk that way.
If you want to see me laugh in childish delight over and over again, put in Sony Pictures’ Peter Rabbit and watch me go.
From the tongue-in-cheek opening song sequence to Peter’s antics and the hilarity of watching McGregor squirm, I am hooked.
The great thing about this film is that my entire family (even the teenage boys) feels that way about it. It may not be exactly the story we love from the book, but it’s a great story that gives you plenty of opportunity to compare and contrast.
And did I mention it’s funny?
Having a literature-based homeschool is the most important thing in my life. There’s a reason college is lit-heavy. Literature expands your thinking and introduces you to subjects and events you might otherwise never experience. It helps you think about life in new ways and moves you outside the zone of your daily life. Kinda why they call it ‘expanding your horizons.’ Your brain really does expand.
If you bring up your kids to think in a variety of ways from the get-go (and therefore come from a place of natural expansion), they’re going to be those outside-the-box grownups that today’s career world loves.
And that’s what we all want for our kids. To be creative thinkers and doers. Believe it or not, a literature-heavy homeschool can truly help with that.