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.
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.
The days are getting shorter, duckies, and the air is starting to smell of apples, pears, and the end of summer.
For us homeschooling mamas, that means a couple of things: 1) We can peacefully go on field trips again and 2) we’re thinking about getting started back to school.
Here at the Brison house, we use a literature-based curriculum every year, and the upcoming year will be no different. I’m just trying to figure out how to fit The Diary of Anne Frank, The Devil’s Arithmetic, Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed, and Number the Stars into one semester of chapter-a-day read-alouds.
But if summer homeschool was any indication, we might be studying World War II for longer than that. Which is okay, because we’re homeschoolers. We can study our subjects for as long as we want to.
To Kill a Mockingbird is one of those books I’ve probably read 10 times. I love everything about the story, from Scout’s childhood to the trial to Atticus as a father and a lawyer to the mystery of Boo Radley. I love the message inherent in the story. I love the history in its words. I love that my boys enjoyed reading it as much as I do. And as I read back through it to create these activities for your kiddos, I cried more times than I can tell you–for the sweetness of childhood, good parenting, and basic human rights.
You really can’t ask more from a single book.
There’s a lot to digest in roughly 280 pages, though, and some grownup stuff that your kids might need help understanding or dealing with. Scout and Jem’s childhood antics, their fascination with the local recluse, Boo Radley, and the trial that shakes their small southern town (defended by their own father), can be pretty heavy stuff. But there is such an incredible array of very real characters in the novel, so many opportunities to laugh, and maybe even more opportunities to study ourselves and human nature, that this one is a can’t-miss.
So, assign To Kill a Mockingbird for personal reading if you want to, but if you read it aloud together, you get to relive the story, too. Or (and what is wrong with you?!) for the first time.
I’m kidding. There’s nothing wrong with you. You just seriously need to read this book.
You want your kids to glean as much from this story as possible. There’s a lot of history, sociology, and human wickedness and kindness in the novel. So let’s get your kiddos reading To Kill a Mockingbird like pros. Because we want them to get it.