We didn’t set out to read 1500 books in one year. We didn’t set out to read any specific number of books. Reading simply makes me a happier person so I wanted to pass this love down to my children. But I did want to find out why we’ve read so many books. Was it because I was inspired by early literacy studies or because we willed ourselves to devour books like food? Could it be because we homeschool?
I found reading for us was something much, much deeper than that.
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After scrolling through our checkout history at our library (something I learned you have to specifically enable due to privacy policies), I found we’ve checked out and read over 1500 books in just over eleven months.
If you’re a numbers person (something I am not), this actually only equates to an average of 41.6 books per person per month (divided by the three out of four of our family members who enjoy reading books). And this still only averages out to a little over one book per day per person – not staggering numbers at all! Especially when you consider most were picture books or early chapter books and maybe a handful per month were books I read for pleasure.
Now, keep in mind, there are a million different methods to homeschool and a million different ways to spend downtime. Our family’s method and favorite downtime activities just happen to be extremely literature-driven.
So my aim in documenting this here is a way to tell myself that everything and everyone will turn out just fine, despite my constant nagging fears of the alternative.
Homeschooling isn’t something we as parents take lightly. Our children’s futures and generations thereafter are at stake. And while many seasoned homeschooling parents have finally settled into a comfortable, even confident rhythm, our family’s still on a journey to find ours.
That being said, two years into this homeschooling thing, I finally feel like I’ve at least identified our Homeschooling “Rudiments.” These Rudiments, or so I apparently like to call them, are what keep us grounded on the tough days. The days when our kids get sick or math, art, or a tiny chore creates a meltdown or doing even the simplest tasks felt like scaling the tallest mountain range.
Our Rudiments are what feel like home.
A home that’s always a warm, welcoming home without judgement or expectations, that feels safe and life-giving.
Technically, rudiments are first principles in learning all subjects. In biology, rudiments are undeveloped, immature parts of a structure that will inevitably develop into mature, functioning organs. In music, rudiments are a basic pattern used by drummers.
Rudiments give you the base you need to expand your learning, anywhere and at any given time.
They look different for every person, every family, every homeschool. They’re a safe spot we can always run to when we’ve strayed too far, are struggling to gain our footing or feel out of touch with who we really are (and who we desire to be) as a homeschool family.
Rudiments help us:
• Grow individually and together
• Bond with one another
• Find joy and inspiration
• Learn whether it feels like learning or not
• Find our flow
• Feel free yet grounded
• Get back on track with what matters most in life
Your specific homeschool family Rudiments could be painting, playing games, being in nature (I’d consider this to possibly be our secondary if not primary but unrecorded rudiments), playing sports, writing, playing an instrument, adventuring… you name it.
Whatever you keep coming back to due to the joy it brings you would be considered one of your family’s Rudiments.
And if nothing else happens all day or all week or month for that matter, your rudiments take over willingly in places you feel you’re failing and reassures you that you’re not.
God ultimately provides us with these rudimentary learning opportunities as proof that He takes and bears the burden of our daily struggles – if we relax in this knowledge.
Therefore, as you see, the numbers don’t matter one bit. What matters is that we do our best to identify our homeschool rudiments so on the days we feel like giving up – we don’t, but instead fall back on our safety net, our rudiments as they help guide us back to our real selves, back to our children, back to our home.
What are your Rudiments for life? Whether your homeschool or not, they surely exist for each of us.
You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be–
I had a Mother who read to me.
~ Strickland Gillilan
**Looking for a few good books to start reading your children? Here are a few of my favorite books and resources with book lists (yes, you read that right).
Honey for the Child’s Heart – The Imaginative Use of Books in Family Life
Give Your Child the World – Raising Globally-Minded Kids One Book at a Time
Beautiful Feet Books – History Through Literature