As Samuel is beginning to understand the world around him more and more, I have become increasingly aware of what he is consuming. One of the key areas that has been sticking out to me lately is books and stories.
I have been thinking about these things on a long-term scale, not simply questioning what we read to Samuel now, but the broader purpose of teaching literacy to my children. This is an especially interesting topic when the fact that I plan on homeschooling is taken into consideration.
What about the classics? Is something a good book just because it’s a classic? What is the purpose of reading? Do I want to begin with books that lead to the ultimate goal, or settle for anything that will get my children’s noses in books?
When I was little, I LOVED to read. I would consume anything and everything. From my perspective, the longer the book, the better. When I read books, I was in my own world. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that I was in the world of the story. I could be mischievous Tom Sawyer without ever getting into trouble, I could have a fairy tale romance, I could be a pioneer girl out on the open prairie, I could work with any animal you could possibly imagine. My world was wide open.
The sad part was I had to return to reality and only dream about these fanciful and, (let’s be real) often unrealistic experiences. Meanwhile, I was missing out on the world around me. I wasn’t getting out and experiencing the things in nature that I read about. I was oblivious to discovering the real world and real people around me.
I wonder if that’s what reading is really all about. Is reading really a way to help me understand the world around me? People, nature, cultures? Is it a way to more deeply discover the richness this life has to offer? Is it a way to better understand God, His people, how I can join Him in His work? Is reading a way to learn and discover what adventures await for real, not just my imagination?
If the answer to those questions is yes, how does that affect the books I chose to read, the books I encourage my children to read and the way I approach reading in homeschool?
What do you think? I mean that honestly. As I wrestle with these ideas I would love to have a discussion. Maybe you’ve thought of things I haven’t, or have a completely different philosophy all together.