Our homeschool adventure has gone through many changes in the past two years. It seems we (and by that I mean me) are always trying to find new ways to do things, adapting to new schedules, you get the idea.
After the holidays, I decided that my kids spent too much time in front of the tube. If asked, they would emphatically deny that statement but I know what I know. So a new rule was established: no TV during the week, and only allowed with permission on weekends.
Too harsh? Not in my book. I grew up in a household with no TV. On those days when I wasn't outside playing with the neighborhood kids; I would be sitting somewhere in the house with a book. I simply love books. I have been known for spending a weekend lost in a book and forgetting all about the laundry, the dishes, and eating takeout.
So cutting TV time was an experiment to get my kids to read more. Don't get me wrong, they do read. But I want them to love books as much as I do. My suggestion was met with several raised eyebrows, so I suggested we have "family reading time" at first; until we all got into the groove of things.
I chose to begin with The Chronicles of Narnia books. Kids have seen one of the movies, so it seemed like a perfect choice.
Picture this: a mom sitting on a chair with the children at her feet, attentively listening to every word she reads to them, with a roaring fire in the background.
That isn't quite the image we created. Ours looks something like this.
"Kids, it's reading time. Let's all gather on my bed". "Do we have to?? Can I read a different book?" "NO, I'm reading and you are listening. Now gather up".
Picture a mess of kids and a dog (gotta have the dog on the bed, he likes stories too) in one bed. I begin to read about Digory and Polly, and how Narnia was created when Aslan began singing...
"leave the dog alone!". "stop putting your feet on your brother!". "put your legs down, you are going to kick your sister on the face"
I continue on to how the wiser animals formed the council, how the Cabby and his wife became the first King and Queen of Narnia...
"why did he choose the Cabby?. "who made him King? "weren't you listening? mom just said Aslan did". "I wasn't asking you. Mom, would you answer my question?"
Sigh. There is no roaring fire, or perfect little kids gathered at my feet, eager to hear every word. But we are doing it. We are close to the end of the first book and will move on to the next one until we have read them all.
As a mom who spends 9 hours per day away from home, this is my quality time with the kids. There are nights we only get to read a couple of pages, and other nights when the kids want to take turns reading. They get to hear quality literature read to them and hopefully it will eventually spark in them a desire to read that will never go away.
Either way, we are not giving up on our reading time. Even when the dog is the most attentive of all the participants.