Living Books Teach!

Many new homeschool parents think a Charlotte Mason’s approach to education seems too simple!  

Read a good book aloud.

Talk about what you have read.

Lesson learned.

This is a Charlotte Mason principle in a nutshell – Read from a living book, give a narration, and you have a wonderful, wholesome education.  Read my posts – Loving Living Books  and Learning through Living Books

So why do new homeschool parents still believe that they have to buy expensive, bell-and-whistles curriculums for their young kids?

They are afraid they won’t teach everything, or that their child won’t learn everything the should, or that they aren’t qualified.   But in truth, no professional curriculum guarantees complete success.  There will always be information gaps, but if you have taught your child to listen attentively while you read aloud to them, they will learn!

How does a baby learn?  From listening and speaking.  And so it is with a literature-based education. You really, really don’t need expensive teaching materials.  If you use literature as a powerful natural method, your children will learn.

While you read to your child from a good book, they listen to the words and learn and develop a wide, rich and mature vocabulary.  They listen to the story unfolding and learn how to structure sentences and develop a flow of connecting ideas, essential for writing skills.  They learn different styles of writing.  They learn how to create interest, describe observations in detail and will learn an amazing amount of information.

Telling back is very simple, yet complex, but it genuinely replaces the need for tests, quizzes or exams.  As you listen to your child narrate or read his narration, you will know immediately what your child knows and understands.

If your child is old enough, his written narrations will form his notes and provide ample evidence of his understanding, all the way to high school and beyond!  They will also develop the most amazing creative writing skills.

My older two daughters graduated from homeschool without ever taking a creative writing course, but they are both incredibly good writers because of the marvellous books that they read. Read the full post “Teach Creative Writing without Lessons“.

Sure, you may need a few workbooks for some subjects like Maths, but for almost every other subject, good books will serve for information, inspiration and motivation.

When your children all chorus, “Please read another chapter,” after you have finished the reading, you will experience the joy of the most wonderful, natural way of learning!

Trust Charlotte Mason’s method.  It truly works!  Please feel free to share your living books learning experiences in the comments.

Blessings, Nadene

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7 thoughts on “Living Books Teach!

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  6. I agree wholeheartedly. When my kids were in primary school, they loved me to read aloud, but suddenly they grew bored with it. I was so disappointed. Those were my favourite moments of homeschooling. Now, I struggle to get my teenage boys to read at all. My daughter loves it, but they hate it. I’ve also tried grammar and writing programs and they never work. As a writer and editor myself, I understand that it has to be a passion and that the best way to get better is to read good books. So, I do feel a bit uncomfortable when other homeschooling moms ask what English program I do and I say nothing. I think it’s something that needs to be learned naturally. (Just wish my boys would read more, but they do read lots of info online – maybe that is sufficient.)


    • @kathleenbee, you have placed an enormous deposit in your children’s lives by reading good books aloud when they were young, and it will produce good results in their lives, even if they do not grow up as devoted readers.
      I have seen my adult sons rediscover reading when they have found topics of interest. I think boys should read any type of material on topics they love — magazines, eBooks, online research, as well as literature. Boys tend to prefer non-fiction books or they delve into the darker literature such as horror, thrillers, and Science Fiction.
      Because I create literature-based language arts pages and unit studies based on literature, I know that it is the most natural and effective method of teaching without tests, textbooks or tedious lessons. Blessings as you continue!

      Liked by 1 person

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