Wednesday, May 25

Why We Choose Quality Literature from the TGTB Library

Since as far back as we can remember (which is to say, since the first kid was born), we've started our days with a little bit of reading together time. Now that they're teens, I see no reason to stop this tradition. We just change the book selections!

Seriously though, your teen might grumble that it's not cool to read together with his little siblings and his mom, but inside, he's truly loving it. Here lately, I've been reading aloud while the boys eat breakfast.  They're teens, and they're sleeping in later than usual, so this is a gentle way to start the day.  

And can we just step back for a moment and reflect on the blessing that homeschool affords us with that flexibility to sleep in?  So many teens have to stumble through their early morning classes before their brains, biologically, are even capable of fully functioning.  I like knowing that that extra hour or two gets them good sleep, boosting their immunity and helping them to start the day off right!

Once this time is done (usually a couple of chapters), we have a quick rundown of the day. Sometimes this is a quick once-over of their daily assignments. Other times, it's a reminder that we have appointments or a field trip or something special going on.

One of the main tenets of TGTB is the use of "good books," both within the curriculum and in extracurricular reading.  Much of modern literature is flooded with negative messages about education, family, and moral character, but these books are entertaining and appealing to youth.  These are not good books.  They don't inspire or teach good values, and many don't even challenge the reader to grow their vocabulary.

Good books will provide students:

  • A varied & rich vocabulary
  • Increased focus, concentration and memory
  • Longer attention span
  • Stronger analytical thinking skills
  • Greater empathy for others
  • Improved writing skills
  • Reduced stress
  • Increased knowledge of history people place cultures
  • More depth of character 

There is a fabulous and FREE book list available to download for you to get started on the journey to filling your shelves with good books!  They also have a searchable database, where you can filter by reading level, author, and genre.  Many of the books feature parent reviews, as well as commentary about the moral, literary, and educational value.  You do NOT have to use the curriculum to use their book list.  It is just a guide of vetted, 'good' books.  

Download the Good & the Beautiful book list here.

Here are the books we're incorporating into this school year, including a couple of lower level ones I'll be using to teach a young niece to read!  Have I mentioned that I can't wait to become a homeschooling abuela yet??  We'll read them throughout the breakfast, after lunch, and in the evenings.  They might be teens, but I'm still a big proponent of reading together as a family.  In the summertime, too, we've been known to spend lazy afternoons all stretched out over each other in the family hammock reading aloud together.  And now that they're older, if mom gets tired, she can pass the book on for someone else to read!!

Pushback & Lowering the Level

One point of note...we don't always read 'at level' books either.  As an adult, don't you sometimes appreciate stepping back and reading something not at a collegiate level or beyond?  Our kids do, too.  There's so much merit to be found in these books, and sometimes we like being able to zip through a book in a day or we often fill in the spaces between longer books with lower level reads.

If you have kids who aren't really into these types of books -- which is a real possibility, especially if they have been reading popular books for any length of time -- you can expect a bit of pushback.  Choosing these shorter books, and talking about them, will continue to expose your children to the good things without diving in headfirst.  Think of it as repeating putting one piece of broccoli on their plate until they begin to eat it.  Just one wouldn't start by asking them to eat the entire heap!  (Substitute with your child's least favorite food, if they happen to like broccoli.)  Families new to this type of literature may want to check out How to Get Kids Interested in Good & Beautiful Books.

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