Could it really be that simple? (homeschooling with younger children)

When we first began homeschooling, I was completely overwhelmed at the sheer number of curriculums in existence. I'm sure many of you would agree that wading through a mountain of curriculums, in hopes of locating that perfect, "guaranteed to make your child successful" set of books is a less than ideal way to spend your time. 

As I grew more and more comfortable in my "homeschooling skin" I began to tire of the endless bells and whistles of every workbook, DVD set, manipulative kit and computer program. Each company claiming that their product was, indeed, the "be all and end all" of homeschooling products. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of great products out there but I began to wonder if it all had to be that difficult. Many of our country's greatest thinkers were educated with little more than a notebook of paper, a writing utensil and a good set of books...sometimes even less. The literacy rate in the United States was higher in the late 1700's than it is today and those parents and children had far fewer resources to work with than we do! There had to be a better answer

So the more I began to read and study and research, I kept coming across the same theme over and over again. Indeed, for our younger children, they need very little in the way of "bells and whistles." In fact, it may even be detrimental to their learning to include these unnecessary items. What they do need, is for us to read to them, engage them and ignite their desire to learn. It sounds outrageous that, in terms of academics, all we need to do is read to them! However, reading to our children does so much more than simply convey a story. It introduces them to new words, in fact, one study found that children who were read to every day were exposed to 1 million more words a year than those children who were not read to consistently. Reading develops their comprehension skills, their listening skills and strengthens their imaginations (something in which many of today's children are sorely lacking). Most importantly, our children will come to love to read. They will hold very dear those times that their faithful mother sat with them sharing these adventures, tragedies, poems, silly stories and so on. If our children love to read, then they will love to learn and that is a gift which they will carry for a lifetime!

Wonderful Books for Littles (ages 0-6)

The Jesus Storybook Bible  by Sally Lloyd Jones

The Little Engine that Could  by Watty Piper

The Story of Ferdinand  by Munro Leaf

Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel  by Virginia Lee Burton

Winnie-the-Pooh   by A.A. Milne

A Child's Garden of Verses  by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Child's Story Bible  by Catherine Vos

Goodnight Moon  by Margret Wise Brown

Anything by Dr. Seuss

The Pokey Little Puppy  by Janet Sebring Lowrey 

Peter Rabbit  by Beatrix Potter

Squirrel Nutkin  by Beatrix Potter

The LIttle House  by Virginia Lee Burton