There are really only two elements to any basic education that matter: understanding words and understanding numbers. I love that being a part of Classical Conversations allows me to truly focus on these two aspects during the week because the other subjects are covered in our memory work. I've been hunting for a homeschool reading curriculum that brings books to life, and I've found it in Apologia's Readers in Residence.
This year my youngest is finally reading more independently, and I can't wait to start to watch her fall in love with books. It can be tricky at times with that 4th to 8th grade age. When reading isn't easy, it's really hard to engage with a good book. The effort required to decode the words can outweigh the joys of encountering an excellent story.
I'm so excited that Apologia's Readers in Residence will be a part of our homeschool reading curriculum this year for several reasons:
- Age appropriate reading materials that allows young readers to engage with good books
- Slow pace allows time for savoring a good story
- Biblical world view throughout
- Book clubs at the end of each book studied
Selecting the Right Books
It can be really challenging to select age appropriate reading materials for an in depth literature study. It's so tempting to choose literature that is above their reading level because there are so many great books out there. And you do want to challenge them as they read.
However, when you want to study a story, you need to make the story approachable for your young reader. Even stories that seem too easy have richness to glean from. This year all of our family will be joining the youngest in her readings to enrich her learning experience. I can't wait!
There are three books that are included in the study, and then students get to choose the other three (marked as "On Your Own" or "OYO"). Here's our selections:
- Historical Fiction: Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
- OYO Historical Fiction: The Cabin Faced West by Jean Fritz
- Animal Fantasy: Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
- OYO Animal Fantasy: Ragweed by AVI
- Realistic Fiction: Because of Winn Dixie
- OYO Grand Finale: In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord
Slowing Down to Savor a Story
Everything in our world is fast paced. Often, we expect microwave results in our homeschool efforts as well. But learning to love literature takes time. It is a slow cooked savory meal that is prepared over time. What I love about this homeschool reading curriculum is that it does just that: it slows the readers down so that they can discover how to savor a good story.
Most people generally don't even know what makes a story good. They make assumptions, but often they never even realize that there are characteristics that repeat in the great stories that stir our souls. Just like we might slow our kids down to admire the sun set, we can also slow them down to admire the craftsmanship of an excellent story.
Identifying Biblical Themes
Great stories point to universal Truth. In Readers in Residence, students are encouraged to identify these truths and line them up with God's Word.
I love how stories bring out the feelings and emotions that are difficult to express, and they offer an example of something that we can all relate to. When you slow down your book study, you can mull over these big ideas in ways that you can't when you're speeding through it.
I'm not saying that you shouldn't allow your voracious reader to devour books, but it is great to slow them down with a few choice books to really dig in to the story.
Grand Finale with a Book Club
As you wrap up your study on each book, students are encouraged to host a book club to discuss the selection with friends and family. Seriously, book clubs are my favorite things!
Since it will be easy for all of us to read along with my youngest, we'll make these book clubs family fun events. I will love having her plan our time with food, fun, and fellowship. Connecting over a good books is one of our family's favorite past times, and I love that we can show love to our youngest by celebrating her accomplishment with her.
Homeschool Reading Curriculum
If you're looking for a way to ignite a little excitement in your homeschool reading curriculum, Readers in Residence is an excellent option. If you have a more independent reader, students could easily use this curriculum on their own.
I look forward to working through this with my daughter. Since I love good books, it won't be hard. The book is laid out with a simple schedule and minimal prep work for mom, so it really makes it easy to enjoy! Download a sample and FAQ here.
There are certain companies that I just love, and Apologia is one of them. They consistently produce quality curricula that my family enjoys. Check out this fantastic FREE resource for the upcoming eclipse.
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Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.