Saturday, June 23, 2012

are homeschooled kids the only ones who still read?

I was listening to Howie Carr the other day, the Boston talk radio host, discuss how hard it is this summer for teens to find summer jobs. One comment he made really stuck with me, "It would be different if these kids were otherwise reading books, but they don't anymore. My girls don't read except for school." I don't know if this is true or not, perhaps it is like saying "All teens are bad drivers," but perhaps it is closer to the truth than it was 20 years ago. 

My children love to go to the library, if I don't let them pick out a stack to take home at least once a week then they mope and complain and I constantly see other homeschool families there (it is pretty obvious when they have kids over the age of 6 with them during the day). Now that the big kids are older I let them have more of a say over what they check out, but I keep a strict eye on the younger ones. Maggie just yesterday pouted when I took off several Goosebumps books and some inner city teen junk novel that was on her pile at the counter. 

It is interesting to see what sorts of things they come up with, occasionally it really lets me see a bit deeper into their psyche. I noticed Mary's bag of books on her bed and snuck a peek inside. It is obvious that she is a bit nervous about entering Catholic school this fall. Her choices include: Exploring Math with books kids love, Writing With Style, Reading Roundups, Spelling K-8, Word Smart, Math Puzzles and Brainteasers Grades 6-8, and Improve Your Spelling and Vocabulary. Her academic weaknesses are spelling and writing, after numerous years of struggle and crying she is just finishing up the 4th grade spelling book and I have had to help her extensively with her book reports every quarter since 2nd grade. She loves to read and she does pretty well in math if she carefully thinks through the problems, so I don't see why she thinks she needs to further study these subjects over the summer. Seeing these books on Mary's bed is a wonderful testament to homeschooling, in that she can see for herself weaknesses in her academic skills and is attempting to overcome them on her own.


Anonymous said...

So if your so pro homeschooling why are you putting them in school? I just had to ask.

kat said...

Every parent must decide what is best for each child who is under their care. I'm not one of those homeschooling advocates who claim that homeschooling is the only valid option, it is certainly one of the best options and the only one I considered for a great long time. But we finally moved somewhere with a good Catholic school and I feel that for every member of our family this is the best thing to do.

We live in a very rural place with no social opportunities for most of the kids or myself. I think, as I find more and more parents of students at this school, a place where I feel good about sending them out to be educated. The school seems to be focused on Catholicism and academics and offer many options that I can't give them at home such as sports and a group of morally upright peers.

We have thought very hard about our decision and only ask others to not disparage it. We are keeping the little boys at home next year and will continue to homeschool them so I haven't quit, just sort of graduated a few from our schoolroom in the basement.

My children have learned to love reading from seeing their parents read, from being read to every day of their lives, and finding wonderful stories within the pages of books. It is highly unlikely that they will give that up simply because they do school 20 minutes away rather than downstairs.

Harvest Moon by Hand said...

My daughters enjoy reading as well, and I think that does stem from homeschooling. I've used Sonlight's literature-based curriculum over the past few years and that's when the passion for reading and listening to books being read aloud really took off.

Maggie said...

I know a few public-schoolers who love to read, and I know two homeschooled boys who don't read much- their parents let them listen to audiobooks instead. I think our perception may be skewed a little because the average homeschooler has more TIME to read.