Thanks to all of you who have emailed and left comments here sharing that you miss me and my regular writing. I miss connecting with all of you and I miss my writing here as well. It is hard to think about the fact that I have been blogging here for over 8 years, with more consistency some years than others. The past few years have been busy and my writing pursuits have been elsewhere. I spent a lot of time working on writing a book only to abandon it as the time has passed for such a book. Perhaps I will one day write another. I have been busy teaching, raising a family and doing all that goes with it.
Recently I thought back quite a few years to when I regularly posted reading lists, something I have come to discover many of you actually loved about this blog. During that time I wondered at all the "how in the world?" type comments I received about the amount of reading we did. At the time I thought to myself it is because that is the choice we make, not realizing how hard that choice can sometimes be to make. Flash forward quite a few years - to the living in the car phase of homeschooling and I realize how hard it can be to make time for read alouds and even finding the time to make the kids read on their own. It is hard but I still say it is possible.
We still read a lot. The kids read on their own more than I read aloud now but we still probably read more than the average household as I still require at least one hour of reading every day by all my kids once they reach 2nd grade. Sirah recently told me I was a "tiger mother" when it comes to reading and I responded with "I can live with that." All of my kids are readers now and all of them will actually admit to enjoying reading now - not a day I was ever sure I would see with two of them :)
My kids recently had to create a list of their favorite books (50 for my 12 year old, 20 for my 10 year old and 5 for my 7 year old) both the 12 and 10 year old had a hard time limiting what would make that list - that made me happy. It also made it worth all the battles we have had over the years about reading: yes you will read even though you don't want to, no you can't have screen time until you read, yes you have to finish that boring book, yes I am serious, no I don't care that your friends don't have to read in the summer, yes you have to finish my list of 30 books I want you to read before you get to read Harry Potter, yes you still have to read an hour a day during the school year and your sports season, yes I am serious you will have to do this until you are 18 and move out of the house. When they move out they can choose to read however they want or to never read again - at least I will be confident they can read anything they want or need to, ever. And if that makes me a tiger mom about reading I can live with that label.
I still keep lists I just never posted them here anymore as I use a software now that does not make it easy and I never realized people missed that. This year I will go back to it. Of course the lists will be shorter as the books are longer now :) You will have to go back a few years for the good picture books and early reader lists. I do miss that time, I miss the read alouds and the hours on end with nothing better to do than read picture books. I think when I am retired I will go to the library and read books to young children on end - my grandchild will hopefully enjoy being read to. It gets harder and harder to make time for read alouds especially once I knew they could all read on their own.
One of my kids fought me hard about reading. I knew the child was ready, but was just purely resistant. I could not figure out why. I pushed, I cajoled, I offered carrots, I withheld privelages, nothing seemed to convince this capable child to read. Finally I got an answer to why the child did not want to read. I was told there was a fear I would stop reading aloud once the child was reading. This child truly loved listening to me read out loud so had decided to simply wait to read on their own, no matter what. How did I get such stubborn kids :) I promised I would continue to read aloud (and I have) and the child agreed to read and reads well alone now.
Why am I spending so much time talking about reading tonight? It is on my mind and heart as I think about this blog and about approaching a new year of home schooling. As I wrote their schedules today I worked a half hour of reading (my choice) into their school day every day and they will still need to do an additional half hour in the evenings (their choice), and yes they have to read on weekends too. I am getting excited thinking about what books I will pick for their required reading this year. I think if my children will remember anything about school with me it will be the emphasis on reading. Why am I such a stickler for reading? It is because I believe if you can read well you can learn anything. You can find the answer to any question. The world opens up to you as does the fantasy realm.
I look around and I smile when I see kids carrying ereaders because I know for some of them it means they will read more. I know for others it likely means they were already avid readers with desperate parents trying to find a better solution. I smile and compliment kids when I see them reading in public, I ask them about their books and I am truly interested when I listen to them talk about them. I often recommend books to kids based on what they are currently reading. I ask them for their recommendations and listen to them. I host book clubs and read the books with the kids - I am up to over 60 books read for my kids book club discussions. I love seeing kids love reading. I wish I could help all adults feel the same way. I cherish my reading friends and always love their recommendations. I just finished reading Unbroken and Mindset both recommended and enjoyed - even though I would not have picked them up on my own. My own reading time is some of my favorite time.
I have started keeping track of books I have read and have been going back and trying to write down and recall all of them. I simply can't recall them all. I am up over 6000 books recalled. No that is a list I don't think I am going to share. I can only imagine what honest glimpses into my soul that list would give as well as the random and wrong assumptions people could make about me from just seeing the list. I did not love everything I read but I am thankful to have read so much good, bad, ugly and life changing. Each book has left an imprint on my life. I have encouraged my kids to keep track of their reads throughout their lives as well. It was my own parents love of reading that inspired me to read. I grew up seeing them read, reading myself and we all still read today. May my children and their children on down learn to love reading. May you and yours as well!
Thanks for listening to my ramblings to those of you who just stopped by for the first time and those of you who have been around for the duration of this blog. I have heard your requests and the book lists will return as will some occasional thoughts from me.