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A Treasured Morning Read-Aloud Time

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The core of our homeschool is read-aloud time 

Probably like you, we began homeschooling with great ideas and high expectations. But our group lessons turned out to be a thorn in my flesh.

For years our class would meet in the living room during afternoon group subjects, which created a lot of stress for me. These squirmy little creatures would eventually, without fail, sink into the couch or fiddle. We were also low on energy.

It turned out to be one of those things that made me an ugly person. You know what I mean?

Furthermore, history, science, and famous composer and artist study were last on the list of priorities because I was so tired. As I’ve said in another post about why we homeschool, this has been an ongoing, ever-changing process.

One blessed day, however, I came across the Read-Aloud Revival and it has changed our homeschooling dramatically. Without a doubt, since we’ve revamped our group lessons, our days have been so much easier.

It’s been a burden off my plate and a fun time of learning that we all look forward to.

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read aloud time

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Now, the group subjects come first and at the table, not on the couch. The kids love this because they actually get to fiddle with stuff…with guidelines of course. There is a study by Dr. Michael Gurian about how kids can retain information better when they move their hands while they’re being read to.

 

 

It’s also less stressful for me. I’ve also found that when I ask them to narrate back to me what I just read, they surprise me. If a student is having a hard time listening, I tell them to take a break from “fiddling” with read-aloud stuff and practice their listening skills.

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Our Read-Aloud Schedule

read aloud time supplies

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9-10:15 – I set the timer on my phone to help me stay on track during these short bursts of quality study. Short sessions of quality study are better than long stretches of distracted lessons.

  • Prayer (about 2 minutes)
  • Bible reading (about 2 minutes)
  • Scripture memory 3 minutes
  • Review our daily character goals (about 2 minutes)
  • Recite their creed (1 minute)
  • Read apologetics or a virtue book (about 8 minutes)
  • Say the pledge (2 minutes)
  • Giant wall map “Name That Country” game (2 minutes)
  • Fine arts (famous composer study, famous artist study, poetry, Shakespeare reading) each lesson takes about 5-10 minutes
  • History or science 30 minutes (now that my teen is older, he breaks off to start his personal lessons while I do history and science with the littles).

10:15 -Individual lessons start.

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read aloud time supplies

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The Fun Stuff

Sometimes the older two take notes (my littles take drawing notes of what I read during history), but often during this time, they quietly fiddle with stuff. My boys enjoy scratch art, Thinking Putty, Kinetic Sand, mazes, dot-to-dots, and modeling clay, to name a few.

My daughter prefers drawing, sketching, coloring, acrylic or watercolor painting, and Spirographs.

All our real-aloud stuff is conveniently located by the dining table and is a plethora of items such as; coloring books, paints, chunky puzzles, lacing pictures, stamps, etc.

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And I love reading aloud.

Several nights a week I also read aloud to all my children during our bedtime routine. You might be thinking that the teenager fights me on this, but I have been reading to him since he was little. He’s used to it.

And it makes a world of difference to pick books packed with action and adventure. Usually, they beg me to read “just one more”. Eventually, after we finish a piece of classic literature, we find the movie online or at the library and watch it as a family.

However, if I hadn’t been reading to my teen all these years, and I had a younger teen that I wanted to involve in our read-aloud time, I imagine I would cut a “boring” subject shorter during the day and incorporate 15 minutes of read-aloud time at night.

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Read Aloud Time “Rules

As far as our rules go, the kids are not allowed to get up (unless they need to use the bathroom) or talk (unless it’s a relevant question or comment). They cannot interrupt me to ask their sibling for something across the table. I try to have several options available so there’s no need to ask.

Also, they must choose what they want to fiddle with before we begin our lessons. Usually, they bring out the container of coloring/drawing books, the tray of scratch art, plastic bears, Kinetic sand, and the carousel that contains markers, tools, and scissors, etc.

That’s about it as far as rules go.

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read aloud time supplies

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What I Love About Read-Aloud Time

Every morning the scent of candles fills the room, classical music plays softly in the background, and we drink coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. I serve a few yummy snacks like chocolate wafer sticks, cookies, popcorn, or nuts.

We get to knock out Bible study, history, science, and other fine art subjects because they are no longer given the scraps of our day. The kids enjoy learning and I get to read aloud.

Thank you, Sarah MacKenzie, at Readaloud Revival! Just so I don’t give off a false impression, we still struggle with distractions, tired minds, and bad attitudes. It’s during these small moments that I can practice “bringing them into my calm instead of joining their chaos”.

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Conclusion

Scheduling group lessons first thing in the morning has really worked for us. It’s changed our homeschooling from good to much better.

Check out the Read-Aloud Revival for more ideas download my full free list of stuff we use.

 

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