I love to read. That’s an obviously good thing if you’re a homeschooling mom. The problem with having this love is that as a mom, you never get enough time to read for yourself! When I had seven little kids, reading time for me often took place in the bathroom—yes, it only lasted about five minutes, and yes, even though I shut the door, I still had little hands knocking on the door and little voices calling out to me, “Mommy, where are you?”—but hey, five minutes alone is a luxury when you homeschool, right?
I was so proud of myself when, a few years down the road I could say I got my Bible reading time in every day in a week and had read WORLD magazine cover to cover. Okay, so that only happened a few times, but just reading a few intelligent, well-written articles about something other than potty-training, phonics, or home organization reminded me that there was still life going on outside our four walls. I’m just a bit embarrassed to admit I actually counted this kind of reading time as having “adult conversation,” so infrequently did I have face-to-face time with my friends.
If you asked me what was the latest piece of fiction I was reading in those days, it was either something like Blueberries for Sal and other books by Robert McCloskey, The Complete Adventures of Curious George by H.A. Rey, or the Madeline stories by Ludwig Bemelmans. Forget any pleasure reading for grown-ups or any book over 200 pages long!
Looking back, I did miss having time to read classic literature and solid, well-crafted modern fiction; more significantly however, I’m thankful for the deliciously sweet time I had with my children reading story after story to them. Our trips to the library usually took half of one day each week, as my readers devoured as many storybooks as I would let them while inside that ‘sacred’ edifice, only to be outdone by the voluminous quantity of books we actually took home. Of course, the 50-60 books we checked out each week lasted only about two days before they were all read! It didn’t take long before we exhausted our local library’s supply of good children’s literature, and my children made the rounds through all of the library’s mom-approved books again, reading them as if for the first time so great was their delight.
My favorite mental snapshot is that of fitting as many of my young children as I could on my lap whenever it was story time (with seven children 10 and under, I obviously couldn’t hold them all, so every lap available to hold a baby or toddler were employed!). I literally spent hundreds of hours reading thousands of books out loud to my children since they were ‘wee bairn,’ and of all the memories I have of homeschooling young children, these were my all-time most treasured.
Together with a good book in my hands and in my best ‘story’ voice, we traveled to exotic and exciting places during our many literary adventures. We laughed at the antics of Paddington Bear, and felt sad when it was time for Charlotte, of Charlotte’s Web, to die. We learned about the gift of friends in books like Frog and Toad, Little House on the Prairie(yes, siblings are our bestfriends), and The Secret Garden. Most importantly, in the many godly character stories read we learned about God—His beauty, His power, His personal care for His creation, and His love for us in His Son, Jesus. Sometimes, I would just love to turn back the hands of time and revisit these places again with my children.
Most of my children are now grown up. Two are married—no grandchildren yet, but can you tell I really want to be a grandma?—four graduated from homeschooling, and only three high schoolers left. I am thrilled that they all LOVE to read just like me—classic literature, apologetics, mysteries, how-to books, books on Christian living, and the Bible itself. My married daughter Bethany frequently comes home to our library and ‘checks out’ books she read as a young person to read again and walk down the memory lane of some of her favorite stories.
When I say our library, I’m referring to about 7000 volumes we moved from our old home of 20 years to our new home this year. I just can’t part with what has been the bulk of our homeschooling lifestyle—reading. E-readers like Nook and Kindle might be nouveau still, but give me the feel of a book in my hands and I’m perfectly happy.
I love to read. Did I mention that already? Maybe someday I’ll have time to read for myself a few of the dozens and dozens of books on my TO READ list. I imagine grandchildren aren’t far around the corner though, so I better get ready for Curious George and Madeline all over again.
There’s no place like home,