Summer Reading

Summer Reading

My first assignment as a homeschooling mom teacher was summer reading.

I started with our previous school’s selections for summer.

  • My 6th grade read her book option in 3rd grade at another school.
  • My 5th grader would have zero interest in her two book options.
  • My 2nd grader would never forgive me for forcing him to read Sarah Plain and Tall.
    *Note: I’m not saying some second grade boys wouldn’t love Sarah Plain and Tall. I’m saying mine wouldn’t, because there are no construction vehicles or heavy farm machinery in this book. Also Sarah Plain and Tall is not a comic book.

In the words of Fleetwood Mac, I could go my own way.

So I did.

It was weird to pick out any books on my own for summer reading. It wasn’t unlike how I feel when I have to pick up ingredients for a meal I’ve never made. There was no more curriculum to follow and no summer packets, reports, and reading projects.

Just books.

Whatever we wanted.

I felt like I was doing something wrong. Like we were breaking some kind of structured education system commandment: Thou shalt not alter summer reading. Or thy child will not be prepared for their fall education.

Because we have always had summer reading accompanied by either a project or a thick packet to be turned in no later than the first week of school.


But, the truth is no one in my family was at risk for failing a grade for simply choosing not to read the BFG. I hated that book. I hate the movie even more. Rold Dahl weirds my kids out, he’s like the Tim Burton of children’s books.

So it felt weird.

We were like the Wild West of school now.

Unexplored and untamed.

It’s kind of scary, but kind of exciting.

Also, everyone is asking if we could get a horse now that we’re homeschooling because you can’t have a horse in regular school. Horses feel very wild-westy and fifteen chickens aren’t enough because:

“They don’t like to be ridden.”

So, like Lewis and Clark I set off to trail-blaze my way through summer reading. Armed with way too many resources to find books, a friend recommended a fun podcast called The Read-Aloud Revival. You can take her book selector quiz right here.

I found everyone’s summer reading books using it.

I knew the importance of reading aloud to small kids but I never considered it for my older kids because they know how to read. So I thought it might be fun to peel myself away from the laundry and read out loud to my kids this summer.

It turns out the Slip n’ Slide was a little more interesting.

Also everyone wanted to know if we didn’t have laundry anymore because I wanted to sit down and read to them.

Me: “How about I read to you guys for an hour every day this summer?”

Jane: “What about the laundry?”

Susie: “Are we out of clothes?”

Me: “No, we aren’t out of clothes.”

Jack: “I need to call Dad and tell him to stop at the store and buy everyone clothes!”

So I scrapped the idea and went back to my laundry.

A week or so later, one of my kids asked me to read a book with her because some of the words were too advanced for her level and so I did.

One chapter a night.

Until it got intense.

Then two.

Sometimes four chapters blowing past bedtime like a politician blows through tax dollars.

It’s become the highlight of our evening. We shared the story and the excitement and chatted during the day about what’s happening asking each other what we think will come next. Catching wind of this phenomenon known as time-with-mom-doing-zero-laundry, another child asked to start a chapter book and read along with me while I read out loud.

So, now at bedtime, they each get their books, we read a chapter (or two), we get some time together, and we have individual stories to talk about and anticipate over. Two of my kids race to me to be the first one to get their chapter in at bedtime. My third one isn’t much of a reader. He likes shorter books and is not up for chapter books. But more and more, I see him sneaking through the hallways to listen to one story or the other popping in to ask a question about something he heard me read. When invited to stay, he declines.

But, there’s still time.

It’s all very new.

The Wild West of school.

Unexplored and untamed.

It’s kind of scary, but kind of exciting.

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