If you are looking for a fun, easy, and low-key way to make learning enjoyable in your homeschool for you and your child, then look no further than book based learning! I’m talking storybooks, poetry, graphic novels, and everything in between, plus a little bit of homeschool curiosity to turn your home education experience into a beautiful adventure-filled journey.
What Is Book Based Learning?
Years ago when our homeschool was brand new, you would find me filling our home with textbooks, curricula, and a rigid schedule.
If only she could see me now! 😉
Today, I’m filling our home and homeschool with books of different shapes, sizes, and genres. We regularly read our way through the day as we embrace a book based education that focuses on learning through literature.
But what exactly does that mean? It means an educational experience that puts books – both fiction and non-fiction – front and center. These tales, stories, poems, and biographies are utilized to help teach my children a wide range of items and topics covering both core subjects (like math and history and science) as well as arts and electives.
A book based education is one that is free from expectations and fueled by curiosity and the willingness to wonder.
What Can We Learn From Books?
When we open a book, whether it’s long or short, filled with pictures or thousands upon thousands of words, we begin a journey. We follow a person or character through a series of events, moments, and decisions.
All the while, we are learning… even if it’s not traditional. Even if we don’t realize it.
As we venture with our character, we are exposed to characters and situations that open our eyes and our hearts.
We learn about tragic backstories and feel pain or anger.
We are exposed to time past or places far and wide that we could otherwise never experience.
And we connect with the story, the author, and even those who have read the book before.
How To Learn From Books?
How? My friend, the possibilities are endless!
You can read the story aloud and work on oration, public speaking, and performing.
You can copy passages to work on handwriting and grammar.
Perhaps you begin a study based on where the book is set or when.
Maybe you create a culinary adventure by cooking or baking book-inspired foods.
Or you spend the afternoon working on a compare/contrast by watching the movie after reading the book (one of our favorite ways to learn and frequently, this includes a snack as well!).
Author studies, nature studies, animal studies.
Drawing, painting, or digital design.
The possibilities are nearly endless as books present a plethora of learning opportunities from traditional to eclectic, from obvious to inspired.
And truly, they are worthwhile.
The world needs those of us who can read Shakespeare with the precision and eye for detail needed as the tales jump off the page.
There is value in writing a book report, creating a diorama, and putting on a one-act play.
Lessons about life and love and death, friendship, kindness, and even heartache all help us to understand the human experience, learn empathy, and gain understanding about situations we haven’t experienced firsthand.
As I said, you can learn from books in thousands of ways, but if that’s a little overwhelming for you, how about you start with these 75+ ways to learn from books all prepared for you from our own experience because, in our homeschool, we love learning through books.
Book Based Learning
One of the biggest questions I get about book based homeschooling is whether or not this learning method works for all grades, levels, and ages.
The short answer? Yeah, it works. In fact, I frequently read the same story with all of my children because a good book is one that we can all learn from.
And while book based learning in the lower grades is easier, there’s something to be said for inviting our older students to curl up with a classic tale and enjoy the simplicity of a book often designated for the lower levels, but one filled with storylines and elements even our older children can appreciate.
Homeschooling With Book Based Learning
If you want to break free from curricula and resources that box you in or don’t leave room for wonder, I highly recommend you begin homeschooling with books!
Don’t get caught up with looking for official study guides or combing through Google to find well-meaning how-to guides… rather, simply grab a story that you love and begin reading it to your kids, and really get into it with them.
Make read alouds magical as you get into character, keep the readings short, and even surprise the kids with a fun snack to munch on (and keep fidgety hands occupied!).
Ask questions about the story either before, during, or after reading.
Pause when a philosophical question is asked or presented to simply ask your children what they might do.
Read upside down or at the park. Sit on a trampoline or swing on the swings.
For our homeschool, using books as a primary source has made learning simple. It has helped to control the chaos and allowed me to nurture my homeschool in a way that simply rotating through subjects or looping through activities could not.
And, with a little bit of time, a smidgen of trial and error, and a whole lot of determination, I know that you too can embrace book based learning in your homeschool creating a home education that is based on simple, fun, and enjoyable lessons.
Great article! I've often regretted that at times, I've leaned so heavily on curriculum, when my heart has really wanted to just read lots of great picture books and run down all the rabbit trails they present! Lots of good ideas here.