I recently spoke with my older children about our read-aloud days of homeschooling. I spoke with my oldest (who is now a college student) along with four of my other daughters whose ages range from 9 – 18. I collected these ideas from our homeschool days and would like to share them with you.

1. Helps with Bonding

Do you want bonding time with your children? Could you use a little extra snuggle time to slow down and enjoy while learning? One of the reasons many of us homeschool is so we can enjoy more time with our children. Taking time for read-alouds will bless you and your children with fun memories of homeschooling. Sitting with your child and reading a book or letting them listen to you read is a priceless reward of homeschooling.

2. Expands Vocabulary

Did you realize that you can expand your children’s vocabulary and spelling by reading aloud? During read-aloud time, write down words your child may not recognize. Show your child the word, instruct how to spell it and write it, and then provide a definition (or have your child use a dictionary to look up definitions). I often learn a new word, too! This can help keep your mom-brain active. I love learning with my kids and would have missed out if I had not allowed the Lord to show me His plan for my life and been obedient to homeschool my children.

3. Advances Child’s Reading Level

Did you know that read-alouds challenge your reader? Oftentimes, read-alouds are in a curriculum because they are advanced for your child’s reading level. By reading and working through them, a child becomes a more proficient reader and will likely move up one or more reading levels by the end of your school year.

4. Develops Communication Skills

Reading aloud also helps your children develop communication and presentation skills, by teaching them to speak loudly and have confidence when they speak. To enhance this further, have your child read in front of siblings or other family members. You know how critics are always asking about homeschoolers’ social skills? Well, read-alouds help develop these skills by allowing them to interact with others in the world.

5. Improves Family Unity

Sharing a read-aloud creates an atmosphere for family unity and discussion. Many times, when I am reading aloud with one child, my other children are anxiously awaiting to hear the next chapter. Other times, it seems like no one is paying attention; however, later, questions and conversations will emerge. You will be aware of what sparked that thought because you shared that book. Conversations and discussions draw a family’s heart together and can create memories.

6. Brightens a Sick Day

Are you having a sick day when you or your child feels bad? This is a perfect time to snuggle under a comfy blankie and curl up with a good book. When you’re not able to complete full lessons but you’d still like to work school in so it’s not a total loss, seize the opportunity to read together. Once upon a time, when I had one child, she enjoyed the time we spent together learning preschool. Later, as our family grew, I learned that each child felt special and loved, simply because of the time I spent with them.

When you spend that time reading aloud with your child, the book becomes more interesting and lively. You can take your time reading because there is no rush. As you share the book, it can feel like you are actually living in the story’s setting, and the book comes alive as your imagination takes in every detail. Think about how enjoyable it can be to discuss and compare thoughts about a good book with a friend. It’s even more precious when that friend happens to be your child or parent.

7. Broadens Education

Further studies and exploration are cultivated from read-alouds. Many times when I have worked on a read-aloud, whether it was with all my children or just the younger ones, they have been drawn to new horizons that we may not have discovered before. One year, we were simply reading the Bible for our morning Bible time. As we read about Moses, it sparked an interested to study how the Israelites lived. From that read-aloud, I extended our study, and we learned fascinating facts about the Israelites and different aspects of their culture. In most books, you can find a word or concept that will lead you in a new direction. The benefit is that you enjoy it as a living memory of homeschooling.

Copyright 2019, The Old Schoolhouse®. Used with permission. All rights reserved by the Author. Originally appeared in The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade publication for homeschool moms.

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Shandee has been married for twenty-one years and is the mom of eight children, all homeschooled since preschool. Her main reason for homeschooling is the conviction of being able to teach her children God’s Word. Homeschooling has had challenges for the Childress family through: high-risk pregnancies resulting in C-sections, a near fatal accident with a 10-month old, Shandee’s husband suffering from an accident with prolonged health conditions and hospital stays, and one of the children having a chronic illness. Through these situations, Shandee has leaned on Romans 5:3-5.