Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What are your goals for the summer?

I know. It’s not the start or end of the summer…we are in the very middle of this season. I don’t care, I figured this would be the perfect time to share my summer goals with you.

As you know, I’m homeschooling my child for another year. After this last year together, I realized that there are lots of areas where I need to improve in order to make myself a better teacher. (I have lots of areas to improve when it come to being a Christian, Wife, Mom, Daughter, Sister, Friend, etc. but for this summer I’m focused on my role of teacher, because it is something I don’t know). I have the responsibility to educate this amazing little boy, and I want to do it correctly, from the very start.

That being said, I decided I wanted to have a couple of obtainable goals this summer for my role as teacher.

1. Learn to LOVE to read.
2. Write.

If you checked my blog during the month of June, you probably know I’m failing miserably at goal #2. Let’s just say I’ve been spending lots of time on goal #1.

I realize that for some, reading is a joy. It’s something you do to relax. For you it might be like watching TV or eating, its comforting. Prior to this summer, it was a chore. I HATED reading. I did it only if the book was REALLY good, or REALLY popular, and I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. I can remember telling my 4th grade English teacher that I hated reading. I got in so much trouble when I got home, but it was true. I didn’t love to read. I think she could have assigned me the most interesting books on the planet, and I still would have complained. I didn’t love reading.

After homeschooling Cohen for a year, I realize now just how important reading is. How can you learn anything if you never read! If you don’t read the classics, biographies, and nonfiction history or science books then you are trusting someone else to interpret the information and pass it along to you as they see fit. Our homeschool curriculum for this year is mostly a LOT of reading. I don’t care if we don’t do any worksheets, so long as Cohen can experience some great literature.

For someone that hated reading, I need to work my way up to the classics. I’m going to have to learn to interpret the language and vocabulary. And, since I didn’t read much as a child, my vocabulary is sorely lacking, my reading speed is SLOW, and comprehension is even slower. How did I ever earn a bachelors degree?

So far this summer (I’m saying our summer began the first of May), I have finished reading 19 books. Some of these 19 I have even managed to read 2 or 3 times, partly because I liked the story and partly because when I finished I didn’t remember what happened (see above about my reading comprehension). I feel like I should stand on a chair and say “Hi. I’m Emily, and I am a terrible reader.”

Now, I’m not going to list out all the books I’ve read, but I will say that they are mostly trendy novels with shallow plots and very little educational value. I have to start somewhere though, and if I’m going to teach myself to have a love of reading, I need to start with things that interest me.

I knew that reading was something I could learn to love after I finished the Hunger Games series in January. It took me a week to finish all 3 books. Jace and I actually read them together and finished on the same night, even though it took him about half the time to read them (good thing I don’t have a 9-5 job right?).

I’m working my way up to more difficult novels. I’ve even read a few books on homeschooling and classical education. These are books that I might have never finished if I had not taught myself to sit still and read (this is a learned skill, you are not born with the ability to sit still for long periods of time).

I can remember reading a few books in junior high and high school, but not many. I hate to blame the education system on my lack of reading experience, but shouldn’t I have been introduced to Chaucer, Tolkien, Orwell, Dickens, Bronte, Austen or Homer prior to my 30’s? Now that I’m educating this child, I see the importance of all these authors and their knowledge. I want to learn to love to read so that I can one day sit with Cohen and have deep discussions on the Greek Gods, the Declaration of Independence or the Attacks of 9/11. I would love for Cohen to learn about these events from books, not from lectures or teachers or the internet. I’d like for him to have a love for reading so that he will read about these events from authors who experienced it. It seems like such a wonderful way to learn, so why didn’t I learn it this way?

So for the next few weeks, as our summer comes to an end, I’m going to continue working on my love of reading. I’m getting better, but I have a long way to go before I can read some of the classics and have an in-depth conversation about the topics discussed. Just goes to show that we should all strive to learn something new everyday.

Now, after reading this, I hope you add one more goal for yourself as a parent. On top of everything else you do for your children, teach them to love reading! How will they ever learn anything if they don’t love to read about it?


  1. Start your "classics" with Jane Austen. You can watch some of the recent movies beforehand to give you a basic understanding of the plot and then the language will be easier to digest.

  2. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!! As a teacher, reading affects every aspect of learning. Read, read, read to your children. it has lasting benefits!!!!

  3. Daphne du Maurier's books are wonderful. I read them over 45 years ago and couldn't put them down. Rebecca and The Scapegoat were two of my favorites.