Category Archives: Home Schooling

Building a home library…. and using the local library….

It is important for children to own some books of their own and also for you to build up your own home library. Children will always have a book or several that become treasured possessions. Often these are then passed on to their own babies in years to come. There is certainly a tradition of that in our little family 🙂 Books are available for burchase in numerous places. Bookshops, on-line, charity shops, supermarkets, toyshops, garages, at discounted rates from book clubs, newsagents even and libraries sometimes have book sales (we have bought many acheap book from out local library)…. Obviously make the most of your local library whilst it is still there to borrow books too. Also – libraries aren’t how they used to be. They are a lot more family friendly now and even run toddler sessions, holiday sessions (check out what your local library has on offer) and it is OK to be a little noisy there now. Children are never too young to join the library and it is good for children to learn how to look after books, leaving them in good condition for other children to borrow and enjoy too. However – libraries do understand that sometimes accidents happen so don’t worry if a book gets damaged in some way. It will be fine, just fess up when returning teh book to the library….

Libraries lose a quarter of staff as hundreds close
10 things you need to know about library closures/campaigns
Closing libraries is a fine way to keep the poor powerless

Books truly do make wonderful gifts – they don’t just provide a few minutes pleasure, they ofen become a childs favourite pass time and will be used over and over again.

Enjoying books is the most important part of learning to read. Any amount of time sharing a book with your child is time well spent ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Taking books out and about

Books are lovely and fun. They can help your child learn lots of new skills and words. There’s no need to save them just for bedtime, take them out with you on journeys. Make time to share stories and sing songs and rhymes throughout the day. You can take books with you in the car. Obviously you won’t be reading them whilst driving, 😉  but your child can leaf trhough the pages and may start talking about the story. If you are both familiar with this story, try and and get your littlie to re-tell the story with prompts from you. If you have other children, they can read stories in the back together. It’s a great way to make the time pass for impatient little travelers, and also keeps them brain cells nourished for all involved. You could also make up new stories for your favourite characters. Or stories with your own made up characters. I loved making up stories for our now almost 11 year old. She still loves listening to them – and now our 2 and a half year old also enjoys these stories….. Take CDs / tapes (if you still have a tape player) with nursery rhymes, Audiobooks and favourite music. Sing along and enjoy these wonderful moments with your child(ren). The amount of times I used to have to put a certain nursery song or songs in general on repeat….. I wouldn’t change it for the world 🙂

Audiotapes/ Audio CDs are also nice to listen to together at home, anytime of day, whenever your child fancies it. We have a tape player and CD player. Even to this day we pick up audiotapes in charity shops for really cheap. A good place to go audiotape hunting 🙂 We also have a tape player in the car.

If you are using public transport, books are always a good thing  to take along and you can do teh same as above, but you can actually look at teh book(s) together. Books are also good when going to a cafe, restaurant, shopping etc.


Using books to help toddlers learn to express themselves
Ideas on book sharing with your children
Extending Children’s Vocabulary with Picture Books and Stories
Remembering and joining in with stories
Helping to develop your childs speech and vocabulary


Remembering and joining in with stories

Remembering stories or events, no matter how minute or big, or how small and insignificant these may seem to us, are an important way for children to build a sense of there own identity and of how they fit into their family and environment. Books can help them understand where they fit into the world. Use the stories your read together with your child to relate to your own experiences…

” Look at this dog – does she look like Grandmas Shadow? Shadow is such a good dog and we love having him over for the day sometimes when Grandma goes to work and we go out for long walks in the woods or beach”

Point to a picture of a girl :

” Look at the little girl – she looks a bit like ….. (insert older sisters name if they have one) doesn’t she? Doing cartwheels like that.”


” Look at that boy! He’s playing football just like ….. (insert older brothers namehere, or if no older brother you could say just say like daddy/grandad used to when they were little).”


” Look! It’s farm animals like the farm we visited today/last week etc”

Sometimes children like to add to the story or make up their own. You could ask them

” I wonder what will happen next.” or “What do you think will happen next?”

or point to a character and say

” What do you think about him/her?”

This will give them the chance to come up with their own ideas, or prompt them to voice ideas that had already been forming and use their imagination. Wait an appropriate amount of time to give them time to answer. If they don’t come up with anything, that is OK too. Next time 🙂 ALSO – it DOESN’T matter if they interrupt the  story with their own ideas. It’s all part of the fun and shows they are not only using their imagination, they are also gaining confidence in themselves and their ability to join in. With our eldest I used to write down her made up stories and do little illustrations. They are so sweet to read now 🙂

One last thing – don’t forget to praise their efforts.  Marvel in your childs development 🙂


Ideas on book sharing with your children
Using books to help toddlers learn to express themselves
Extending Children’s Vocabulary with Picture Books and Stories
Helping to develop your childs speech and vocabulary
Taking books out and about


Using books to help toddlers learn to express themselves

As well as building a vocabulary that names objects and living things such as chair, table, dog, cat etc, it is important for children to eventually know words that allow them to express their feelings. A good starting point is always love, happy and sad. As they get bigger and their understanding grows, add more words.

Books are especially useful in getting your child to talk about things that may be on their mind – such as a picture of a cat may prompt the response ‘I don’t like cats’ and will give you the opportunity to talk to them about why. Just recently with our 2 and a half year old BB, I was leafing through some old Mr Men books that had been boxed up for years. He leafed through a separate pile he kinda chose by being attracted to particular colours and images on the front as I briefly looked through the whole stack going ‘oh, i remember reading that with Inks, your sister. oh and that one. And that one was her favourite. This one was mine…’ Eventually he got captivated by a page he kept turning back and forth in a particular book before saying ‘Mummy, she’s sleeping. She’s awake’. – when I looked on one page the character had her eyes shut and on the other they were open. He then went back to the sleeping page and said ‘She tired’. Yet in another book there was someone portrayed with an upside down smile and BB said ‘She’s sad’.

You can also talk about your feelings:

” I love you soooo much” (obviosuly at teh top of the list 😉 )
” I’m excited”
” I’m so happy”
” I was worried because…”
” It was a bit scary….”

As well as ask questions:

” Are you happy? ”
” Are you tired? ”
” Do you like XXX or YYYY better?”
” Did you enjoy yourself today? “

Remember – DON’T rush them or get frustrated if they don’t ‘get it’ straight away – repetition is the key and being able to relate to a situation or emotion. A nod or shake of teh head indicates they understand. Words will come later 🙂


Ideas on book sharing with your children

Extending Children’s Vocabulary with Picture Books and Stories

Taking books out and about
Reading with toddlers and children
Remembering and joining in with stories
Helping to develop your childs speech and vocabulary

Helping to develop your child’s speech and vocabulary

The first five years in our lives are the prime time for learning to talk. Most of a child’s language comes from the adults around them. The more time that is spent talking with our children, the more we enable them to develop the listening, concentration and talking skills they need. Toddlers often start off talking in their own little way and only you and those closest to them can understand them. (Personally I LOVE, TOTALLY AND UTTERLY ADORE IN FACT, THIS STAGE. We’ve been going through it with our youngest who is just 2 and a half. Ahhh, soooo cute and adorable  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ) Suddenly, they progress to saying the odd word clearly and it snowballs from there….

Reading to and with your child is a really useful, easy, enjoyable tool in helping your child’s vocabulary. At first children repeat words without really understanding their meaning. They are just making sounds, but this is good fun for them and helps the process of learning to talk. They are exercising their vocal cords and strengthening them all the time…. As your child grows, they will be understanding new words and phrases more. This will make reading more and more fun for all involved. Listening and talking go hand in hand – the more your child listens to you read and talk, the more they will try to reply and join in. It may also take longer to read each book, as you/they may want to go over your/their favourite bits again, or have another look if something is not fully understood.

Show your child that you enjoy reading too whether it be a book, a magazine or a newspaper – you are their role model and now is the time to help guide them to their full potential. It is good for children to see that book and reading are used on a daily basis and valued and appreciated in their home. Of course, there will always be some children who just don’t like books and reading naturally. It can’t be forced or they will lose interest even more. If this is the case, don’t push it. Our 2 and a half year old is currently NOT interested in being read to at all, compared to his almost 11 year old sister who could never get enough of being read to and is now a totally dedicated ‘bookworm’ 🙂 He does occasionally ask me to read to him and brings a book over (he has access to heaps of toddler friendly books, a lot of them I kept from his sister), but as soon as I start reading he asks me to stop within a few sentences lol.

Children build up their vocabulary over time and then start joining words up to make little phrases – before long you will be having a conversation. Well, a very ‘little’ conversation at the very least….

Ideas on book sharing with your children
Using books to help toddlers learn to express themselves
Extending Children’s Vocabulary with Picture Books and Stories
Taking books out and about
Reading with toddlers and children
Remembering and joining in with stories

Ideas on book sharing with your children

* Choose a quiet place where there will be no interruptions from the TV, stereo etc

* Obviously with a young child, you will need to be next to them when book sharing so you can look at the pictures together. This could be a cosy reading corner, laying on your fronts or backs in bed, on the sofa, down the beach, in a park – you get the picture.

* If they are older and it’s a longer story then they may want to lay in bed with you sitting near them and reading so they can just listen – like a real life audio book 🙂

* For younger children colourful books with interesting, captivating stories are best. Of course, as their attention span grows, so will the length of the story. Inky used to love Julia Donaldson, especially ‘Room on the Broom’. Amongst many, many, many others….

* If you are new to reading out loud, you may feel nervous or silly. DON’T. Your child(ren) love you unconditionally and will not criticise you. On the contrary – it will bring you closer. Plus the more you read the more practise you get and your confidence will increase.

* When you start reading a book, it can be a good idea to read the title before you open it, even if you’re reading it for the millionth time! Even from an early age this will show children how a book works – that you start at the front then turn the pages to get ever deeper in to the story. Eventually as they ‘get it’ and if its a book read many times before, they will relish turning the pages themselves and may even want to hold the book,

* DONT rush reading to your child(ren). Equally, if they have questions about what is going on in book take your time responding. In turn, if you ask them questions relating to the story, give them time to respond. Try and ask questions that don’t just require a yes/no answer.

* Point to the pictures and relate them to something your child knows. Such as tree, flower, grass, dog, cat etc. It is sooo cute and heart warming (proud parent moments, trust me I’ve been there 🙂 ) when they start pointing at the pictures themselves eventually naming what they see. This builds up their vocabulary.  As they get older you can add in colour, like look at the brown dog, look at the purple flower etc. Another achievement.

* Follow the words with your finger. Remember, at first you are not teaching them to read, especially toddlers, but they will begin to see that the black squiggles are very important because they are telling the story.

* I cannot express the importance of this enough – ENJOY!!!! Book sharing is heaps of fun and just another perfect excuse for extra cuddles 🙂


Reading with toddlers and children

Reading with toddlers and children

Parents – a child’s first and most important teachers. Children have so much to learn about the world and how to maneuver  through it!

Sharing books with your child(ren) is a lovely way to deepen bonds even further and at the same time increase language skills, imagination and will help them understand the world around them. Everyone is born a natural learner with their own unique learning style. Children are eager to learn new things on a daily basis – the home is a rich source of learning. A supportive family is very important. This doesn’t just have to fall on the parent(s) – siblings, grandparents, aunties, uncles etc can also join in with reading fun!

If you talk with me, not at me,

If you play with me, and not just leave me to my own devices,

If you include me in your world, to help me understand mine,

If you sing to me, and with me,

If you read to me, AND with me –

Then I’ll know what its all about 🙂

BE PATIENT – don’t forget children learn at different rates. Our now almost 11 year old did not learn to read until she was 7 years and 3 months old. I remember very well – for years we read to her on a daily basis. She would memorise heaps of small books that were read to he – even turning the pages at the appropriate moment and ‘reading’ from memory. Poetry books – from a young age she loved poetry and I’m sure most kids do this, and it makes every parent proud – after reading the same poetry books over and over she could always complete the sentence whenever I stopped. We weren’t bothered about her reading at a set age, we knew she would read when she was ready. There were moments when family/friends questioned why she couldn’t write yet and that does make you feel a bit uncomfortable, but we stayed strong in our convictions….So, like I said when she was just over 7 she picked up a Felicity Wishes book, in cursive script to boot, and read the entire thing. ” Mummy, Mummy!” she shouted excitedly “I can read!” She then picked up a ROALD DAHL book and started reading. She hasn’t stopped since. She’s also self taught in writing – her writing is beautiful and we are so proud. Her spelling is as good as mine :p and where she reads soooooo many books, her vocabulary is phenomenal and she’s always writing stories…


  • Don’t push too hard – kids switch off (who wouldn’t). But don’t go too slowly either as this can make them bored.
  • Everyone is different and YOU know your child best – this means you can tailor it to their pace
  • Sharing books helps develop speech and communication
  • You learn to talk a long time before you learn to read, so don’t worry if they don’t get it (yet). Try and see the world through their eyes and don’t put them under too much pressure 🙂
  • Don’t be pushy – this is not a race. If you are not going down the home ed path, there will be plenty of that in school anyhow!
  • A child’s concentration span isn’t as long as an adults. Little and often is good, unless they show mega interest! An ex-primary school teacher told me last year that they are told a childs concentration is generally twice their age! 
  • Most importantly make the most of the time you have reading with you littlies – this will give all involved precious memories.  They will soon be almost 11 like our big girl, and you will miss reading to them. Especially when they start reading by themselves and don’t want you to read to them anymore…. glad we have a 2 year old to do it all again with :p



Ideas on book sharing with your children

No Place Like Home

By Ken Connor
Christian Post Guest Columnist
Sat, Jul. 12 2008 09:45 AM EDT

When it comes to getting a good education, apparently, there’s no place like home.

When homeschooling first came into prominence in the late 1980’s many viewed it with skepticism, but it has proved itself over and over the past two decades.

Whether the average homeschooled student is getting as good an education as the average public school student is no longer a question. The verdict is in. The results of numerous studies show the average homeschooler is receiving a better education than the average public or private school student.

In a 1997 study, Strengths of Their Own, Dr. Brian Ray examined a sample of over 5,402 homeschooled students. On average, they scored 30 to 37 percentile points higher than the average public school student in all subjects.

A separate test done in 1991 by the Home School Legal Defense Association in conjunction with the Psychological Corporation found that a sampling of 5,124 homeschooled students across all grades scored 18 to 28 percentile points higher on the Stanford Achievement Test than the average public school student.

Finally, the 7,858 students who declared themselves to be homeschooled on the 2004 ACT scored an average of 1.7 points higher, on a scale of 1-32, than the national average.

To read the full article click HERE