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Teaching From Real Books

Working directly from real books is one of the advantages you have when homeschooling. You do not need to teach a whole class from a textbook. You can have the luxury of teaching from living books that will excite your children.

Using living books in the homeschool

Literature Study & Living Books

I never really understood the value of living books until I started homeschooling. I had two bookoholic friends who kept giving me recommendations, and as a new homeschooler, I was  listening. 

My  bookcases started growing. My taste for books changed. I began to exercise some discernment in the type of books I bought. Glossed up textbooks were less  tempting. I saw through the eye-catching graphics and bite sized information compiled by a team of experts. I was looking for more quality in the content that I read to my children. I wanted them to learn and love their books, to thirst for good books. I wanted their books to be delicious, captivating, brain and soul food, pure pleasure!

To strictly classify a living book is difficult for what excites you may be very boring for me. I am sure you can remember a time someone handed you a ‘must read’ book and as you struggled through each page you wondered what was all the fuss about.

Living books have something special about them. They flow, they capture the imagination, they tell us the facts while they give us the story. A living book is written by a passionate author (not a committee) who communicates this passion to the reader in a literary language.

How Can You Use Literature To Teach Lessons?

Once your children have become fluent readers they are in the information stage of their reading. They use books to learn.

When you use real books for your lessons there are often no worksheets or comprehension tests to go with the book. Now this can send a shiver down some of our spines. How can I know that they are learning? I can't just get them to read a book...Can I?

Lesson Ideas When Teaching With Real Books

One of the most rewarding aspect of teaching with real books is that it is far more pleasurable. The second advantage is that you can combine your lesson subjects. Your child can continue to work on their reading and writing skills as they learn other topics.

These teaching techniques below will help you make lessons from your books.

Narration is the simple telling back of what has been read. Narrations can be oral or written. Narration helps the child think through the passage they are narrating and then take out as much as they can from it. Charlotte Mason used narration extensively.

Notebooking is a great way to create a record of learning in a creative and meaningful way.

Learning is not limited to the textbook or worksheet but to what has captured the child’s interest or what the child knows. As they create their notebooking pages they learn. As they record their information they discover and make a reference for the future.

Copywork & dictation lessons using the literature you are studying.Our Downunder Copywork is full of quotes from living books with content about and from Australia. Our Australia literature links will show you even more living books.

Literature Study Guides can enhance your understanding and help you delve deeper into an author's work.

Our Australian Novel Booklist might give you some ideas for books you would like to study.

Study Living Books

Unit Studies is a theme, or topic, based teaching method that incorporates a range of subjects and learning styles. It has a holistic approach to learning. Children can discover the many facets and deepen their understanding of a topic. Art, science, literature, social studies and more can all be taught using one core topic.

Here is an example of Wombat Stew as a literature unit study.

Finding All The Living Books

Check out our living booklists to find some real books.