This post is sponsored by BookShark. All opinions are my own!
Since starting our homeschool journey, I’ve put an exhaustive amount of time into deciding the best approach. What I found is that there IS no best approach for everyone, haha. But considering the pros and cons to each style can help you make a better decision for your family. One of the homeschool styles that I really loved and knew would be great for my daughter is literature-based education.
What is a Literature-Based Education?
Simply put, you learn from actual stories rather than textbooks. The phrases “real” books or “living” books are often used to describe the books used, which just refers to them having more of a narrative and engaging style. More like what you probably have on your bookshelf already.
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The difference in living books versus textbooks isn’t necessarily the information that can be learned, but HOW it’s being presented to us. A textbook listing facts about science is a lot less interesting than reading through The Berenstain Bears Big Book of Science. And having a book that’s more interesting is super helpful in keeping our kids’ attention!
Here are a few quick benefits of having a literature-based homeschool:
1. Great Opportunity for Family Bonding
What’s better than cuddling up together for a good story? When your kids have their noses in workbooks all day, there can be a sense of disconnect throughout the school day. Not so with a literature-based approach!
You and your child(ren) can learn while spending time together. When you read something that peaks someone’s interest, then that can be a fun sidebar to learn more about, and maybe even look up other books on the topic!
2. You Can Teach Multiple Ages at Once
This is, of course, especially convenient for those who have more than one school-aged child. In our case, only one kiddo is old enough for school, but that doesn’t stop my toddler from joining in, too! Being able to all learn together strengthens the family bond even more.
The idea of setting multiple kids up for their individual lessons and helping them or keeping them on track sounds EXHAUSTING. Planning things in a way that can involve multiple kids in one lesson is a much more efficient use of time. And what better way to do that than to read stories together?
One of the huge benefits of a literature-based homeschool is that you can still tailor everything towards different ages. Reading is an important aspect of childhood whether it’s for school or not. So even if you have an older child listening in on the younger one’s books, or vice versa, there is still something to be learned from the books!
3. Helps Kids to Retain Information Better
Back to my earlier point about stories being more interesting than textbooks: living books help us to retain information so much easier! From novels to picture books, they are written in a more engaging way that keeps children paying attention. Plus connecting the lesson to a story gives them a way to relate to it which helps for memory as well!
4. It Helps Us Connect to Different Times, Cultures, and Experiences
When we read a story, we are getting some insight into another time in history. This comes from first, the obvious, the story itself that is being told. But we’re also able to discover some things about the time period that it was written in as well.
This reminds me of a history class I took in college that was completely based on Star Trek. Not kidding! The teacher used the cultural implications made in the show to teach what was really happening in the world at the time. It was a super interesting way to learn (and may or may not have turned me into a bit of a Star Trek nerd).
We can use this same approach with stories for our kids. They get to jump into another point in time by reading about it in a book. It’s a great way to learn!
How to Get Started with a Literature-Based Education
The idea of learning through reading may sound nice, but perhaps you feel stuck on what books to start with? While on one hand it can seem quite straightforward: buy/borrow books, read them, repeat. But on the other hand you may be wondering… what books cover the lessons my kids need to know? What books are age appropriate for their learning level? How can I be sure to cover all the necessities? And so on.
That’s why we’ve chosen BookShark for our homeschool journey. They have complete curriculums for each grade level that revolve around carefully chosen books. In addition to the books, they also have engaging workbooks and math manipulatives/flash cards. You can have all the benefits of a literature-based education without having to plan or prep at all!
And when I say no plan or prep, I mean it. We have been going through their Pre-K ALL Subject Package, and all I have to do is look up which books are scheduled for the day. That’s it! Sometimes they do have extra activities planned, but they are optional and still very simple. It’s perfect for the new or busy homeschooling family.
Why We Love BookShark
The low prep school plan is only part of the benefits of a literature-based homeschool through BookShark. They also provide a lot of of flexibility to match your child’s skill levels for each subject. In addition to an all-subject package for each grade, they have individual subject packages as well.
You can choose from history, language arts, science, math, spelling, and handwriting. Just mix and match according to your kid’s strengths and weaknesses. No more frustration over a subject that is more of a struggle for them, nor boredom over topics they picked up easily!
One other aspect I’ve been super impressed with is the unique workbooks provided. We love having the bulk of learning be through the stories read, but the four workbooks included are super engaging and my daughter loves completing them everyday! Unlike the typical workbooks you’ll find for younger kids with tracing, matching, etc., the ones from BookShark strategically work different important skills. Kids will work on their fine motor, auditory, visual, memory, comprehension skills, and more!
Our experience having a literature-based education through BookShark has been effective, easy, and very enjoyable. My daughter is so excited to start school work everyday because we are doing something that she loves and keeps us connected! If you are interested in testing out the benefits of a literature-based homeschool for yourself, I highly recommend trying out BookShark.