Only books?

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  • Noemi C.

    My daughter is 9 years old and I started homeschooling awhile ago. I’ve been familiar with CM for 5/6 years or so. My daughter is rather half-hearted about most of the subjects and activities but could listen to books (mostly me reading out aloud to her but also audiobooks) ALL day. She would much rather prefer to just listen to books than doing any of the other schooling activities! I’m not sure how to deal with this fact. I recently started doing regular narrations (although I have known about it I’ve never really done it before I started homeschooling) and each time she does an amazing job telling back each small detail. So my great effort in reading good books to her since she was 3 years old or so seems to be paying off. Any input on trying to really mainly focus on reading, is anybody doing this at all?   Thank you x


    I don’t know what state you are in, but in my state, we are required to teach the 3 R’s.  And I think that’s wise.

    Reading is wonderful and it sounds like your daughter is doing really well with learning that way. But, in real life, she’ll need other skills, too.

    And, as much as I see the great benefit of letting their passions run wild, discipline is an important part of their education, too!.


    I had the same thought about what you can do in your state, according to homeschool law. Want to make sure you are in line with those as well.

    I also agree that while reading is fantastic, there is so many other great things to learn as well and while not all 100% enjoyed by my kids all the time, they learned that there is value in those tasks that might not be a favorite.

    Your student is still young, so it is not as though you have to be doing hours of school per day, but copy work, listening to music, nature study, science, art study, hand crafts… they help bring in the variety. And yes even math, since my kids started to help bake and do projects around the house they are really starting to understand the value of math as well.


    I’m curious, Noemi, is your daughter half-hearted about all of the subjects, or just doing what needs to be done to *work* on those subjects?  That is, if you do want to give her a reading-based education, could you do so by alternating the subject matter you’re listening to?  There are so many wonderful books about so many topics, perhaps it would be possible to listen to fiction, nature lore, science, history, music and books about music, books about art and artists, dramatic presentations, folk and fairy tales, Bible if you are a Christian….you get the idea.

    I am not disagreeing with previous posters who encourage you to give her a variety of skills and exposure. But if she loves to listen, is giving great narrations, and this is what you want to focus on for now, I’m just pondering ways that might be possible. You do want to help with the habit of diligence, so that she’s not avoiding things just because she’s in the habit of avoiding them. There are *definitely* subjects all three of my girls would have avoided if they could have. In those cases, I would ease in VERY SLOWLY, with very short lessons and small expectations. Then you can work up from there. For instance, with my current (and only remaining) daughter, 9yo, the physical act of writing is something she would generally avoid if allowed. In the beginning of her writing anything more than the alphabet, I would literally only require her to write one word. She has steadily worked up from that to being able and willing to write more. She still doesn’t enjoy it, exactly, but she does it and is pleased with her improvement over a couple of years. Perhaps something like this would be effective for your dd.

    Just as a little side note, if you haven’t had your daughter’s eyes checked, you might consider it. Sometimes a reluctance to read for herself or write can be related to needing vision correction.

    Does your daughter like to do things while she’s listening?  Could you do art/sculpture, handicrafts, color in educational coloring books, practice handwriting strokes, build things, even taking a walk, all *while* listening to different books?

    Also, when you say she is half-hearted about “activities,” do you mean things like crafts and all the extra activities that are sometimes included as part of curriculum?  If so, my suggestion is to drop those things that aren’t necessary. I have graduated two students, and my perspective on all the crafty bits is that they are a bunch of busywork and generally not valuable, taking more time to set up and do than they’re worth. I know many parents and students love them, but if your student doesn’t (or you don’t, which is just maybe the perspective I’m coming from here 😛 ), don’t let that bother you.

    Well, this is a novel, but reading about your struggles, plus having a 9yo dd myself, got my mind whirling. I hope something of what I’ve rambled about may be useful to you. And I hope lots of other ladies respond, because these SCM forum ladies are so helpful!


    Sounds like you are off to a great start. I lurked over CM for a few years before starting. This is my second year doing CM. We are now doing 8th grade. My child still loves for me to read to her and we also use the audio books. Sound like you’ve got a  good ol’ fashioned auditory learner like mine.

    I would suggest trying Karen Glass’ new book:  “Know and Tell”

    It’s a great resource for getting to know more about narration and how to apply it for all the age groups.

    Also, you could try for writing. You could try just one a week from a lesson reading to start with and build from there.

    Also, maybe you could try to incorporate other activities into the learning, such as drawing, photography, scrapbooking, videos, field trips, acting it out, etc. Think creatively, and out of the box.

    Trust the process and before you know it, you both will be well on your way to great results!

    Best regards, and CM on!

    Noemi C.

    Hello Alphabetica

    Thank you so much for your thorough reply, which I really appreciated. It’s great to know that you have a 9 year-old, too:-) And it’s good to get advice that ‘puts the child first’, somehow. I understand the concern and emphasis on discipline but this ‘conventional’ way of disciplining doesn’t come natural to me, I was myself a child that didn’t respond so well to discipline, hm. I have to be very gentle with my daughter. She gets offended easily and her self-confidence isn’t strong (yet), so it’s easy for her to take things personally and get hurt. I have peace about being gentle with her (which means I don’t think I’m being to loose with her or lacking discipline – I just read a book about ‘Gentle Discipline’ which resonated well) and have had some great improvements in those past first homeschooling weeks. What I’ve been doing is to make reading time every day. I make sure that I read to her twice or three times with at least one longer narration part, which comes very effortlessly. I also let her listen to audio books (Enid Blyton is her favorite at the moment – is that CMish enough I wonder? :-), Laura Ingalls and some classics..) while I clean or cook. I also give her tasks to do while listening such as cleaning up her room, doing copy work or drawing – she loves drawing while listening. When I get too nervous about her listening for too long (and being too much in her own world) I ask her to give me a time restriction, which she usually is happy to stick to. All in all, things are working out nicely: After having quite a few issues come up I feel that our connection is strengthening, my daughter is more and more ‘submitting’ to me and more and more expresses love and joy towards me, which is wonderful to experience. When she was rather distant and almost rebellious at times in her ‘school existence’ she is now (slowly, or actually quickly – after only a few weeks) softening up and settling. (Unfortunately, )I am a not very organised person by nature but I try to provide as much structure  I am able to achieve and hope to improve this with time! We have been getting to know our passions and it’s such a joy to be able to explore different areas of learning and to have the freedom to do what we enjoy. CM is a great inspriation in this. We’ve been doing poetry as a subject and it’s been so much fun. I’ve been doing music (singing and piano) and dancing with both the girls and yesterday my 9 year-old performed her own choreography to “I’m Almost There” during my piano students’ concert at her old school. It was so much fun and she did so so well and it was so good for her to still be able to be a part of the school (where I teach piano and singing one day a week).

    I know though that I will have a million more questions on this exciting journey..:-) One would be on the issue of jealousy. It’s a daily issue! My  girls (4 and 9) get so jealous of each other. All the time and I find it so hard to adequately meet both their needs. I’ve found that one-on-one time is really helpful but it’s so hard to do.

    How do you mums deal with jealousy? It’s such a fierce, existential emotion! I remember it so well from my own childhood…


    Noemi C.

    Hello Kim

    It does sound as if I have a ‘good old-fashioned auditory learner’, I believe that is my daughter, thank you for confirming:-) and wording it your way. Thanks for your encouragement, I do feel encouraged and will definitely check out your two suggestions, they sound great! I feel it will be helpful to get the best out of narration!

    We’ve been doing quite a bit of dancing, singing and poetry, which she has responded well to. And the more we bond and connect he more she is willing to let me guide her.

    This wasn’t my last post for sure and I’m so glad to know that there are mums like you to offer their precious advice!


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