Encouraging a Love of Reading

17 Jul

Hi Everyone!

I have an announcement to make! The second book in my Our America series, The King Philip’s War Adventure is now available! And, the first book in the series The Pilgrim Adventure is now available on Kindle!

The King Philip’s War Adventure takes Finn and Ginny back to colonial times again where they get caught up in one of the least-taught and most dreadful wars in our history. I enjoyed writing this book even more than the first one in the series, and I hope that you folks enjoy it too.

I thought that today I would write about something for those of you with younger children—how to encourage a love of reading in your children.  If you can hook your kids on books, then half of your job as a homeschooler is already done. Not only will teaching spelling and grammar be a lot easier if your kids love to read (in fact I never taught my son spelling; he just picked it up by himself because he read so much),  but they can also teach themselves things by reading that you may not even have thought of.

But how to do this?  Here are some things you can do to encourage your young children to love reading:

1)    Limit TV and electronics time in your home. In fact, it’s a good idea to not even allow very young children to watch TV at all–at least until after they have developed a love of reading.

2)    Have lots of books available for them to read all over the house. Not only library books, but books that you own. I haunted garage sales and library sales for years buying books for my son.

3)    Keep books in the car for your children to read while you are driving.

4)    Read yourself—if your children see that you read for pleasure, it shows them that reading is a fun thing to do.

5)    Read to your children as much as possible. Start as soon as they are born—even babies like to be read to. I used to sit on my back next to my son, holding a book over our heads and read to him while he was a baby.  He’d wiggle his feet and get excited when we came to parts he liked in the books. (He especially liked rhyming books at this age.)

6)    When your children first start to read, look for lots of easy books that they can read themselves to give them something to be proud of. The Bob Books are especially good for this, or you could do a search for “easy reader,” or “beginning reader” on Amazon to see what types of books are out there.

7)    Once your children can read, get them hooked onto a series. If you can find a children’s series that they like, then they will want to read more books in the series, and then they’re hooked.

These are the methods that I used to foster a love of reading in my son.  If any of you have any other suggestions, please feel free to mention them in the comments!


Homeschooling and Writing

10 May

I have a new book announcement for you all!  I’m starting a series of Kindle eBooks called “How to Teaching Guides.” The first one is How to Teach a Newspaper Class for Middle and High School Grades.  The idea for the book came from a class that I’ve been teaching this school year. The preface from the book explains how it all came about:

     It is rare to find a child who loves every subject and wants to do them all. My son is no exception. For years I tore my hair out trying to find creative ways to get him to write. We made books, we made journals, he wrote letters and reports, but I still felt that something just wasn’t clicking. As a homeschooling mom I felt that I needed to come up with a better solution. My son was hitting middle school and it was time to work on this problem.

     That was when I came up with the idea of teaching a newspaper class. Since my son is usually willing to try new things, I suggested the idea to him and he said, “Sure.” That was all the encouragement I needed. I did some research, signed up some kids for the class, and soon it was time for my son to write his first article. He’d been very excited about his ideas for the first issue, so he sat down at his computer, ready and eager to write, and….froze up. He had major writer’s block. He had no idea how to start his article. My heart sank. I’d committed myself to teaching this class for a year, and I was envisioning weekly arguments trying to get my son to write his articles.

     But I’m also trying to teach my son not to be a quitter, so we persevered. I gave him some ideas for how to start his article, made him keep at it, and he wrote it. And he hasn’t looked back. Now, after taking the class for most of the year, he’s realized that writing, like anything, takes practice. He can see how much easier it is for him to write an article now compared to when he first started the class, and he’s not afraid of writer’s block anymore. This class may have been one of the best homeschooling ideas I’ve ever had.                            

I can’t recommend enough the idea of starting a newspaper to get kids interested in writing. That’s not to say that there aren’t other creative ways to do this. We’ve done a number of them through the years. One of our favorites was making books. There are a number of ways out there that your kids can make books that look like real published books. We purchased Creations by You kits and my son made limerick books, joke books, haiku books, and just plain story books.

Another thing we did was to make a scrapbook of events in his life. For each page of the scrapbook I would give him a short sheet of paper with lines on it that he would write about the event on.  Once he was done, we’d paste it to the scrapbook page and then decorate the rest of the page with photos and other items.

One thing that some of my friend’s children are doing is writing blogs, either on their own or as part of a larger family blog.

All of these projects, including the newspaper class, have one thing in common. They produce something that has a larger purpose than just writing a story on a piece of paper.  It seems like kids are more receptive to a writing project when they can see that it has a larger purpose, not just writing for the sake of writing.

Do any of you have any kids’ writing project ideas out there that you would like to share?

One last thing on an unrelated subject…if you’re interested in knowing why I love homeschooling so much, or would like to understand why some people homeschool, check out this article that I wrote for Canada’s Homeschool Guide: http://canadashomeschool.ca/article/homeschooling-moments.html


Happy Homeschooling!





29 Feb

Hello Everyone!

Welcome to Funtastic Unit Studies! I started this site as a resource for homeschoolers and teachers, and plan on continually adding content as time goes on. I hope that you enjoy what I have posted so far and continue to check back to see what is new on the site. I try to add all of my new items all at once every couple of months or so, because I don’t want my subscribers to be constantly getting Emails about every little addition that I make to the site (I know how many Emails folks get these days and I hope that by doing it this way I am helping you all by not contributing to your Email pile-up!).

I have decided to add a Blog to this site. I am a very private person and am a bit hesitant about putting myself out into the internet world, but I know that folks enjoy reading Blogs, so I thought that I would give it a try.  From now on I will try to add a post about homeschooling, teaching, or other related subjects each time that I add content to the site, and I will activate the comments section on the Blog page so that you all can contribute your thoughts if you would like.

Let me introduce myself.  My name is Susan Kilbride and I am a homeschooling mom. Those words “Homeschooling Mom” define who I have become. I’ve done lots of other things in my life, but none of them have been as fun or as important as homeschooling my son, who is now middle-school age. I have a wonderful husband and parents who completely support me in my homeschooling endeavor, and I feel extremely lucky to have their support.

I initially hadn’t planned on homeschooling, but a few things happened when my son was very young that made me decide to give it a try. First, I had a friend whose son was getting bullied in kindergarten. Children should not have to deal with bullying at that young an age, and I did not want my son to go through that. Second, for reasons that I don’t want to post online, I was extremely concerned about the quality of education in our school district. Don’t get me wrong, I love teachers and really appreciate the hard work that they do teaching our kids.  I just felt like things weren’t working so well in the area that we live in. Third, I was becoming increasingly concerned about the socialization that kids get in schools now days.  I find it rather funny that people worry about socialization in homeschoolers.  I think they should be more concerned about the socialization that kids get in school.

So, I gave homeschooling a try, and we have never looked back.  It has been the most wonderful experience of my life.  That’s not to say that it hasn’t been hard and even frustrating at times, but when I look back on all of the precious moments that I have been able to share with my son, I know that it has all been worth it.

I would be really interested in hearing some of your stories of why you started homeschooling, so feel free to share them in the comments section.  I will be previewing the comments before they get posted, so don’t worry if your comment doesn’t show up right away.  It will get posted eventually!