I love books. And, I count myself very lucky to be the mom of two homeschool kids who also love books.
For my family, one of the best things about homeschooling is the relatively vast amount of time we have to read. We read on our own, together and out loud to each other. Like many of you, we own lots of books and, at any given moment, we usually have a few stacks from the library, as well. Passing on my love of great literature is one of my main objectives both as a mom and as a homeschooler.
Now, some books we read are good – they entertain us or inform us and fulfill their simple purpose well enough. We read them contentedly and then move on.
But, some books go so much beyond mere entertainment or information. Some books speak to us in such an amazing way that they feel like they were written just for us. The story and the characters’ experience becomes a part of us because we live through the story, too.
When we finish reading these really great books, I usually find myself with two main thoughts. The first is a deep and sincere gratitude to the author for putting it out there for us to experience. I’ve never written a book, so I can only imagine how difficult and personal it is to put those thoughts and ideas on paper and then send them out into the world! My second thought is always, “I’ve got to tell everyone about this book!” I sometimes go out and buy these books if I don’t already own them just so I can know I have them to loan out in the event I come across an unfortunate soul who hasn’t read them yet.
Many times, one of the main reasons a book is special to us is because it has a character who is learning outside the traditional school setting. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a homeschooler. Sometimes, it’s a character who goes to school, but the real story happens around that. These books explore the learning that we, as homeschoolers, know so well – the learning that occurs through life’s experiences and struggles, absent a curriculum, a final quiz, or a grade.
These are the books we share with our friends. Often, they like them, too – sometimes, for the same reasons as us.
This led me to realize what a unique response homeschool kids bring to the genre of juvenile literature. In a market that sometimes seems flooded with books about kids struggling in the classroom with teachers, bullies and grades, I thought perhaps we should speak out for what resonates with us, too. I especially wanted to have a way to show our gratitude for those books that speak deeply to us – that voice our life experiences of learning. Finding one is such a gift.
When I talked to some other literature-loving homeschool moms, I found I wasn’t alone. Others felt, too, that we as a group of an estimated two million homeschoolers in the U.S. must have something to say about what is meaningful to us. Out of that idea, the National Homeschool Book Award was created as a way to convey our appreciation to authors writing books that stretch beyond the traditional school setting and explore growth and learning through life experiences. Our hope is that this project will give voice to homeschoolers across the nation.
So, speak up, homeschoolers!!! Let’s let our voice be heard!