I have written here before about how limited the options of a homeschooling mom are in terms of career dreams or free time for that matter. And yet, as our children grow more and more independent, we find we have more and more time on our hands. Or, if you are like me, you have a lot of time between the hours of 2am-6am when you simply cannot sleep. That’s your signal that it’s time to get on a reading schedule.
Here are 10 tips for putting yourself on a reading schedule:
- Start with a strong “why.” Are you thirsty for knowledge? Are you preparing to teach literature in the upper grades? Do you personally need help in dealing with a particular issue in your life? Motivation is everything. If you have a strong “why,” the “how” will follow.
- Read what interests you but after you have gotten a few must-read titles out of the way, venture into a territory of books you know you should read but you don’t feel like it. Do it for the kids – to give them an example of “reading for a challenge.”
- Don’t limit yourself to fiction or to nonfiction. A lot of conservative Christians ban fiction altogether. It’s a big debate. Personally, I feel strongly classics must be covered in a solid homeschool literature program. You are welcome to disagree.
- Don’t neglect your daily Bible reading, if you are a believer. The 66 books of the Bible remain your ultimate guide for life and for peace of mind. When I am reading an especially worldly novel, I find my time in the Bible cleanses my mind of the accumulated dross.
- Aim for 40 pages a day: 20 in the morning before everybody gets up and 20 in the evening or during breaks – you do take breaks during the day, right? Most books average 240 pages. That gives you 6 days and a sabbatical. You can give or take a few pages a day, of course, if the story grips you or if it leaves you unsatisfied.
- If that sounds like too much, work your way up to that number. Start with one page, then see if you can muster five or ten in a day. Once you are up to 40, you can try to go for 50 and 60 and so on.
- Susan Wise Bauer tells you exactly how to read a book and how to outline it and its characters in The Well-Educated Mind. It might slow you down at first, but eventually you will reap great benefits from it and it is totally worth your time.
- Don’t get discouraged if you skipped a day. Just pick it up the next day and keep going.
- Train your children to help with housework more and more. It frees up a lot of your time and gives them life skills.
- Join a book club. You might enjoy the stimulation and the group discussion, not to mention the time away from your beloved children.
Charlie “Tremendous” Jones said that you will be the same person five years from now except for two things: the books you read and the people you meet.
I could not agree more. I have been changed by the books I have read and by the people I have met. It’s a journey and a discovery and an adventure that does not cost much but yields a lot of returns, not all financial, but all important.