Now that I've been at this homeschooling thing for several years, I've heard most of what's out there in some form or another. I know the theories and the plans and the companies, but what I'm looking for is encouragement and practical ways to apply those big ideas. This week and next I want to share two places I've found those things in the last year. Perhaps you've heard of them and maybe you're even a fan like me, but if you haven't yet, or if you haven't checked them out in a while, I hope this will be the nudge you need to revisit them!
I've always been a huge read aloud fan. My best memories of school are listening to my second and fifth grade teachers read aloud each day after lunch. Some of those stories stuck with me so much I read them to my own students when I was in the classroom and then to my own kids on our homeschooling journey. So you're probably not going to be shocked that I'm a huge fan of Sarah Mackenzie and the Read Aloud Revival. Really, the only thing that's surprising is that it took me so long to see what all the buzz was about!
When I first looked into the Read Aloud Revival earlier this year, there were basically just the podcasts, but now there is so much more. But first, the podcasts….There are currently 36 different podcasts available for free covering topics from choosing good books to the research behind reading aloud and everything in between. There are plenty of guests you'll know already from the online homeschooling community, like Sarah Clarkson and Andrew Pudewa and maybe some that are new to you, but they're all entertaining and engaging. There are also show notes for each podcast so you can easily reference the resources that you've heard about. These podcasts are free, as is a Quickstart Guide for discussing books with your kids.
If the podcasts and guide are all you use from the Read Aloud Revival, you've still got lots of great information, but there is also a membership site that includes more, like:
Resource Guides to help you make the most of your read alouds with your kids.
Master Classes to give you new ideas for using books in your home.
Author Events where you can chat live with authors (including John Erickson of Hank the Cowdog fame on Dec. 13)!
Forums so you can find other homeschooling moms that enjoy reading to their kids.
I jumped on the introductory membership price that isn't available anymore, but if I hadn't, I would still feel it was worth my money for the quality resources and discussion available though the membership section of the site. If you're on the fence, you can always purchase a month's membership when there's an event you're interested in so you can see that event and check out what else you might want to see. Also, there are gift subscriptions available for a limited time, so you might want to put that on your Christmas list!
I have enjoyed listening to these podcasts so much. They're always encouraging and I'm always getting great ideas from them and not the kind of ideas that result in spending lots of time and money to make huge changes, but the kind I can try out the very next time we're reading or discussing. I think if you give them a listen you'll enjoy them, too!