Tell Me About It

While reading fiction has the ability to transport us into a different world and escape reality for a brief moment, it is quite impossible to live there. To better understand the world in which we actually live, perhaps a healthy dose of non-fiction is in order.

Tell Me About It

Now, when we refer to non-fiction, I hope we all understand I am not referring to textbooks. I think my children get plenty of textbook time in their lives, they don’t need to be assigned more. No, the non-fiction reading I am looking to increase is found compliments of our local library.

Within the fascinating world of non-fiction my children can explore regions of our universe previously unknown to them, research ancient civilizations, find out how to take care of their pets, discover how to make crumpets, and learn poetry from cultures spanning the globe.

While, strictly speaking, these might not be categorized as non-fiction, I also like to ensure a good dose of biographies are being consumed. There is much to be gained from reading about those who have gone before us and continue to make an impact.

Just as we are doing with our required reading selections, there is no order to the books our children are encouraged to read. If anything there is more freedom in selecting their non-fiction books. Our only requirement… one biography and one non-fiction per week. I won’t assign a particular book or even force them to read on a particular subject; I want the children to use this time to explore their own curiosity and enjoy this time of learning.

Surprisingly, our children have adapted to this tradition quite well. They make their non-fiction and bio selections their very first challenge when arriving at the library. Often, they choose more than one book and, at times, mommy has questioned just how many they plan to check out. (We have been known to check out over 100 books at a time.)

Our kiddos have increased their realm of knowledge a hundred fold by instilling this one simple practice in their lives. I hope this will inspire them to continue on well into their adult years. With their father and I, as well as other family members’, encouragement and healthy example, I believe this will be a practice that will take them well into adulthood.

Do you make non-fiction and biographies a fun part of your learning experience?

13 thoughts on “Tell Me About It

  1. Yes, we do. I’m praying about getting an additional e-reader because we can only check out library books for one week, and only one book per child. It’s very tiring to drive weekly to the library for just 4 books. Lots of free ebooks are available now and that’s what I’m slowly building up at home. I still limit their online time for health reasons.


  2. I love this idea! I have not been able to figure out how/what to have the kids read. I love the idea of letting them choose within these boundaries. Thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas–some of us are not ‘natural’ teachers! 🙂


  3. This is most helpful. I want to expand my children’s reading selections. I just read Well-Trained Mind and found it very helpful. I checked out a number of books from Well-Trained Mind’s reading list, the ones on Greek Mythology, Odyssey, etc. I’m concerned because the children’s picture books have some nude drawings. I’m not sure if I want my children to see these. Did you run across this in the books you have used? Was this an issue for you and your family? Just curious.


    • Good question….

      We are constantly at art galleries or at museums. There you are surrounded by art, sculpture, and literature praising the human form.

      I think when it comes to nudity its all in how it is presented, the subject matter, the age of the child, and how comfortable you are with discussion.

      If the pieces are lightly shown to represent a portion of history, say the Olympic games, you might not be able to escape the nudity. However, if we are just talking about art for art’s sake, I try to avoid anything that is “suggestive” in nature. I also want to take into account whether my child is a boy or a girl and their age. Young children will usually not have an issue with nudity, especially if you explain things matter of factly. Middle aged girls are also pretty good with these types of artistic pieces. Middle aged boys however, should probably wait until they’re a little past hormonal years.

      While out and about, I take things on a piece by piece basis. I usually check the museum’s website and find out which pieces are on display. If there is anything too risque, we avoid that section. While looking at paintings I attempt to direct their attention elsewhere, if the subject is too dominant in the piece. When we have faced the occasional nude sculpture or painting, I try to represent it as maturely as possible and answer my children’s questions as honestly as I can.

      Some of these pieces, even for their time were scandalous. Michelangelo (according to my hubby) was criticized for his Sistine Chapel. I don’t necessarily wish to represent each piece as wholesome and good, but when I can’t avoid it, honesty is the key.

      This is also a good time to train their eyes to naturally direct themselves elsewhere. In this day and age, our poor kids are going to need to learn how to turn a blind eye to half naked (and sometimes completely naked) images and people.

      Again, I don’t go out of my way to find it, but when we come across it we use it as a learning experience and this gives us an opportunity to share our hearts on yet another important matter of life.

      Hope some of this helps?


  4. I just read the book Jump-Starting Boys-Help Your Reluctant Learner Find Success in School and Life. A statement you made in the post was emphasized in the book. “With their father and I, as well as other family members’, encouragement and healthy example, I believe this will be a practice that will take them well into adulthood.” Boys need male role models who read. I found this book very helpful as a homeschool teacher of my reluctant reader grandson.



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