A long, long time ago (disclaimer: a year and a half ago), I went to visit one of my most wonderful-est of friends. I really wish that Stephanie had a blog. Actually, I don’t. I wish I lived next door to her. But then I wouldn’t have a blog, most likely. I’d be too busy talking to Steph. (Sidenote: her sister DOES have a blog. And it’s delightful.)
Stephanie introduced me to the world of Audible. Now, I know I know I know that you can get lots of wonderful audio books for legally free. Audible was what Stephanie used. And what with the curveballs life was throwing me at that point in time, this was simple and I didn’t have to think about it too much.
Around the same time, I was bemoaning the fact that I wasn’t reading aloud more to my boys. Sarah references Andrew Pudewa and touches upon why this is important here. I was doing the whole guiltymomwailinggnashingteethmakingexcuses but, because I’m lazy and because life was throwing major curve balls, it just wasn’t happening. Oh, we were reading sporadically some picture books. We weren’t, though, making our reading intentional. I was waiting for my kids to bring me the books off of our shelf. They WOULD do that. Sometimes. But not always. We were losing the ritual and the habit of reading.
I have always been a reader and a re-reader. I have a love affair with words, sometimes reading just so that my eyes can pass over words on a page. I love all the books I grew up with. I will still go to my Mom and Dad’s bookshelves and pick up the books I would get lost in as a kid. I remember my mom used to have to put LIMITS on reading. I remember that we had an old, blue claw foot bathtub. I would smuggle books in the back corner under that tub and, behind the closed bathroom door, “brush my teeth” for extended amounts of time just to get in more reading time. I want that for my kids. (And that old blue claw foot bathtub. I want that, too. That thing was awesome.)
So I subscribed to Audible, and I credit it entirely for the reform movement of How This Lazy Mom Started Reading With Her Kids.
Are you one of those moms who sells her kids short? I completely am. I love my kids. I think my kids are smart. But I really fall short when it comes to putting challenges in front of my kids. I forget how much they are capable of. These absorbable little sponges that I call my own are capable of learning SO MUCH. And they will learn, no matter what, from what they have around them. I am re-reminded every day that if you surround them with the good and the worthy and the challenging, they will absorb that. And if you surround them with the garbage and the mundane? Well, then, they will absorb just that. They are going to absorb
something everything. So make the everything noble. Not with grand expectations of raising geniuses. Not with the avarice of mykidissmarterthanyourkid. Not for the purpose of giving tests and taking A’s. But for the sole purpose of providing your child a rich, sturdy scaffold on which everything they will be presented with in high school and college and LIFE can hang and make sense. If I do one thing right, I want to give them a logical scaffold. For many reasons, not least of which is that it is terrifying to face a world of knowledge and have it appear completely and senselessly random.
I’d be remiss in this Lazy Mom’s Guide if I didn’t share this simple tip: if you just begin to immerse the whole family in the good and the challenging, it makes your job as primary educator of your children (which can we all just agree that parents are, no matter which school option is chosen?) worlds easier. Listening to audio books helps our family to be immersed in words and ideas and constructs that I wouldn’t have thought to share with my boys (5 and 4 years old) in our every day conversations. We talk about paper routes and grease racks (Henry Huggins). We discuss living and eating according to the seasons (Laura Ingalls Wilder). We find moths fascinating (Freckles). We call cupboards what we wish they were: wardrobes, and we crawl inside to check them, just in case we are able to find our way into another world (Chronicles of Narnia). Hearing these books over and over again wraps up what they are learning and kneads it into their imaginative play. They listen while they play and wiggle and – in truth – while they don’t even seem to be paying attention. Oh, but they are. Oh, but they are.
Up next in this little series (golly! I feel like a real blogger. The fact of the matter is that I have a short attention span…) I’m going to talk about what our listening list looks like. And what it looked like when we started on this never-ending-project-that-I-didn’t-realize-was-a-project. And I am going to tell you about how little steps in the direction I wished our family reading to go have had amazing pay-offs for my kids and for ME.
In the comments, share with me: how do you fit reading as a family into your day?
Linking up with What We’re Reading Wednesday over at Housewifespice. Also, during the finishing touches of writing up this series, I was delighted to see Anne of Modern Mrs Darcy share some audio book suggestions.