Have you ever had a week where it seems like you are getting pulled in too many directions? Or maybe it's more than just a week. Maybe it's a few weeks or a season.
I'm right smack in the middle of one of those seasons where it seems one thing after another keeps pulling our family away from our "normal." Some of the things are good things, positive things for our family. Other things are just hard. But they all feel like they are pulling us, pushing us, stressing us, and keeping us from the normal ebb and flow of our days.
I know I'm not the only one.
Health problems, financial concerns, family responsibilities, over-committed schedules, or a whole host of other issues can place an extra burden on a homeschool family. And sometimes those things just seem to multiply all at once. Oh, how I know this to be true.
It's times like these that the anchors in our days show their strength. They help hold us steady.
We have anchors built into our family life. Things like our morning and evening routines, regular mealtimes, weekly scheduled activities, family prayer time, etc. The predictability and consistency is good for our kids. It's good for me too.
But one anchor that has lately been helpful and healing to our family is our read aloud time.
Some of our anchors have us going in different directions. Like when we are each getting ready for the day, or me preparing meals while the kids work on school work, or different extracurricular activities throughout the week.
But reading aloud brings us together.
This is always a good thing. But when life is hectic and scrambled, it has even more significance.
*This post is from guest contributor, Amy. Thank you, Amy, for sharing your heart with us today!
What We are Reading Aloud
We have been reading picture books during our family read aloud times for years. But we are now reading our first chapter book as a family read aloud with my youngest. She just hasn't wanted to sit still for chapter book read alouds in the past.
We are reading Charlotte's Web. This is the first chapter book I read aloud to my oldest several years ago. It brings back such sweet memories for both of us. I hope my youngest will have fond memories of reading it together as well.
Charlotte's Web was a favorite book of mine when I was a child. We are reading aloud from my childhood copy of this delightful book. It was given to me when I was seven years old and still has the inscription in the front of who gave it to me and the date. I have a few special books that I have from my childhood and this one is at the top of the list.
We are going to see a performance of Charlotte's Web in a few weeks. I can't wait to finish reading this aloud with my children and then experience it in person with them.
I think Charlotte's Web is a wonderful book for a first chapter book read aloud. It really draws children in with the characters and the story line. Stories by E.B White are a must-read to children in my opinion. Why not enjoy them together as a family read aloud? Trumpet of the Swan and Stuart Little are two more children's books by E.B. White to add to your read aloud list.
Read Alouds are an Anchor to Our Days
Last week we had severe storms in our area. Buckets of rain poured down. Tornado warnings sounded over the local stations. As our family huddled together in the bathroom, we read aloud.
When my daughter had to wear an eye patch for several days due to an eye injury, we spent lots of time reading aloud. I read Charlotte's Web aloud. Her brother read picture books to her. She "read" her favorite books from memory out loud to us. Her Daddy read silly stories to her.
My husband travels a good bit for business so it's important for us to maintain a steady routine for the kids whether he is home or not. This makes his leaving easier for all of us. When he was on an extended out of town business trip this week, the kids wanted to "camp" in the living room. We snuggled together and read aloud.
With a close family member having major surgery and initiating cancer treatment in recent weeks, our days and our emotions are frazzled. But we read aloud together at night before bed.
With the school year coming to an end in our Classical Conversations groups, our homeschool co-op, and other extra curricular groups, there are extra activities and events to attend. Some days we just don't get to all the things we have hoped to accomplish. But we try to make reading aloud a priority.
Reading aloud brings us together.
It calms us.
It helps bring peaceful moments to our hectic days.
It feels like an anchor to our days.
I encourage you to make reading aloud a priority if you are going through a tough season, a busy few weeks, or just need some more predictability and steadiness in your days. You may find that setting aside the time to read together reaps exponential rewards.
You may find that reading aloud together feels like an anchor holding your days in place even when the rest of your world is trying to push and pull you in a thousand other directions.
An Anchor for Our Souls
Ultimately, I believe the anchor that holds our lives steady and sure is Jesus. One of my favorite verses is...
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Hebrews 6:19
No matter the ebb and flow our of days, Jesus is the answer to leading a life of hope and security.
And along that journey, I hope you find reading aloud with your family brings you closer together and helps bring some steadiness and peace to your days.
If you don't already have personal copies of Charlotte's Web or any of E.B. White's other books, you may click through the links below to order. These sweet stories have stood the test of time and would be a wonderful edition to your home library.
Do you have a favorite chapter book read aloud for young readers?