From Our House to Yours
We all love, love, love the Charlotte Mason living book read alouds! But, what if you have multiple read-alouds and not much time due to some difficulty going on in your life?
Our children are each more than 3 years apart and very different in skills and maturity. Consequently, they place in 3 different Heart of Dakota guides. We’ve actually loved using multiple guides because each child thrives and is appropriately placed. Therefore, there is no tweaking, no skipping, no comparing, and no supplementing. Little ones are finished earlier and have less independence. Older ones have longer school days and more independence. Likewise, skills are appropriate for their ages and materials are appropriate content and maturity-wise. However, if you happen to have many children placed in different younger guides who cannot read, you will have multiple read-alouds. I’m thinking of helping you dear ladies when I write this blog. So, the subject of this blog will be 7 time saving tips for multiple read alouds!
First Tip: If you have older students who can read well, make sure they are doing the reading for all the “I” boxes of their plans.
Starting in Resurrection to Reformation, the Storytime part of the plans can be either “T” teacher-directed with the parent doing the reading, or “I” independent with the student taking over the reading (as long as they are able). We have found our kiddos enjoy reading it on their own at this point anyway, so that would be a first suggestion if you have older students. Or, if you can’t bear to let go of this, set a timer for 10 minutes. Read aloud until it rings, and then your older student can finish the reading independently. Then, you can just do the short Storytime follow-up with them.
Second Tip: If you have older kiddos, have them take a turn reading to the youngers.
If you are using several younger guides with multiple read-alouds, and you have older students as well, try having those older students take a turn reading aloud – our younger sons have loved this! They can cuddle up on the couch, choose a reading corner, or have a cup of hot cocoa together. The books are amazing in Heart of Dakota already, and often times older kiddos enjoy rereading books they’ve had read to them before!
Third Tip: Look to your extended family members for help!
Family members can often see when you are going through a tougher time in life and want to help but don’t know how! A family member (husband, mother, father, mother-in-law, father-in-law, older child, aunt, uncle, etc.) can easily help by reading aloud a chapter a day in a recording device. We gave a book or two to multiple family members and had them record a chapter read aloud at a time, and then we had them for years to come to be enjoyed! Now that my father as passed away, these recorded read-alouds are especially precious, and they saved me some time when I needed it! I know Mike’s mother recorded read-alouds of her reading a set of Storytime books each summer for the Austin’s sons. Those read-alouds are also precious, and the recordings have been put to good use for many years!
Fourth Tip: Choose a time of your convenience to record yourself reading a chapter each day.
Sometimes it is just more convenient to read aloud a chapter a different time of day than you are homeschooling! Our phones are easy recording devices these days, so why not record yourself reading a chapter each day from one of the multiple read-alouds at a time of your convenience? I spend a fair share of time waiting, how about you? Waiting for appointments. More waiting in my car for my kiddos. Still more waiting for someone running a little late. Why not use that time to record yourself reading a chapter? All you need is a Storytime book and your phone. I’d do this for the oldest child’s read-alouds first, as you can then use it again when your younger child does that guide!
Fifth Tip: Try moving one of the multiple read-alouds to bedtime.
This is great to do for a younger child, as often times reading a book before bed is a fun, cuddle time that is a wind-down for sleeping well! Often times families are doing this anyway. Why not read aloud one of the living books in your Heart of Dakota plans? Just be sure to have the guide nearby and do the short follow-up, and doing it at night is easy-peasy!
Sixth Tip: See what books you can order on audio or on audible!
Many books are now available on audio or on audible. However, one very important caution for this time saving tip…make sure your child still has the book and is following along in it! This is important for building reading comprehension skills and vocabulary. It may be tempting to just have kiddos listen to books, but Charlotte Mason would not have been a proponent of this. Real books held in one’s hand foster connections not made otherwise. We found some used cassettes of books online one year and just used a tape player. I know this is old school, but this was inexpensive and while it was not as much my favorite as me reading the books aloud or a family member, it really helped me through that busy, busy year when I had many doctor’s appointments for my newborn!!!
Seventh Tip: Start recording yourself as you read aloud to your oldest during the homeschool day.
You’re already reading aloud! Why not just record yourself doing it? Sure, it may not be perfect. The baby may cry in the background. A phone or doorbell may ring. That’s ok! As long as it’s clear enough, it’s good enough. Just put some gusto into your reading. I’ve found it often drowns out the worst of background noise. You may as well start this with the oldest child, so the youngers can enjoy the readings later. Who knows? They may be as precious one day to your children as my dad’s recorded readings are to me today!!!
I hope this gives you some practical time saving tips for multiple read- alouds! The summer is often a perfect time to try some of these tips – especially if you want family members to help! So, why not give one of these time saving tips a try this homeschool year?