How to Homeschool with Stories
In preparation for homeschooling our firstborn, who is 4 years old now and attending a local preschool, I’ve been observing how he responds to our first Advent Tree calendar. I love how we have the Advent Tree story time every morning, and after each story, he would get a coloring piece, color it in, and paste it into his notebook. Then we get him to draw the scene, for example, for the story of Noah’s Ark, he would paste the colored picture of the ark, and then he would draw other animals or perhaps the floodwaters into the notebook page. We would also ask him to tell us what the story was about.
And then today I stumbled across the Charlotte Mason method of education. She is apparently a Christian educator, and part of her method is the emphasis on using “living books” and storytelling:
1. Living books referred to real books written by an individual, and not textbooks (although for me, the word “living” reminded me of the Bible!). Children learn best through real stories, or at least stories books that contain the human emotion behind things and not just a textbook compilation of information. Is it a coincidence that the Bible itself is full of stories that kids can easily absorb? The Lord knows He designed the human heart to thrive on stories—because after all, our life is a love story!
2. As for the emphasis on storytelling, it wasn’t just about parents telling the stories to their kids, but also the kids telling the story back! I was amazed because just last night, my hubby and I were reflecting about how our son was actually already practicing “journaling” through drawing, since he couldn’t write yet. And we were talking about how writing down whatever the story was (or in his case, drawing it out) helped in retention, as writing, even for adults, does aid in retaining stories. It also must be no accident that Jewish families celebrate major festivals, like Passover, with a storytelling angle. And they do this year after year after year!
I was even more amazed because the article I read quoted the verse:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deuteronomy 6: 5-7
I never realized that the first commandment was followed by the verse encouraging us to impart truths to our kids, too! That means it’s not impossible for even preschoolers to start to get a foundation about God and His love!
Surely, telling the Gospel story is not limited to homeschooling parents. But for us who do plan to homeschool, the value of sharing these timeless stories is further emphasized! I know I still have a lot to learn about homeschooling a preschooler, but I’m definitely looking forward to giving my son a daily dose of Bible stories and how they point to Jesus. These stories can, after all, more effectively incorporate memory Bible verses for children in our kids’ lives! One story at a time, I believe the Lord will work through especially this particular “living” book!