Being a homeschool teacher isn't that much different than being a public or private school teacher, except that I love my students more than a traditional teacher loves his or hers and I know my students better than a traditional teacher knows his or hers. I have planned all summer for the educational needs of my two specific students out of pure love for them, and I don't have to spend several weeks learning the strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes of my students. I already know their family dynamics and history. I already know their educational abilities. I have it easy.
I know this because I have two children still in public school. I know that each year when I write that "introduction letter" to my child's teacher that I always get a heartfelt (albiet desperate) "thank you", because without it that teacher was going to have to get to know my child by trial and error while doing the same thing with at least 20 other children. And that's a waste of precious time. Tough stuff.
But I think, as educators, we all have the same goal, as it pertains to reading: To have our students have a real desire to read, not just an educational mandate to do so.
Again, I have it easy because I don't have a state required and produced exam I have to give my students at the end of each year (at least here in Oklahoma I don't). I don't have to cram a bunch of nonsense into the brains of my students, just to say that I did, so that I don't lose my job.
I get to, simply, have my students read. And the majority of home educators believe that the best way to teach our students vocabulary, grammar, coding of words, rhetoric, writing style and comprehension is just to have them read! Nothing more. Nothing less.
But just because I have this freedom in my teaching does not mean that my students will automatically like to read. In fact, that couldn't be further from the truth.
So, that's where The Book Whisperer is fitting into my life as a home educator. What tips can I glean that will help me get my student to a place where he and she (times 2, yes even the public schooled kids of mine) will hurry to get their other work and responsibilities done so that they can get to that book they have just GOT to read! I don't really even mind if they are distracted in their other work because all they can think about is THAT BOOK! Why? Because if they want to read, we can read about history, science, math, and art. We will do problems, but we will also read about the problems we are doing, if reading is so important. There are many ways to get to the end result.
Anyway, I am anxious to continue reading Ms. Miller's nuggets of wisdom in The Book Whisperer. I will take as many tips as possible into my classroom(s). And maybe, someday soon, my students will rush to get their work done to read a book instead of to play a video game.
To see how this book is being used in other homeschools, go to Thinking of Teaching.