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    by Mike McHugh

The Value of Stories for Home Educators
Date Posted: October 26, 2006

Does your home school family have a “story hour” several times each week? If not, you need to incorporate this wonderful exercise in to your schedule. Stories have a special way of powerfully communicating important truths and character-building principles in a manner that is difficult to rival. The fact that the Creator often chose to communicate His will to the human race through the use of morally laden stories is a stunning reminder of just how well adapted stories can be to getting truth into the heart.

Stories that combine a healthy balance of intense action, moral principle, and human interest are best suited for most youngsters. Although some parents or grandparents are capable of making up and telling their own stories, most adults will be more inclined to simply read a story aloud from a book. Either way, the one reading or telling the story must be sure to present the material in an animated and lively manner. Thanks in part to the television, the attention span of most children today is short. For this reason, stories that are somewhat longer in length need to be read with enthusiasm, as well as sound effects, in order to keep young listeners engaged in the story line.

Home school parents with older children in the house, can have them read a portion of the story to the family. This will help older students to stay involved in the story and will also give them valuable experience in reading aloud to the very young.

In addition, time should be set aside to permit students to ask questions concerning the details of the story that they found interesting. It is often during times of discussion, that valuable lessons are transmitted from adults to children. For this reason, it may be wise for readers to spend slightly less time reading or telling the story so they can be sure to leave sufficient time for discussion.

Books-on-tape can also be helpful in special cases such as long car rides where it is difficult to concentrate on the road and do justice to a children’s story. These audio presentations, however, cannot compete with the warmth and charm of a story read or told by a loved one. In other words, do not expect books-on-tape to be a suitable replacement for a real human voice that can spontaneously interact with children on a personal level.

Good wholesome stories should not merely be reserved for bedtime, for such readings provide genuine benefits when they take place during the school day. One of the often overlooked benefits, is the fact that short stories can provide a great way for parents to break up the tedium of the day by interspersing stories between difficult subjects. A funny or uplifting story, for example, can do wonders to improve a child’s attitude after a long and grueling math lesson. So stop and smell the roses, or better yet read and discuss good stories, and your journey through home schooling will be the brighter for it.

Copyright 2006 Michael J. McHugh

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Biography Information:
This column is written by the staff at Christian Liberty Academy in Arlington Heights, Illinois. As a pioneer in the homeschool movement, Christian Liberty ministries has been operating a full service, K-12 home school program for over thirty years and a Christian textbook ministry (Christian Liberty Press), since 1985. The mission of Christian Liberty is to provide parents with quality, affordable educational products and services that will enable them to teach their children in the home and to train their children to serve Christ in every area of life. A more extensive explanation of the CLASS home school program can be obtained at www.homeschools.org.
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