Homeschooling with Literature


Make learning fun by homeschooling with literature.  Teach your multi-aged family using great books. The youngest can tell you about the story. Elementary aged children can write about the events.  Have your High school students do a report.

Children are usually more engaged in the material when you use literature to teach. Your child will "feel" what it was like to live in a certain time period.

If you only use textbooks they learn the facts but the not the full context of the time.

You can use stories to teach history, writing, and geography.

Why You Should Use Books in Your Schooling?

Great books introduce us to interesting people and places. We can share the experience as a family. Books can give us something to talk about. Some books are funny and can lighten our mood. Others present problems to discussed.

Stories can also help develop character. The Bible has directions on how to live. You can also read great books and learn how the characters dealt with difficult life situations.

Besides reading the story we can enjoy some of the activities in the book.  Talk about stories while doing day-to-day activities. Most parents have looked at the stars with their children and quoted the poem Star Bright.

Sometimes we can go field trips. After reading Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey take your children to a blueberry. You could also make blueberry pancakes or muffins.

Books give so many opportunities for hands-on activities. When you read the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, teach your child to make bread or do canning. Quilting is another activity that is mentioned in the Little House books. Boys might like to try making a raft after reading Huckleberry Finn.

Teaching History

History is easy when you are homeschooling with literature.

Reading stories can make history alive because literature deals with the thoughts and emotions of man. Textbooks only record what man has done. Combining facts and fiction can make the past interesting.

It is one thing to learn the facts of Western Expansion. It is quite another thing to read about Laura Ingalls traveling in a covered wagon. While you are reading the story you can ask your child questions about how Laura and her family might feel. While you are reading Little House on the Prairie you can also study the facts about Western Expansion.  Historical stories will help your child remember the facts of the past.

The hard part of teaching history with literature is finding books. If you have your child read you will want books at their reading level or slightly below. If you are going to read to your child they can understand books two or three years above their reading level.
To find literature books about the time period you could ask your librarian. You will have to screen to make sure that the book is not against your values. I try to find books by Christian authors or books published before 1960. Books published before 1960 usually written with an emphasis on good character and morals.

A book that I have used is Turning Back the Pages of Time a Guide to American History through Literature by Kathy Keller. For a small book there is a lot of information. She has listed the main points of American history in a chronological format. The list includes biographies, classics, historical fiction and some non-fiction books. For each book she gives a reading level.

There are some books that can be used for world history. We read the Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare when we were studying about the ancient Roman Empire.

When you are reading your historical novels take some time to look at maps. Find the place on the map when the characters are from. If they traveled to someplace, trace their route.

Using Books to Write

Children can learn spelling, capitalization, and punctuation with literature. Listening to good writing can help children hear how good English sounds.

Have your child copy several sentences from the book that you are reading. Copying takes time. Your child will learn to pay attention to details. If he misspells a word or misses a common he will have to copy the piece over.
There are companies that focus on literature to teach. Here is my page about the companies that I have found.


Are you teaching a formal homeschool literature class? Here are some questions that are usually asked.

  • What is the genre?
  • Who are the main characters?
  • Who is the protagonist?
  • Who is the antagonist?
  • What is the theme of the story?
  • What is the point of view?

Your child should also know the different styles of writing such as figurative, personification, the use of metaphors, etc.

When you homeschool with literature your child can learn historical events. They can learn about geography. Books are helpful in teaching writing skills. Share a book with your child today.

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