How Moms Can Learn to Read

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“A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink of it deeply, or taste it not, for shallow thoughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking deeply sobers us again.” ~ Alexander Pope

As our children head back to school, or our formal homeschooling studies begin again, I think the minds of mothers naturally turn toward learning. Setting new rhythms, making goals, developing great study habits- education is on our brains this time of year! Around our table lately, we've been talking a lot about what our children will study this year, but more importantly, we've been discussing how we want them to learn. What will the process look like? How will we teach them to think?

Motherhood has sparked my appetite to grow and learn along side my children- I want to be excellent so I can share with them and spur them further! I've also become more and more aware of all that is online and on bookshelves competing for my heart and time. Sometimes I feel like I’m walking in an endless Times Square, lights flashing, constant buzz, everyone crying out to be heard…marketing their ideas and wares in the way that will grab my attention the fastest and longest, enticing me to stay just one more minute to take the cream.

Among all the noise, all the headlines, all the messages coming at you today, how will you choose? How will you truly engage and really read, and know what is true? And how will you teach your children to do the same?

As I teach my children how to read, not for phonetics and fluency, but for meaning, I’m finding clarity in how I want to approach learning to read as a grown-up. I want my babes to drink deeply from the words they encounter, to measure them against the truth they know and hold.  I want their own impressions to be forged deep, to be marked with ideas that are unique to them and to their experiences so that they add to the conversation that has already begun.

Because the cream, really, is that sweet spot of connection, isn’t it? Its where relationship enters the scene.

You know the place. It’s where our knowing and understanding collides fully with the ideas expressed by another, where the truth of God's Word is revealed and soon we are a little troupe banded by the experience of words striking deep within and becoming a part of us. Community grows like this,  even here at The Better Mom, with words exchanged and shared together.

With our children this means we talk. A lot. 

Its hard to share what you do not know, and  moms, we have to be ready for those conversations, so our job of continuing to learn and grow becomes even more important.

So how do you learn to read as a grown-up? How do you develop the art of knowing? 

First, mamas. . . . pray. God wants to see your capacity for learning grow and delights in the connections you make between different topics and especially to his Word. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide your studies, your reading, even your math fact practice (shout out to my fellow elementary school moms!) Our God wants to be the one to lead you as you think deeply about ideas, history, blog posts and all the wonderful things He has made.

The Four Questions (adapted from the work of Mortimer Adler and Charles van Doren) is another great way to approach what you read, especially as a way to breakdown material that you might find difficult at first. Its a classical model that gets at the root of how we think and interact with what we are studying and is really easy to implement. Here's how it works:

1. Read. Keep Reading. Read some more. Immerse yourself in the work of great minds, of those who have gone ahead of you, of those you admire, esteem and even disagree with. Just don’t stop. Carve out time to apprentice yourself to great writers and great ideas. Read actively and with intention.

2. Ask What is this About? What is the main theme or idea, what is the message? What details are important and how are they being shared?

3. Determine if it is true. Measure what is being said with the Scriptures, with what you know and believe to be true about humanity, yourself, and the world that is being shared. Dig in to the details and don’t be afraid to disagree. {Conversely, don’t be afraid to have your opinions and thinking challenged and changed}

4. Decide if what you have read is significant. Why is it important to you? Why is it important to others? If you find it meaningful, Share it. Add to the conversation. Respond.

Friends, don’t won’t waste your reading. Engage it. And don't forget to add to the conversation! Your insight and comments are precious and have the ability to build up the body of Christ and your children's minds. 

I can't wait to hear what you share,

Blessings,

Kristen

www.hopewithfeathers.com

Kristen Kill

Kristen is a Northwest native who grew up surrounded by family, books, alpine peaks and lots of green. She never thought she’d leave. And when she did, she landed in a lot of concrete in a city that shapes the world’s culture. Now she's figuring out a life that she longs to have marked by gratitude and grace, good food and conversation; beauty, art and homeschooling all squeezed into a Manhattan apartment. She writes about living with intention as a wife and mother of four in the midst of a city that makes her heart beat just a little bit faster every time she walks outside at Hope With Feathers. She also relishes in her role as the Editor of The Better Mom and loves sharing snippets of her life on Instagram.