Books: A Gateway to Wonder

When asked why reading is such an important part of my life, I always pause to consider. So many answers rise to the top of my mind. But which of these many answers is the foundational reason that I make time each day to read…even if only for just a few minutes?

This past month I read a brilliant book that really crystallized for me the answer to this question. It put into beautiful words everything I think and feel about not just reading, but about parenting, homeschooling, and life in general. While every book I read leaves its mark on my life, it’s not often that I read a book that profoundly impacts my life (and even changes the plans I’m making for homeschooling next year!).

This one-of-a-kind book is Awaking Wonder: Opening Your Child’s Heart to the Beauty of Learning by Sally Clarkson. As I made my way through the awe-inspiring prose of this book, I was reminded of why I’ve made some of the choices I’ve made for my life. It was a reminder of the reason I have chosen to homeschool my children. It was a reminder of why I’m intentionally choosing to slow down and appreciate the time of life I’m in and the beauty that surrounds me. It was a reminder of the whole purpose of jumping into the trenches of homeschooling not just for my children but with my children. It was a reminder of why reading (broadly and widely!) is such a valuable part of my life.

The reason behind all of these decisions I have consciously made over the past
few months and years is WONDER. I have chosen to homeschool to stir the
flame of wonder at God’s creation that is inside each one of my children. I have
chosen to slow down and appreciate the beauty of this season in my life because
of the wonder of the many beautiful moments that make up each day. I have
chosen to make reading a priority to grow my mind, expand my views, enjoy
vicarious experiences, and be humbled at the majesty of the world God has
created.

Truly, this book was a breath of fresh air for me this month because, honestly,
my life doesn’t feel wonderful at the moment. (We are still working through
everything surrounding repairing our house after the flooding that occurred 2
1⁄2 months ago!) But this moment…this season…isn’t meant to be just a holding
pattern for us. It is a time to live to the fullest, to fully embrace God’s blessings,
and to learn many new lessons (such as working with the insurance, house
repairs, and, above all, patience). And as I’ve pondered this book (and I’m sure I
will continue to ponder it in the months ahead!), I want to intentionally lead, by
example, my family to stand back in awe and wonder at all God is doing (even
though it’s a far cry from what my plans for 2021 looked like!).

And as for changing my plans for the upcoming school year…I loved how Sally
described reading to her children a little bit each day. I already read a lot to my
children. But I’ve already changed it up a bit this past month after reading this
book. I picked one book (from my daughter’s Year 3 free reads list on Ambleside Online)
and read a chapter over breakfast and lunch and enjoyed the fun story of the
Melendy children in The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright with all three of my
children. (And can I say that we all found the story and adventures to be quite
delightful!!)

The next book we are picking up is David Livingstone: Africa’s Trailblazer by
Geoff Benge and Janet Benge. My boys read a biography on David Livingstone
this past year (Year 6 from Ambleside Online), and we want to enjoy a deeper
look into this man’s life. So our reading is more focused and broad. I’ll be picking
and alternating from books for younger readers and older readers with the full
confidence that there is something in each of these books for each of us.

And I have to end by saying that I think Awaking Wonder is going to be a book
that I reread regularly for the ideas and the encouragement from a
homeschooling mom who has walked these years ahead of me and is reaching
out her hand in love and compassion.

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