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Crafting Your Own Book Rules: A Homeschooler's Guide to Literary Freedom

In the homeschooling world, it seems everyone has an opinion about what should and shouldn’t be hanging out on our bookshelves. In this post, we'll cover how to stop worrying about what everyone else thinks and create your own Book Rules – a personalized guide to curate your literary journey.

Download our FREE Book Rules guide here:

Hearth & Story Book Rules Activity
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Ever since the invention of the printing press, adults have tried to lay down the law about what children should or shouldn't read. The dichotomy of "clean" and "dirty" books, or even "banned" and "not banned," has persisted. Some homeschooling philosophies separate books into “unclean” vs. “wholesome.” Others, such as the Charlotte Mason philosophy, label “living books” and “twaddle.” In the world of secular homeschooling, the word "problematic" looms large as a vague but powerful storm cloud over all sorts of books. The desire to categorize books into "should read" and "should NOT read" spans across political spectrums, religious traditions, and ideologies.

But as homeschoolers, the freedom to shape our literary destiny is in our hands, not anyone else’s, and it's time to steer clear of external drama and take a closer look at the wants and needs of our own children as well as the values and traditions of our families. Going through the exercise of creating your own personal book rules is a chance to revel in the autonomy of homeschooling and celebrate our individuality. Here’s one way to do it.

Step 1: Gathering Books

Gather your most beloved (and some not-so-beloved) books. Make a stack of the books you love most in the world, the ones that really resonate with you and your children. Make a second stack of books you just can’t stand. It’s unlikely you have very many of these on hand in your home, so write the titles of your least favorite books on sticky notes if necessary.

Here’s an example stack of beloved books, but your collection will be uniquely yours, and that’s the beauty of this process.

Step 2: Analyzing Books

Take a deep dive into your book pile. Why does one novel evoke strong emotions, while another makes you cringe? Document these feelings and insights by jotting down a few notes.

Step 3: Identifying Preferences

Take a good, close look at those notes. Are there patterns or themes emerging? For our family, we tend to gravitate toward books with a lot of heart and emotion but shy away from books trying too hard to be clever. What about you?

Step 4: Creating Book Rules

Use your newfound insights to craft your personalized Book Rules. Whether it's a simple "good" and "bad" pile, a detailed category system, or a super nerdy quadrant map – the choice is yours! Remember, the power lies in your hands – it's your Book Rules, your way.

Armed with your own set of Book Rules personalized to your family’s wants, needs, and values, you can now keep your bookshelves brimming with literary wonders that are just right for your family!

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