Are you paying attention to what your child reads?

For me, it began when my oldest was 2 and developed a love for books.

At first it was as a fun interest.  “oh, isn’t that a cute book” as we would read, over and over again, some of his favorites.

As he began public school, I began to set aside some of my favorites into my memory bank.  Hungry Caterpillar, Frog and Toad, I’ll love you forever, etc…

Next was chapter books.  I would chose to read the first (of any series my child picked) WITH my child.   To know what was filling his mind, what I may need to explain, etc…

Then the “assigned” or “recommended” books came into play for school.  Can I admit I would devour a newly assigned book the first night he would bring it home?    and yes, especially on one occasion, I wrote a complaint to the school (and the librarian who recommended it) when my 5th grader brought home a book that talked about a glorified bad kid who was in Juvenile Detention with connotation about the inappropriate things that go on in there.  When I researched the book further, it was a recommended read for high school level.

If books became the obsession of society, I would read with my child the book, and together we would discuss if it was appropriate for our family.    I love how he naturally became discerning of things he read.  Often he would come to me to discuss random things he read or heard (news, sermons, gossip) and we would have great discussions about it.

Now that I have homeschooled for over a decade, I can look back and see how my own discernment has changed.    It wasn’t until I fell in love with the Robinson Curriculum that I discovered the value of the classic books.  To recognize how watered down our education system has fallen. 

Books nowadays are quick entertainment- fast food for the brain.

Classics require more pondering and absorbing- much like nutrition for our brains. 

With that said, I am not as vigilant as I once was with reading all things before my child
(novels, yes; random school texts, no).

I do know I am not a fan, in general, of Scholastic’s.

Well, I can now add Usborne to the list.

Are you paying attention to what your child reads?

My daughter randomly grabs books to read; textbooks, encyclopedias, random school books.
I cannot possibly keep up her pace.  However, I am grateful she has a discerning eye.

Last week she pulled Peoples of the World (by Usborne).
This is a recommended book by Sonlight (which I considered a Christian curriculum).

Katie came to me… “MOM” ” This book is messed up”

LOL , like that?

The very first chapter:  People and their countries.

The very first paragraph:  “Each country has its government which rules the people.  This picture shows Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S.A. where the American Government, called Congress meets.

Last time I checked the Declaration of Independence said, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

If I recall my geography skills, Capitol Hill is in Washington D.C., U.S.A., eh?

Later Katie comes to me again… “MOM”

She is now at the chapter called World Religion.  Now, I don’t know about ya’ all but I don’t mind if my kids learn about other religions.  I actually encourage that they should not only know what they believe and why, but also what others may believe.

For Christianity it states:  “Christians believe that Jesus rose from the dead and now lives with God in heaven. (correct).  They believe that if they lead good lives, they too will go to heaven when they die.”

In my Bible it states, “Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”  Ephesians 2:9

If this book can’t explain Christianity, then I cannot rely on its accuracy on Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, or any other ‘isms out there.

If I cannot rely on this book to be accurate about History or religion, then I have to question the truthfulness (or agenda) this Education Development Corporation actually stands for.

I am proud of my daughter, at 11 yrs old, for recognizing false teachings.  My boys may have glossed over it, much like we do when books share the ‘bazillion of years ago’ such and such happened.    Recognizing that it has Darwin teaching beliefs… but that is a post in itself.  *wink*

Do you care if books are accurate in the name of education?  or is it just me?

8 thoughts on “Are you paying attention to what your child reads?

  1. This is a great post! I cringe when I hear a parent disapprove of their child’s book choices but shrug it off with “Well, at least they’re reading.” That’s like shrugging off a child running from the law with “At least they’re getting some exercise!” Reading is not an end in itself. It is a tool we use to acquire the RIGHT kinds of knowledge and must be used with discernment.

  2. What a beautifully discerning eye your daughter has! Our children are taught to look over their books thoroughly on their own and then I check them over before they go in the cart.
    They have grown accustomed to glossing over the “millions of years” bit, it is the relationship aspect and the mindset of the authors I tend to worry over.
    Thanks for the thought provoking post!

  3. Great post! Yes. I care what my kids are reading (even if/when they roll their eyes at me and don’t understand . . . especially my dear adopted daughter from Ghana who REALLY doesn’t understand Mama much of the time).

    Sonlight is definitely written by Christians. They are quite discerning with their book choices. However . . . they choose to allow families (parents and children) to sometimes choose what each family finds “allowable”. The Sonlight Curriculum Guides give MUCH information for the parent about each book, and they spell out many specifics of what some parents might find innappropriate or offensive. Now . . . I just have to figure out how to keep up with 4 kids doing 4 different Sonlight Curriculums. 🙂

    Praise your precious Katie for her discernment. Tell her that Mama D. is proud of her. 🙂 My sweet Josiah finds things like that, as well, and points them out to me often.

    Hugs to you, Sweet Friend!


  4. Wow, thanks, Sheri. I can’t keep up with my 11dd…but she really gravitates to junk because it’s easy. I used to sell Usborne but felt vaguely uneasy. I have the book your daughter read and now the 5 kids and I will read it together for it’s unintended lesson!

  5. We are generally happy with the curriculum materials our children are getting in their online school, but they often generate good discussion about the specifics of our Christian faith and the differences between what some educated people have concluded from what they have observed and what we know to be true because it is in God’s Word. If my children don’t understand the world view of those around them and can’t see the differences, they will be more easily misled. Understanding other’s belief systems helps prepare our children to carry the gospel to them. But we have to be clear about our beliefs or our children may become confused.

    In addition to those issues, we are very careful about letting our oldest son read fantasy–especially the seemingly mass-produced fantasy series so popular among boys his age. Our son struggles with understanding the nature of many of the problems he faces and with developing realistic solutions to those problems. His thinking becomes magical and he starts dreaming about magical ways to solve his difficulties rather than seeking solutions that are within the realm of possibility. While we know that God can and does act supernaturally in our lives, we also know that no magic item, spell, or mythical creature is going to appear to fix everything. We encourage reading the classics and older books for tweens in which the moral code is pretty unambiguous.

    1. ditto here; for our aspie boy fantasy is minimal. fairy tales and super heroes are reasonable, but magical things begin to draw him in (and he can get obsessive) so we are cautious with our choices. We love the classics; today’s writing tends to be like fast food to the brain (no thinking is required). =)

  6. I read absolutely everything as a kid (foster kid) and now encourage my own kiddos to do the very same!

    As a second-grader, I had a huge Stephen King phase — and it took months and months of begging to convince my foster dad (now adad) to sneak me into the theatre for “PetSematary”. My fostermom (now amom) initially thought if was a bad idea, but I eventually convinced her… any kid that merrily reads 400+ pages of horror novel can certainly handle a 90 min horror movie!

    I lived for sci-fi, fantasy, horror and gore all the way through elementary school, despite or probably because if my traumatic past… and turned out just fine, thankyouverymuch.

    1. First I have to say I am very impressed that you read any 400+ page novels by 2nd grade. That in itself shows you are quite intelligent. 2nd, although I can’t relate to foster experience, I can relate to a traumatic childhood. I did go through my fair share of horror obsession (although I was a teen at the time). I am grateful that you turned out just fine. I did not. I very much needed Christ in my life. I used many things to try to fill the void in my heart; alcohol, drugs, food, guys, and horror flicks too… but all I found was darkness. God opened my eyes to the unconditional love He has for all of us, where joy (true joy, not worldly happiness), peace, and comfort settle in our soul. My children do not have face the same ugliness I did as a child, and for that I am God bless you, and thank you for sharing your story.

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