Have you ever heard the phrase, "Inspire, don't require?" So have I. In fact, I have have used it and I even believe in it. Inspiring your kids to great activities and great reading is imperative to their success in their home education if you want them to continue to love learning all their lives.
However, sometimes, just sometimes, they need a little kick start. Occasionally they get in a rut (as we all do) and waiting for inspiration seems like a long winded ordeal. At these times I tend to lean a little heavier on require than inspire in order to get things moving again. It is a balance of both with sparing use of "require" from time to time.
We all know that some foods have an acquired taste and so it is with reading. Shakespeare may not appeal at first taste. Neither can some historical novels or great biographies. However the importance of them can not be understated. The vibrant energy that we get from truly inspirational lives put in print is worth every effort to get them to taste and see.
Furthermore, learning to love harder material is a stepping stone that we do want our children to eventually embrace. I refer to a step up in reading challenge or a gentle reading requirement as READING your vegetables. It takes work to digest vegetables and they are an acquired taste for many but the health benefits are far reaching. Vibrant education, articulate vocabulary and a solid Christian worldview are a few of the many benefits of healthy vegetable reading.
Conversely, a diet of junk food reading - comic books and some serial novels can dumb down and allow the reading palate to become dull. True, a little may not hurt you in the long run but a steady diet can make your heart sick and the desire for some time meatier tastes unpalatable.
So it is a wise mom who keeps a watchful eye over the reading choices of her children, and requires them to read a full balanced diet of science, history, biography and great literature. For a list of great meat and potatoes reading watch for future posts on the best of the best solid fiber and nutritional reading.