Homeschooling Moms Who Have Influenced Me-- Sherry Early

Sherry Early writes a literary blog called Semicolon, and it is there where I first discovered her Picture Book Preschool, which accompanies me every time I reserve books from the library online.

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 3 John 4

1. Tell us about your family:

My family consists of Engineer Husband, who works at NASA, and me, a former librarian and teacher, now homeschool teacher and mother. We have eight urchins: Eldest Daughter is 22 years old, graduated from our homeschool and from college and looking at graduate schools. Computer Guru Son is 20 years old. He's taking a year off from college after completing his freshman year so that he can work, earn some money, and decide what he wants to do next. Dancer Daughter is almost 18, and she's also working this year to earn some money for college since she completed all her high school work a year early. Elven Daughter is 16, and she's a sophomore in high school. She spends a lot of time on the computer, Brown Bear Daughter is 12 going on 20. She dances, plays the flute, and reads her favorite books over and over again. Karate Kid, age 10, has moved from karate to drama and canoeing this year, but I still like to call him Karate Kid because it fits his all-boy personality. Bethy-Bee is 8 years old, and she's the quiet, gentle, delicate child of the house---except when her stubborn streak is aroused. Sh likes to arrange and decorate and draw and write. Z-Baby is just 6, and she's still learning to read. So I still have one child to whom I can read picture books. All the others listen, too, though, even when they are pretending to be too old for picture books.

2. How (or why) did you develop Picture Book Preschool?

I started putting together the lists in my book Picture Book Preschool when Eldest Daughter was a preschooler. I liked having themes for the week or for the month, reading lots of books about the same subject, and so I began to write down the titles of the ones that I knew of or that I borrowed from the library that were the best. Then, I kept notes about the simple activities that we tried out to go along with the books. And then I thought, "These lists, with a little work, could be a book." And with a lot of work, they did make a book.

3. What advice can you give a mom who is struggling with a child who doesn’t like reading?

A child who doesn't like reading? Some kids never will be readers in the same sense that I am a reader. I read all the time, always have. Eldest Daughter is the same way I am. My other urchins enjoy reading, but are bit more moderate about it. I am convinced that all of us need and crave stories. If children don't get their stories from TV and movies, they'll be more inclined to read. If they don't read for some reason, maybe a physical or mental problem, they still need stories, and parents can provide those stories by reading aloud and by telling stories about their own childhood and family. Bottom line: reading is great, and most kids who are read to and who see their parents reading will become readers sooner or later. But sometimes God just hasn't wired them to be voracious readers, and that's O.K. He made them, and there is no verse in the Bible that indicates that it's a sin not to read.

4. Besides reading aloud, what do you feel are other necessary components of a preschooler’s day?

I adapted and expanded Melissa WIley's Rule of SIx to fit our homeschool and came up with the following ten things that I would like to include in every day at our house. I don't always do all of these, but it's a goal:

1. Meaningful work
2. Meals
3. Prayer and Bible reading.
4. Poetry
5. Good books
6. Mathematics
7. Beautiful art and music
8. Play or work outdoors
9. Imaginative play
10. Adventure

Here's my post from August about this list.

5. What are the most important things new homeschooling moms should know?

New homeschooling moms should . . . take it easy. Enjoy your children. If you surround them with books and nature and art and music and mathematics, they will learn. You don't have to buy expensive curricula (even though it's fun for mom). Try to relax and don't over-schedule. Pick a few things (math, reading, nature study) and do them consistently, daily if possible. Don't let anyone steal your joy.

And that's good advice for me, too. I have to remind myself frequently that joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit and that I need to demonstrate the joy of the Lord to my urchins.


Thank you, Sherry. Hey everyone- don't forget to leave a comment to be entered into the drawing for a copy of Sherry's book, Picture Book Preschool! We'll close the drawing on Sunday, October 14th at midnight.