Non-fiction bridges the gap between fantasy and reality. It is the world our children live in. It is an electric bill and the brochure to an amusement park. It is the engine of our world. Exposure to non-fiction is inevitable. Such is life!
Integrating non-fiction into homeschool lessons is simple when you let your child be the guide. Children’s natural curiosity provides a perfect bridge for incorporating realistic, fact based texts into any homeschool curriculum.
There are countless benefits to children reading non-fiction. Here’s a few:- Non-fiction prepares children for the real world by exposing them with facts and images of the real world.
- Non-fiction is full of both general and specific knowledge and vocabulary.
- Non-fiction introduces children to organizational text structures, charts and diagrams in an authentic manner.
- Non-fiction encourages analytical thinking with a focus on facts and biases.
- Non-fiction allows for different perspectives and opinions.
- Non-fiction texts are readily available.
With that said, non-fiction is the perfect way to teach any and every subject or content area. Here are my top three ways to integrate non-fiction into your everyday homeschool.
Remember, a child is never too young or too old to start reading non-fiction!
Integrate a Tit for Tat
Any topic taught in your homeschool curriculum can tie into non-fiction. For every piece of literature or fiction read, encourage children to read a companion piece of non-fiction. For every concept taught, integrate a piece of non-fiction. For example:
#1. Your daughter is learning about fractions in math. Tie in an article about the ratio of children attending homeschool vs. public school in America.
#2. Your son is reading the fictional novel ‘Out of the Dust.’ Tie in an informational text called ‘Children of the Dust Bowl – The True Story of The School At Weedpatch Camp.’
#3. Your homeschooler is completing a science experiment on suspension bridges. Tie in a research study on the strength of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Keeping tit-for-tat in mind is, hands down, the easiest way to keep non-fiction alive in your homeschooling classroom. Literally.
Keep It Current
Introducing children to current events shouldn’t be scary. Be sure to keep it age appropriate while letting them know what is going on in the world around them. Most of us keep tabs on local and national events regardless. Encourage your child, also, to take note and focus on what they find interesting. Once you know what type of events pique your child’s interests keep an eye out for articles they can delve into.
Encourage children to enjoy public libraries both physical and digital. Encourage them to research current events and then search for related articles. Show them how to use the Internet to search for present day news. If you feel the need to watch and set boundaries, go for it! But allow your children to spread their investigative wings and fly.
Genius Hour and Passion Projects
A genius hour is a chunk of time dedicated to the art of focused thinking. During genius hour, encourage children to ask questions. Encourage them to focus on problems of concern. Homeschoolers can then use this dedicated hour of time to seek out answers and create solutions.
Passion projects provide opportunities for children to elaborate and research any and everything. Genius hour and passion projects provide countless entry points for non-fiction reading. After all, seeking answers, creating solutions, and projects of passion, all require the use of informational texts.
Just Do It!
When all is said and done, just do it! Integrate non-fiction into your curriculum. It’s not hard and is completely doable. Let your children and their interests guide you towards appropriate non-fiction texts. They will be engaged in their learning while mastering critical skills in the process.
Non-fiction is often more entertaining than fiction. Your homeschoolers will eat it up!
About the All-Star Blogger
Paige is the mother of three creative Little Women and enjoys spending time eating chocolate, watching movies, reading for pleasure, creating educational products, and maintaining her blog. Paige has a passion for helping students develop a love of reading. She has been a faculty member at Amelia Earhart Elementary for over seven years. She is a CITES Associates member of the BYU-Public School Partnership and a member of Provo School District’s Literacy Committee. She is an award-winning educator who enjoys mentoring interns and student teachers. You can follow her on Facebook and Pinterest.