How to Pre-Read for Your Homeschool Year

Today we are discussing how to pre-read for your homeschool year. If you’re a Charlotte Mason homeschool mother, you know that there are so many beautiful books and literature to discover. However, pre-reading can be a very useful tool for those new to most of that literature. I spend almost the entire summer preparing for the new year by pre-reading the material for the upcoming year! So if pre-reading overwhelms you, or if you have no idea what it entails, keep reading!

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Steps to Start Pre-Reading

01. Gather your books from your booklist.

We are members of the CMEC, so the booklist is provided for us for each grade level. If you are a CM homeschooler using another program, like Ambleside Online, you’ll use the booklist for whatever grade(s) you’re teaching.

02. Categorize your books by subject for each form.

Take a piece of paper, and write “Pre-Reading Plan”. Write out the subjects for each grade you’re planning for. So I would make a list for Form 1A Upper (third grade) and a list for another student’s grade if I had multiple students in multiple grades. I then write the subjects out (Geography, History, Bible, etc.) and list the books out under the subject they belong to.

03. I then make two pre-reading/prep lists.

The first list is grade level subjects (make one for each grade you’re prepping for). So I have Natural History, Geography, Bible, etc. and then I go through the chapters and write down what chapters I’ll read in that book for each of the three terms. (Example: In Elementary Geography, I’ll read chapters 18-22 for term one, chapters 23-27 for term two, and chapters 28-31 for term 3.)

*Note: As I complete this step of looking at my CMEC program guide (which provides scheduled readings for each book/spine for each subject) I’m also marking with little sticky tabs where those readings are in the book. It helps give me a good visual throughout the term. 

The second list is a Common Subjects list. This list includes family subjects like composer study, artist study, art instruction, solfége, etc. I only have to prepare these once for the entire family. I make a handy term list of subjects and what my goal is to cover. I read biographies about the composers and artists, listen to the songs, and study the pictures for myself before teaching them.

04. I then make my pre-reading schedule.

 I refer back to the book/subject list I made and assign each subject about one week. So I’ll assign “Geography” to the first week in July. When I do that, I’ll read through all the Geography lessons and the CMEC geography guide, and do any other prep for Geography. Then once I finish prepping for Geography, I move on to another subject.

05. While I’m pre-reading, I’ll make notes in my handy Pre-Reading Notebook about the following:

01. The captain idea. Watch my video about the captain idea here.

02. Important dates to add to my personal book of centuries. I share more about my mother’s notebooks in this video.

03. Any narration stopping points. You can see my video on narration here.

04. Things I may want to skip over (inappropriate words/content).

06. Finish pre-reading with Common Subjects List/To-Do List

I will then tackle my common subjects to-do list for things like composer/artist study, art instruction, etc.. I’ll also leave a few to-do items for the first week of August, like ordering last minute materials, making my term-planning sheet, a new timetable, and preparing my logbook. As you can see – I like to get the pre-reading done first and foremost!

Closing Thoughts

Hopefully this post and video on how to pre-read for your homeschool year was helpful to you and your family! Remember that starting early is key. You can check out my video on “Planning Your Homeschool Year” for more info on back to school prep. I share my lists I make and other prep tips, and even if you aren’t using CMEC, if may be helpful!

Remember that it’s never too late to switch over to Charlotte Mason’s method. It may take a bit more practice and work if you haven’t started from the beginning using her philosophy, but it is absolutely possible. As always, if you have any questions, please ask below and I’ll do my best to answer. Happy Teaching!

Thank you so much for reading!

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