My Alma Mater has a "great books" program. My wife was part of it, and so she read such works as Homer and Sayers and the Federalist Papers. But the comment that I heard again and again from her classmates was that this program had finally "taught them how to think." I couldn't understand what this meant.
I did not enroll in the program due to my incredibly slow reading ability. But I could keep up with discussions even on titles I had never read--which was most of them. They could discuss the theories of Platonic forms or debate the limits of reason or question the nature of the soul, and I happily contributed my own two bits here and there. I was homeschooled, to be sure, but so were many of my peers. What did I have that they did not?
I may have finally found my answer in a post titled The Thing Dads can do in 30 Minutes a Week that Will Drastically Improve their Kids' Education. In the original article, we read, "Whenever a beginning student clearly understands the language of the classics, I ask them if they grew up reading books aloud with their family. The answer is nearly always yes."
Over twenty years after Sonlight revolutionized the homeschool model by focusing on Read-Alouds, I finally connected the dots. I felt like I could think because my parents read to me. My parents read to me a lot. And while I may not be able to understand the classics, my parents gave me a solid foundation by reading so many books to me.
I feel like, once again, research confirms Sonlight's model. This isn't formal research, but if time-and-again the difference between a student who understands and a student who does not is that understanding comes from families that read aloud together, it is powerful evidence that reading together is key.
Help your kids learn to think by reading to them. It's simple, and fun! With all the amazing titles you'll read over the years in your Core programs, you and your children are guaranteed to love learning together. And, like me, they may learn to think without even realizing how it happened.
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester