A homeschooling blogger pointed me to this article by Mark Oppenheimer on homeschoolers and their books, from the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page. I like his point that homeschoolers (of all stripes) seem to have "a preference for long books, often parts of a series, consumed with a leisure that public-school curricula don't allow." Even as a homeschooling family, time often seems too short to read some of the good stuff we'd like to; we only got a couple of books into the Swallows and Amazons series and I've always wanted to go back and read more. The Apprentice and I are currently reading Oliver Twist when our schedule says "Apprentice's time with Mom" and our other work is done. Dickens is another one of those writers whose books take awhile...but that's good, isn't it? You feel like you've lived with his characters for awhile after spending a long, leisurely time working through Great Expectations or Hard Times.
And public-school curriculum doesn't allow for long books and series books? Hmmm...that would seem to deny the popularity of Harry Potter, but I know what he means. It's the advantage we sometimes do take for granted: time. Take it, even if you're public-schooling, even if you have only a few minutes a day to read together. In Edith Schaeffer's book What is a Family?, she tells about the years when her daughter and son-in-law found their only uninterrupted time together with their school-age children was at the end of lunch hour (because their dinnertime and evenings were often shared with other people in their ministry). So that was it...a few minutes to read from a book together at the end of a quick lunch...but that was what they did.
P.S.: We don't read at the kitchen table, though; well, sometimes with cups of tea and a book of poetry. But usually we're on the couch or on the parental squirrels' bed.