Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Summer reading again

Tomorrow marks the last day of school for one child, next Tuesday is the last day for a few more, 1 is finished the end of next week, and one more child the week after that. Ahhh, they might be thinking, summer vacation, no school, no work, no homework, no books.

But they'd be wrong. The King kids always have to read over the summer. There's daily independent reading but there's also the summer book club with 2 other families. Together we choose one book for each month, the older kids and parents all read the assigned book each month, and then we get together to discuss it at the end of the month, usually over ice cream but always over food. One year we even had the author join us for the discussion.

We've read books by C.S. Lewis, Josh McDowell, and Heidi Baker. We've covered topics like living your faith in America, and loving like Jesus.

In the past I've blogged about it after the fact and many other parents of teens have expressed interest but since summer is over, it never happens.

So this year I'm ahead of the game. We've already conferred with the other two families in our little book club and have come up with this summer's game plan. For anyone interested, feel free to copy our reading plan:

June - Crazy Love by Francis Chan
July - Moral Revolution by Kris Vallotton
August - God Guides by Mary Geegh*

We are often asked how we get our kids to read during the summer. More importantly, how we get them to read "boring Christian books". It's easy, we force them. Actually, there's a bit more to it than that. Here are some tips that we've found helpful:

1. The overall family value of obedience, no matter the age. Summer reading is something we do. It's an expectation and except on one occasion when a child chose not to read the book (and also did not get to participate in the end-of-the-month fun), all have respectfully complied.

2. The parents read the book, too. We're not asking our kids to do something that we won't do. Well, I can speak only for myself here. The Good Doctor might have a few confessions to make.

3. Peer pressure in the home. The older teens who are around read the book which in turn creates positive peer pressure for the younger teens.

4. Peer pressure outside the home. Because we partner with two other families, and because each of us takes advantage of positive peer pressure, all of the teens will do what the other teens are doing.

5. Food. They are teens, after all. Each end-of-the-month discussion includes a treat, either homemade at someone's house or bought at an ice cream shop or other specialty store. Maybe you could pair your discussions with a tour of local fare that you've never tried before.

If you and your friends decide to join the fun with your teens, we'd love to hear about it.

*A note about this book. You can purchase it on the website linked above. You can also find it on Amazon for $1 more. If you are like The Good Doctor, you will take one look at the author, call her outdated, and question me as to why we are reading this book. Trust me. You will be changed by reading this short but simple yet so profoundly encouraging book. As far as the author looking outdated, I suggested to The Good Doctor that they might be able to find a more recent photo of the author but I'm not certain many of us would appreciate the photo of an exhumed and photographed person, no matter how up-to-date.

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