into our tiny San Francisco rental home.
Some books were put away in large moving boxes and stored at his parents’ home
for a day when we could gain more space
than our little closet that passed for an
apartment in the big city.
And then the unexpected happened.
Just two weeks into my new job and his
graduate schooling, I found out that I was
expecting our first baby. Forty weeks later
we welcomed that little guy into our mini
home, and immediately we began to read;
Pat the Bunny, The Z Was Zapped, and
Goodnight Moon were regular visitors.
There, too, in that big and lovely city by
the bay, I found our local library branch.
It was an old stone building with wide
steps and an expansive lawn, a luxury
in the middle of urban sidewalks and
crowded streets. This time my backpack
held a little person, sleepy and happy
with eyes widening to the wonder that is
a library. As my mother’s childhood had
been, our son was growing up in a very
modest home, where money was not at
the ready and Mommy and Daddy were
barely making ends meet. But the library!
All of this—all of this!—for free.
I had a memory bank full of wonderful
children’s literature that I had loved, and it
served us well for most of our firstborn’s
preschool years. We enjoyed discovering
new titles together, too, and in those early
years of our homeschool I relied heavily
on lists of classic children’s literature. My
most replied-upon compilations were the
Thousand Good Books list from Classical Homeschooling, Sherry Early’s Picture
Book Preschool, and the Sonlight Catalog.
Now, our firstborn is 20 years old and
has already graduated with a bachelor’s
degree in English. He reads, he writes,
he creates, and he discusses books
with me. It’s what we do with regular-
ity in our home, and I always believe
that if nothing else happens academi-
cally here, at the very least our children
will have been exposed to the world’s
best literature, beginning with the time
when they each hung out in a backpack
with me and ending with the volumes
required of them in high school, chew-
ing and reviewing and discussing on a
Someday I’ll once
again curl my
legs under me,
my lap, and we will
enter the lives of
wonderful people in
the pages of books
that have traveled
so far along this life’s
journey with us.
barstool at the kitchen counter while I
chop veggies or roll out the cinnamon
rolls for breakfast.
We still have elementary students and
even a preschooler. Nowadays I can reserve
anything I want from all over the county
and beyond from an app on my iPhone,
and it will be waiting for me with my name
on it at our modest branch library in our
farming community of four thousand residents. We have made dear friends of our
librarians, and we’re frequent attendees of
Story Time each Thursday morning. We
check out stacks of books, even reading and
re-reading our beloved Goodnight Moon
and yes, Homer Price.
As spring turns into summer, summer
into fall, and fall into winter, as the years
churn by and our children grow into
adults carrying their own backpacks of
babies, literature and the public library
remain the link that creates so many of
our happiest memories and nurtures a
fondness for shared narratives.
Someday I’ll once again curl my legs
under me, grandbabies on my lap, and we
will enter the lives of wonderful people
in the pages of books that have traveled
so far along this life’s journey with us. I
couldn’t think of a better way to educate
Kendra Fletcher is the homeschooling
mother of eight, aged 19 down to 4. She
has never known what it means to homeschool without the presence of preschoolers
and loves to encourage other moms who
are beginning their homeschool journeys
with little ones underfoot. Kendra reviews
for the TOS Homeschool Crew and is the
author of a popular E-Book about creating
a Circle Time for your homeschool. Her
website and blog can be found at www
Now you’re changing her diapers; soon she’ll change the world!
How to get her from point A to point B