Celebrating Books and Homeschool Fun (an interview with Mary Wilson)

homeschool book clubs

How do I start a homeschool book club?” If you’ve ever asked that question, you’re going to love this interview! My friend Mary Wilson is the queen of celebrating books and bringing the FUN to homeschool. Don’t miss the fabulous book club celebration tips she shares in this Homeschool Conversations episode! Plus, learn how to transform your mindset about being a “fun mom.”

Be sure to check out all the other interviews in our Homeschool Conversations series!

Watch the video, read the show notes, and share with your friends!

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homeschool book club Mary Wilson

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Who is Mary Wilson?

Mary is a writer, speaker and mother to four kids ranging from elementary to high school. She believes that creativity, laughter, and fun are the backbone of engaging and inspiring homeschools. On her homeschool blog, Mary Hanna Wilson, she encourages families to embrace the freedom that comes with homeschooling and has been sharing resources, tips, and ideas online since 2015. Mary also just launched a new website, Celebrate a Book, to encourage and support parents as they celebrate literature in little and big ways with their children and friends. Mary lives in North Carolina with her husband and four children. She is an enneagram 7 and an extrovert. She enjoys traveling, tea (iced or hot), good conversations, and books. 

Watch my interview with Mary Wilson

Show Notes {with video time stamps}

Eclectic, adventurous homeschooling {1:36}

Mary is currently homeschooling her four children aged 17, 15, 13, and 11. They’ve been homeschooling almost the whole time (except for 7 days for one child earlier this year)!

She’s transitioning into a new season of homeschooling with no elementary students.

Early on, Mary was interested in classical education and then Charlotte Mason education. Over the years, she’s found a way to incorporate her favorite things from many different philosophies into her own unique version of homeschooling.

I love that Mary called this her “playdough” version of homeschooling: taking pieces from philosophies ranging from unschooling to classical and mixing them into her own thing.

Now that Mary’s kids are getting older, things have been changing again because her teens bring their own ideas and desires to homeschooling.

The Wilson family also loves field trips and activities and going on adventures together!

homeschool book club Mary Wilson

Loving the middle school and high school years {6:00}

Mary has always loved the middle school and high school years. In fact, she used to teach middle school! Of course, it’s different with your own kids (in both good and bad ways), Mary admitted.

“I have loved the discussions that have developed in our house… Those elementary years you lay such a foundation for conversation and openness and how you want your household to feel. The teen years are where, I feel like, the benefits of that have really been reaped.”

The independence of these ages is also great! That doesn’t mean they don’t still need our help, but there is so much more independence.

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homeschool book club Mary Wilson

“I’ve both loved that and felt a little lost in the midst of it,” Mary said. It’s a transition to move totally out of the younger kid stage!

This makes me think of one of my favorite quotes from Time of Wonder: “A little bit sad about the place we are leaving, a little bit glad about the place we are going. It is a time of quiet wonder.” Doesn’t that express so much about the changing seasons of motherhood?

Bringing FUN to your homeschool day {9:46}

Mary encouraged, “Step back a little bit. You’re probably a lot more fun than you think. You’re possibly looking at someone else’s fun and thinking ‘Oh, I should be that,” but maybe that’s not your fun.”

You’re probably doing all sorts of things that your family loves, she continued, it may just not be what you’re seeing pictured on Instagram.

homeschool book club Mary Wilson

Mary said it helps to start by taking a step back and asking “What do I enjoy?” and also asking your kids what they enjoy.

It’s also great to “borrow fun,” Mary continued. We can be inspired to try fun things we see other homeschool families doing. Sometimes we try one of those new ideas and it works great. Other times, we realize that it is totally not our family’s version of fun.

“Know what is really fun for you, embrace it, and call it fun.”

Apparently, I am a fun mom and didn’t even know it. 😉

Books Club Celebrations {12:55}

It all started when Mary’s oldest daughter hit middle school. She had literature that she wanted/needed to read that wasn’t appropriate for her 1st grade younger brother, and Mary wanted her to have opportunities for conversation and discussion.

She decided they could invite a couple friends out for coffee to discuss books together. But the first book they were reading was Catching Fire, and the mom who was hosting that first book club called Mary and asked if it would be ok to do fun themed decorations. Mary had planned to be Effie Trinket for Halloween anyway, so she surprised the girls by showing up in costume. It just grew from there!

Be sure to watch the full video to hear so many more fun stories and practical tips from Mary’s book club experiences!

You can even do little things in your Morning Time with special simple celebrations or snacks, Mary reminded us. It doesn’t have to be a big book club.

“It’s something you can make work for you and the seasons of life you’re in.”

Mary encouraged us to be flexible and think outside the box.

homeschool book club Mary Wilson

How do we start our own book club celebrations? {22:50}

Mary has some awesome FREE resources available to help us get started on our own book club celebrations:

homeschool book club Mary Wilson

Find Mary Wilson online

Check out all the other interviews in my Homeschool Conversations series!

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