Book clubs are a great way to encourage each other to delve into literature and share your thoughts. For those of us who homeschool, book clubs can become a great opportunity for learning as well as social interaction. In fact, with the ease of the internet you no longer even need to leave your home to participate. However, the good old-fashioned book clubs are still loads of fun! If you’re interested in staring your own high school homeschool book club here’s where you need to start.
Begin at the very beginning… start with your goal. What do you hope to accomplish with starting a book club? Ask yourself a few questions to get at the heart of it.
1) Why do you want to start a book club?
2) Will your club be “in person” or “online?”
3) Who do you want to involve in your club? It’s a good idea to have people who have similar reading interests. Classic book lovers and Goosebumps book readers just don’t mix!
4) Which type of books will your club read? There are several types to think about… fiction, non-fiction, and even poetry. Also will you limit it to a specific genre such as romance, mysteries, or bestsellers?
5) What type of leader will you have? Will the leader be you? or will you vary leaders from month to month?
6) How many members will you be comfortable with? Typically a good amount will be between 8 and 20, large enough to have a good discussion but not too large to give each member a chance to speak.
Once you’ve got the basic building blocks laid you’re ready to start building your book club! Before everyone gets started, you’ll still have to think through other organizational aspects such as:
1) If you are meeting in person, where will you meet? Often churches, Y’s, neighborhood clubhouses, public libraries, and even private homes are great places to hold a club meeting. Just keep in mind the venue in which you hold your meeting will also in part determine the size of your club.
2) If meeting online… where will you post your book club? Have you found a book club forum that is favorable to homeschool literature?
3) If meeting in person…Will someone keep record of what books you are reading, when discussion is held, future lists for reading, and who suggests the books to be read? A club journal is a great idea. It can be brought to each meeting and “notes” can be taken during the evening’s meeting.
4) What will your meeting schedule be like? Same time each month? Will you meet during holidays and the summer time? Will you meet during the week or on the weekends? If it’s an online book club will you read a book a month, have weekly chapter goals, or even discuss chapters weekly?
5) If meeting in person – will you have refreshments? This is my favorite part! Just be sure that everyone knows – it isn’t a competition.
6) Will you collect dues? Sometimes these dues will go toward paying for refreshments or even toward a local literacy charity.
So, you’ve got it all together and you’re ready to start? You’ll need to ask each of your club members to come to your first meeting with at least two book suggestions. At your meeting you can each submit your suggestions and decide or take a vote! Either way, you’ve taken the plunge. During your meetings it’s always wise to:
1) Ask the club leader to prepare discussion questions to keep the discussion time moving. Some publishers offer questions on their book websites.
2) Give the group a list of questions that they should be thinking about regarding each book that is read. Ideas such as the character progression/development, climactic moments, morals, author’s use of imagery, parts that members didn’t understand, favorite passages, and even whether or not members felt it was entertaining.
If you’re club needs to grow it’s always a great idea to ask each current member to invite someone that they think will fit with the group. If the leader is concerned that the group be very homogenous the leader may want to have a quick interview with new members.
Well, you’ve come a long way and are looking at having some great memories with good friends and good books! Let us know how it all turns out!