This week, I will be sharing about the things I have found most useful for our homeschool. I honestly think I could write a 10- or 15-day series on this topic, so many things are integral to our success in homeschooling. But, I will do my best to narrow them down for you.
Today, I have a list of books that have influenced, helped, or encouraged me in some way over the past 8 years. These are the books that have a home on my bookshelf, I recommend over and over, and that I often pull down from said bookshelf to read . . . again.
These are not curriculum books or books you read to your kids. These are books for mom. And I will warn you right now, it’s an eclectic grouping. I love to learn about (and use) many different methods of homeschooling — Charlotte Mason, Classical, Principle Approach — we have found ways to blend lots of methods. This list reflects that diversity of our homeschool methods.
On the list are also a couple of books that are less about methodology and more about encouraging you in your journey as both a parent and homeschool teacher. If you can only purchase one of these books, make it the first one on the list — Educating the WholeHearted Child. It will change the way you view homeschooling . . . for the better. Apart from the Bible, I have found no better guide to homeschooling.
Educating the Whole-Hearted Child by Clay Clarkson — The first book I recommend to new homeschoolers and those who have burnt themselves out. From recommendations for getting started homeschooling to biblical parenting and discipleship to discovering the learning styles of your students (and everything in between), the Clarksons’ have covered it all and then some. Whether you are considering homeschooling, new to homeschooling, or have been homeschooling for years, you will find encouragement, inspiration, and a plethora of information in this “handbook for Christian home education”.
You Can Teach Your Child Successfully by Ruth Beechick — From the Grandmother of homeschooling, this book is one of the most practical guides on my bookshelf. Targeting grades 4-8, within its pages you’ll find helpful information for what your students should be learning in reading, writing and arithmetic, with wonderful suggestions for how to teach them (without purchasing expensive curriculum).
The Three R’s by Ruth Beechick — Three resources in one — READING, WRITING, and ARITHMETIC! I recommend this book for all new homeschoolers of young children. It’s really all you need to get started in homeschooling with a gentle approach. Add Five in a Row (my favorite unit study curriculum for early elementary, and you’re all set.
The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease — Truly a “giant treasury of great read aloud books.” It’s divided by genre, making it easy to find a quick suggestion for a book on poetry, fairy tales, novels, etc. I now also use it to develop reading lists for Ben.
Teaching the Trivium by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn — I know, you’re thinking, “But Marcy, you are not a classical homeschooler — why this book?” And you are correct. We are not traditional classical homeschoolers. But when I found this book early in our homeschool days (while I was seeking out what style we would use), I fell in love with the way the Bluedorns interweave the classical method with a Christian worldview. My favorite chapter is Chapter 10 — Different Methods and Approaches to Homeschooling in Light of the Trivium. Here, they discuss all of the methods I love most — unit studies, Charlotte Mason, and the Principle Approach, and share how these different methods work within the framework of the Trivium.
A Thomas Jefferson Education by Oliver deMille — The subtitle for this book is, “Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-First Century.” Inside its pages are the Seven Keys for Great Teaching. I first became interested in this book when Andrew Pudewa recommended it. The premise is that we can’t really teach our students anything, unless they must assume the responsibility for learning. The book coaches you on how to develop a love of learning in yourself and in your students.
A Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola — Early in our homeschool years, I attempted to read the set of books written by Charlotte Mason herself. My, oh my, was that chore. This companion book does the best job I’ve seen of explaining Miss Mason’s principles, mixed with the personal homeschool experiences of the author.
Homeschooling Gifted and Advanced Learners by Cindy West — Parents of gifted kids are often intimidated about how to meet the needs of their students. Other books I’ve read on this topic have left me scratching my head — confused about where to begin. Cindy West does a wonderful job of making teaching advanced students practical, simple, and fun. The chapters on Teaching All Learners and Individualizing Instruction alone is worth the price of the book.
How to Get Your Child Off the Refrigerator and on to Learning by Carol Barnier — If you have a child with ADHD or just difficulty with sitting still and focusing, you must read this book. Carol’s humor is incredible, and she offers some of the best, out-of-the-box advice for homeschooling distractable kids I’ve ever seen.
Beyond Survival by Diana Waring — Beyond Survival gives you the preparation and working plan for a successful homeschooling experience. With confidence and compassionate humor, Diana Waring leads you on a joy-filled educational journey.
What are your favorite books for homeschool mom encouragement?
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If you like this post, you might enjoy A Homeschool Mom’s Must-Read Book List for the Best Year EVER!