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The Best Homeschooling & Parenting Books
I oddly haven’t read a whole lot of homeschooling books. I mean, I’d like to but there is only so much time, right? As a result my to-read list is pretty long!
I have read some really great homeschooling books so far though, but I put out a call on Instagram to find which books other homeschooling moms consider to be their favorites. And thus this list was born!
There is definitely some books on this list that fall more in the “parenting” category but seriously, it’s nearly impossible to distinguish where parenting ends and homeschooling begins (truthfully, all we do is parenting and life is all homeschool!).
I’ll start the list with books I’ve already read and love and include the ones others suggested that I have high on my list after.
THE BEST HOMESCHOOLING BOOKS
If you follow me on Instagram you’ll probably already have seen that I am currently reading (and loving) this book. I got it from the library years ago and read it before we were homeschooling but didn’t retain a whole lot, now I bought my own copy and have been highlighting every other paragraph!
A Charlotte Mason Companion
Now you can realize the joy filled homeschool of your dreams! This modern classic is written by the homeschool mom who first carried Charlotte Mason’s writings to America in her suitcase in 1987. Miss Mason’s books were soon republished for a new generation. After ten years of intense study and successful application of Miss Mason’s principles with her own children, Karen wrote A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on The Gentle Art of Learning ™. Today’s parents can now see what a Charlotte Mason education looks like in a contemporary setting while gleaning from its many benefits. Charlotte Mason’s principles of education are not only a way of learning but also a way of life. A Charlotte Mason Companion gives you powerful tools to create an extraordinary learning experience. At the turn of every page, you will meet a practical idea and the inspiration to carry it out. Chapters on using good books, heroes in history, poetry, art and music appreciation, nature study, the atmosphere of home, the discipline of habit, keeping up enthusiasm, (to name a few) are referred to again and again by Karen’s readers. Since its debut in 1998, A Charlotte Mason Companion continues to be one of the most trusted and often quoted books in the home school world. Plenty of encouragement, wisdom and gentle instruction await you in this beautifully written and beautifully illustrated book. You will not want to loan this one out!
I don’t care which homeschooling philosophy you relate to, whether it is unschooling or otherwise, you need to read this book. Marla does a great job at putting me at ease when I start to worry if I am doing enough, I think this is a must read for every homeschooling mother.
An Unschooling Manifesto
A “normal” American family decides that normal just isn’t cutting it anymore. They start doing crazy things like visiting 52 zoos in 52 weeks, taking a 5-week trip to Cambodia, quitting school, and going down this crazy path called unschooling. They decided to take the road less traveled, and it has made all the difference.
I love this book and the next one I’m sharing of Sally’s, such great encouragement for the homeschool mom!
Seasons of a Mother’s Heart
Your life as a mom is a whirlwind of changing seasons that can just as easily exhaust as exhilarate you. Sit down, take a few moments, and allow yourself to be refreshed and encouraged by a few stories, insights, and lessons from a friend. Sally Clarkson opens her heart within the pages of this timeless classic, sharing what she has learned as a homeschooling wife and mother — about herself, her children, and her Lord. Revised and expanded for today’s moms, Seasons of a Mother’s Heart includes four all-new essays by Sally, one for each season of a family’s life, from the renewal of spring and the response of summer to the resolve of fall and the reflection of winter. So step in out of the whirlwind, pour a cup of tea, and take a deep breath of the Spirit with Sally.
The Ministry of Motherhood
Because Motherhood Isn’t Just a Job. It’s a Calling.
A mother’s day is packed with a multitude of tasks that require energy and time: preparing meals, washing clothes, straightening and cleaning the house, and caring for children. These jobs all are necessary and crucially important. But in the dailyness of providing for a child’ s physical, emotional, and social needs, vital opportunities for spiritual nurture and training can be overlooked.
This doesn’t have to be the case. You can focus your energy on what matters most. Learn how you can:
• Make Life’s Mundane and Nitty-Gritty Moments Work for You and Not Against You.
• Discover Ways to Make Character-Building a Natural Part of Live.
• Teach Your Child in the Same Way Jesus Taught the Disciples.
• Pass on Crucial Gifts that Will Serve Your Family for a Lifetime.
Using biblical wisdom and practical teachings, Sally Clarkson shows how you can make a lasting difference in your child’s life by following the pattern Christ set with his own disciples–a model that will inspire and equip you to intentionally embrace the rewarding, desperately needed, and immeasurably valuable Ministry of Motherhood.
This book changed the way I view my role as a parent, I want to read it each year to remind myself!
Give Them Grace
All of us want to raise good kids. And we want to be good parents. But what exactly do we mean by “good?” And is “being good” really the point?
Mother-daughter team Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson contend that every way we try to make our kids “good” is simply an extension of Old Testament Law—a set of standards that is not only unable to save our children, but also powerless to change them.
No, rules are not the answer. What they need is GRACE.
We must tell our kids of the grace-giving God who freely adopts rebels and transforms them into loving sons and daughters. If this is not the message your children hear, if you are just telling them to “be good,” then the gospel needs to transform your parenting too.
Give Them Grace is a revolutionary perspective on parenting that shows us how to receive the gospel afresh and give grace in abundance, helping our children know the dazzling love of Jesus and respond with heartfelt obedience.
This book has been so good at helping me understand one of my children and myself!
The Highly Sensitive Child
Rooted in Aron’s years of experience as a psychotherapist and her original research on child temperament, The Highly Sensitive Child shows how HSCs are born deeply reflective, sensitive to the subtle, and easily overwhelmed. These qualities can make for smart, conscientious, creative children, but with the wrong parenting or schooling, they can become unusually shy or timid, or begin acting out. Few parents and teachers understand where this behavior comes from–and as a result, HSCs are often mislabeled as overly inhibited, fearful, or “fussy,”or classified as “problem children” (and in some cases, misdiagnosed with disorders such as Attention Deficit Disorder). But raised with proper understanding and care, HSCs are no more prone to these problems than nonsensitive children and can grow up to be happy, healthy, well-adjusted adults.
In this pioneering work, parents will find helpful self-tests and case studies to help them understand their HSC, along with thorough advice on:
• The challenges of raising an highly sensitive child
• The four keys to successfully parenting an HSC
• How to soothe highly sensitive infants
• Helping sensitive children survive in a not-so-sensitive world
• Making school and friendships enjoyable
With chapters addressing the needs of specific age groups, from newborns through teens, The Highly Sensitive Child delivers warmhearted, timely information for parents, teachers, and the sensitive children in their lives.
Shepherding a Child’s Heart
Written for parents with children of any age, this insightful book provides perspectives and procedures for shepherding your child’s heart into the paths of life. Shepherding a Child’s Heart gives fresh biblical approaches to child rearing.
Today’s busier, faster society is waging an undeclared war on childhood. With too much stuff, too many choices, and too little time, children can become anxious, have trouble with friends and school, or even be diagnosed with behavioral problems. Now internationally renowned family consultant Kim John Payne helps parents reclaim for their children the space and freedom that all kids need for their attention to deepen and their individuality to flourish. Simplicity Parenting offers inspiration, ideas, and a blueprint for change:
• Streamline your home environment. Reduce the amount of toys, books, and clutter—as well as the lights, sounds, and general sensory overload.
• Establish rhythms and rituals. Discover ways to ease daily tensions, create battle-free mealtimes and bedtimes, and tell if your child is overwhelmed.
• Schedule a break in the schedule. Establish intervals of calm and connection in your child’s daily torrent of constant doing.
• Scale back on media and parental involvement. Manage your children’s “screen time” to limit the endless deluge of information and stimulation.
A manifesto for protecting the grace of childhood, Simplicity Parenting is an eloquent guide to bringing new rhythms to bear on the lifelong art of raising children.
The Well-Trained Mind
Is your child getting lost in the system, becoming bored, losing his or her natural eagerness to learn? If so, it may be time to take charge of your child’s education―by doing it yourself.
The Well-Trained Mind will instruct you, step by step, on how to give your child an academically rigorous, comprehensive education from preschool through high school―one that will train him or her to read, to think, to understand, to be well-rounded and curious about learning. Veteran home educators Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise outline the classical pattern of education called the trivium, which organizes learning around the maturing capacity of the child’s mind and comprises three stages: the elementary school “grammar stage,” when the building blocks of information are absorbed through memorization and rules; the middle school “logic stage,” in which the student begins to think more analytically; and the high-school “rhetoric stage,” where the student learns to write and speak with force and originality. Using this theory as your model, you’ll be able to instruct your child―whether full-time or as a supplement to classroom education―in all levels of reading, writing, history, geography, mathematics, science, foreign languages, rhetoric, logic, art, and music, regardless of your own aptitude in those subjects.
I haven’t read this book yet but our Instagram book club is going to be reading it over the next month and a half, come join us there if you want to join in!
Last Child in The Woods
“I like to play indoors better ’cause that’s where all the electrical outlets are,” reports a fourth-grader. Never before in history have children been so plugged in-and so out of touch with the natural world. In this groundbreaking new work, child advocacy expert Richard Louv directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today’s wired generation-he calls it nature deficit-to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as rises in obesity, Attention Deficit Disorder (Add), and depression. Some startling facts: By the 1990s the radius around the home where children were allowed to roam on their own had shrunk to a ninth of what it had been in 1970. Today, average eight-year-olds are better able to identify cartoon characters than native species, such as beetles and oak trees, in their own community. The rate at which doctors prescribe antidepressants to children has doubled in the last five years, and recent studies show that too much computer use spells trouble for the developing mind. Nature-deficit disorder is not a medical condition; it is a description of the human costs of alienation from nature. This alienation damages children and shapes adults, families, and communities. There are solutions, though, and they’re right in our own backyards. Last child in the Woods is the first book to bring together cutting-edge research showing that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development-physical, emotional, and spiritual. What’s more, nature is a potent therapy for depression, obesity, and Add. Environment-based education dramatically improves standardized test scores and grade point averages and develops skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and decision making. Even creativity is stimulated by childhood experiences in nature.
Teaching From Rest
This new, revised, and first print edition of Sarah Mackenzie’s best-selling eBook version contains 35% new content! Those who have made the decision to homeschool their children have done so out of great love for their children and a desire to provide them an excellent education in the context of a warm, enriching home. Yet so many parents (mainly mothers) who have taken up this challenge find the enterprise often full of stress, worry, and anxiety. In this practical, faith-based, and inspirational book, Sarah Mackenzie addresses these questions directly, appealing to her own study of restful learning (scholé) and her struggle to bring restful learning to her (six) children.
For The Children’s Sake
Shows parents and teachers how children’s learning experiences can be extended to every aspect of life, giving them a new richness, stability, and joy for living.
Every parent and teacher wants to give his or her children the best education possible. We hope that the education we provide is a joyful adventure, a celebration of life, and preparation for living. But sadly, most education today falls short of this goal.
For the Children’s Sake is a book about what education can be, based on a Christian understanding of what it means to be human-to be a child, a parent, a teacher-and on the Christian meaning of life. The central ideas have been proven over many years and in almost every kind of educational situation, including ideas that Susan and Ranald Macaulay have implemented in their own family and school experience.
For the Children’s Sake will benefit parents and teachers in any educational setting-homeschooling, public school, or private school. This new edition features an updated cover design.
This list wouldn’t be complete without a Holt book (or two!), I actually haven’t read any myself yet but these two are on my list!
Learning All The Time
The essence of John Holt’s insight into learning and small children is captured in Learning All The Time. This delightful book by the influential author of How Children Fail and How Children Learn shows how children learn to read, write, and count in their everyday life at home and how adults can respect and encourage this wonderful process. For human beings, he reminds us, learning is as natural as breathing. John Holt’s wit, his gentle wisdom, and his infectious love of little children bring joy to parent and teacher alike.
Teach Your Own
Today more than one and a half million children are being taught at home by their own parents. In this expanded edition of the book that helped launch the whole movement, Pat Farenga has distilled John Holt’s timeless understanding of the ways children come to understand the world and added up-to-the-moment practical advice. Rather than proposing that parents turn their homes into miniature schools, Holt and Farenga demonstrate how ordinary parents can help children grow as social, active learners. Chapters on living with children, “serious play,” children and work, and learning difficulties will be of interest to all parents, whether home schooling or not, as well as to teachers. This new edition is supplemented with financial and legal advice as well as a guide to cooperating with schools and facing the common objections to home schooling.Teach Your Own not only has all the vital information necessary to be the bible for parents teaching their own children, it also conveys John Holt’s wise and passionate belief in every child’s ability to learn from the world that has made his wonderful books into enduring classics.