Due to the recent addition of baby #5 who is still on the “breastfeeding every two hours” regimen, I have been reading A LOT of books. I was anxious to learn as much about homeschooling as possible through my reading so I could get a feel for a wider variety of ways to homeschool and find my own way easier. When I began, I thought there wasn’t a wide variety of “ways” to homeschool and tried to have my homeschool look either exactly like traditional schooling or opposite. However, as I’ve educated myself on homeschool methods, it’s opened up a whole new world to me and I’m a much more confident homeschooler!
To get started, I Googled “best homeschool books” and found the Goodreads “Best Homeschool Books” list. After reading many of the reviews on the top picks, I reserved many of them to pick up at the library. Reading these books and a few more that they led me to find later, I’ve come up with my list for what I believe the best books are to educate yourself about homeschooling and help you find some great strategies to discover your own style and experience success.
My “Top 5 Best Homeschooling Books” are the ones I plan on reading over and over again and using as resources to map out each year’s learning plans, as well as loaning out to my friends who come to me with questions about homeschooling.
Without further ado, here’s my “Top 5 Best Homeschooling Books:”
1. A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-first Century by Oliver Van DeMille. I list this book first because it’s a short book, so it’s a great one for getting your feet wet with and it’s an excellent resource to assist families in establishing a strong foundation for their homeschooling efforts.
A Thomas Jefferson Education really opened my eyes to what is possible for educating at home, as well as the power of good books to help children learn values, gain a stronger sense of purpose and SO much more. I have now recommended this book many times to moms considering homeschool because it’s a great place to start. Most moms are intimidated by the idea of homeschooling, but this book shows how attainable giving your child an excellent education really can be.
To get a taste of the powerful concepts found in A Thomas Jefferson Education, consider their “7 Keys of Great Teaching”: 1. Classics, Not Textbooks; 2. Mentors, Not Professors; 3. Inspire, Not Require; 4. Structure Time, Not Content; 5. Simplicity, Not Complexity; 6. Quality, Not Conformity; 7. You, Not Them.
2. The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home by Susan Wise Bauer. This book is really thick (it would be a good book to surprise a burglar with a whack at the back of the head), which intimidated me from reading it for awhile (busy mom syndrome). However, the reason for it’s size is that it outlines how to educate children at home from preschool through high school.
This book is an absolute wealth of knowledge and resources; the book lists per age range and subject are well-worth having it on hand by themselves even. Once you get going with implementing the ideas in The Well-Trained Mind, you’ll be led to a myriad of other great books (many of them written as supplements by the author) to keep you going strong.
I especially loved the schedule and curriculum suggestions given for each age group. Much of our next year of homeschooling will be based on suggestions made in this fantastic book.
3. Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning by Oliver and Rachel DeMille. After having read A Thomas Jefferson Education, I was really curious about how exactly to implement the ideas and concepts. Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning broke down everything into 4 natural phases (core, love of learning, transition to scholar and scholar phase) and gave a break-down of how to educate in each phase.
Leadership Education helped me gain an appreciation for how important the phases my children are in now (core and love of learning). With this added insight, it makes me even more passionate about inspiring a real love of learning and a deep understanding of right and wrong in them, rather than being anxious for them to grow up so we can do “real school” stuff. The foundation for our next school year was built on the concepts learned in this incredible book.
4. The Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas by Linda Dobson. Whether homeschooling or not, this book is an incredible treasure trove of tried-and-true, simple ideas and activities to teach any subject. The book is divided into sections by subject, making it a really great quick-reference guide for when one of your children needs a little boost or a new direction in one of the subjects they’re studying.
One of the tricky parts of homeschooling is getting yourself out of a rut and keeping things fresh and engaging. The Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas is a perfect remedy for this dilema. I was really impressed by the broad spectrum of ideas, as well as how most of them can be created with little or no added expense, using mostly household items. I plan on opening this book up every month or so to find and implement different activities to keep my kids experiencing new ways of looking at each subject.
5. Talkers, Watchers and Doers by Cheri Fuller. This book is all about understanding children’s different learning styles. The theory is that we all have a primary learning style in which we learn most easily through either visual, auditory or kinesthetic means. Talkers, Watchers and Doers is especially valuable due to all of the insights and varied ideas to apply to education so that each learning style can be effectively reached. The author even mentions homeschool many times throughout the book and gives specific instruction.
Talkers, Watchers and Doers has opened a whole new world to me with homeschooling my children this year. It made me realize how I had only been connecting with one learning style last year and that was a big piece why one of my daughters didn’t get as much out of it as her siblings. This year I’ll be keeping the concepts taught in this book in mind throughout my lesson planning and application so I can connect with my children and help them grow in the way that comes most naturally to them. It’s going to be awesome!
This is definitely not a comprehensive list and it is absolutely biased, based on the books that resonated with me and my beliefs about homeschooling best. I truly hope that this list can be a resource to you in homeschooling your children! I’d also LOVE to hear in the comments what books have most impacted your homeschool and your perspectives on education and the various methodologies.