5 Books That Influence My Homeschool
Homeschool Books to Develop your Homeschool Vision
If you are considering homeschooling, or wondering how it can possibly work, these are some of the homeschool books I have found most helpful. I’m not a veteran homeschooler by any means. (Unless you count being homeschooled myself from k-12 as something…) But the one thing I am certain about and SO glad I started doing early is reading about different homeschool methods long before my kids were school age.
I loved being homeschooled growing up. It was such an exciting, empowering, delightful way to learn that I have been excited about the prospect of giving my own children that experience for years. Like, since I graduated high school myself. So, since I became mother, I’ve tried to see these pre-schooling years as a preparation time for me. This is the time that I have to educate myself about learning styles, teaching styles, programs, and methods. I try to always be reading one “homeschool book” aka a book that is about some aspect of education. They aren’t all great, but there are a few that have really stuck with me and become the foundation stones of my goals for our homeschool.
If you’re considering homeschooling, especially if your kids are little, I strongly encourage you to read about it! Even if you were homeschooled yourself! There are so many more wonderful resources available to homeschoolers now. Even if the homeschool method you wish to use hasn’t changed, the resources available definitely have.
#1. Discover Your Child’s Learning Style: Children Learn in Unique Ways–Here’s the Key to Every Child’s Learning Success by Mariaemma Willis and Victoria Kindle Hodson
This book is a great guide to recognizing different learning styles. It made it very easy to identify my own learning style, and introduced me to other learning styles. My kids will probably have some variance in their learning styles–almost everybody does. This book began the education that I need to know how to meet their specific needs as a teacher. This book is not just geared towards homeschoolers. In fact, many of the examples given were of ways that parents helped their public-schooled children break past learning obstacles.
This book is just the beginning, of course, but it is is a great place to start! You’ll learn all about auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learners, as well as how those learning types fit in with personality types. Additionally, Discover Your Child’s Learning Style goes into the ways you can help your child become a more effective learner by working with them in ways that embrace their learning styles and help them cope with different learning styles.
#2. The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer
This was one of the first books I read on homeschooling. I fell in love with the classical homeschooling method and the uniquely connected way it presents the world to our children. The idea of teaching all subjects so that they become an integrated knowledge base, not just memorized, random facts was (is) golden to me. The Well-Trained Mind guides you through the entire schooling process, 1st through 12th grade, by dividing the years into the different orders of the trivium (elementary, logic, and rhetoric).
I’ve heard classical education criticized for being too rigorous and not really age appropriate, but I disagree because of the ways it divides learning stages. I love that it revisits big subjects at different stages of education development. The goal is not just a passing score, but true understanding and retention of subject matter. Bauer goes into all of this at much greater length and with much greater eloquence than I can here. It comes complete with book lists and ideas for curriculum. More than just a one-time read, it is a resource I intend to keep going back to throughout our years of home education. Also, even if the classical method isn’t for you, those booklists are gold, let me tell ya! 😉
#3. The Original Homeschooling Series by Charlotte M. Mason (Home Education and School Education)
Charlotte Mason’s approach to education is all about meeting the individuality of each child and creating a nurturing environment so that a great deal is learned simply by doing. There is a heavy emphasis on learning through nature, and spending lots of time outside. I’m still working my way through the last of the six books and will probably reread them over the years, but in each book I’ve read so far I’ve gleaned wonderful insights into philosophies and methods of education. I highly recommend starting with “Home Education” and “School Education”.
I don’t see Charlotte Mason’s method as directly opposing the Classical Method by any means–I fully intend to piece together our homeschool with what I see as the best of Classical and the best of Charlotte Mason–but some do. In any case, if you’re considering homeschooling, you should be familiar with the Charlotte Mason Method. And again, even if you decide it’s not your cup of tea, there is a lot of wisdom in what Mason has to say about children’s development.
#4. A Thomas Jefferson Education: Home Companion by Oliver Demille and Rachel Demille
The method presented in A Thomas Jefferson Education is really very classical, but focuses more on why this particular type of education is necessary as we raise the next generation of leaders. The Demilles and Jeppson present a variety of essays that tackle various dilemmas of our education system–it’s beginning, growth, and demise–and how it has affected our society today. They also delve into the differences between our statesmen and leaders today, and those who founded this country. This book is not focused so much on curriculum, but expands on the beliefs we have that make us truly believe in the value of a classical education.
Booklist lovers, do not fear–there is also a booklist in this book. It’s more geared towards high school, or, let’s face it, adulthood. My education was incredibly literature rich, and I’ve read quite a few of the books on this list, but not nearly enough. Tackling it is one of my next big reading goals. If you’re more curious about the ‘why’ of a classical education, rather than the ‘how’, this would be a good book to start with. For starters, it’s a much slimmer read, and probably not as intimidating as The Bauer’s tome.
I read this homeschool book to get a better big-picture look at the types of things my kids should be learning at different ages. Home Learning Year by Year goes into standards and requirements for each grade level, along with some curriculum suggestions. I took specific notes on the early years, but it is a book that I expect to revisit as a reference point. If you are thinking about putting together your own curriculum rather than doing a grade-level kit this book will get you started. We may end up doing a kit at some point but for the most part, I fall into the ‘Customize EVERYTHING’ camp right now. Probably due to my inexperience, but I’m going with it! 😉
What Are Your Favorite Homeschool Books?
Anyways, those are my top five homeschool books for anybody who is considering homeschool. Don’t worry about planning too early–just use your planning time wisely and educate yourself. There are so many more books about homeschooling, learning styles, and mixing methods that I want to read. I’m sure y’all have not heard the last from me on this subject 😉
What are your favorite homeschool books? Any that should go into my Read-Next pile? Let me know in the comments below!