This is the time of year when many of us are searching for some inspiration. Some of us need something to get us through to the end of the year and some of us are already looking toward the fall and making plans. Whichever category you fall into, there are some books I love that I hope will help you out!
There are an awful lot of books about homeschooling out there and it’s hard to know where to start. When we first started thinking about doing this more than five years ago, I went to the library and checked out what looked like the most promising books, took them home, read them all, and then informed my husband that we were either to conservative or too liberal to make it work. Every single book either presented a strict religious education or let you know that you would be killing your child’s soul if you required them to work math problems. Eventually, though, I found my way to some books that were geared toward real people who like to take a bit from this approach and a bit from that one. My favorites:
- Real Learning: Education in the Heart of the Home (Elizabeth Foss): A disclaimer at the beginning: Elizabeth Foss is Catholic, and while I’m not and I don’t agree with every single thing she believes, religious or otherwise, this is hands down my favorite homeschooling book. She takes Charlotte Mason’s ideas and brings them into the real world, and for someone like me, the bringing them into the real world part is key. This book paints a lovely picture of learning at home, not just doing your school work in the living room.
- The Three R’s (Ruth Beechick): Even if you have a degree in education, starting from square one with your own child can be a little intimidating. You can find any number of people to tell you that if your child isn’t speaking Chinese and multiplying fractions by kindergarten, they are never going to earn more than minimum wage. Ruth Beechick gives a simple approach to beginning the basics. It’s not intimidating at all and you can see that starting slow is key to building a strong foundation.
- The Read-Aloud Handbook (Jim Trelease): This book is pretty much what it sounds like! Jim Trelease offers tips on reading aloud with kids in all settings, and best of all, he includes lists of good books with summaries and general age levels.
- Educating the WholeHearted Child (Clay Clarkson with Sally Clarkson): I had to wait for over a year to get the new edition of this well known book, and I haven’t finished it all yet, but I have loved what I have read. As with Elizabeth Foss’s book, this is written from a religious perspective and is a great guide for homeschoolers who are just starting out as well as those who have been at it a while. The book is divided into four sections (Home, Learning, Methods, and Living) and gives theory as well as real life examples.
Hopefully you will find these books helpful and enjoyable, but if you don’t, it’s okay. Not every book will speak to every reader, even if you agree with what the book is saying. I belong to a Charlotte Mason homeschool group and I cannot read more than a couple of pages of A Charlotte Mason Companion or Pocketful of Pinecones before I have to check to see if my eyes are bleeding. Some of my closest homeschooling friends adore these books, but I just can’t get through them. And that’s okay. Keep reading and keep talking with like-minded friends and you are sure to find some books you will want to read over and over again!