Top Ten {or so} Books Which Have Most Shaped Our Homeschool



Blog She Wrote: Top Ten or so Books Which Have Most Shaped Our Homeschool

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I’m excited to share with you today the Top Ten (or so) Books Which Have Most Shaped Our Homeschool.

Five in a Row by Jane Claire Lambert- There are four volumes of manuals for K through 4th grade plus Before Five in a Row for preschoolers. These are unit studies based on children’s literature and we’ve used FIAR as our core curriculum for 8 years. Jane has a lovely way of encouraging moms to enjoy time with their children and to do it with simple, rich lessons.

Unit Studies Made Easy by Valerie Bendt- I adore this book which is a compilation of a series of books Mrs. Bendt wrote on putting together your own unit studies. This has been an excellent resource to me as I seek to teach around one topic not just a book. She gives useful tips on how to simplify your homeschooling.

A better method is to limit your book purchasing and to increase your reading and utilizing of those books. A book that is read, re-read, highlighted, filled with notes, and referred to often is far more beneficial than ten wonderful books that sit on your shelf gathering dust. This holds true for all curriculum materials whether they are geared for the parents or the children. – Valerie Bendt, Unit Studies Made Easy

Blog She Wrote: Books That Have Most Shaped Our Homeschool

A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning by Karen Andreola- This is a book which introduces the reader to the world of Charlotte Mason and provides advice on how to apply her principles in your own homeschool. The one downside to this book is the language. I wish it had been written in a more modern syntax just for ease of reading!

Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock- Perhaps a cliche in the world of nature study these days and made popular among homeschoolers by Barb of Harmony Fine Arts and The Handbook of Nature Study blog, this book is a gem. It has such an unfriendly look about it, but Mrs. Comstock had a sense of humor and it’s a really great read. Filling up on the tidbits she provides the teacher, you can enjoy nature with your kids at any time.

An observant child should be put in the way of something worth observing. – Charlotte Mason

Blog She Wrote: Books That Have Most Shaped Our Homeschool

Read for the Heart: Whole Books for WholeHearted Families by Sarah Clarkson- I found this book last summer and it is wonderfully inspiring! If you have not ever made books a priority in your homeschool, this book is very compelling. Sarah is the daughter of Clay and Sally Clarkson and it’s fun to see their influence in this book. Read for the Heart will leave you dreamy and it bolsters your efforts for a reading culture in your home.

God designed us to learn through story, and He is the original Story Giver. – Sarah Clarkson, Read for the Heart

Blog She Wrote: BooksThat Have Most Shaped Our Homeschool

The Read-Aloud Handbook: Sixth Edition by Jim Trelease- I’ve adored this book since graduate school when I learned about it in my Storytelling class (Yes, I have had a graduate level storytelling class. Yes, it was marvelous.). Mr. Trelease leads you through how reading aloud makes successful readers. There are a lot of great tips on how to read aloud to kids as well. If you’ve ever been unsure about requiring your kids to read when they don’t like it a lot, read this and you’ll say good bye to guilt for good!

The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Teens by Debra Bell- I mentioned this title in my post on working with Occasionally Motivated Teens. Mrs. Bell gives concrete ideas for working with teens and pouring into their teen years. Truly a great volume of practical advice for parents who are taking on homeschool high school with their kids.

A father in New Jersey, after hearing me suggest reading to children separately, interjected, “Excuse me, but doesn’t that take longer?” Yes it does, sir. Parenting is not supposed to be a time-saving experience. Parenting is time-consuming, time-investing—but not time-saving. – Jim Trelease, The Read Aloud Handbook

Blog She Wrote: Books That Have Most Shaped Our Homeschool

Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt- A classic in its own right, this book give parents an idea of what to read aloud to children and how to keep on using books as a means of communicating with teens (in another book Honey for a Teen’s Heart).

Homeschooling Gifted and Advanced Learners by Cindy West- Cindy shares great ideas for how to recognize a gifted learner by discipline and tells how to work with excelling and struggling gifted learners within the various subjects areas. In addition, she details various venues for teaching and learning for these students. It’s a very practical book and I’m so glad I pulled it from the shelf tonight to be reminded that E14 is very gifted with words. He fits the archetype to a T. (see my review)

The test of good writing is the quality of the experience we receive in reading it. – Gladys Hunt, Honey for a Child’s Heart

Blog She Wrote: Books That Have Most Shaped Our Homeschool

Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners by Lori Pickert- this is a new one to me in the last six months and it’s taken me by storm! Our children are always engaged in a project which they own and Lori’s ideas and the community she has created of like-minded parents and teachers has been a fabulous resource. One of the things Dan and I are seeking to do in our homeschool is to help our kids discover their niche. Project Based Homeschooling is an invaluable book that shapes the process.

Think about your space. Does it attract? Does it inspire? Does it tell the story of your child’s work and interests? Is it the workspace of an active, independent, creative person? Is it the space of an explorer, an investigator, an artist, a scientist? Does it encourage creation and invention? Does it allow independence and joyful interests? Is it the workspace of an active, independent, creative person? Is it the space of an explorer, an investigator, an artist, a scientist? Does it encourage creation and invention? Does it allow independence and joyful making?Every choice you make in his environment should reflect your values for how you want him to work, think, and learn. – Lori Pickert, Project Based Homeschooling

Blog She Wrote: Books That Have Most Shaped Our Homeschool

The Simplicity of Homeschooling: Discover the Freedom of Learning Through Living by Vicky Goodchild- A really sweet book on how to incorporate learning into your everyday life and to create an atmosphere of learning.

Educating the WholeHearted Child — Third Edition by Clay and Sally Clarkson- who doesn’t love this homeschooling classic? The Clarksons have been ministering to homeschoolers a long time and this updated version of a book long in print is fantastic. To me, it’s the ultimate homeschooling resource. I love how the Clarksons advocate for the entire home to be dedicated to learning and their stories are so encouraging.

However, when one entire room or area is permanently dedicated to home education and other dedicated learning spaces are strategically located throughout the house, it speaks volumes to your children that their learning is so important that you want to give them special places for it. – Sally Clarkson, Educating the Wholehearted Child

Blog She Wrote: Books That Have Most Shaped Our Homeschool

A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-First Century by Oliver DeMille- If you’ve never read about TJEd, it’s a great book about education and the modern world. Although we do not run a strict, Thomas Jefferson homeschool, I do use principles from Mr. DeMille as we read books. The premise of the book is what influenced me to write E14’s Foundations of American Democracy course for 9th grade government and history. TJEd is all about reading the classics and primary sources.

Homeschooling has a long and successful tradition. Actually, it has two traditions: first, the very wealthy have always educated their children at home, some through professional tutors and others with parents as mentors; and second many of the greatest thinkers, leaders, statesmen, entrepreneurs, scientists and artists of history were self-educated. – Oliver DeMille, A Thomas Jefferson Education

Blog She Wrote: Books That Have Most Shaped Our Homeschool

Homeschool Enrichment Magazine– I had to include this one even though it’s not a book. I love this practical magazine full of unit studies and tips for homeschooling families. It’s published ten times a year and never fails to encourage me. My kids love to read the feature of other homeschooled people from history- you get to read the story and guess who the person is.

Blog She Wrote: Books That Have Most Shaped Our Homeschool

I hope you’ve enjoyed this whirlwind tour of our most influential homeschooling books. What homeschooling books have impacted your homeschool the most?

Be sure to visit some other iHomeschool Network bloggers for a peek at their favorite homeschooling books.

And if you like book lists, check out this massive list of book lists from bloggers at the iHN.

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  1. Heather,
    Thanks for sharing this list. I own many of these but am excited to check out the others,especially the teen and project based one. Greasy post!

  2. Great list Heather! Many of these are influential for us as well. One other influential book for me is You Can Teach Your Child Successfully by Ruth Beechick, along with her quick start guides. They were some of the very first books I purchased 16 years ago!

    1. Cindy I have those too! The booklets and the big book…in fact the big book is in my first picture. LOL

      I probably have not referred to them as often as I should have! I could have listed a bunch more probably. Lots of good stuff out there.

  3. Great list!! It would be hard to choose just one, but the Read Aloud Handbook had a huge impact on our family and homeschool. How I viewed screen time, how we read together as a family, how I read to each child… my whole perspective on reading to my children has been influenced by this book. It is also the book that I have most often “loaned” away (it rarely comes back ;).

    1. It IS such a compelling book, isn’t it? Jim Trelease came and spoke at a local high school a few years ago. Our town is featured in the latest edition of the book and it always shows up at the library sale- in great numbers. I like to go on ten cent day and buy as many as are left and I give them to new parents. It is my standard first baby gift along with a book for baby. 🙂

      Thanks for commenting Laurie!

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