Note: in addition to my current favorite books on the topic of homeschooling below, you’ll also find affiliate links, because while I’m writing about homeschooling, I’m also running a business experiment. Because you know, curiousity. If you click, I may earn a small, but delightful, commission, for which I’m ever so grateful.
Last Friday, my husband, David, and I, made a crazy, bizarre, unlikely decision: to home school our children next year. We made the decision due to a variety of reasons, most of which are too personal to go into here. I know, right? ME?!?!? I will state, however, I have felt, in various seasons of life: a) unfit for motherhood in general and then 2) unfit to parent a daughter and d) grossly under qualified to home school. But, as my friend Emily recently pointed out to me: don’t we all feel grossly under qualified to do the majority of things we’ve been called to do?
And she’s right. Because otherwise, we wouldn’t have to be called. We’d be DOING. But I digress.
I’m homeschooling my kids next year. If that sounds nutty to you, we’re in the same court/boat/field. And yes, I do feel called to do this. Called, and did I mention, under qualified?
As in most situations where these feelings arise, I’ve had a few good guides I have to give credit. When the student is ready, the teacher appears, right? My first guide in this journey was Miss Patty, the kindergarten teacher of our oldest son. I met her at a crazy time in our lives, when I was pretty much operating as a single parent during the week. In the most amazing way, however, she showed me I could teach my son to read. Little by little, she worked her way with him through the Bob Books. Each finished reading of a Bob Book was rewarded with “tickle trouble”, and it delighted my kids. Tickle trouble was an absolute privilege, and my son would work his tail off to finish a reading, and then my younger two wanted to sign up for the same punishment. When I ordered our first set, I didn’t know that I had dipped my toe into the rabbit hole of homeschool curriculum, but that’s a story for another post.
Through another series of crazy circumstances, we found ourselves at a new kindergarten halfway through the school year. This time, we were introduced to homeschooling through a “blended model”, where my kids went to school two days a week, and we homeschooled two days a week. This model was perfect for our family. I loved the one on one time it gave me with the kids, and they loved not being in school five days a week. It also started to teach me about the foundations of home school curriculum, exposing me to various publishers, methods, and concepts.
And then in August of this past year, I picked up an out of print book called Give Your Child a Superior Mind. Wonky title, right? I’m prone to avoiding things titled as such, simply because I feel like books like this overpromise. However, I fell in love with that out of print book (thank you, Amazon). The author outlines a program you can work through with your child from birth through the fifth birthday. While I was well past the fifth birthday of my oldest, I loved what it taught me about explaining concepts like math and reading. I refer to it frequently. If it hadn’t been for that book, I wouldn’t be where I am in this journey today. Isn’t it amazing how reading can change your life?
So, on that note, here are my current favorite books on the topic of homeschooling. Or, if you’re not interested in homeschooling at all, you could also look at this list as good reads on the topic of literacy, or teaching and educating kids in general. I’d go so far as to say any parent or guardian with a child should at least read Read Aloud Handbook, which I’ll get to in a minute. And the reason I say these are my current favorite books on the topic of homeschooling is because I hope to find and read more, and share more in the future.
I enjoyed Give Your Child a Superior Mind so much (seriously, go read the reviews!) I went hunting for similar reads. I ordered a copy of The Well-Trained Mind, which added to my knowledge base about how to teach my kids, plain and simple. After that, I picked up Jim Trelease’s Read Aloud Handbook, which I adore. And then Mem Fox’s Reading Magic, and then Honey for a Child’s Heart. The latter three are all about reading to kids, which we’ve enjoyed SO MUCH this year, and after reading these books, I will absolutely say is the firm foundation for any education.
I’ll give you all the regular disclaimers I’ve read on every other homeschooling blog under the sun: I realize that this choice is not for everyone. And I’ll admit it’s not something I’m going into only excited about. There’s an equal amount of terror. If this is something you’re considering, keep doing your research. You’ll find your path.
A long time ago, when I was pregnant with my oldest son, I was sitting on an airplane next to a fun, seemingly young, but wise couple. He was conservative, she was liberal. They laughed at each other as they described their life, marriage, and family. Their children aged from in college, down to early grammar school, and I think they had six of them. I’m not usually chatty on airplanes, but somehow, the conversation turned to the fact that they homeschooled. I asked many questions but didn’t for the life of me think that homeschooling was an option I’d resort to. I did take away one very clear message from them though: take it year by year and kid by kid. Turns out, for them, it had been the best decision for each of their children. But, they cautioned me, every year, they’d sit down and ask if it remained the best fit for their family and that child. Whoever those people were, I’m grateful. Thank you.
Are you a home schooler? What are some of your favorite reads?
And of course, lots more to come on this in the future…