Best homeschooling books of all time

Best homeschooling books of all time

If you’re just starting out on your journey as a homeschooling parent, the most important thing you can do is to start learning. And the best way is by reading homeschooling books… lots of homeschooling books. Doing your research will help you determine your unique approach to homeschooling your children and inform you of all the options and approaches available to you.

If you’ve been homeschooling for a while, you know it does you good to read and get inspired to keep going. Check out some of these books that you haven’t read yet to help you go next-level.

We’ve compiled this list of some of the best homeschooling books of all time to help you get started. They are the books that bolstered the homeschooling movement in its early days, and still hold value for today. I’ve read most of them, but have thrown in some that have been recommended by other homeschooling parents, too. Enjoy!

Dumbing Us Down

by John Taylor Gatto

Written by one of the founders of the modern homeschool movement, this classic read has recently celebrated a 25-year anniversary and updated reprint. The book explains how compulsory schooling can drive the natural curiosity from children and how families can take back education and tap into their children’s individual genius. This is an empowering book for parents written by an award-winning teacher. It’s been relevant for the past 25 years, so if you haven’t read it yet, what are you waiting for?

Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling

by John Holt and Pat Farenga

This was the very first book I read about homeschooling and gave me the confidence to pursue the dream. It gives practical advice on teaching your children at home without replicating the school system within the home. All parents and instructors, whether homeschooling or not, will find value in this book as it speaks to raising children gently, using “serious play” and overcoming learning difficulties.

Charlotte Mason’s Original Homeschooling Series

by Charlotte Mason

If you are new to homeschooling and wondering what a “CM education” is all about, this series explains everything. A Charlotte Mason (CM) education is a gentle way of homeschooling, promoting a literary approach to learning and encourages the family to spend more time outdoors studying nature, handling natural objects and collecting experiences. She paints homeschooling as a natural extension of raising children.

This series consists of 6 volumes, all of which are sold separately now, and consists of 6 lectures by the author about raising and educating young children under 9 years old. The series in one volume is now out of print but if you want to get straight into the meat, then the first book in the series to read is Home Education.

Educating the Whole-Hearted Child

by Clay Clarkson with Sally Clarkson

For the Christian homeschooling parent, “whole-hearted learning” is about cooperating with God’s design for your family, home and children. It’s all about discipleship, whole books/living books (as opposed to textbooks) and real life. This insightful book will encourage you with its practical wisdom. It’s a book that you will go back to often, and it’s become a mainstay on the shelves of many homeschooling mothers. The book promotes seeing education as a natural extension of one’s life instead of daily, in-season, school related tasks. 

Right Brained Children in a Left Brained World

by  Jeffrey Freed and Laurie Parsons

I haven’t read this book, but it comes highly recommended. It’s written especially for those parents whose children struggle in traditional schooling. This book provides effective methods for helping children that have Attention Deficit Disorder to excel in educational settings. The book focuses on learning styles and right brain versus left brain assessments. The book simply lays out instructions for helping the ADD child master spelling, confidence building, and turning “mental images into written words”.

The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home

by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise

This book is a classic in homeschooling circles and is another one that you’ll probably want to have on your shelf not just as an enjoyable read, but a reference guide. It’s widely considered the go-to book for homeschooling in a classical style. It breaks down each of the three stages of learning recognized in the classical style with tips on approaching core subjects at each stage. Even if you’re not a classical education purist , it’s a excellent resource and you won’t regret the investment.

The Teenage Liberation Handbook

by Grace Llewellyn 

If that title sounds scary to you, the tagline might have you running:  “This is a dangerous book”. Right, so you might not want to hand it over to your teen without reading it yourself first, but it’s got some good ideas and clues on how to make the most of homeschooling your teens and for them to learn to educate themselves.

It plants the seed that teens can take control of their lives and learn from the real world. It says that people can “reclaim their natural ability to teach themselves and design a personalized education program”. The book lays out clear plans that include making the decision to quit school, and finding educational opportunities in the real world. For parents, this book helps you to relax a little as it ensures us that even your emerging adults who are not thriving in school can find their way.  (This book is currently out of print, but Llewellyn’s other book, Guerilla Learning, is also worth reading.)

So You’re Thinking about Homeschooling

by Lisa Whelchel

So You’re Thinking About Homeschooling is written for parents who are intimidated by the prospects and complexities of homeschooling. If you’re doubting whether homeschooling could work for your family, this book will help you begin to see the possibilities. Lisa Whelchel, a homeschooling mother of 3, introduces you to fifteen composite portraits of homeschooling families that serve as inspiration and examples of what homeschooling can be like. It addresses the practical challenges of homeschooling, and will give you the confidence for your family to map their own homeschooling path.

When You Rise Up

by RC Sproul Jr

One of my favourite books on Christian homeschooling for the Christian parent, it nuts out the purpose of education. Sproul maintains that education is discipleship with the goal of our children bearing fruit, growing in grace, and becoming more and more like Christ. That’s a daunting responsibility for a parent, but as we rely on God’s grace, we can trust him to do the work in our children’s lives. 

This is a very encouraging book, helping you to see that your drive and diligence as a parent is God given and you’ll do well to follow His plan.

Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves

by Naomi Aldort

I haven’t read this one, but it comes highly recommended as the ultimate handbook to adjusting your family dynamic in order to create a thriving homeschool atmosphere. Homeschooling is not just about the children.

The book recommends giving up scolding, punishing, threatening, and other painful measures of parenting and instead promotes understanding and helping the child become their best selves. As the title states, this book will not only give you insight into raising children, but it will also help parents to serve as a better example for their children.

These books are just a sampling of the homeschooling gems made available over the last 30 or so years of the modern homeschooling movement. They are foundational books that helped shape the homeschooling movement, and provide inspirational examples to turn to for those times when you need a bit more motivation and encouragement.

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