There are loads of homeschooling books out there, and different ones will speak to different people. I’ve probably read most books on homeschooling that have been written, and they all have something of value. Some I’ve found more thought provoking than others, some I didn’t care much for, some I thought were more inspiring. It can be intimidating to look at all of those books, all of those approaches, so much information! So I’ll share with you which books I’ve found most valuable in case you’d like to use it as a starting point, and note what areas that might be a concern.
The Successful Family Homeschool Handbook – Raymond and Dorothy Moore – this is probably my favorite book. It’s filled with loads of wisdom, but in an unassuming and condensed way and you could easily read it the first time and think it was nothing remarkable. Written by the ‘grandparents’ of the homeschooling movement, the writing style is a little more formal than younger writers. But they understand parents, they understand children, and they understand homeschooling. One of the very few homeschooling books I’ve seen fit to purchase, and read and reread several times. His points on social maturity are excellent.
Homeschooling the Early Years: Your complete guide to successfully homeschooling the 3 – 8 year old child, by Linda Dobson. I recommend this to everyone with young kids, as a way to see how easy and natural it is to integrate learning activities for the young child into the day. She’s written a number of other homeschooling books, and I’ve liked all of them.
The Relaxed Home School, by Mary Hood, and there was a sequel which was also good. I haven’t read this for five years, but enjoyed it very much when I read it. I can’t remember the details of what I liked, but she was very down to earth and real, it made homeschooling seem very doable. She classified herself as an ‘eclectic’ homeschooler, and that helped me realize that I didn’t have to define myself by one approach to homeschooling, which I was struggling to do. I could continue to pick and choose and adapt for my needs and put it all together in the way that fit for us. Since then I’ve referred to myself as an eclectic homeschooler, too. Mental note to self: borrow this from friend again to reread.
The Three Rs, a series by Ruth Beechick – A Strong Start In Language, An Easy Start In Arithmetic, A Home Start In Reading. These are more like booklets than books. There are three in the series, one for math, one for language, one for writing, geared towards parents of the k – 3rd grader.. They’re excellent – brief, succint, with clear explanations of the developmental stages of children in the beginning and then practical suggestions for teaching various skills for the basics. I was thrilled to aquilled to aquire these at a homeschooling curriculum sale for $1 each last year, since I’d seen Dr. Beechick’s work approach referred to in many books that I liked (but couldn’t find it at the library) and thought it would be a good fit for me. It was.
The Charlotte Mason Companion, by Karen Andreola – a good explanation of the Charlotte Mason approach. The author has a different approach and focus than I do, and her examples of her own kids tend to intimidate me because I put almost no effort into some areas that are important to her, but that’s a challenge in reading any homeschooling book. You have to remember that everyone shines in something and no one shines in everything. I think highly of the Charlotte Mason approach and particularly like the emphasis on quality literature, dictation, and copywork (though I don’t use dictation much), which is why I think reading about her approach is worthwhile, even though I didn’t unabashedly love this book. A book for the Charlotte Mason approach that I enjoyed much more was The Whole Hearted Child, by Sally and Clay Clarkson. However, this was written for Christian parents, which may be a plus or minus for some of you. If you’re uncomfortable with that, then don’t read it. I’m comfortable reading selectively; I just skip what I’m not interested in and stick with what applies to me.
I’ve read a lot of books about the unschooling approach but can’t think of one that particularly stands out in my mind. Many recommend John Holt’s books, but they didn’t thrill me. The Teenage Liberation Handbook is good for teenagers and parents of teenagers, to see what the possibilities are and realize that your kids aren’t limited to you being their teacher, and that they can direct their own education successfully. I just met someone on Monday who told me his son requested to homeschool this year after reading the book. It can be inspiring and an eye opener for people. It has a liberal approach in general, which for some might be uncomfortable.
I hope that this provides a good starting point. Please share in the comments section below if there’s a book you found especially helpful.