Top Books for Homeschooling Moms

posted in: pedagogical | 4

There are so many books out there. How do we choose what to read? Should we read only in “our field”? Even in the homeschool category, there are so many books! And I’ve checked out our library’s selection. Not all of them are worth reading.

We have limited time to read. We want to bring our best selves to this game of homeschooling.

What’s a homeschool mom supposed to read?

Here are my short lists in the categories I’ve read over the years. All of these are books that will always have a permanent place on my bookshelf, because they’re important and have been formative.

My Favorite Books for Homeschooling Young Kids

If you’re starting with young children or researching homeschooling and educational philosophy while your oldest is still 5-or-under, these books make good starting points. They’ll give you the right vision without overwhelming you with high school and college requirements or detailed information about starting schools (I read several like that).

These are the books I collect and pass around to new homeschooling moms.

Educating the Whole-Hearted Child
by Clay & Sally Clarkson
Education is about all of life, not just math and reading. This conversational manual for a holistic life approach to homeschooling isn’t light on academics, but it does prioritize relationship and connections.
Better Late Than Early
by Raymond Moore
I was skeptical going into this one, but fully convinced by the end. Waiting for readiness before starting phonics or math is better for the student - whether readiness happens at 4 or 6 or even later.
For the Children’s Sake
by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
Education is about helping our children mature into responsibility and Christlikeness, not about passing tests or showing off.

My Favorite Educational Philosophy Books

It's never advisable to begin such an all-encompassing project like educating our children without strong foundations in place. These books will ground you and show you what's really important.
Norms & Nobility: A Treatise on Education
by David Hicks
Dense, meaty, and rich - this is a vision for classical education beyond timeline chants. Education is and always has been about character and virtue. Yes, the title is intimidating, the price is intimidating, and the content is intimidating - but it's so worth it all!
Towards a Philosophy of Education
by Charlotte Mason
No one laid out such a consistent, practical program for implementing classical ideals of education, and volume 6 is the clearest expression of Charlotte Mason’s philosophy. For first-time readers, Karen Glass’ edition which removes sections addressing Victorian educators and issues no longer relevant is a better, slimmer choice.
The Liberal Arts Tradition: A Philosophy of Christian Classical Education
by Ravi Jain & Kevin Clark
They outline a program for classical education based on the historic, traditional roots of education, but applied to modern schools.
Consider This: Charlotte Mason & the Classical Tradition
by Karen Glass
This would be a good first pick if you’ve never dipped your toe in educational philosophy; it lays out the principles of classical education clearly and without the academic tone of Norms & Nobility or Poetic Knowledge.

My Favorite Parenting Books

Education is simply an extension of parenting, and in the early years particularly, it is your parenting habits that make a bigger difference than phonics or handwriting.
Raising Godly Tomatoes
by Elizabeth Krueger
Here is a mothering approach that expects both prompt obedience while expecting children to be children; she is practical, straightforward, and no-nonsense, yet gracious.
Shepherding a Child’s Heart
by Tedd Tripp
We don’t teach our children to obey for our own convenience, but because we ourselves are being obedient to God’s law. Obedience is not optional.

Loving the Little Years & Fit to Burst

by Rachel Jankovic
Rachel is my original source for the concept of organizing your attitude. Her example and principle-driven (rather than practice-driven) mothering has been instrumental in my life.

My Favorite Books on Teaching

Even though we may rarely use a whiteboard and we're mothers first, we are also teachers. These books get straight to the heart of what teaching is about.
The Seven Laws of Teaching
by John Milton Gregory
A classic and comprehensive teacher training course in a slim paperback. I not only wrote through this series, but made it an entire podcast season.
The Art of Teaching
by Gilbert Highet
Homeschool moms are teachers, too, and we can glean gems of practical wisdom from this excellent book.
Teaching to Change Lives
by Howard Hendricks
Hendricks draws from John Milton Gregory’s laws, drawing out more applications in an honest, Christ-centered, sanctification-focused manner.

My Favorite Homemaking Books

Sorry to break it to you: Even after adding education to your plate, there are still meals and laundry.
A Mother’s Rule of Life
by Holly Pierlot
She’ll convince you that you need a comprehensive plan and then show you how to stick with it.
Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life
by Margaret Kim Peterson
Is there such a thing as a philosophy of cleaning house? There is, and it's laid out here beautifully.
The Complete Guide to Getting and Staying Organized
by Karen Ehman
She covers all the topic you need to manage your home, with a Christian worldview where the reason we do it all is to love others better.
Plus, of course, I have a couple other favorite helps:
Rejoicing in Repetition
by Mystie Winckler
Change your mind and your attitude about repetitive work at home. It doesn’t have to be tedious and frustrating. There is joy hiding within the mundane. MP3 + pdf versions included.
Simplified Dinners
by Mystie Winckler
Feed your family simply, healthfully, frugally – without spending too much time or energy thinking about it. Take the thinking out of the whole dinner cycle of planning, shopping, and cooking and customize healthy, whole-food dinners according to your family’s tastes.

My Favorite Time Management Books

Getting Things Done
by David Allen
This time management classic primarily speaks to people working in an office, but the principles apply across the board, regardless of your situation.

What’s Next Best

by Matthew Perman
More than a Christian GTD, this book will center you first on a gospel-oriented productivity and show you both the why and the how of stewarding the time God has given us for the work He has given us.
The Power of Full Engagement
by Jim Loeher
Really, doing the right next thing most effectively is more about energy management than time management. This book will help you guard and increase and use your energy well.

My Favorite Novels as a Homeschooling Mom

Understood Betsy
by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
What do children need to grow strong and responsible? It's not molly-coddling. This is a family read aloud that will speak to mom as much as anyone.

Hard Times

by Charles Dickens
Think that an education in facts and a strict upbringing is the secret to success? Dickens wants you to think again.

Jayber Crow

by Wendell Berry
This novel showed me what it looks like to live in loving community with people of all sorts, and not only with people who are just like you.
Did I miss any of your favorites? Share in the comments!

4 Responses

  1. Melanie
    |

    Great lists! I will have to get those homemaking titles. Thanks!

  2. Leisa
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    Great list! I have been meaning to get the books by Karen Glass. I loved Rachel Jankovic’s book “Loving the Little Years.”

  3. Betsy
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    Keeping House is one of my top home-making books!! I also really appreciated Consider This–helped me put words to some differences I had with some of my educator friends :-). I have Raising Godly Tomatoes and Shepherding a Child’s Heart, too! Instructing a Child’s Heart is good, too (I need to reread these since my three have hurtled into a totally different phase than they were when I first read them…). A parenting book on my list that’s not really a parenting book: 8 Great Smarts. Sort of a personality-meets-multiple-intelligences kind of book that is also really neither of those. Helped me put words (and actions) to the differences between my twins, in particular, and understand them better, my reactions to their differences better, and myself better!

  4. Heather F
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    Thanks for this list Mystie! I’ve shared it with my Schole book club to look through for ideas for our next selection. Right now we’re reading Mere Motherhood and loving it!