The Homeschooling Book List You Need to Read

The Homeschooling Book List You Need to Read

I’m Lana, a native Oklahoman. Married 17 years to the first boy I ever dated. Mama to two amazing, darling girls. I’m a coffee-drinking, book-reading, home-educating night owl! An accountant in my life B.C. (Before Children), my dream job would be getting paid to read all day.And if you’re into Meyers-Briggs personality tests, I’m an ISTJ. Most important of all, I’m a follower of Christ.

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Thinking about Homeschooling?

Maybe your child is not yet old enough for school, but the idea of homeschooling intrigues you.

Maybe the public schools aren’t meeting your school-age child’s educational needs.

Or maybe your child is being bullied.

Perhaps private school isn’t financially possible, and yet you want a Christian education for your child.

Or perhaps, you feel the Holy Spirit nudging you, calling you to fulfill Deuteronomy 6:6-7.

homeschooling book list

Whatever your reason for considering home education, I encourage you to read as many books on the subject as possible. You’ll learn about the various educational philosophies, from unschooling to classical and everything in between.

When my oldest child was about three, my husband and I decided to learn more about homeschooling. So I began reading everything I could find about homeschooling. With each book I read, I felt more convicted that home education was right for our family. I also gained confidence in my ability to educate my daughter.

Over the next couple of years before we officially began homeschooling, I estimate that I read at least three dozen books related to homeschooling. Although I found nuggets of valuable information in each book I read, a few stood out to me and quickly became my favorites.

So if you’re considering home education, I recommend these books as a starting point:

When You Rise Up: A Covenantal Approach to Homeschooling by R.C. Sproul, Jr.

The author’s premise is that God calls Christians–even commands, perhaps–to educate their children at home. Although I disagree with his assertion that all Christians should home school, I appreciate the clear reasoning Sproul uses to advocate for home education. For those who feel God’s calling in their lives to home school, this book will help cement that decision. For those who might have some reservations about the parent’s role in education, this book may help convince you that the public school system hinders parents from instilling biblical values in their children. Sproul quotes John Milton, saying, “The end of learning is…to know God aright, and out of that knowledge, to love Him, to imitate Him, to be like Him.”

Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling by John Taylor Gatto

On the other side of the spectrum from Sproul is Gatto’s book. Gatto was an award-winning, highly respected public school teacher. Yet he came to the conclusion that the public school does not truly educate children or teach them to be independent thinkers. Rather, it indoctrinates them to be obedient cogs in a machine. This book will open your eyes to the messages public schools send our children–don’t be different than your peers, don’t question, don’t care about anything more than passing the next test. Again, while you may not agree with the author’s assertions, it is a worthwhile, insightful read about the problems of the public school system.

For the Children’s Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay

This book is a good introduction to the Charlotte Mason philosophy of education, which is rooted in the belief that education begins at home. Charlotte Mason encouraged parents to find joy in spending time with their children, respecting them as unique individuals with opinions and ideas.To this end, Macaulay invites parents to provide a rich environment for learning and finding joy in the education process.

Educating the Whole-Hearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson

What struck me most about this book was how family-oriented home education could be.  Throughout this book, the authors focus on strengthening the relationships between parents and children, as well as sibling relationships. This book is a good blend of the “bigger picture” of home education, which is discipleship, and practical tips, tricks, and methods. One of my favorite aspects of this book is how the Clarksons share how they have worked to cultivate a warm, inviting home where education isn’t relegated to one specific room. They have set up small areas throughout their home to encourage children to discover, investigate, read, and learn no matter where they are.

The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise

According to the classical model of education, there are three general stages of learning. In the elementary grammar stage, children readily and easily absorb and memorize information. During the middle school logic stage, children begin to think more analytically. The final stage is the high school rhetoric stage, when students begin to articulately express and defend their own ideas. Understanding these stages helps a parent tailor their child’s education based on the child’s stage of development. The authors also outline a four-year history cycle and offer curriculum suggestions for all stages.

Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie

This book is a relative newcomer to the homeschool scene, but it is an instant classic. As homeschooling mothers, it is easy to get bogged down in the daily checklist of “getting school done.” We tend to let worry and anxiety override our desire to have a peaceful, enjoyable home education experience. Mackenzie reminds homeschooling parents that we must find our own rest in Christ before we can pass that on to our children. This book is a great mix of inspirational and practical advice and one I plan to revisit each year.

 

102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum: Choosing the Right Curriculum and Approach for Each Child’s Learning Style by Cathy Duffy

Once you’ve decided to homeschool, how do you decide what curriculum to use? Cathy Duffy explains the four types of learning styles and how to identify which learning style fits your child. She also helps the parent identify which style of teaching fits their personality. In my opinion, this section alone makes the book worth reading. Duffy reviews 102 curricula of various subjects, noting which learning styles are most compatible. (For example, a kinesthetic learner will do better with hands-on project-based learning. A visual learner might prefer a workbook or textbook-based option.) The book also notes whether the curriculum is religious or secular, the prep time involved, and whether the material is teacher-intensive or more independent. As a newbie to homeschooling, I found her advice invaluable. Even today, as a seasoned homeschooler, I refer back to her reviews frequently!

Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt

The title for this book is based on Proverbs 16:24: “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” From the idea that some of childhood’s fondest memories are of books, Hunt provides lists of the best quality children’s literature. In this book you will find suggestions for all ages, from babies to preteens. (A sequel, Honey for a Teen’s Heart, provides recommended reading for older children.) The author focuses on the need for parents to provide an environment that promotes reading and encourages family read-alouds. You won’t find any books with objectionable content listed here; the author chooses both enduring classics and more recent publications but all have a common theme of wholesome entertainment.

homeschooling book list

If you’re considering home education, I hope you will research and determine if homeschooling is right for your family. While this list isn’t an exhaustive list of the numerous resources available, it should get you started and keep you busy reading for a while. May God bless you as you seek to provide the best education for your child!

Do you have a favorite homeschooling book you’d recommend? I’d love to hear which books have impacted your decision to homeschool!

So We Don’t Miss Him:  Advent Ideas

So We Don’t Miss Him: Advent Ideas

A Season of Anticipation

Christmas. It has always been a season I anticipated. My eyes soak in the beauty, I listen as my heart gets lost in the songs, and I delight in all the pleasing aromas. There is no other time of year that brings about such a “merry” feeling for me. Nostalgia is at its peak and I revel in all the old and new traditions I now get to share with my own family. Traditions that I hope they will remember even when they are grown; traditions that will always leave them in anticipation of the specialness that is Christmas.

Here at my house we love to bake. We sing everything from “Frosty the Snowman” to “Silent Night” and snuggle with a warm blanket while we watch all my childhood favorite Christmas TV specials. Our family loves to read Christmas books, and of course, decorate as much of the house as we possibly can. We soak up as much of this magical month of Christmas as possible. This year, as we go about enjoying all the beauty and sipping hot chocolate while singing about mistletoe and holly, I want to make sure we don’t miss it…that we don’t miss Him.

Celebrating Advent for the First Time

So, to best prepare our hearts for this season, I decided we would participate in Advent. I have never done Advent before, so trying to decide where to begin and how to move forward with planning was a little daunting. There are so many ways to participate in Advent–millions of ideas on Pinterest and gobs of calendars out there, even the ever-popular edible kind. Where to begin?

Thankfully, some very sweet friends shared their Advent family traditions and pointed me in the right direction. I didn’t want just another “fun” activity that my children might remember more than the words I read…yet I wanted something that would be special.  For our Advent activities, I wanted to do something that would lead us to embrace and fully immerse our hearts in the wonder of a God who loved a sinful and broken world enough to send it a Rescuer, a Rescuer who was born in a lowly manger and who now reigns seated at the right hand of God.

I wanted us to revel in the wonderment of this story of rescue that began in a faraway garden. And I wanted us to approach in great anticipation as we get closer and closer to the morning where we celebrate the birth of He who loved us, He who came to earth to save us, and He whose death and resurrection makes us new…makes us His.

Christmas is Something that Happens in the Heart

As the years go by, I am slowly learning that Christmas is something that happens in the heart. I have found that it is less and less about what is happening on the outside–Christmas jingles on the radio, a “Happy Holidays” greeting rather than “Merry Christmas,” or a hyper-focused fascination on a red-suited jolly man who makes an annual appearance to those who have “been good.”

When we start to let those things be our Christmas experience, then we ourselves have lost true focus. I want my family and myself to experience the fullness of Christmas, no matter what the world around us is saying about it. Christmas is not about the world or how they choose to celebrate (or choose not to celebrate). It’s about our hearts rejoicing in His. Christmas is our own special Hallelujah moment. It is we whose hearts have drunk full from the cup of truth, grace, and mercy; it is us reveling in awestruck wonder of the moment where our own rescue began.

So this Christmas season, enjoy your hot chocolate while cuddled on a warm sofa watching your favorite snowman or red-nosed reindeer on TV.  Enjoy all the magical traditions you and your family share. This Christmas season, I would also invite you to enjoy Him. I invite you to open your hearts and let the full reality of grace upon grace envelop you…capture you…awe you…humble you…and to let His story bring you even closer to His heart.

(This post contains affiliate links.)

Advent Ideas

So, maybe you are where I was and are not sure where to begin. Maybe you have already done a few things and want just a little bit more, or maybe you just want some fresh ideas. Perfect! I will gladly share some Advent ideas that dear friends shared with me.

1.  Bartholomew’s Passage: A Family’s Story for Advent by Arnold Ytreeide.
  • This is an engaging book that follows a young boy named Bartholomew as he travels across Israel in search of his family. We will see how even being held captive through slavery will not stop him from reaching Bethlehem…and it will be just in time for a special birth. There are readings for each day of the Advent season; it is a family story and devotional that aids in preparing your family’s heart for the miracle of Christmas.
  • It lets you know every week which candles to light and there is a daily reminder before each day’s reading to light the candle.
  •  We plan on reading this book as a family every evening. 
2.  Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas by Ann Voskamp.

“In the beginning is when the greatest story ever begins. The story of Christmas begins in the very beginning–because Christmas is about Jesus and Jesus’ love, which has been looking to hold you close since the very beginning of time.” – Excerpt from Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas.

  • From Christianbook.com: “Trace the epic pageantry of humankind from Adam to the Messiah! Revealing God’s unconditional love for us all, Voskamp’s guide will help your family recapture the sacredness of the Advent season. Each day, you and your children will read a Scripture passage, engage with an easy-to-understand devotion, and participate in suggested activities. Beautifully illustrated. Families with kids ages 3 to 18 will love celebrating Christ together!”
  • I plan on doing this with my children every morning, as we prepare our hearts daily for the joy and expectation of His birth.
  • Here is a link to free coloring pages and printable tree ornaments to go along with the daily readings.
3.  The Jesus StoryBook Bible, by Sally Lloyd-Jones.

“Every story whispers his name. A Bible like no other, The Jesus Storybook Bible invites children to join in the greatest of all adventures, to discover for themselves that Jesus is at the center of God’s great story of salvation–and at the center of their own story too!” – Christianbook.com

  • Here is a suggested Advent plan for The Jesus StoryBook Bible from FreeHomeschoolDeals.com.
  • I plan on using this, especially with my little one- and two-year-olds. Although my almost six-year-old will enjoy it, this one will be closest to my little ones’ level.
4.  Aside from reading:
  • I plan to play this album that a friend recently shared with me: Waiting Songs by Rain for Roots.

    From website: “These songs are about making time for waiting. The King is coming and He is already here. So we practice listening, quieting ourselves, celebrating, whispering good news, and yelling shouts of joy. In the Rain for Roots family, we practice most of all by singing to ourselves, to each other, and to our children about true things. He is coming–the Joy of Every Longing Heart. Our longing hearts. Grown-ups and children; we are the same in this. Through these songs, may God call us closer into conversation with Himself while we wait and hope with expectation. He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found.”

    • It will be perfect background music while we are playing, doing school, baking, or even while in the car. (There is also an instrumental only version.)
5.  Then, if you are looking for a fun game to do, you should try The Christmas Star From Afar.  It might make a great alternative to the Elf on the Shelf.

Here is a snippet from the website: “It encourages children to go on a hunt for their Star, similar to that of the Wise Men. Everyday the Star is hidden and the children participate in a fun hide-and-seek game to locate it. Once they have found their Star they move all Three Wise Men to its location. On Christmas morning the Three Wise Men reach their final destination when the Star is found at the stable with the newborn baby Jesus. The activity book includes a wooden Star, a full wooden nativity scene that matches the artwork of the book, and optional scripture to use throughout the month.”

  • This is available on Amazon or at your local Mardel store.

I hope you have found some helpful tips and/or ideas for your Advent season. I pray that the joy and anticipation found in our Lord and Savior overflows this Christmas season for you. May you experience the overwhelming love from the One who reached down with grace and mercy and provided a rescue—a rescue that began with a baby lying in a simple manger.

All for His glory,

Melissa W.

(Chronicles of a Keeper)

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To Moms who Homeschool and Moms who Don’t

To Moms who Homeschool and Moms who Don’t

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
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To moms who homeschool and to moms who don’t:

I see you. With only a two year old I’m not yet in your shoes, but I’m watching you. You might think that your education choices–whether homeschool, public, or private–are vastly different from one another but I see that in your hearts you are much the same. You might be doing it differently from one another but I see you both caring about your child’s education.

I know that you are both fighting for your kids.

You’re working hard to make sure that their individual needs are met. You might be fighting to make sure you have the rights to teach your child at home or you’re fighting to make sure your child’s school has the funding they need. There are many ways that you each fight for your kids.

I know you are making sacrifices.

You might be giving up square footage in your home to have space for learning areas, or you might be sacrificing a second income. You are sacrificing lunch breaks so that you can make it to “Muffins and Moms.” Or maybe you are sacrificing exciting family vacations to afford private school tuition.

Your kids mean the world to you.

Whether you homeschool or not, I truly believe that. I see you both valuing your family time and creating sweet memories. You would do anything you needed to do for your kids.

I know you have doubts and insecurities.

You feel nervous and wonder if you have what it takes to educate your kids without the support of the school system.  Maybe you feel guilty about going back to work. Sometimes you might wish you had more money so you could afford to send your kids to a Christian school. Perhaps you feel like others view you as lazy because even though you stay at home, you’ve enrolled your kids in school. You might feel like others think you’re weird and an outcast if you decided to homeschool without a support network.

I know that you question yourself, but I also know that you have convictions.

You are doing what’s best for your family, whatever that might look like. You might believe that others could benefit from what you’re doing, but you likely don’t judge. Most of the time, it’s in our own insecurities and pride that we feel judged. So I encourage you to continually pray about your child’s education path. Listen for direction from God and then go forward in confidence that you are doing what God has called you to do. Maybe you have been judged by others, but when you have spirit-filled confidence in your decisions in this life, you can get through it standing tall.

“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” —Isaiah 26:3

Isaiah 26:3

How you educate your child does not make you more or less of a mother. You were chosen and designed by God to be the mother of your children. You are enough. Our call as a parent is simple, but great:

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

No matter how you school your children, make sure you are impressing on their precious hearts the love of our great God and his powerful words. Ultimately, that is what matters the most.

Moms of school-aged children: As I watch the way you love and serve your family, I’m impressed. I’m taking notes because I know that I’ll be in your shoes all too soon. Just know, you are amazing. 

how you educate your child

 

 

To Moms Who Homeschool and moms who don't


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Boxcar Children Picnic Adventures: Experiencing Life through Books!

Boxcar Children Picnic Adventures: Experiencing Life through Books!

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.
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Today, I’m guest blogging over at Minivan Ministries, which is a blog dedicated to “Making Jesus the Driving Force in Your Family.”  If you haven’t checked out Tara’s blog before, then today is the perfect day!

Minivan Ministries has been hosting a Picnic Parade, which brings adventures in books to life through crafts, outings and taste buds.  You’ll be sure to get many great book & picnic ideas to enjoy with your family.

The Boxcar Children Picnic Adventures!

“There’s a wonderful chemistry that happens when we read out loud to our children.  Our favorite books become a secret language between us all.  We have inside jokes around them and openly discuss the characters like we’ve known them and we have adventures with them!  Yes, in our household we tend to bring parts of the stories to life either through role play or experiencing something that happened in the book that we haven’t enjoyed before.”

[Read the Rest of the Post] to learn about the adventure our family took and the wonderful picnic treat we enjoyed.

The Boxcar Children Series

Prayer

Lord, we thank you for creating family!  Through family you teach us how to laugh, to cry and to love unconditionally.  Help us to use our together time in a way that encourages our children to be nurtured in you and to learn that love allows for mistakes and growth because your forgiveness is always at hand.  In the One who longs for us all to accept his gift of grace – Amen!

Family Scriptures

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
– Moses (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
– Paul (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Torchlighters: The Robert J Thomas Giveaway {Christ In Christmas Shopping Guide}

Torchlighters: The Robert J Thomas Giveaway {Christ In Christmas Shopping Guide}

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.
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Have you ever heard of Robert Jermain Thomas?  You may not be familiar with his story, but his willingness to enter a country that would immediately execute any foreigner who stepped on their soil and secretly gift Bibles to others, brought Christ to a country that was considered impenetrable.  This is an amazing story we all need to hear.  It will bring you courage to step out in faith in your own life.

The Robert Jermain Thomas Story

Robert Jermain Thomas’ Story

Robert J. Thomas left Great Britain with his wife Carrie and went to China as missionaries because they believed God was calling them to Asia. They were prepared to give up everything to follow his calling.

When his wife died in the mission field, Robert began to doubt their calling.  It wasn’t until Robert met two Christian Korean men, who had been secretly leaving the country and returning unnoticed, that he “realized his suffering was nothing compared to need” and remembered his wife saying that they would follow no matter the cost.

With a renewed desire to light up Asia for Jesus, Robert willingly entered “the hermit kingdom,” which had previously executed 10,000 Christians and destroyed any Bibles found.  Learning this fact encouraged him all the more to simply hand out Bibles.  With this simple act, he not only handed out Bibles but handed over his life–a life that God used to turn Korea into the second largest missionary-sending nation in the world!

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Enter Now to Win The Robert Jermain Thomas Story

Torchlighters: Robert J. Thomas DVD Giveaway!

Torchlighters Heroes of the Faith DVDs Complete Set

1st 12 Episodes

The newest collection is 14 episodes.

Even if you don’t happen to be the winner of the giveaway, you can still bring this great series to your family.  The entire set of 14 DVDs is only $79.99.   Click here to find the details. My family purchased the complete set of DVDs last year for Christmas, and it has been a big hit!

All of the Torchlighters Heroes of the Faith DVDs have had a huge impact on my family and it will impact your family as well.  My kids are learning that the greatest thing we can do is to give our lives fully to Christ whatever the cost.  They get inspired by watching true-life heroes and are amazed at how God can use each “Torchlighter” in such a unique way.  This is why I am thrilled that my children enjoy watching this animated series and the documentary.  Enjoy them with your kids then dream and pray about how God will use your family in “Torchlighting” ways too!

 

Be sure to check out all the other giveaways that are part of the “Christ in Christmas Shopping Guide” and don’t forget you can enter daily to increase your chances to win!

This is not a sponsored post.  We are sharing this because it’s something we love and hope it encourages you too!

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