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.
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.
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!