Top 10 Books for Homeschoolers

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I get lots of comments and emails from my Homeschool 101 Series. One of the most common requests is for books or help finding more information- so today I want to share with you my top 10 books for homeschoolers. These books are either books that will serve you well over the years, teach you to teach, or be a resource to help you along the way.

Books all homeschoolers should read- these look great!


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

The Well-Trained Mind is an awesome starting place, even if you don’t think you want to be a classical homeschooler. Susan Wise Bauer has wonderful, encouraging ideas on how and why to homeschool; as well as practical advice on how to get it done for each stage of learning. There are even specific curriculum recommendations and book lists for the kids.

This one book can serve you well for years, with all your children; and is a book I personally return to each year, especially when planning our curriculum choices.




2. Uncovering the Logic of English: A Common-Sense Approach to Reading, Spelling, and Literacy

Uncovering the Logic of English is a fabulous book that finally makes sense of the English language. The author researched English and how it works, and was able to break it down to a system that makes sense.

If you have a child who is learning to read, learning to spell, or struggling with spelling (or, if you struggle with spelling yourself), this is the book to start with. This is not a sit down in the bubble bath kind of book; rather, this is a book to read with a highlighter in hand. It can make an incredible difference in teaching English, and is one of the books I recommend all homeschoolers take a closer look at.




3. Deconstructing Penguins: Parents, Kids, and the Bond of Reading

Deconstructing Penguins is a book that will teach you how to read literature with your children. This book teaches you how to look at literature with children and teach them the important literary elements- like conflict, character, climax, and setting.

The book gives concrete examples from book clubs the authors hold, which allows you to really get a feel for how to have these conversations with your own children. My own experiences reading with my kids is so much more rich now that I know how to lead a conversation about the books we are reading.



4. Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics: Teachers’ Understanding of Fundamental Mathematics in China and the United States (Studies in Mathematical Thinking and Learning Series)

This book explains asian math methods- but you don’t have to be using Singapore Math to gain a huge benefit from it. This book shows both american and asian math models, explaining how both work, in a very balanced way. There are lots of examples, and you’ll learn a ton from it.

This book will help you see many different ways to solve problems, and give you ideas to teach your children in the most effective way possible.


5. The Homegrown Preschooler: Teaching Kids in the Places They Live

If you have a toddler or preschooler, you need this book on your shelves. You don’t need a big, fancy curriculum to teach young kids. This picture heavy book will show you how to convert your home into an ideal learning environment, as well as provide you with ideas you can use right now to teach your kids.

This book even has recipes, project ideas, and lesson ideas; all in a simple, clear way. This is one of those books that will leave you feeling inspired instead of overwhelmed. You’ll refer back to it again and again and again- it’s worth every penny.



6. The Nature Connection: An Outdoor Workbook for Kids, Families, and Classrooms

The Nature Connection is a book I blog about often- it’s just such a simple, realistic way to teach science with kids. It’s broken down by season, and gives fantastic concrete ideas to teach science with what you have.

You don’t need  a curriculum if you have this 10 dollar book. You just read the section for the month you’re in, grab the kids, and head outside. We use it along with some very basic notebooking pages, and take tons of pictures. We’ve made an awesome science notebook and tons of memories the kids and I will cherish for years.

Bonus points because you can use it year after year!


7. The Complete Writer: Writing with Ease

The Complete Writer is another gem from Susan Wise Bauer. It explains how to teach writing at home across the curriculum. Meaning, writing instruction is not something you do separately from your other studies. Writing is something you do while teaching history, or learning science concepts, or reading a good book.

With writing streamlined into the rest of your studies, you’ll save time and money. You can buy workbooks that lay out this program for you, but then it’s no longer as easy as just using the book as a resource for Mom and writing along with your other studies.



8. Science: The Definitive Visual Guide

(Equally good- History: The Definitive Visual Guide (From The Dawn of Civilization To The Present Day))

This book is a big, fat, picture heavy encyclopedia of everything science. It’s not a book you read, but the best reference book you could ever buy. You won’t need another one, ever (if you get it in hardback- this thing is HUGE so don’t waste your time on the paperback version). You can use it to self educate quickly before teaching the kids, or if you have a child like mine, they will spend hours happily pouring over the pictures and text teaching themselves. Bonus points because The Well Trained Mind and The Complete Writer will teach you how to use this book effectively for teaching science and writing.


9. The Annotated Mona Lisa: A Crash Course in Art History from Prehistoric to Post-Modern

I get it, you think Art is hard to teach at home. Only, it’s really not. This book makes art and art history easy. It’s chronological, and has a solid index, so if you’re learning about the american revolution, you can quickly pull it up in this book, open to the right page, and get just enough information to talk to your kids about art from that time period and sound like you know what you’re doing. With a little creativity, you can easily do art projects with the information from this book. If you aren’t so creative, pair it with Discovering Great Artists: Hands-On Art for Children in the Styles of the Great Masters (Bright Ideas for Learning).



10.Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong

I’ll just say first that this book is not for everyone (the amazon reviews are pretty split)- but I do think everyone should take a look at it. It’s written by a man who spent quite a few years looking over American History textbooks, and found all were very lacking in accurate information. This book explores events and trends in American History and talks about the social and politcal implications.

Personally, I found it eye opening, and it’s helped me find ways to teach history to the kids without relying only on the fairy tale version of what happened. History can be an ugly thing, but I don’t really feel like it’s a good idea to pretend like it didn’t happen. The kids aren’t ready for a lot of what is in this book (it is more appropriate for parents of middle and high school students) but for now, I am using it to help me self-educate. I highly recommend it.


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  1. I just read “Make it Stick” It was a big eye opener. It talks about the scientificly proven ways to best learn, what works as opposed to what we just Think is working. I think all homeschoolers would benefit from reading it.

  2. Yes! Yes! The Nature Connection is GREAT! And it is definitely a complete nature curriculum.
    We had ours for several years, sitting on a shelf, but when we decided to quit our public school at home charter and go out on our own this year, we pulled it off the shelf and have been at it every week!
    I am so shocked I haven’t come across more posts about it…?
    Thanks for the list. I’ll be checking these out.

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