I read a LOT of books when I was beginning the journey of home education. I found myself with a child who would not be going back to school after his first grade year, and two little girls who were preschool (and younger). EEK! I had some freakout moments. And then I read, and read, and read some more. Some of the books were really helpful and some were not. Here is a list of the books that (IMO) offer the best advice and ways to devise a plan. In no particular order…
1. How Children Learn by John Holt. I could read just about anything by John Holt and find it helpful and informative. I just happen to think this is the best of his books.
2. Home Learning Year by Year by Rebecca Rupp. This is an essential guide. It can literally help you devise a plan for your child’s education and it offers some sage advice along the way. However, home learning needs to be tailored to what works for *your* family, so as you read any book, realize that adaptations and changes are part of the process.
3. What Your _________ Grader Needs to Know (Core Knowledge Series). These books are excellent resources! If you are concerned about benchmarks and what a typical course of study may be at any grade level, they’re awesome! They tell you what your child *should* know (according to whatever standard, take it with a grain of salt). If you feel like you want to “stay on track” then these are the books for you!
4. How to Get Your Child Off the Refrigerator and On to Learning by Carol Barnier. Hands down, this is one of the most helpful books I have read….ever! It is loaded with useful tips and actual methods to help you teach a child who may have a hard time sitting still or dealing with a traditional class setting. It’s bloody brilliant. Not only that, but she allows you to copy and print some of her best ideas from the back (for personal use only). Love, love, love!
5. Games for ___________ by Peggy Kaye. She has several of these books and I actually recommend reading the individual books (Reading, Writing, & Math) over this general learning book which takes snippets from each of those. You can read about homeschooling all day long, but what you really need are fun and creative ways to approach the idea of learning. These books offer that.
6. A Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola. Whether you plan to use the CM method or not, this was the book that lit my heart on fire. There are some stodgy chapters – some religious, some just, well, stodgy. Those are mostly in the beginning and you can skip them. The rest of the book is just a beautiful, peaceful treat. It was this book that made me realize how relaxed and lovely our days could be. It helped me realize that quality in education is not the same as quantity. It inspired me and it set me off on the right path. If you take nothing else from this book, take the peace with you into your homeschooling days. As an added bonus, there are some excellent games (old fashioned fun!) for rainy/icky weather days when kidlets are getting restless. My family especially enjoys “Cat Tiggy.”