Homeschooling can be an overwhelming process in the beginning. You have to learn the laws of your state, find the right curriculum, figure out how to teach your child, and plan out your school year. It’s enough to make anyone want to curl up in bed with a good book! Lucky for you, I’ve created a list of 10 must-read books (plus a bonus) that will help equip you as a new homeschooler.
Why Should You Read About Homeschooling?
Part of the deschooling process for new homeschoolers is reframing your idea of what school should look like. The best way to do this is to learn about brain development, human learning behaviors, various homeschooling methods, and more. As we continue to examine education outside of traditional thought, we are able to create realistic expectations within our homeschools.
My Top 10 Book Recommendations
How Children Learn by John Holt
This classic provides a rich perspective on early learning and captures children’s natural curiosity and excitement for exploring. It offers both parents and teachers deep insight into how small children learn best and how we can nurture them. I first read this book when I earned my teaching credential and then reread it several years later at the beginning of our homeschool journey. It’s really a must-read for ALL educators.
The Brave Learner by Julie Bogart
Julie Bogart is a celebrity in the homeschooling world. Many folks use her writing curriculum in their homes, partake in her much famed Poetry Teatime, listen to her popular podcast, follow her on Instagram, and subscribe to her weekly Tea with Julie emails. Recently she published a book dispensing advice from years of homeschooling knowledge and experience, and it is magical. The Brave Learner is probably my favorite book on this list as it most closely aligns with our eclectic and relaxed style of homeschooling.
Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv
I don’t have to tell you that technology is extremely prevalent in our world today, as you’re reading this article on your laptop or hand-held device right now. Richard Louv eloquently argues for the return of natural, unstructured outdoor play to combat ADHD, depression, and other health issues and to ensure that we have future stewards for our world. This book is really eye-opening, and as homeschooling parents, we are fortunate to have the ability to provide more nature time for our kids.
The Call of The Wild + Free by Ainsley Arment
Another celebrity in the homeschooling world is Ainsley Arment. She is the founder of the popular homeschool community, Wild + Free. This book covers various homeschooling methods, offers practical advice, and encourages us to make our homes a warm learning environment that fosters wonder in our children.
The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer
If you are looking for the quintessential step-by-step instruction on homeschooling your children using the classical method, this book is for you. It teaches you how to provide a rigorous education from preschool to high school and covers each subject that should be learned. If classical education isn’t your thing (I admit it’s too rigid for us), you can still learn a lot about rigor in homeschool.
Learning How to Learn by Barbara Oakley
This book is written for kids and is based on Dr. Oakley’s popular Coursera class of the same name. If you don’t have time to take her class (which I highly recommend), then you should read this book with your kids. You and your family will learn about brain development and the tools needed to master new topics and skills successfully.
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
Another one of my favorite books! Angela Duckworth shares her research into grit and how success is not determined by how smart you are, but instead by your level of passion and perseverance. Towards the end of the book she gives some excellent ideas on how we can foster our kids’ passions and teach them to do hard things.
The Self-Driven Child by William Stixrud and Ned Johnson
Since we’re talking about passion and perseverance, the Self-Driven Child examines how our desire to micromanage and pressure our kids to do well, often in things they have no interest in, negatively affects their emotional and physical well-being. The book also offers advice, based on research and case studies, on how we can relinquish our grip and allow our kids to have more control over their lives, thus enabling them to be passionate, perseverant, and self-driven.
Untigering by Iris Chen
Iris Chen, who advocates for peaceful parenting and educational freedom, i.e., unschooling, is taking it even deeper. Having transitioned from an authoritarian to a conscious parent, Chen draws from her experience to guide readers through their own transformation journey with sage advice and insights.
Minimalist Homeschooling by Zara Fagen
Homeschooling can be overwhelming with all the curriculum choices, resources, and overabundance of information on the web. With Minimalist Homeschooling, Dr. Fagen offers advice and tips on creating a simple homeschool by being intentional with our time and focus. Within the book are worksheets you can use to help you plan intentionally for the school year. Note: The author also shares her faith within the pages but keeps it minimal compared to most other nonsecular homeschool books.
And a Bonus (because I can’t stick to even numbers!)
Atomic Habits by James Clear
Good habits are essential for a smooth homeschooling experience. Not only do kids need to develop routines, but homeschooling parents need to carve out regular time for themselves. None of these can happen without developing good habits. Read this book to further learn about habit stacking, improving in 1% increments, and more.
I hope you found this list of 10 must-read homeschooling books helpful and encouraging. These books really resonated with me, and my wish is that they will do the same for you. Homeschooling can be overwhelming, but it can help ease the anxiety of educating your own children with the right books in your toolbelt.
Have you read any of these yet? If so, which ones resonated with you the most?
Xuan Klevecka is a Southern California-based homeschool mom, wife, and sometimes purveyor of vintage goods. She’s an Enneagram 5w4, a lover of good food, and a former middle school history teacher. You’ll either find her looking at road maps and daydreaming about her family’s next epic adventure or perusing recipes and cooking up a feast for the brood.