Written by contributor Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy
For weary homeschooling parents, summer is a great time to rest, re-group, and remember why you chose to homeschool in the first place. I don’t know about you, but nothing kindles my enthusiasm for a subject more effectively than a good book.
Come July, my enthusiasm for homeschooling needs some kindling.
That’s why, every summer, I like to stock my bookshelves (and my beach bag) with books that remind we why we chose this homeschooling path, inspire me to do better, and encourage me for the upcoming school year.
1. The Well Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home, Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise.
Every time I re-read this modern classic, I have two thoughts:
1. This is the education I want my kids to have, and
2. This is the education I wish I had had.
(We don’t hew strictly to the guidelines set out in this book: we call our own philosophy “classical unschooling,” and it’s less structured than what’s set forth here. But nothing beats WTM for inspiration, in my book.)
2. Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child, Anthony Esolen.
As a homeschooling family, we often feel like we’re swimming against the cultural tides.
This smart, witty, and encouraging book reminds me that’s not a bad thing, and will inspire you to thoughtfully evaluate the ways you educate your kids at home.
3. The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way, Amanda Ripley.
As a homeschooler, you may think a book about the public education system in three countries isn’t important to you.
But I found this journalistic account of three American exchange students who spend a year in the countries with the best public education systems today (Finland, South Korea and Poland) a fascinating way to examine how to create a culture that values education — whether that’s in a public school classroom, or my own home.
This book is about public school, but the takeaways for home educators are everywhere. (Spoiler alert: Ask your kids questions. Talk with them about books and science and the news. And weekly trips to the local bookstore won’t hurt.)
4. The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How, Daniel Coyle.
Coyle examines how to help kids, athletes, business people, or anyone maximize their potential by focusing on 3 key elements: coaching, motivation and practice. Those abstract concepts spring to life with easy-to-grasp, easy-to-implement examples that will change the way you coach, parent and practice your own stuff.
If you want to skip the theory and cut to the how-to, go straight to the stand-alone companion book, The Little Book of Talent: 52 tips for improving your skills.
5. All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood, Jennifer Senior.
Homeschoolers experience the challenges of parenting plus the challenges of teaching, every day. Taking a step back to evaluate why parenting is hard — and why it’s worth it — can give you the steam you need to keep going, while helping you find the fun and the joy of parenting.
(For further reading, check out these 5 classic homeschool reads to encourage you. And for goodness sake, make time to read a book just for the fun of it. This list of breezy novels is a good place to start.)
What books fire YOU up to start another school year? Share your favorites in comments!