Discussion Forums - Homeschoolers' Corner Homeschoolers' Corner

Topic: Best books ABOUT homeschooling?

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: Best books ABOUT homeschooling?
Date Posted: 2/9/2008 11:47 PM ET
Member Since: 2/3/2008
Posts: 39
Back To Top

I'm filling up my wishlist. I've read many of the classics (John Holt, etc.), but not as many newer books on homeschooling. My oldest is nearly 3, so we're moving toward the stage where we will actually be homeschooling and not just thinking about it. Practical advice of the "how do you organize your day" sort would be best, but I'm interested in theoretical books too!

We are coming from the secular/liberal/alternative school side of things, so I'm more interested in those kinds of books, but I don't mind a Christian perspective (as long as it doesn't take up the whole book, IYKWIM).

Date Posted: 2/9/2008 11:54 PM ET
Member Since: 6/10/2007
Posts: 10,401
Back To Top

Using the web for this sort of thing will really net you more accurate results.

By secular/liberal/alternative school you sound like you mean unschooling. You could start with googling Unschooling Schedules for starters, although that's really an oxymoron.


Date Posted: 2/10/2008 12:05 AM ET
Member Since: 2/3/2008
Posts: 39
Back To Top

I don't want to say we've chosen a style when we're not doing it yet, but I like the idea of a secular Well-Trained Mind curriculum better than unschooling. Honestly, I'm not a big fan of unschooling.

What I'm looking for here is recommendations on which books are best ... I mean, I searched "homeschooling" here on pbs and got like 1000 results.


Date Posted: 2/10/2008 1:23 AM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2006
Posts: 2,157
Back To Top

We started with the Well-Trained Mind, but it was a ton of sitting, writing.  Too much for us, although my son had an amazing attention span.  You might want to explore Charlotte Mason - still a classical model, wonderful focus on learning in and from nature, short intense lessons vs. lots of busy work.  The method also emphasises reading classic children literature aloud. It's a great way to learn especially with young children.  There is tons of information (much clearer than mine!) available on the web.  I'm happy to answer any questions.

Good luck!

Date Posted: 2/10/2008 9:47 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 422
Back To Top

The Teenagers Liberation Handbook might be interesting reading as it sounds more in keeping with your philosophy.  This is by Grace Llewellyn. I realize you don't have a teen, but I think the book would be useful. Although I am much more conservative than the author, I did find the book useful. Google the title and you will find some reviews.  I must say that I am not an unschooler, it doesn't fit with my temperment nor my children's, but I do see the benefit of interest-led learning and utilize this somewhat in guiding my teens in their choice of activities and classes. You could also look up some books by Cafi Cohen who was also an unschooling pioneer and was fairly successful at it.

I would send you my copies, but I lent them out and never got it back. They are usually heavily wishlisted on PBS, so you might as well just buy the ones you think you'll want.

Date Posted: 2/10/2008 12:49 PM ET
Member Since: 2/3/2008
Posts: 39
Back To Top

Thanks ... I actually have that one already. :) I do like it a lot, although I'm not really on board with total unschooling.

Subject: "Homeschooling for Excellence"
Date Posted: 2/10/2008 5:56 PM ET
Member Since: 10/3/2007
Posts: 1,056
Back To Top


Take a look at this one. "Homeschooling For Excellence". You can look inside it at amazon.com   This one is considered to be a classic now.

"Role models for a generation of homeschoolers, David and Micki Colfax are teachers turned ranchers who taught their four sons at home in the 1970s and '80s and schooled three of them into Harvard. Isolation on their northern California homestead forced them into the experience, but this resourceful family eventually discovered all kinds of advantages to home education. Like a modern-day Little House on the Prairie, the Colfax children learned about geometry while constructing outbuildings on their ranch, explored aspects of chemistry and biology as they improved their livestock and garden, and generally discovered the value of self-reliance as they went about life without TV or neighbors. Their world is described in clear, warm words that illustrate the fondness these parents and children possess for each other. Family photos grouped throughout the book show the boys working and learning together.

The Colfaxes don't purport to be experts; they don't prescribe a formula for their success. Rather, their experience is described as a trial-and-error effort, with some of their mistakes offered up as lessons for others. The value of critically examining textbooks in advance, for instance, is learned after one son falls behind in algebra using a schoolbook that touts "new math" principles. The Colfaxes' philosophy is that every child is gifted. Parents don't need to be certified teachers to teach them (although it does ward off doubters). But, despite the contention of some homeschoolers, the Colfaxes do caution that teaching at home requires much time and money--and they don't advise it for single parents or most working women. Any parent interested in connecting with his or her child, however, will find the Colfax take on life an enjoyable and enlightening read. The couple closes the book with an appendix of suggested references for building a family library and a delightful list of their children's favorite books. --Jodi Mailander Farrell  "

Date Posted: 2/13/2008 5:19 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2006
Posts: 181
Back To Top

Try this. Go to amazon and input your favorite book. Then look at the section where Amazon suggests other titles that other customers liked.

Also you can go to Rainbow Resource Center's website and browse the category for homeschooling books.

Two of my favorites are essays showing the life of  a family in one day, telling what they do, how and why. First is Homeschooling a patchwork of days and the 2nd is HOmeschool Open House. The second one follows up a few years later with nearly all the original familes plus has about 25 new families. Both edited by Nancy Lande.


Subject: Favorite hs authors
Date Posted: 3/13/2008 8:53 PM ET
Member Since: 3/7/2008
Posts: 114
Back To Top

Here are some of the authors that I appreciate:

Clarkson, Sally 

Beechick, Ruth

The one book that I want to get my hands on is A Thomas Jefferson Education by DeMille (I think).

Last Edited on: 3/14/08 8:30 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/17/2008 8:19 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2008
Posts: 662
Back To Top

Have you checked out Charlotte Mason books? 

Date Posted: 3/17/2008 11:52 PM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2008
Posts: 24
Back To Top

Ruth Beechick books would be my suggestion. Especially her "An Easy Start In" series. She really gives you the "meat" of what you need to be doing with your children prek through 3rd grade.

Date Posted: 3/18/2008 2:23 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2006
Posts: 2,157
Back To Top

Christine - I love both of those books (Patchwork of Days and Open House) and have read them over and over.

Subject: books I enjoyed
Date Posted: 3/18/2008 6:05 PM ET
Member Since: 10/25/2005
Posts: 6
Back To Top

I enjoyed Homeschooling For Dummies.She gave great pointers and it was funny also.She did classical schooling with her kids but she explains how others do it also.I also have the well trained mind which I follow  I just don't follow her schedules they are too intense.We do what we can.Karin

Date Posted: 3/19/2008 5:33 PM ET
Member Since: 9/19/2007
Posts: 114
Back To Top

A Mind at a Time by Mel Levine, MD is an excellent book for homeschoolers.  It really helps when you hit a wall in teaching, as it talks alot about learning obstacles and how to work around them. 

I also like Home Learning Year by Year by Rebecca Rupp.  It gives you an idea of what they should be learning each year.  I don't follow it exactly, but it's nice to have a gauge, and it also has resources.

I also use our state's Department of Education which lists the standards for each year.

Subject: Don't know many secular titles to recommend, but here are a few...
Date Posted: 3/21/2008 4:10 PM ET
Member Since: 3/12/2007
Posts: 5
Back To Top

Have you read The Way They Learn (I think the author's last name is Tobias)?  It's more of a theoretical book, but it has some interesting ideas for setting up the area where your child will be doing most of his/her learning.  We put quite a few of the ideas to work for us, and it helped me not to be quite as worried about what time of day or in which room they're learning, as long as they're learning.  I've also heard that the Write Your Own Curriculum series by Jenifer O'Leary is very good for organizational ideas, though I haven't yet read it myself (albeit, I probably should--I could really use some organizational skills).

I am now off to look up Homeschooling at the Speed of Life, which also sounds like it may be similar to what you're asking--how to schedule homeschooling into your normal, daily routine (or vice versa!).  If I find a copy, you are welcome to it when I'm through!  ;-)

Last Edited on: 3/21/08 4:10 PM ET - Total times edited: 1