Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Top 5 Books to Refresh your Homeschool




 I have always wanted to homeschool my children. I grew up going to public school, but one of my best friends was homeschooled, as were my cousins. I loved how they spent so much time with their family. They were also able to explore their own interests. I was one of those "smart" kids that never had to pay attention in class or study to get straight As, but I was bored out of my mind in school. I wanted to give my children a childhood of wonder, excitement, and learning without boundaries. I realize that not everyone has that same excitement about getting started. For some, the thought of homeschooling is completely overwhelming. I can't even tell you how many times I have heard, "I could never homeschool my kids!" And then 2020 hit and most of my friends that said they could never do it, found themselves doing it whether they wanted to or not. But even though I have always wanted to homeschool, I have still gone through seasons when homeschooling has been weary, difficult, and seemingly impossible. I have doubted, questioned, and threated to send my kids to school. So whether you are just trying to get started (and struggling with diving in), or are a seasoned homeschool mom looking for some encouragement, here are some of my favorite books:

THE CALL OF THE WILD AND FREE: RECLAIMING WONDER IN YOUR CHILD'S EDUCATION

This book covers just about everything about homeschooling and would be a great resource for someone just starting out. At 336 pages, it is not a quick read. In fact, I gave up on trying to read it and listened to it on Audible. The book is split into four main sections: The Mission, The Myth, The Manner, and The Method. She covers all the various forms of home education, so if you have heard terms thrown about like Classical, Charlotte Mason, Waldorf, etc., and you have no idea what those are or what kind you are, then this is the book for you. However, I listened to this book after seven years of homeschooling and still found very practical advice and a lot of encouragement. 

TEACHING FROM REST: A HOMESCHOOLER'S GUIDE TO UNSHAKEABLE PEACE

This book is a quick read, and highly recommended for the weary mom or for someone going through a season when they are questioning whether they are able to homeschool. I first read this book years ago when I was battling Lyme and had a bunch of little ones, and have read it many times since. We had not been homeschooling for long and already my mind was filling with fear and anxiety. I was trying to force "school" but was too tired to put any kind of energy or enthusiasm into it. In attempting to do too much, we were accomplishing nothing at all. When you feel like you are suffocating and drowning in all of life, take a deep breath and read this book.

THE READ-ALOUD FAMILY: MAKING MEANINGFUL AND LASTING CONNECTIONS WITH YOUR KIDS

Written by the same author as Teaching From Rest, Sarah Mackenzie, this book gives practical how-to advice and will make you fall in love with books. This book and her podcast (Read-Aloud Revival) is why I add so many books to every unit we do in our homeschool. Even in seasons when we are not accomplishing very much book work, we can read together, which leads to lasting connections, meaning conversations, and ultimately learning.

HOMESCHOOL BRAVELY: HOW TO SQUASH DOUBT, TRUST GOD, AND TEACH YOUR CHILDREN WITH CONFIDENCE

This book is not as "pep-talky" as some of the other books, as she does take a bold approach in calling her readers to homeschool bravely, but it is thought-provoking, convicting, and helped get this weary momma back on track. It is all about examining why you homeschool and remembering your calling. She calls us to lean on God and stop comparing ourselves to others on Social Media.

THE BRAVE LEARNER: FINDING EVERYDAY MAGIC IN HOMESCHOOL, LEARNING, AND LIFE

Our homeschool used to be full of lots of travel, field trips, play dates, and adventures, but when the shutdowns happened in 2020, we started to fall into a dull, monotonous routine. Sure, we accomplished a ton of book work, but I began to see the spark and love of learning leave our children. (It also probably did not help that we had a newborn and I was exhuasted). This book reignited the spark and gave us practical ways to find everyday magic in our homeschool (even without leaving the home). It encourages you to say "yes" more, to pick up new hobbies, try new things, and break from the "mold". This book is great for anyone who has found their homeschool to be someone dull. I also believe this would be a great book for parents whose kids are home doing virtual school (or who have decided to pull their kids from school this year and are homeschool for the first time), to add some adventure, curiosity, and excitement to learning. This book is a little bit longer than the some of the others (320 pages), so if you are a busy momma like me you may prefer to listen on Audible.


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