Homeschooling was an easy decision for our family, but it can seem like a daunting task for many. Taking this monumental role on comes with great challenges and beautiful adventures (so I like to use every opportunity to salute and congratulate all the parents who accept this incredible challenge of bravery and love: You are awesome and don’t you forget it). With that, this teacher/parent gig needs an employee orientation from time to time. Support and direction can come from peers, family or your spouse. I’m lucky enough to have my wife as the ‘school director’ and consult everything with her, but some are not as lucky. For many, the only resources for direction are websites (like the super awesome one you’re are viewing right now) and books… my favorite.
Although it’s natural for us all to feel (sometimes grossly) unprepared to embark on this long pedagogic journey, the right books can always provide comfort, direction, and peace. My wife and I don’t actually have suggestions for a book that is an end-all-be-all parenting orientation, but we have come across some pretty awesome works for parents of young children that fit many diverse parenting styles, and offer tried and true advice. Here are some favorites:
This one is a classic at our household; my father-in-law let me have his edition after nearly 20 years! This staple in the homeschooling parents’ library is a detailed explanation of essential techniques, curriculum, and resources for hands-on moms and dads. It addresses ways to motivate and inspire parents to remove their children from the sea of students that is mainstream education and take the homeschooling challenge head on, using a language-intensive process that organizes learning around the maturing capacity of the student’s mind. It’s the least contemporary one out of our selection (I’m kinda old-schooled), but it’s still an oldie but goodie.
For a clueless (sometimes hopeless) daddy of two, this book does wonders about explaining a child’s psyche. The way the authors talk about the brain, and how the child may be imbalanced in their use of the left and right brain helps parents better understand and reach their child in their emotional moments. Although the authors mainly focus on preschool age kids and older, the information provided here about the brain and how it develops over the years is pertinent for parents in all stages.
The only fictional work out of the bunch, The Homeschool Experiment is a pretty funny novel for those looking for humorous encouragement on their journey. I must be a slow reader, but some people claim to have read it in two nights! It’s that good.
This book has been around for a long time and has remained popular for good reason. It offers clear and effective phrases and prompts for parents that invite conversation, rather than let kids feel like they’re under an interrogation. I was blessed to have parents who constantly engaged me and my two siblings in meaningful conversations while we were growing up, but most adults today weren’t as fortunate. In that case, I think this book does a good job of inspiring parents to strengthen their communication skills with kids. (HINT: This one is available on Audible)
Charlotte’s advice for building habits, time outside (and what to do when you’re out), and how to fill your days is invaluable. As an added bonus, by the time you’re done with her book, if you had any feelings of inadequacy for your choice of being a stay-at-home parent, these will immediately fade. The book consists of six lectures about the raising and educating of young children (up to the age of nine), for parents and teachers, where she encourages us to spend a lot of time outdoors, immersed in nature and handling natural objects and collecting experiences on which to base the rest of their education. Generally, the author’s method of education is gentle and flexible, especially with younger children (…something many of us parents of toddlers need to fresh up on every once in a while). The book constantly explains her process of arousing curiosity and finding wonder in children’s lives, which is something I love to apply to my own kiddos.
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BONUS: Gift from the Sea
Last but certainly not least, this book is not exactly about homeschooling, but it’s a gem for those who are feeling overwhelmed with the hectic hustle and bustle of parent life. Author Anne Morrow Lindbergh shares her meditations on youth and age; love and marriage; peace, solitude, and contentment as she set them down during a brief vacation by the sea. I’ve read reviews from fellow bloggers praising the wonderful perspective that this book brought to them after being overwhelmed with triple booking, too many activities for the kids, volunteer work, housekeeping and other seemingly urgent stuff we constantly try to cram into a day.
What are your favorites? No one can ever read too much, so send us your favorite books and maybe we’ll add it to our #NoniTribe bookclub!
about the author:
Andrés is a professional, classically trained percussionist, homeschooling dad and passionate teacher. He’s also Noni’s dad and music coach. Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Andrés loves to surf, play tennis and hang out with his two (incredibly energetic and social) kids. He’s in love with life and his cool little family.