Parent Must-Reads

The titles on this page are considered Parent “Must-Reads” by most pioneer homeschoolers. It is essential that you establish (and maintain) firm convictions as to why you are homeschooling so you can remain steadfast during times of discouragement or when you face opposition from family, friends, or the government.

I recommend that you read the first two titles before anything else. Then read the rest in any order that interests you

Simply click on the title to view more detail, readers’ comments, and to purchase if you wish.

Gifted: Raising Children Intentionally includes subjects I have shared during my 30 years as a conference speaker. The book also contains many of my favorite stories. Chapter One, What Is a Child? will help newer homeschoolers (and the simply curious) to understand the real reasons most pioneer homeschoolers chose to raise their own children at home. This critical understanding is often missing in today’s homeschooling and is why today’s homeschoolers are simply replicating the public school at home and, thereby, missing what God intended the homeschooling movement to accomplish.

I Saw the Angel in the Marble includes chapters by Chris and Ellyn Davis and others. It has been a homeschool best-seller since its publication and includes the chapter by Ellyn Davis, Homeschooling Teaching Approaches, which describes the various approaches families follow when homeschooling their children (along with questions to determine which approach is right for your family as well as the strengths and weaknesses of each approach). This chapter, alone, has been republished in virtually every homeschool publication.

Homeschool Approaches:

Homeschoolers are often grouped by the Approach they use to homeschool. Ellyn Davis was one of the first to recognize these different homeschooling approaches. She writes about each approach in the book I Saw the Angel in the Marble (order book from the link above), giving the strengths and weaknesses of each and including suggestions for parents to recognize which approach might be the right “fit” for their family’s educational worldview. Below is a list of what are usually considered the most common teaching approaches along with one of the more prominent books relating to each. NOTE: Although I have included only one title for each approach, there are many titles, as well as many authors, writing about each one. If you are interested in a particular approach to homeschooling, Google that approach and find other titles that will further help you understand that approach. You may also wish to listen to an interview I did some time ago with each of these authors. Click on the drop-down link Listen to Interviews FREE at the top of this page directly under my picture. 

Here are the most common Homeschool Teaching Approaches:

1. Identity-Directed Approach: Gifted: Raising Children Intentionally.

2. Charlotte Mason (or Living Books) Approach: Educating the WholeHearted Child — Third Edition

3. Lifestyle of Learning Approach: Wisdom’s Way of Learning

4. Relaxed Homeschool Approach: The Relaxed Home School: A Family Production

5. Unit Studies Approach: Unit Studies Made Easy

6. Principle Approach: Renewing the Mind for Teaching and Learning: Self-Directed Study in the Principle Approach®

7. Classical Approach: Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style

8. Unschooling Approach: How Children Learn (Classics in Child Development)

Other Parent Must-Reads:

10 Gifts of Wisdom: What Every Child Must Know Before They Leave Home is a little book I read as soon as it was published. I was so impressed with its content I referenced it several times in my book Gifted. The book already had almost 50 5-star reviews after having been out only a few weeks!

Better Late Than Early: A New Approach to Your Child’s Education by Dr. Raymond Moore. In the 1960’s, Dr. Moore was involved in President John Kennedy’s Head Start Program, researching early childhood learning. What Dr. Moore discovered was that children needed to begin their educational process later, rather than earlier, as Head Start was promoting. His writings led him to become affectionately known as the Father of Homeschooling.

Dreamers, Discoverers & Dynamos: How to Help the Child Who Is Bright, Bored and Having Problems in School (Formerly Titled ‘The Edison Trait’). Child psychologist, Dr. Lucy Jo Palladino, has spent a career researching “distractedness” in children and has concluded that those who are the most distracted are often the most gifted (and the most bored). Read to see if one of your children just might be a Dreamer, a Discoverer, or a Dynamo. You may find yourself in this book, too, as did I.

Discover Your Child’s Learning Style. One mother wrote, “This is the most important book I have read in six years of homeschooling.” Does your child learn best at a certain time of day or study better alone? There are more aspects to a student’s learning style than the simple modes of visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. A “learning style profile” takes into account a child’s talents, interested, preferred learning environment, and disposition, as well as the three familiar modes. Test included.

Discover Your Children’s Gifts. Part of training our children is discovering whom God them to be and the “works” He created them to do. This book looks at the spiritual gifts latent in each child and explains how parents can recognize and best develop these gifts for useful service. Based on Proverbs 22:6 and Romans 12:6-8, it discusses how gifting affects communication, career possibilities, and more.

A Different Kind of Teacher: Solving the Crisis of American Schooling. John Taylor Gatto wrote the foreword to my first book, I Saw the Angel in the Marble. John taught middle school in the New York City School System and received multiple Teacher-of-the Year awards. After teaching for 30 years, John was recognized as the New York State Teacher-of-the-Year. This book contains speeches and articles from Gatto, including his acceptance speech when receiving the NY Teacher-of-the-Year award. The speech is a scathing denunciation of public schooling and ended his career. Since then, John has become an avid homeschooling advocate. An insightful book into the public school from an insider.

For the Children’s Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay. If you only read one book about the Charlotte Mason approach to education, let this be the one! In a wonderfully uplifting way, Mrs. Macaulay shares how education can be “the diet that opens doors for each child to build a relationship with God, other persons, and the universe.”

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Dr. Gary Chapman has been a best-seller for years. My eldest son read it and declared, “Dad, you need to read this book!” Of course, I did, and I can say it remains helpful even years later. Apparently each one of us has a specific way we feel loved and, simply knowing this information, does amazing things in a relationship. A really fun read.

The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance by Gary Smalley and John Trent. In the Bible, the parents’ blessing was especially powerful, often defining the course of a child’s lie. This book discusses how a parent’s words can shape identity for good or evil, and how what we speak over our children can help them become who God means them to be. It also shares the heartache a lack of parental blessing can bring, and how we can confer a blessing upon our children.

What is a Family? is another classic by Edith Schaeffer that is called “inspiring and wonderful”. Edith Schaeffer makes the reader love and appreciate the importance of family. Each chapter describes the family in a different way. For example, there is a chapter called, A Museum of Memories, which explains the importance of making happy memories for your children and some ideas on how to do it. Another chapter is called, A Perpetual Relay of Truth. The chapter, A Shelter in a Time of Storm, makes one feel honored to be caring for a sick or needy family member. Edith has other chapters defining the family in other ways, including a place of education, an economic unit, etc.

Try Giving Yourself Away. This little booklet was originally written in the 1920’s and excerpted in magazines across the country. It, like How to Win Friends and Influence People, is a classic that should be read as a family.

How to Win Friends & Influence People. For more than sixty years the rock-solid, time-tested advice in this book has carried thousands of now famous people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives. Now this previously revised and updated bestseller is available in trade paperback for the first time to help you learn to relate to others. Read is as a family along with Try Giving Yourself Away.

Ruth Beechick’s books: We have recently lost one of homeschooling’s pioneer authors whose books have been classics since the beginning of the homeschooling movement. The following 2 offerings have been treasured by homeschoolers for decades:

  • The Three R’s. Three resources in one: READING, WRITING, and ARITHMETIC! Learn how to take the mystery out of teaching the early grades with this practical, down-to-earth guidebook from Ruth Beechick. The book is divided into three sections that are tabbed for easy reference. The READING section tells how and when to begin phonics, and how to develop comprehension skills. The LANGUAGE section shows how to develop written language skills naturally, in the same way children learn oral language. The ARITHMETIC section explains how to teach understanding of math concepts, and not just memorization of facts. Bonus: A removable 2-sided wall chart for phonics and arithmetic.
  • You Can Teach Your Child Successfully: Grades 4-8. This classic gives nitty-gritty help for each subject in each grade. Become an informed, confident teacher, free from rigid textbooks. Learn how to individualize spelling; how to use “real books” in history, reading, and other studies; how to make arithmetic meaningful; how to avoid the grammar treadmill; how to develop advanced reading skills; and much more. Satisfied readers say “I wish I had had this three years ago when I began homeschooling . . . the most practical manual I’ve ever read on the subject . . . The simplicity of it all! I don’t think any homeschooler should be without it.”




2 Responses to Parent Must-Reads

  1. What a fabulous list! You are 100% right in your analysis of the new generation of homeschool parents. The attitude has always been there, but it has accelerated greatly. These poor parents are so vulnerable to the homeschool hucksters that just want to sell their product whether it is appropriate or not. I would humbly submit two favorites of mine for your consideration: The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook by Raymond and Dorothy Moore (detailing the wonderful Moore Formula) and Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child by Anthony Esolen.

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