Chances are if you are a homeschooling mom, you have an entire library devoted to the science of homeschooling.
Unschooling? Classical Homeschooling? Homeschooling through a Charter? With a curriculum? What’cha got?So, these are a few books that I LOVE:
1) The ESV Study Bible
Let me start this off by making this clear: I am not pulling this out to be superior. This is not a post of, “Look! I am an awesome person who reads the BIBLE!” I will admit I am a little skeptical of people who automatically say the Bible is the #1 book that helps them with homeschooling, because I’m just a naturally skeptical person. I require logic and reason (good reason, to boot) to support decisions and beliefs, I am putting it on here to be completely honest with you: I rely on the wisdom in the Bible to help me every day.
I can get moody during the day. I can get pretty cynical and moody. I can get cynical, moody and broody about things. Plus, I’m an introvert, so I just keep all these lovely things to myself. The problem is that I am in a house with 5 other people (not including Ben, the saint who has named himself as my “handler,” and rightfully so). 5 other innocent, loving and vulnerable people whom I am teaching. It is my intention to raise them with wisdom that does lead them toward curiosity with a healthy shake of skepticism, but not so much that they enter cynicism. I want them to be able to say, “I wonder…” followed by a good supporting argument, without entering the realm of, “that can’t work” or worse, “that’s stupid.”
“The simple believes everything,
but the prudent gives thought to his steps.” (Proverbs 14:15, ESV)
I have very high expectations for all of us, and it takes a wisdom I absolutely don’t have to get through the day.
Here’s a good example from just this week:
“The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.” (Proverbs 14:1, ESV)
My home is my element, and it takes deliberate choices, deliberate behavior and deliberate actions every day to make the best decisions/behavior/actions. But, we all know we have “those days”…
Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean,
but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox. (Proverbs 14:4, ESV)
Listen, sometimes things get messy. But that’s what happens when you are working on a harvest!
“The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways, and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways.” (Proverbs 14:14, ESV)
This is so enormously true with parenting. Have you ever seen a 3 year old little girl, cute as anything, playing on a swing quietly…and you just have this weird feeling about her, because she never smiles. You have never seen her smile. Smiles should be second nature to 3 year olds, and yet this little girl cannot muster up the strength to smile. And then you look at her mother….and she’s not smiling either.
Your children will absolutely be the fruit of your ways, and they will follow you wherever you go. If they think being miserable or angry is the “right way” of life, they will be miserable and angry. I remember one time at a homeschooling park day when I was pushing all the kids on the swings, and there was this little, tiny 3 year old girl who just looked straight up somber. I was asking her about her favorite colors, which was her favorite princess, did she like tea parties…anything to get her to open up a little bit. I finally, gently, asked her why she was so sad and she eventually mumbled, “It’s too sunny.”
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. (Matthew 12:33, ESV)
Your children start life with you, and the foundations of what they believe and how they feel, and further how they react to situations, all begin with you.
So, let’s talk about you…actually, let’s not. No one likes being convicted on a blog.
Let’s start with me:
1 Peter 2:15 “They may see your good deeds and glorify God…For this is the will of God: that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a coverup of evil, but living as servants of God.”
Overall ideas from this chapter:
1. Honor everyone
2. Love the brotherhood
3. Fear God
4. Honor the authorities (the emperor, at the time)
In 3:8 it says to have:
1. Unity of mind
3. Brotherly love
4. A tender heart
5. A humble mind
To explain the “live as people who are free”…
“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.” (2 Peter 1:5-9, ESV)
This is really what’s going on: I have been forgiven for my sins, and I no longer need to live as if I haven’t been. I don’t need to live in denial about my sins, or live in martyrdom for my sins, or try to outshine everybody in an effort to redeem myself of past mistakes, or give up and admit defeat entirely.
I enjoy supplementing my faith through knowledge in the purpose of being fruitful in my life.
Okay, so I could talk about this for a LOT longer, but I have 4 other books to get to….!
2) “The Well Trained Mind,” by Susan Wise Bauer
This book goes through the fundamentals of homeschooling, what you want to focus on, each subject and how to get there with each one. It. Is. AWESOME. It is also very structured, which fills my soul with structured and categorized joy. This is the complete opposite of Unschooling, where you have child-led learning. The Classical approach has structured days, structured years, the Grammar Stage, the Logic Stage and the Rhetoric Stage. They also have subject books to use for curriculum, and I love them all.
3) “Start With Why,” by Simon Sinek
If you If you are homeschooling, you are a leader now. You aren’t working in a school where someone is watching over you, you don’t answer to a higher authority (at least in some states you don’t…always check your state laws!). As a leader, you have new responsibilities to the people whom you are leading. Homeschooling is so much more than just a task list of checking off what workbook you have completed. Take the initiative and be a GREAT leader!
4)as;lkf 4) “The Element,” by Sir Ken Robinson
The great thing about TED talks is finding the books these people have written! “The Element” is a relatively short book (as compared to, say, The Bible), but it is a lovely glimpse into people. What is it that people do that really gives fruit to their lives? There are people out there who LOVE welding, and they weld for a living. There are people who LOVE art, and they are artists. Personally, I LOVE teaching and learning. I love finding more information, more perspectives, more ideas and roll them around the ball of “What If?”
a; Now, if you can start discovering your kids’ Element, you guys will be in a GOOD SPOT, no two ways about it. You have all day with them…just introduce them to as many things as you can and see what sticks!
I would also recommend, “Out of Our Minds,” once you have finished “The Element.”
5) “Helping Your Kids Be Creative And Change Their World,” by Jen Burns
This was a book I could have written. It is pretty straightforward, very pragmatic and realistic.
I hate homeschooling books/sites that suggest to be creative “everywhere!” That isn’t realistic.
Realistic is knowing you have a house full of kids, of different ages and with different needs, and places to go, people to see, meals to make, laundry to do, showers to take, sleep to get, and a next day to start all over. The idea of being creative gets put on the back burner way too often, just because it isn’t as important as learning math or reading comprehension. It just isn’t. You don’t take the SAT to get into a good college and take a test on your ability to sketch. Fortunately, this book lays things out wisely….AND has some really helpful lists in the back! This is definitely a helpful book to have in your arsenal.