Whether you’re just dipping your toe into the homeschool world or you’ve been swimming in this pool for a while, we could all use a confidence boost now and then. One of the best ways to feel more empowered with your education choices? Learning about all the different ways to educate a child!
Our curriculum was designed by borrowing our favorite ideas from a variety of philosophies to create the best mix of educational opportunities for your family. As you work through Learn + Live Unit studies, you have the opportunity to test many of these methods and evaluate which resonate best with your kids.
Of course, we also recommend doing your own research to dig deeper into the philosophies that interest you. To get you started, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite books about the most common viewpoints in home education. As you work your way through these books, keep in mind: We’re not saying you need to do all these things—we’re trying to show you that there are so. many. ways. to homeschool. You just need to find what works for you!
Best book for Unschooling: How Children Learn by John Holt
This book will open your eyes to the world of unschooling. John Holt was a writer, teacher, and leading figure in educational reform, first as an advocate for more individualized, student-centered classrooms, then later as a founder of the homeschooling movement. He writes about his insights on the nature of early learning. Holt was the first to make clear that, for small children, “learning is as natural as breathing.” In this delightful yet profound book, he looks at how we learn to talk, to read, to count, and to reason, and how we can nurture and encourage these natural abilities in our children. For more on unschooling, click here to read the impact that unschooling has had on this contributor and her family.
The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home by Susan Wise Bauer
The Well-Trained Mind is more than a curriculum—it’s a way to take Classical Education and turn it into a rigorous, comprehensive education at home. What we love about this approach and this book is how the author distinguishes the way a child learns reading, writing, and language arts in the early years. The idea of copywork which often appears in our units comes from this method of homeschooling. Her history curriculum has also been a staple in many homeschooling homes. For more on this method of homeschooling, click here to read the experience of one of our contributors with The Well-Trained Mind.
This book summarizes the Charlotte Mason approach to education. We love the literature-rich approach to this century-old educational philosophy, as well as the encouragement to incorporate nature study and book narration. Andreola draws on her many years of homeschooling the “Charlotte Mason way” to teach readers how to recognize a “living book”, use narration, appreciate great art, classical music, and poetry. (Note: This book is written with a Christian slant, but there are many secular curriculums that follow a Charlotte Mason approach to learning.)
The Montessori Method by Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori revolutionized early education by putting the child in the center—letting them determine the pace and allowing them to make connections and discoveries naturally and with minimal interference. This book helps to break down the original methods and intentions of this popular philosophy. Want a taste of Montessori before diving in to the book? Click here for five principles of Montessori from our contributor.
Rhythms of Learning: What Waldorf Education Offers Children, Parents & Teachers by Rudolf Steiner and Roberto Trostli
Waldorf Education takes the whole child and their development into account through education—including their physiology and how the child-teacher relationship evolves over time. If you’re looking for a philosophy that prioritizes nature, art, and practical skills, we highly recommend checking out this book. Want to know more? Don’t miss our contributor’s post on the basics of Waldorf Education here.
Uncovering the Logic of English: A Common-Sense Approach to Reading, Spelling, and Literacy by Denise Eide.
This book will transform how you think about reading, spelling, and the English language. It is a must-read for every educator (and, if you fall in love with it, they also offer a curriculum for reading and language arts). Even more than the curriculum, though, this book challenges the notion that English is illogical by systematically explaining English spelling and answering questions like “Why is there a silent E in have, large, and house?” and “Why is discussion spelled with -sion rather than -tion?” It uncovers the English language in a clear way and is incredibly helpful to parents as they teach their child to read, write, and spell.
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