Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Books to Inspire Home Educators

We began our home education adventure in 1998 and over the years a number of books, specifically written for home educators, have proved to be a source of inspiration, practical advice, ideas and encouragement. I'm sure many of these titles already line the shelves of veteran home educators, but if you are just starting out on this journey, you may find some of these titles to be very useful resources. This post is for you!

1. The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook
by Dr Raymond & Dorothy Moore

When we first started out on our home education journey, I had not heard of Doctor Moore, one of the pioneers of home education in America, who helped numerous families discover home education. I found his book on the shelves of a Christian bookshop which is very unusual, I was used to having to order in books on homeschooling... and as it was the only copy I purchased it on the spot! After reading this book I breathed a huge sigh of relief! I learned to relax as I read chapters with titles such as 'Thinking: If You Want to Hurry It, Wait' and 'Worried about Reading and the Basics? Try This!'. As society continues to rush its children into formal learning, long before they are ready and parents are being encouraged to purchase flashcards and educational DVDs for babies, this book offers a totally different perspective. If you are feeling anxious about reading and pushing your child a 'tad too much' (something I did with my first child... he had to succeed!) or wondering why he still reverses his letter bs and ds, despite having been told on numerous occasions that he has his letters around the wrong way, Dr Moore will help you understand why! It's a classic book which will ease all your concerns!

2. Beyond Survival A Guide to Abundant Life Homeschooling
by Diana Waring

I have only ever attended one homeschool conference and Diana Waring was the keynote speaker. I bought her book 'Beyond Survival' at the conference. Her enthusiasm for home education is infectious, as she helps you discover the joy in the journey. I met her children at the conference, who were teenagers at the time and I was impressed. I remember thinking, 'If this is what homeschooling produces, I'm in for the long haul'. She has written a follow on to 'Beyond Survival' called 'Reaping the Harvest' which I plan to read soon as I am now, ten years, on doing just that. I had just commenced 'Unit Studies' when I attended the conference and it was a thrill to discover that Diana Waring was a strong advocate for this method of learning. If Unit Studies are something you are considering then this book will help you understand why they work so well and how they can open up a world of learning and discovery. It is quite comprehensive, covering learning styles, curriculum, evaluations, , multi level teaching and a variety of other topics such as tackling housework and setting the atmosphere in the home. Diana's love of history shines through and many homeschoolers will be familiar with her resources for teaching history.

I have recently found out thanks to other homeschoolers visiting this blog, that Diana Waring is coming down under later this year. I am considering attending the Inverell conference but it is a long drive (will likely have to travel up the day before and stay the night) and I need to find out what workshops have been chosen for this venue before I make a decision. If anyone reading this knows what the workshops are for the Inverell conference could they let me know. You can find out more about the conference at

3. Educating the Wholehearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson

This is truly a comprehensive handbook for Christian home educators and it is a resource I have dipped into many times over the years. I am most grateful to the Clarksons for introducing me to the concept of 'Living Books'. Reading aloud from classics and wholesome modern titles ( and rejecting the 'twaddle' that lines the shelves of libraries and bookstores) has been an integral part of our home education programme. It's my favourite time of day and my children have reaped the benefits. This book also helped me turn my home into a centre of learning and discovery and I am so thrilled I discovered it early on in our journey.

4. Ignite the Fire Freedom is Real Education by Terri Camp

Another enthusiastic mother and proponent of home education who will help you understand the difference between schooling and education. This handbook will help you realize that conventional methods of teaching and organization designed for the schoolroom do not have to be duplicated in the home. There is a better way! This book will help you discover some of the ways you can spark your child's interest in learning and as the title suggests, light a fire of lifelong learning and discovery!

5.The Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas (for kids age 3-12)
by Linda Dobson

If you are just searching for some creative ideas that promote learning, then this may the book for you. Many of the ideas are tried and tested, submitted by parents of home educated children. The materials used for many of the activities are everyday household items and art and craft supplies that most homeschool families will have a stock of. Every subject is catered for and includes reading, writing, maths, geography, kitchen chemistry and art. I purchased this book at the Australasian online bookstore which I discovered has quite a stock of homeschool books and resources.

6. I have purchased a number of books and resources from Vision Forum in recent years and there is one resource for home educators that I am so pleased to have found. It is this set of CDs, 'Curriculum Advice' from Victoria Botkin.

offers practical advice for beginning homeschool mothers of children ages 3-8 and although I am not starting out, I still have children in this age group who I intend to home educate! I felt so affirmed by Victoria. So many of the ideas and suggestions she offers for teaching younger children were methods I implemented and they work! I love what she says about turning your home into a centre of curiosity and exploration, a place where learning comes naturally but this does require effort from the parents and this involves not only selecting the books and materials which will be used for the purpose of home education but also giving consideration to how the home is furnished and no she is not talking about setting out school desks! I really appreciated hearing from her children who speak so eloquently of how their mother set the atmosphere in their home. As I listened to her husband Geoffrey Botkin's introduction for this first volume, as the summary on the back of the CD promises, my confidence in home education was renewed, as was my conviction that I am doing the right thing before God.

Volume 2 offers practical advice for mothers of children ages 8-14 and once again Victoria takes you through these years instilling confidence in you and reassuring you that with diligence and Godly wisdom, you can guide your children into character, maturity and integrity, assisting them to become self motivated learners. Although the title of these CDs is 'Curriculum Advice', it is not about finding the right curriculum to ensure academic success ( although she covers every subject area offering helpful suggestions) - it is far more than that. This is more of a curriculum for life, a joyous life where the home is transformed from a mere place of shelter and dwelling , to a glorious loving abode of education, culture, creativity and productivity... a centre of excellence! If this is what you desire your home to be, you will be inspired by Victoria Botkin.

6.The Homeschooling Mother A Mom Just Like You
by Vickie Farris and Jayme Farris Metzgar

This book was published in the year 2000 and I have only recently discovered it and what a gem it is! My husband and I have come to share many of the same convictions that Michael and Vicky Farris have, particularly in regard to family, but what I appreciated most about this book was her honesty in sharing from her years of experience as the mother of ten home-schooled children and wife of Michael Farris. If there are days when you are feeling totally overwhelmed and wondering just what you have taken on, Vicky will offer you encouragement, for as her book states, she is a mom/mum just like you! A mother with laundry piles or mountains, as they can become when one has a big family! I identified with so many of the scenarios she shares and I was so encouraged by her warm, friendly advice! She really does help to dispel the myth of the superwoman and if you are feeling the pressure to perform and live up to expectations of what you or others believe a home school mother should be doing, then this is a book you should read. You will relax and gain the courage and confidence to continue the journey and you will succeed, if you do as Vicky advises ... 'simply remain faithful to what God has called you to do.'

I do hope that this post has been useful for someone reading this. It is so good to know there are so many home educators who have chosen to share from their own experiences and reach out to their fellow home educators and those considering home education, by taking the time to write books and record CDs. I have been helped by so many of these authors, especially the mothers just like me, who have inspired me, encouraged me and shown me that this journey is one worth taking!

With love and joy,


Farming On Faith said...

Thank you for taking the time to write this post. It is just wonderful. I know it will be a help to those God brings here!
I pray you have a wonderful day~
You are in the middle of your winter right?
We had 102 heat index the past few days!

SF said...

Thank you Ann, I'll be purchasing some of these!

Terri Camp said...

I sure appreciate you mentioning my book Ignite the Fire! in your list. What an honor!

Terri Camp


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