Educating Your Child At Home: 10 Essential Reading For Beginner Homeschool Parents 2021

I frequently get asked for essential reading recommendations by new homeschool moms.

When I began homeschooling 15 years ago, in, what I like to refer to as practically the dark ages of homeschooling, there were no homeschool blogs, no real curriculum review sites, and the best you could do online was enter a few homeschool chat rooms and spend hours combing through chat threads for a specific topic.

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Best Ultimate Homeschool Planner

I love how it has the yearly planning – It has the yearly planning, monthly planning, and then weekly planning. There are information pages to help beginners learn how to use the planner and even ultimate planners for younger students and teens. You can fill in the dates and you are not subject to having it prefilled so that if you were to buy later in the year, you don’t feel that you’ve wasted money on a planner that’s over halfway through the year. It’s also helpful for homeschoolers that start the beginning of the year versus following a traditional school year.

So instead, I looked to printed books as a resource for inspiration, encouragement, curriculum guides, and all the other how-tos of home education. At the time, I didn’t really know any experienced homeschool moms who I could ask for advice either. Basically, I was on my own, with dial-up internet, 4 young children, and no idea where to begin.

But gradually I found some excellent books full of knowlege and wisdom, and some were books I went back to time and again when the going got tough. Some I’ve bought multiple copies of just so I could give them to new homeschool moms.

Now, of course, with the vast proliferation of homeschool blogs and websites, Instagram accounts, magazines, and conventions, you might have the opposite problem that I did, which is how to sort through the mass amount of information to find something that you can actually use.


It’s not hard if you know where to look. With my years of homeschooling, I have sorted the wheat from the chaff to narrow down my essentials list for new homeschool moms. And here it is. And by the way, these books aren’t just for newbies. Every homeschool parent needs encouragement and wisdom along the way. So whether you have been homeschooling for a few months or many years, these selections will be helpful.

The Three R’s by Ruth Beechick.

Or anything else by Ruth Beechick. Seriously, this woman knows and understands the heart of homeschool moms and kids. Her approach is holistic and gentle and wise, and you will find her words comforting and inspiring no matter what stage of homeschooling you’re currently in.

A Biblical Home Education: Building Your Homeschool on the Foundation of God’s Word by Ruth Beechick.

For those who are taking a faith-based approach to homeschooling, this is a wonderful resource.

The Way They Learn by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias.

This was one of the first books I read about teaching and I cannot overstate the helpfulness of not only determining the way our children learn and process information but in learning what ways we as parents teach best. A must-read.

102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum by Cathy Duffy.

Ms. Duffy has been reviewing the homeschool curriculum for a couple of decades now and her reviews are thorough, insightful, and extremely helpful. For those looking for information on any type of curricula, whether for individual subjects, unit studies, or comprehensive packages, this book will be helpful.

A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning by Karen Andreola.

One popular method of homeschooling is called The Charlotte Mason Method, and whilst I am more eclectic in my homeschooling approach, you’ll find this is a helpful resource for teaching with a variety of methods. It’s an excellent introduction to using living books, rich literature, and child-directed learning. Highly recommend.

For The Children’s Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay.

Another heavy hitter in the home education world, this author knows her stuff. This book is a great companion piece for anyone who is interested in gentle, delight-directed teaching.

Honey For A Child’s Heart: The Imaginative Use of Books in Family Life by Gladys Hunt.

I love books. All books, all the time. This is a staple on my shelf because of the excellent recommendations for classic literature. First published in 1969, it has been continually updated and revised.

Educating The Wholehearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson.

If you desire to make your home a place where learning happens naturally and holistically, this book is for you. Filled with encouragement and wisdom from a veteran homeschooling family, you’ll go back to its pages again and again.

How Children Learn by John Holt.

It is hard to choose just one book from this author. John Holt is one of the pioneers of the unschooling method and penned this book 50 years ago. However, it’s still as relevant and helpful today. Whilst I don’t follow this method exclusively, there is much to be gained by reading his thoughts on child development and how children really learn.

Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling by John Taylor Gatto.

Gatto was a public school teacher for decades and won awards for his teaching methods in difficult classrooms. He breaks down the way that schools successfully teach all the wrong ways. Very inspiring for those who might be wondering if homeschooling is really for them. I had the chance to hear him in person a few years ago and I was impressed with his knowledge of this subject.

EBook or Hard Copy?

Although I love using my Kindle, I have linked to hard copies of these books. Mainly because they are resource materials you’ll want to mark up and go back to repeatedly through the years. Most are available digitally, should that be your preference.

You’ve no idea how hard it is to narrow this list to just ten books. However, these are the starting point for anyone newish to the world of home education. Whether your child is 4 or 14, these will be crucial to helping you begin and continue homeschooling successfully.

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