If you are like most homeschooling parents, there are probably times when doubt creeps into your mind. It’s natural to wonder if you’re doing the right things, whether you’re months or years into your homeschooling journey.
The good thing is that the best books for homeschoolers usually have the answers you are looking for. Reading them could help you give you the motivation you need to power through.
- Best Homeschooling Books Reviews
- 1. Dumbing Us Down – 25th Anniversary Edition
- 2. Free to Learn (Paperback)
- 3. Caught Up in a Story: Fostering a Storyformed Life of Great Books & Imagination With Your Children
- 4. Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace
- 5. How Children Learn (50th Anniversary Edition)
- 6. The Phases of Learning (Paperback)
- 7. The Homeschool Highway: How To Navigate Your Way Without Getting Carsick
- 8. The Read-Aloud Handbook: Seventh Edition
- 9. The Brave Learner: Finding Everyday Magic in Homeschool, Learning, and Life
- 10. Minimalist Homeschooling: A Values-Based Approach to Maximize Learning and Minimize Stress
- 11. Before Curriculum: How to Start Practicing the Charlotte Mason Philosophy in Your Home
- 12. Plan Your Year: Homeschool Planning for Purpose and Peace
- 13. Help! I’m Homeschooling!: Helpful Habits for the Heart of Homeschooling
- 14. Homeschooling Gifted Kids: A Practical Guide to Educate and Motivate Advanced Learners
- 15. Cure the Fear of Homeschooling High School: A Step-by-Step Handbook for Research & Planning
- Buyer’s Guide
- Homeschooling Books FAQs
- Which Homeschooling Book Will You Choose?
Best Homeschooling Books Reviews
1. Dumbing Us Down – 25th Anniversary Edition
Dumbing Us Down is a scathing indictment of public education. It is built on the premise that government schools do nothing but teach kids to follow orders blindly.
John Taylor Gatto, the author of the book and a long-time public school teacher, offers an intriguing perspective on this subject.
If you are thinking about abandoning homeschooling, reading this book might give you a better appreciation for your current path. It outlines how literacy rates have dropped in the US after a hundred years of mandatory schooling.
What makes this book so compelling is that it was written by someone who used to be a part of the public school system. In other words, he knows what he is talking about.
That’s why it is no surprise that Dumbing Us Down has been a bestseller for the past 25 years, and it deserves a spot in your book collection.
Dumbing Us Down highlights the advantages of shying away from formal schooling and pursuing an alternative route to learning.
The book is a collection of the author’s speeches and essays, so there are times that it goes off-topic.
- Rekindles your passion for homeschooling
- Written by a subject matter expert
- Easy to read
- Some parts go off-topic
2. Free to Learn (Paperback)
Are you struggling to find the right balance between playing and learning for your child? This book might help you deal with this conundrum.
Written by developmental psychologist Peter Gray, Free to Learn argues that children should be given free rein when it comes to their own learning and development.
In this book, the author draws inspiration from anthropology, history, and psychology to demonstrate how letting kids play freely can help them become emotionally resilient. It helps them deal with challenges, interact with other people, and gain control of their lives.
So, resist the urge to force your child to sit still and take test after test. You both might be better off if you let your child pursue his or her own unique interests.
Free to Learn offers valuable insights that might help you find the right mindset when it comes to letting kids play.
Some readers feel that too much focus was given on certain points, putting the book at risk of being repetitive.
- Helps parents balance learning and playing
- The premise is based on scientific facts
- Celebrates children’s individuality
- Certain parts are repetitive
3. Caught Up in a Story: Fostering a Storyformed Life of Great Books & Imagination With Your Children
Caught Up in a Story is written by Sarah Clarkson, the author of Read for the Heart, Book Girl, and Girls Club. It tackles a profound question that many parents ask: How do books affect a child’s imagination?
If you are wondering about the same thing during your homeschooling adventure with your kids, this book is for you.
Caught Up in a Story is a product of the author’s own story-formed childhood and her extensive experience with children’s literature. It shows how the right books can be great tools in shaping a child’s overall outlook in life.
Another interesting thing about this book is that it has recommended reading for various stages of a child’s life. So, whether you are homeschooling a small child or a young teen, you’ll get valuable insights into how you can help them grow and mature.
What’s great about Caught Up in a Story is that it tackles a question that many parents ask, whether they are homeschooling or not. How can I nurture my child’s imagination and creativity with books?
A big part of this book is based on the author’s personal experiences growing up. So, if you had a completely different upbringing, you might have a hard time relating to it.
- Helps parents fuel their child’s imagination
- Great book for both parents and kids
- The writing is compelling
- Some readers might not be able to relate
4. Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace
Most homeschooling parents are constantly worried they are not doing enough to prepare their kids for the SATs, college, or life in general. They think that there is always a better way of doing things, and this thought sends them on a frenzied search for solutions.
Do you find yourself in the same situation at times? If so, reading Teaching from Rest might help you find peace.
Homeschooling is something that parents do out of love. They want the best education for their kids so that they grow up to be successful adults. However, the whole process often leaves parents stressed and full of anxiety.
In this book, author Sarah Mackenzie offers both practical and faith-based insights on restful learning. It teaches the readers to stop agonizing over every little detail to the point of being unhealthy.
Teaching from Rest is a revised and printed edition of the bestselling eBook of the same title.
This book offers valuable advice that can help parents deal with the anxieties that come with homeschooling.
Teaching from Rest is built on a faith-based foundation and is not a good option if you are looking for secular reading material.
- Helps parents deal with homeschooling anxieties
- Offers a short and easy read
- Has plenty of useful advice
- Not ideal for secular homeschoolers
5. How Children Learn (50th Anniversary Edition)
How Children Learn is a classic written by John Caldwell Holt, an educator and strong advocate of homeschooling. It offers insightful thoughts on how small children learn at an early age.
This short but complete read will help you nourish your child’s natural ability to learn how to talk, read, count, or rationalize things.
How Children Learn was originally published in 1967 and contains a collection of the author’s experiences as he interacts with children and their parents.
These interactions showed him how children think and adjust to the world through games, experiments, and various learning activities.
John Holt summarized the whole concept in two words: trust children. To them, learning comes as naturally as breathing, and all you have to do is nurture this ability.
How Children Learn is a great material for homeschooling parents struggling to create a positive connection with their kids.
The approach recommended by this book might not be applicable to children whose families do not have access to a plethora of resources or experiences.
- Reinforces the importance of homeschooling
- Short but complete read
- Written for small children
- Families with limited resources might not be able to relate
6. The Phases of Learning (Paperback)
If you are a homeschooling parent striving to raise a child to become a leader someday, you will find this book very useful.
Written by Oliver and Rachel Demille, it highlights various educational virtues consistent with Thomas Jefferson education or TJed. What’s more, it provides practical applications for theories that you and your kids can try.
Lack of leadership is something that causes a lot of problems in the world today. Very few people are equipped with the skills needed to lead effectively, and it leaves a gaping hole that is very hard to fill.
As a homeschooling parent, it is only natural if you want to raise a child who will someday rise up to the challenge.
This book can help guide you to the right path. It outlines the different characteristics your child needs to develop to become an effective leader, from principled decision-making to using critical thinking.
The Phases of Learning is a great read for homeschooling parents who want to raise a future leader.
Some concepts in the book are a bit partial to western civilizations, and the tone is a bit rigid.
- A great resource for raising leaders
- Offers lots of actionable tips
- Works for kids of varying ages
- May sound a bit strict and preachy
7. The Homeschool Highway: How To Navigate Your Way Without Getting Carsick
The Homeschool Highway is written by Amy Dingmann, a homeschooling mother of two. She has many published articles in both online and print magazines, but this is her first book.
It outlines the common struggles that homeschooling parents go through and offers different ways to overcome them. If you have ever doubted or questioned yourself and your decision to homeschool your kids, pick this book up and be enlightened, inspired, and entertained.
Every homeschooling parent knows the joys of having a direct hand in their child’s education. That said, the whole experience is not without its challenges.
There are many questions that surround homeschooling, like socialization, managing expectations, and finding some personal time. Who better to answer this than a homeschooling mother raising two little ones?
The Homeschool Highway provides an honest look at the ups and downs of homeschooling life. It is filled with humorous stories that are insightful, relatable, and even funny at times.
The Homeschool Highway is an entertaining and insightful book that offers advice in an often humorous way.
Some readers find certain parts of the book drawn out and tedious, like the Introduction and Disclaimer titles.
- Offers helpful tips for homeschooling
- Fun but insightful
- Written by a homeschooling parent
- Some parts are longer than necessary
8. The Read-Aloud Handbook: Seventh Edition
The Read-Aloud Handbook was first published way back in 1979, but its ideas remain relevant to this day. It discusses the importance of reading out loud to your children in a relaxed and casual tone.
This book was written by James Trelease. While not an educational expert, his insights have helped millions of educators and parents in awakening the imagination of children for over four decades.
This updated version of the book is supported by interesting real-life stories and the latest research on relevant topics, including the advantages and disadvantages of digital learning.
It also provides different methods of introducing children to reading and helping them uncover the pleasures of being a life-long reader.
The book argues that reading is an experience that parents can share with their children and use as means to form a deep bond. That is why it would make a great addition to your bookshelf, whether you are a homeschooling parent, teacher, or administrator.
Anyone who works with young children can glean valuable insights from this book.
The Read-Aloud Handbook is not meant to be read to children. It is basically a handbook that contains a list of good books.
- Great book for parents and teachers
- Remained updated over the years
- Easy to read and digest
- New editions don’t offer a lot of new book ideas
9. The Brave Learner: Finding Everyday Magic in Homeschool, Learning, and Life
Exhausted, a bit under the weather, and dealing with self-doubt—these feelings are all too familiar to homeschooling parents.
You are highly invested in your child’s education to the point that you become too hard on yourself. Even worse, you often don’t have enough energy left to make learning interesting or fun for your child.
The good news is that this book has many ideas on how you can turn things around.
The Brave Learner offers glimpses of how author Julie Bogart homeschooled all five of her now-grown kids.
Over the years, she managed to develop effective curricula and is now using her experiences to train homeschooling families across the globe.
This book stresses the importance of mystery, surprise, risk, and adventure and how parents should make room for them in their homeschooling journey with their kids. It is the best way to create a learning environment that is effective and sustainable.
The great thing about The Brave Learner is that it helps address issues that are universal to homeschooling families. The author draws on her personal experiences, but a lot of other parents would find the book relatable.
Some readers find that the ideas in the book are a bit disorganized, but overall, it is a good read.
- Helps deal with common homeschooling challenges
- Book is humorous but insightful
- A good read for new homeschooling parents
- Ideas are a bit disorganized
10. Minimalist Homeschooling: A Values-Based Approach to Maximize Learning and Minimize Stress
Minimalism is a mindset that is steadily gaining traction, and it has found its way into homeschooling.
This book by Zara Fagen outlines different ways to remove the unnecessary, leaving behind what is truly important: the core values you want to see in your child’s education.
If you are trying to take the “less is more” route in homeschooling, the Minimalist Homeschooling book is a must-read for you.
Most of the time, homeschooling parents get caught up in planning tasks, developing curricula, buying supplies, and a million other things. Amid all the chaos, it is easy to lose track of what your goals truly are.
Minimalist Homeschooling will help you rethink your priorities and come up with a homeschooling system that is simple yet meaningful and effective.
It even comes with 15 worksheets you can use to evaluate your current strategies and remove activities that suck your time and energy without adding much value.
This book aims to help homeschooling parents achieve excellence for their kids without trading in their sanity.
Minimalism is not a novel idea, so some parts of the book might sound like old information shared in a new way.
- Helps homeschooling parents focus on what’s important
- Includes useful worksheets
- Perfect for large homeschooling families
- Minimalist mindset is not a novel concept
11. Before Curriculum: How to Start Practicing the Charlotte Mason Philosophy in Your Home
The Charlotte Mason method is a popular approach to homeschooling that is rooted in the importance of a well-rounded education. That said, the concepts it covers are a bit comprehensive and might be too much if you are new to homeschooling.
This book by Amy Fischer will give you practical tools you can use to teach using the Charlotte Mason way.
Before Curriculum is a must-have if you want to give the Charlotte Mason method a try but don’t know where to start. It will help you develop the tools you need to implement a three-pronged approach to homeschooling: atmosphere, discipline, and life.
Atmosphere refers to the child’s surroundings. It takes advantage of the way kids absorb information from their home environment like a sponge. Discipline applies to helping kids develop good habits, while Life refers to living thoughts and ideas.
Before Curriculum is full of research and quotes, coupled with insightful explanations by the author. It offers an easier way to understand and apply Charlotte Mason’s philosophies in homeschooling.
If you are already fairly familiar with the Charlotte Mason method, you might not find this book very helpful.
- Great for homeschooling beginners
- Insightful but easy to read
- Offers actionable tips
- Not for those already familiar with Charlotte Mason method
12. Plan Your Year: Homeschool Planning for Purpose and Peace
Planning a school year is hard enough; executing it is a lot tougher.
Most homeschooling parents end up with a lesson plan full of crossed-off dates, corrections, and crisscrossing arrows. If all of these sound too familiar to you, you should give Plan Your Year a read.
Plan Your Year was written by Pam Barnhill and first came out in eBook form. This paperback copy offers a practical approach that will help you get rid of unrealistic expectations and convoluted grids.
The book comes with a step-by-step guide you can use to come up with a realistic plan that is ready to be implemented in just days. It also includes tips on how to choose the right curriculum, so you do not end up paying for something you can’t utilize fully.
Another great thing about Plan Your Year is that it lets you choose a solution that best fits your personality or style.
What stands out the most about Plan Your Year is that it provides concrete steps on how to organize your year.
Plan Your Year is basically a workbook, but its physical design is not optimized for this application. The pages are not perforated, and there are not enough copies of the forms.
- Great workbook for organizing school days
- Offers concrete steps
- Designed for homeschooling beginners
- Physical design not optimized for workbook format
13. Help! I’m Homeschooling!: Helpful Habits for the Heart of Homeschooling
Help! I’m Homeschooling is a faith-based book that offers practical advice on how to build your confidence, whether you are a homeschooling newbie or veteran.
It was written by Tricia Hodges, and it outlines the importance of building good habits as a family. In reality, this is easier said than done, but this book offers helpful insights.
In this book, the author shares what works for her family and also acknowledges that each family must decide which habits to focus on. Many of her ideas stress how big the role of faith is in homeschooling, as with other things in life.
For Tricia Hodges, prayer is the foundational habit from which everything else emanates. It helps her family stay focused despite the overall busyness that often comes with homeschooling.
This book offers helpful tips that are easy to implement, whether you are a new or experienced homeschooling parent.
Since it is faith-based for the most part, it is not an ideal choice if you are looking for something secular.
- Great tool for developing good habits
- Offers practical and actionable tips
- Not ideal if you’re looking for secular reading material
14. Homeschooling Gifted Kids: A Practical Guide to Educate and Motivate Advanced Learners
For most parents, homeschooling advanced learners can be a lot of fun, but it can also be very challenging. If you are in a similar situation, reading this book might help make things a bit easier for you.
Homeschooling Gifted Kids was written by Cindy West, a veteran speaker and homeschooler. It teaches parents and teachers to focus on special considerations that come with teaching advanced learners.
It includes techniques like creating a compelling curriculum, accelerating kids into college courses, and providing outlets for creative talents.
This book is written by a veteran homeschooler and offers valuable insights that parents will find useful.
Some readers feel that its content is nothing new but was only presented in a unique way.
- Useful to parents with gifted kids
- Offers practical advice
- Content is not ground-breaking
15. Cure the Fear of Homeschooling High School: A Step-by-Step Handbook for Research & Planning
Are you homeschooling a high school kid but find the whole experience overwhelming? This book might help you gain more confidence in it.
Homeschooling a high schooler is a tough job, with college, credits, and confusing coursework looming ahead. The good thing is that you can turn to this book to help you plan the school days all the way to graduation.
Another thing to love about this book is that it outlines each step clearly, ensuring you do not miss anything. As a result, you can rest assured you are making the right moves for your child and your entire family.
High school is a critical stage in a child’s life, so you would want to make the right decisions for his or her education. This book can help you do it.
The forms inside the book, while helpful, are difficult to copy in their present format.
- Helps parents navigate high school homeschooling
- Very informative
- Forms are included but hard to copy
If you are looking for the best homeschooling books to add to your bookshelf, here are a few things you should consider:
What is your educational philosophy?
The first thing you need to figure out is your core beliefs when it comes to homeschooling. This will give you a rough idea of how your child should learn or what you want your homeschooling days to look like. From there, you can choose the right books that can help you.
What are your current homeschooling needs?
Are you having trouble homeschooling a young child or a high schooler? Do you need help choosing a curriculum or just need some guidance with planning? Identifying your homeschooling needs will help you find the right resources to turn to.
Does the book spark your interest?
You do not always have to read a book to help you solve a problem. If you find it interesting, read it. There is a good chance it would open you up to new ideas you never thought of before.
Homeschooling Books FAQs
1. What is the best method for homeschooling?
Every homeschooling family has different needs, and there is no “one size fits all” method. That said, many families find that classical education offers them many benefits.
2. How long should homeschool last in a day?
There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to the duration of homeschooling. However, most parents find that two to three hours a day for three to five times a week is sufficient.
3. Is homeschooling effective?
Yes. In fact, statistics show that 69% of homeschooled children go on to be successful in college and after.
4. What are the drawbacks of homeschooling?
Homeschooling is a better choice for some families, but it is not perfect. Some of the common issues here are socialization, lack of facilities, and increasing costs.
5. What country has the biggest population of homeschoolers?
The United States has the highest number of kids who are homeschooled, followed by Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the UK.
Which Homeschooling Book Will You Choose?
There are a lot of books that tackle the difficult but fascinating subject of homeschooling, like the ones we listed. You do not have to read all 15, but by reading as many of them as you can, you will become a better homeschooling parent.