1. The Call to Brilliance by Resa Steindel BrownI read The Call to Brilliance: A True Story to Inspire Parents and Educators cover to cover in two days. It was food to my hungry homeschooling mama’s soul, allowing me to believe that yes, I could actually do this–and that it might not even be as hard as I thought.
The author comes to the conclusion that all children are born brilliant, and that our job as educators is helping them discover and nurture their particular genius.
The book follows her journey with her own three children, as she seeks to find the best educational path for them. Steindel Brown covers her children’s education from the cradle to the graduation cap.
2. The Hurried Child by David ElkindThe Hurried Child: Growing Up Too Fast Too Soon is technically not a book on education, but its themes cannot fail to encourage homeschooling families.
Originally written in 1981, the author released a 25th anniversary edition just a few years ago. Unfortunately, even more children suffer from the stress of overscheduling today than when Dr. Elkind first sounded alarm bells regarding this condition.
This books always makes me thankful for the extra hours my children have to just “be” kids–without agendas or pressures. Elkind delves into the topics of school cultures, the Internet, violence, television, and movies.
3. Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor GattoI felt stunned the first time I read Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling.
I’d never heard anyone openly confront the educational questions Gatto raises in this series of essays, yet reading his words sent shivers of understanding up my spine.
Gatto taught within public schools as an award-winning teacher for over three decades, so he has the experience to back up his viewpoints. He also tackles the history of the American school system.
Some of the essays include “The Seven-Lesson Schoolteacher,” “The Psychopathic School,” “We Need Less School, Not More,” as well as four others. It’s impossible to come away from this small book without large questions in need of thoughtful answers.
Photo by Alex
4. Homeschooling Our Children, Unschooling Ourselves by Alison McKeeIn my early days of considering homeschooling, I was especially drawn toward books that chronicled a family’s actual educational journey.
I wanted to know how families successfully navigated the homeschooling lifestyle long-term. Homeschooling Our Children, Unschooling Ourselves provided the type of hope and encouragement I was looking for.
McKee writes about the process of trusting her two children to direct their own educations–as she and her husband watched and assisted when asked.
This family wholeheartedly followed an unschooling philosophy, but any type of homeschooler will feel inspired after turning the last page.
5. Teach Your Own by John HoltI have a confession–last year I skipped out of many sessions at a homeschooling conference because I was completely engrossed in Teach Your Own by John Holt. It seemed impossible to put the book down once I had started–I just had to keep reading.
I didn’t regret it.
Many of Holt’s books are considered educational classics, and for good reason. This title is no exception.
Originally written in the early 80′s, when homeschooling was not as common as it is today, Holt addresses the legalities of teaching your child at home as well as the politics of the choice. Part of this information may not be applicable to modern day readers.
But other chapters–like “Why Take Them Out?,” “Living and Working Spaces,” and “Serious Play,” are just as profound for parents today as when Holt first wrote them. Even if Holt’s style of schooling doesn’t appeal to you, his words provoke deep thoughts about education.
As homeschoolers today we’re privileged to have so many resources available at our fingertips. But we must guard against informational overload. That’s why looking for books that encourage and don’t condemn can give us the fuel we need to continue our educational lifestyle with joy.