by Amy Tjaden News Editor


We all have people in our lives that do not understand homeschooling. I can vividly recall a phone call that took place in 2005 in which my dad called me up and began quizzing me to see if I met his standards to homeschool his grandchildren. Never mind the fact that I was, at that time, working as a teacher within the local school system.


Homeschooling is exceptional. By that, I mean it is awesome and wonderful but I also mean it is not the norm. There are always going to be those who just do not get it. It goes against the status quo. So, when the critics or naysayers start quizzing you about the ins and outs of homeschooling, guide them toward a book.


I am sure most of us know those who are toying with the idea of homeschooling. They do not totally understand how it works. They are worried about the legality. They are worried about their own capabilities and making sure their children don’t fall behind. We have all been there. I am lucky that, in the beginning, I had a terrific mentor who believed in me when I felt overwhelmed by it all.  Knowing how intimidating homeschooling can seem, I try very hard to be a mentor to those who need it and I point them toward the many informative books available on the topic of homeschooling.


We lean more toward unschooling but it wasn’t always so. I’m constantly reading books and looking for ideas. As I learn more and try different things, our style changes. I also find it fascinating to read about the different ways in which homeschooling families deal with their day-to-day tasks. I love hearing and sharing ideas. Some things work; some thing don’t. However, the great thing about homeschooling is that we are allowed to be flexible and we can change our structure whenever it suits our needs.


I was recently looking over this book list posted by Julie Finn. After reading it, I felt very inspired to find some of the books of her list and explore the various styles of homeschooling. I also thought that maybe these books would make great gifts for anyone who questions what I do all day. From her list, I have read The Unschooling Handbook. I highly recommend it. I credit that book with teaching me to relax and to trust my children as natural learners.


My other top pick, which is not listed on Finn’s list, is Homeschooling and Loving it! by’s very own Rebecca Kochenderfer. I’m not just shamelessly plugging her book here. I read this book in one day and have implemented many of the ideas Rebecca discusses inside. My favorite idea was having the kids pick their top goal for each topic. For example, my 6-year-old’s goal for history this year was to learn more about the Underground Railroad. His goal for math was simply to use more manipulatives in his work. Knowing this made it so much easier to find focus and allowed our days to flow more smoothly.


If you’re looking to find a style that better suits you, know of someone thinking of homeschooling, or want to educate that homeschooling critic in your life, share a book on the topic. While you’re at it, hop on over to our news discussion forum and share your favorite titles with our readers.


Copyright 2009

Browse Categories