Need Encouragement? Read a Book!
(Homeschool Inspirational Readings)
Written by Erin Kaufman
This is an inspirational and helpful article–and is one of the many informative articles in Homeschool.com’s newest e-magazine–Back to Homeschool
Every homeschooler needs a good support system. There is nothing better than being encouraged and instructed by people who have already been down the same road. As homeschooling increases in popularity, it is now becoming easier to find others in your area that can be your support system. But sometimes those groups are either not available, or they are not the right type of group for your homeschooling philosophy.
If the right type of support system is not available to you, one of my favorite resources to find encouragement is a book. There are so many wonderful books geared toward homeschoolers that can provide you with tools, instruction, and a boost in morale without ever leaving your home. Many books are written specifically for a certain homeschooling philosophy, but there are many others that can benefit any type of homeschooler. I would love to share with you a few books that I have enjoyed and would encourage any homeschooler to read.
Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne
It may sound strange to list a parenting book as one of my favorite homeschooling books, but when you think about it, so much of our homeschool time is also parenting time. We don’t turn off the parenting clock as homeschoolers; it is always running. Therefore, I find that encouragement in parenting is crucial to our homeschool running well. Simplicity Parenting is all about keeping our children’s lives free from too much, whether that be too many activities, too many toys, too much schoolwork, or too many decisions. Most of us have felt at times that there is just too much going on in our lives. This needlessly stresses out not only us, but also our children! This book guides you in the steps necessary to take back those carefree days and create a more calm and secure environment in your home.
As a result of reading Simplicity Parenting, we have changed several things about our home and the way we school. Our focus now is on the basics. We get our school done in an efficient amount of time so our children have the opportunity to just play. We recently completed a massive de-clutter of our home, which has helped us all focus and stay on task. I no longer need to take breaks from schooling in order to clean up large amounts of toys. I am no longer distracted by too many books on our bookshelves. We keep what is used and what we need, and the rest is now out the door! Our lives feel calm now, and that is enough to make any homeschooling mom happy!
For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
Although this book lends itself well to the Charlotte Mason philosophy of education, the concepts presented can encourage any homeschooling mom. The main idea behind this book is that children need a love of learning. If you feel as if you taught them nothing else (which I am sure would never be the case), but they love to learn, then you will have succeeded! Children are much more capable of many things than what we give them credit for, and they deserve to have their minds challenged. They are people, not parrots. For the Children’s Sake describes how we can create an atmosphere of education for our children where every opportunity can be taken to learn something new. This book also discusses how important it is to let children learn through play. Playtime seems to get a bad rap these days, but it should not be that way. Children learn so much when they play and explore the world around them.
This year our homeschool looks more child-focused that it ever did before. I am meeting my children at their level and challenging their minds to grow, instead of pulling them along behind me as we trudge through our schoolwork. Books have become a central part of their education (and mine too!). Each book they read takes them to a place they have never been before and introduces them to so much more than I could tell them about. We travel around to different times and locations through our readings. We read the classics and learn new vocabulary words every day. Play time is now scheduled in our days just like schoolwork is. I am amazed at what they learn just by exploring their world. Their play time provides them a wonderful opportunity to unwind from schoolwork and apply some of their new knowledge.
Home Learning Year by Year by Rebecca Rupp
If you talk to any homeschooler about what they fear, I would imagine most of them fear leaving gaps in their children’s education. It can be overwhelming when you think of all of the subjects that need to be taught. Home Learning Year by Year walks you through each grade, from preschool through high school, and explains exactly what your child needs to learn. Each subject is listed along with suggestions for possible curriculum and book lists when available. There are also specific standards of what a child in that grade level needs to know.
We live in a state where we must report our intended curriculum for the upcoming school year to our local school district. I am always concerned that I will leave a subject off that is required. With this book, it is so easy to read through the appropriate grade level and find the resources we need to teach the necessary subjects. There are so many books and resources that I never would have found without Home Learning Year by Year. I find myself using this book several times a year to encourage and reassure myself that we are on the correct path and learning what needs to be learned.
These three books are only a small sampling of the many books homeschoolers can turn to for encouragement. Below you will find a list of some others that you may enjoy, depending on your homeschool philosophy. Just remember, you may not have a local homeschool support group, but you can find encouragement through a good book!
*Homeschooling And Loving It! by Rebecca Kochenderfer (a great general primer on homeschooling, with her own family examples mixed in)
*A Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola (a great “how-to” if you are interested in Charlotte Mason)
*The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer (a guide for classical education – there are three editions and I prefer the first since it provides more detail of how to put things together yourself)
*Educating the Whole Hearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson (a great how-to homeschool resource with some great book lists and help for planning)
*The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease (discusses the importance of reading aloud to your children and suggests many books that are great to read aloud)
*The Three R’s by Ruth Beechick (an encouraging tool to show you how to teach reading, writing, and arithmetic in the younger grades)
*Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt (a guide in how to use books and how to choose good books in your home)
*101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum by Cathy Duffy (helps you choose curriculum based on your child’s learning style and includes the author’s top picks)
*Joy in the Journey by Lori Hatcher (a homeschool mom shares encouragement based on her own homeschooling journey)
Written by Erin Kaufman. You can visit her blog at http://wateronthefloor.wordpress.com/