There are several books that have made a huge impact on my philosophy of lifeschooling and I would highly recommend that all new lifeschoolers read them! If you want to reform your thinking, the most important thing you can do first is to inform your thinking! Put these lifeschooling books in your curriculum budget, moms. It’s important to build a solid foundation.
Gifted: Raising Children Intentionally
by Chris Davis
Chris Davis has had the biggest influence on my homeschooling philosophy. Years ago, I stumbled upon his blog and felt like I had struck gold! And truly, “How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver” (Proverbs 16:16). This book will help you learn to look at your children “not as buckets to be filled, but as gifts to be opened,” as Chris would say.
Each child is a gift from God, with specific gifts designed to be used for God. Our job as parents is to help them discover those gifts and to encourage them to pursue their gifts.
Dumbing Us Down
by John Taylor Gatto
John Taylor Gatto has become a hero to many homeschoolers. As a former New York Teacher of the Year, Gatto saw the true nature of the public education system and, in giving his acceptance speech for the honor, he very pointedly spoke out against the system that he had worked in for years. When he resigned, he said it was because he was “no longer willing to hurt children.”
This book gives the history of modern public schooling (which the majority of Americans were staunchly against in the early days) and clearly shows why it was doomed from the beginning. If
the foundation is weak, the building will not last. Gatto was not a Christian, to my knowledge, but his books speak the truth with a prophet-like boldness that is refreshing.
Upgrade: 10 Secrets to the Best Education for your Child
By Kevin Swanson
I was given a copy of this book when I visited with Kevin Swanson and his family while at his home studio in Colorado for a podcast interview. On the flight back to North Carolina, I read almost the entire book! It lines up so much with my own thinking that I felt like I could have written it myself. It goes through each “secret” in a logical, practical manner with data and examples, and it’s the kind of book that will convince even the most staunch opponent without them realizing what’s happening until it’s too late.
This is definitely on my list of essential reading for new homeschool moms.
The Unhurried Homeschooler
By Durenda Wilson
Durenda Wilson is a friend of mine and spoke at our 2019 Lifeschooling Conference. She lifeschooled all eight of her children and even in the high school years, her children never spent more
than 4 hours a day on formal academics. I love her heart for relationships and putting God first in every pursuit. This book is a refreshment for any mother struggling with burnout.
The Joy of Relationship Homeschooling
by Karen Campbell
Another 2019 conference speaker and one of my favorite interviewees on my podcast, Life as a Lifeschooler, is Karen Campbell. Karen is a pioneer homeschooler who saw the primary importance
of homeschooling as being building relationships with her children. In this book, she discusses and applies all the “one another” passages – Love one another; Encourage one another; Pray for one another; Be kind to one another; Serve one another – to homeschooling relationships.
77 Ways Your Family Can Make a Difference
By Penny A. Zeller
Encouraging our children to serve others and find ways to be involved in ministry is an important aspect of lifeschooling. This book has some great ideas that will get you and your children thinking in this direction!
Learning in Spite of Labels
by Joyce Herzog
If you have children with special needs, this book is absolutely essential! Joyce is a brilliant voice in the special education arena and was influential in the homeschooling community in the early days. She has such practical wisdom for helping your special needs child succeed. I love her focus on children as individuals and her lack of emphasis on the labels themselves.
I hope these books give you a helpful roadmap for starting lifeschooling! If you dedicate some time to reading them all, I know you will have an excellent foundation in the philosophy of lifeschooling that will serve you and your children well throughout your homeschooling years.