Homeschooling 101

Books to Read when you Consider Homeschooling

Are you thinking homeschooling your family? Here are a list of books that you’ll want to read to help you make that big decision.

If you’re thinking about homeschooling your children, the first place you’ll want to go, for reliable and complete information, are books.

Books to read when you consider homeschooling your children. Recommended reading and booklists!

From my experience, families who are considering home education for their children, often feel overwhelmed with books that are heavy on detail or educational philosophy.

Instead, what I’d recommend is that you read books that paint a picture of what homeschooling could look like for you. Rather than bogging you down in details, the books I recommend allow you to draw inspiration and take ideas that suit your family dynamic and belief system.

Primarily the books I’ve included in this list of books to read when you’re considering homeschooling, are memoirs of homeschooling families (real and fictitious) and a few others with a similar approach.

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Books to Read when you’re Considering Homeschooling


A Funny Kind of Education by Ross Mountney

Ross Mountney is an ex-teacher from the U.K., who many years ago left the mainstream educational system to home educate her two daughters. In this memoir of their homeschool experience together, Ross Mountney shows the reader what homeschooling really looks like! It’s moving, hilarious and forces the reader to question what education can look like.

A Funny Kind of Education is one of the first books I ever read about home-education and is the one that inspired me to truly consider beginning our homeschooling journey.

BUY BOOK HERE | UK | USA


Mere Motherhood by Cindy Rollins

Over the years, there is one book that I come back to again and again. That book is “Mere Motherhood” by Cindy Rollins

Cindy Rollins began her homeschooling journey in U.S.A. in the 1980’s, and 9 children later (yes…that’s 8 boys!) she tells us all about her family’s experience home-educating.

The book is written so honestly, and with such a heart-felt message, that you can’t help but fall in love with their story. The author, after decades of homeschooling and facing the ups-and-downs of life, gives the reader perspective and consider what homeschooling could mean to them in the long-run.

BUY BOOK HERE | UK | USA


For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay

If you’re looking for a book to show you what a true education is meant to be, then you’ll want to read For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay.

After years of research and personal experience, Susan Schaeffer Macaulay wrote this beautiful book. Based around principles set out by Charlotte Mason, the author forces the reader to consider what is education, and how can we provide that in our home.

Some sections of this book contain Christian rhetoric, and readers of other faiths may choose to skip over those parts.

This is the book that inspired me to begin learning more about the Charlotte Mason philosophy, and is the book I always recommend to families who want to know more about the CM method without being inundated with the finer details.

BUY BOOK HERE | UK | USA


Homeschooling for Excellence – by David Colfax

The Colfax family didn’t begin homeschooling their family to get them into Havard, but somewhere down the road that is exactly what happened!

Homeschooling for Excellence is a memoir of a home educating family from U.S.A. who took their children out of school and gave them the freedom to learn whatever is was they wanted to learn!

The book is written in a conversational style, where the parents talk honestly about their approach to education, the lessons they learnt and lists some resources they used.

It’s a truly inspiring story. In fact, I feel like finding my copy now and re-reading again!

BUY BOOK HERE | UK | USA


Pocketful of Pinecones by Karen Andreola

Pocketful of Pinecones is a fictitious account of a homeschooling family, which was written to inspire mothers through hard times. Karen Andreola, the author, is an experienced homeschooler herself, and pours into this story the lessons she learnt along the way.

It’s written as the diary of one mother’s year of teaching her children at home, with a focus on nature study.

It’s a deligthful book to read, and will help readers to better understand their role as a homeschooling mother, as well as give some insight into what a Charlotte Mason homeschool day might look like.

BUY BOOK HERE | UK | USA


Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto

This list would not be complete without something from the legend that was John Taylor Gatto.

If you have ever struggled to justify home education to yourself, or others, this book will help. From years of working in education, and his extensive research, Dumbing Us Down outlines many deeply rooted problems in mainstream education.

This book is eye-opening and will soften the heart even the biggest cynic to homeschooling!

BUY BOOK HERE | UK | USA


I hope this has helped those of you who were unsure where to begin with their homeschooling research. Memoirs and personal accounts provide insight and inspiration, as well as information on “how-to” do it!

If you have any questions, pop them in the comments below.

Peace and Love,

99 names Allah children

P.s. Did you know I have a PODCAST, where I answer a lot of your questions about homeschooling? Make sure you check it out!

10 Points of Homeschooling Advice from Veteran Homeschool Mom

Homeschooling advice from veteran homeschool mom

How often do we look back on something and think, “If wish I could have done that differently.”?

Not often are we given the gift of parenting, or homeschooling, with hindsight. But with almost an 11 year gap between my two oldest kids, alhamdulilah, I’m given at least a peek into how my homeschooling decisions have played out over time.

Homeschooling advice from veteran homeschool mom

Advice to noew homeschoolers from veteran homeschool mom

I hope my hindsight can be of use to you as well, as I reflect back over the last 8 years of homeschooling, now that my oldest is, mashaAllah, graduating high school.

Academic rigor is secondary

So often we spend hours upon hours trying to find the perfect book. It’ll have all the right information, with all the best activities, and thorough tests and quizzes to make sure they don’t miss a thing.

But what about the atmosphere in our home? What about nurturing that love of learning that comes naturally to children? How long do we spend thinking about that?

I wish I would have given my daughter more time to be a kid. More time to explore and learn at her leisure, and not during some scheduled hour-long exploratory time. You can’t schedule curiosity.

Don’t let others dictate your homeschool

If you’re just starting with homeschooling and you don’t have much support around you, it’s tempting to fill up your curriculum list with impressive books and resources to try to sway them that you’re not ruining your child.

Let me tell you something – a book list is not going to change many people’s minds.

Pick the resources you feel are best, for your child. How many school teachers do you think are making curriculum decisions based on what their parents or neighbors think? They choose books they think will be the most effective. Period.

Get acquainted with various homeschooling methods

Most of us have gone through the public school system. It’s all we know. Then when we start homeschooling, we dream of bulletin boards, and an in box for assignments.

Sometimes we have to jump into homeschooling because traditional school isn’t working, so we might not have a lot of time to read up on the various methodologies. Even if that’s the case, start reading the core book on each topic and see what speaks to you.

Think of yourself as an educator or mentor, not only an administrator

An administrator simply makes education more accessible. They order books, organize lesson plans, and grade work. An educator or mentor understands how students learn, how their environment affects their learning, and has some basic understanding of psychology.

Be the educator. Treat homeschooling as your career, not a task. That means reading and studying about your chosen career.

Homeschooling advice from veteran homeschool mom

Less semester-long classes

The semester long classes were great, and I love that she made some friends in those arenas, but I think we did too many, which made it hard to take part in anything else. We barely went on field trips that related to her lessons because our schedule was so jam packed with classes.

As I’m faced with the temptation of signing up for all the interesting classes again with my younger kids, I remind myself that childhood is not the only time to learn. We can, and should, learn as adults as well. If they miss out on a class about sewing, or woodworking, or reptiles, there will be opportunities for them to learn about that as an adult as well, if they so choose.

Ask help from the community

In the six years we were exclusively homeschooling my oldest (she spent the last two years at a local college finishing her high school diploma), I had three more children and we moved twice. To say I was a bit distracted would be an understatement.

Alhamdulilah, we made do, but it would have been easier if I reached out to community members to organize study groups while she was reading classic books since I did not have the time to read them along with her. If you find someone who is passionate about a subject, they are usually happy to help the young generation to explore that passion.

Grades and deadlines

We are pretty relaxed in the early years of homeschooling, but I do suggest to start grading and giving deadlines one year before you’ll be keeping specific records. In the US (though each state is different), you don’t have to keep records until the student is in high school.

It is a disservice to your child to first experience real deadlines and grades when it will be on their permanent record.

Less is more

Okay, we don’t want to take this to an extreme and ignore educating our kids, but hear me out, especially in regards to graded assignments.

The fewer number of graded assignments you give, the more weight each one has, which means they learn to give their best time and attention to each assignment. They can’t just slop something together and know that something that was easier for them, and therefore they got a good grade on, will even out the poor assignment they just turned in.

Less formal assignments, more time to sit and think about them independently.

Never, ever stop learning

Show your child what it means to be a lifelong learner. Sign up for classes, read books, watch documentaries. Even if they scoff at your boring choices for how you use your time, they will be noticing that you didn’t stop learning when you graduated. And neither should they.

Veteran homeschool mom advice to new homeschoolers

Make du’a

Last, but not least, don’t forget that striving to provide opportunities for a great education is in your hands, but the end result ultimately is not. Allah has a plan for all of us, and sometimes it may look like it’s not going your way. That’s okay, too. Patience is what we do have control over. In sha Allah be patient.

Shannen is an American Muslim convert, homeschooling mother to 4 daughters and mediocre housewife. She enjoys blogging, knitting, quilting, and avoiding housework. Read more on her blog about their Islamic homeschool, green(ish) living, and the ups and downs of parenting. You can connect with Shannen on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.