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4 Must Read for the Beginner Homeschooler

Just beginning homeschooling?

If you’re just getting started in homeschooling it can be overwhelming how many options there are in terms of educational philosophy and curriculum. Figuring out what kind of homeschooler you are and how you view childhood will help make all of the other choices easy.  You can find a great homeschool-style quiz at Homeschool On if you need it.

Try a Detox

If you are taking your children out of public school, spend the first few months detoxing from the routines, attitudes, and pace of public school. Avoid buying any curriculum for the first 6 months or years and try some of the free curricula that are available. Board games can also provide a gentle introduction to learning while staying away from academics for the first while.

The purpose of a detox is to redirect your attitudes towards school (especially if you have a kid who has had a bad experience).  It will allow you to build a homeschool that is centered around your home culture and lifestyle, not the other way around.  The best homeschools look more like home than school. Charlotte Mason said that “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life” and the books below will help you craft that.  Spending the months of your family detox doing your reading and learning will give you the best start! You’ll find out what you love, and how you want your home to be, and you’ll model to your children what real learning looks like.

Why are these books for the beginner?

I’ll talk more another time about doing a family detox, so let’s move on now to the books! These books were specifically chosen to show you three things:

  1. What an educational home culture looks like.
  2. Socialization {as in ‘learning from peers’} is largely a myth.
  3. What kids need as they grow

Let’s jump in!

For the Children’s Sake* by Susan Schaeffer Macauley

An introduction to Charlotte Masons’ educational philosophies, practical information about what it looks like day to day, and a lovely view of family life. This was one of my early reads as a beginner homeschooler and it shaped the way I saw our home and my role as mother/teacher. As a result, we put off academics until 6 or 7 and have different {read: non-academic} priorities and learning goals for the early years.

Hold Onto Your Kids* by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Maté

The tagline “why parents need to matter more than peers” says it all.  Kids in school can become overly peer-oriented, so learn through the studies in this book how that can negatively affect them for life. More importantly, as a beginner homeschooler you can make sure your kids have the best start, and answer the endless “but what about their socialization” questions.

The Read-Aloud Family* by Sarah Mackenzie

If you’ve never read the Read Aloud Revival blog or heard the podcast (both recommended!), this is a great place to start learning about reading aloud.  Find out when to add it, how things change with teens or toddlers, and why it matters. The beginner homeschooler will learn about the best part of any homeschool.

A Thomas Jefferson Education* by Oliver DeMille

The best book for the beginner homeschooler.  See your kids in a whole different light, learn how modern industrial school goes astray, and begin the first steps to achieving your own truly great education. TJEd has been the philosophy I come back to again and again as they share the same love of living books as Charlotte Mason, give early childhood the same respect as Unschooling, and allow students to truly own their education and make it great (and personalized!).


If you’d like to start including some nature study in your homeschool right away, I love to recommend Pocketful of Pinecones* by Karen Andreola. Sharing Charlotte Mason’s love of nature study and gentle learning in a story way, this book leads you through introducing nature study to your children to having a home that fully incorporates the love of nature and learning that Charlotte Mason encouraged.

Wanting to start homeschooling on a budget?

Get these books from the library! When I first started I had to get quite a few of my books through Inter-Library Loan as I didn’t have the money to be purchasing lots of books and my local library had very few homeschooling books.

Check out my post Homeschooling on a budget for tips and links to all sorts of frugal homeschooling resources for the beginner homeschooler.