Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Homeschooling books

homeschoolbooks, originally uploaded by Anna's musings.

I know you might wonder why you are seeing this title on the blog of someone who doesn't even have children yet. However, my husband and I started discussing the option of homeschooling for any future children we might be blessed with - even before we were married.

The reasons why we think home education is good for children can hardly be expressed in just a couple of phrases, and I think this subject merits a separate post. Homeschooling is extremely rare in Israel, and home education resources in Hebrew are scarce.

Therefore, you can imagine how thrilled I was, when a lady who reads my blog contacted me by email - and told me she just happens to have extra brand-new copies of several homeschooling books, and asked whether we are planning to homeschool, and if we are, would I be interested in having them.

Of course, I was delighted! Homeschooling looks like a great big ocean to me, and I know we must learn a great deal in order to navigate through its waters. There are many, many, many books about homeschooling, I'm sure. This looks like a good place to start.

Although I already sent a personal "thank-you" note, I feel I simply must say again what a kind, thoughtful and generous offer it was to send us this gift. Thank you!

For those of you who are curious, here are the titles:

For the Children's Sake - Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
The Original Home Schooling Series - Charlotte M. Mason (6 volumes)
The Homeschooling Handbook - Mary Griffith

I intend to start reading and studying these books, bit by bit, during the next months. As time allows, I will try to post book reviews. Homeschoolers who feel inclined to leave me a note are more than welcome.


Anonymous said...

I think homeschooling is a wise choice, and we are planning to do so as well when the children are older. We are looking into a modified Waldorf curriculum, but haven't firmly settled on any decisions yet. Please do let us know what you think of your new books!

Anonymous said...

What a sweet gift that was!

Bethany said...

I have homeschooled my three kids from the begining (7 yrs). There are a lot of choices out there on what curriculum to use and what method of schooling. From my experience I suggest using what fits your personality and the personalities of the children. Don't be overwhelmed, take your time, be ready to scrap anything that doesn't work and by all means use your instinct. Nobody will know your kids better than you. Take all advice with caution, even this advice. Homeschooling has been the best thing we have done for our kids.
Good luck in your search.

Terry said...

I applaud your action and foresight. Your future children are blessed to have a wise mother. I wish I had given my older kids' education as much forethought.

By the way, I'm reviewing a really good eBook on homeschooling on my blog tomorrow. If you're interested, pop in and give it a look.

Suzanne said...

How exciting! We are planning to homeschool our daughter and any future children we may have. She's not quite 2, so I haven't really read any books about it, but your post reminds me I can start now! I think I might check some of those out!

Miss 376 said...

I had made the decision to home educate my children before we had them too. Have no regrets and will do everything in my power to continue to do so. They did try school for a while, their choice, and after varying lengths of time, both have come back home. My eldest said this week he was never sending his chldren to school either. We enjoy every minute

Mia said...

Sorry to hear that homeschooling is so rare in Israel. Here in America it's very common. Perhaps when the time comes for you to begin, it will have become more so in your country too. But I do applaud your decision to venture there. I've been homeschooling my daughter for six years, and though challenging at times, I have never regretted it. After all, children were always taught in the home until only recently in human history. I believe it's part of our wonderful calling as mothers.

Julia said...

We homeschool too. I did like you, reading all about it and considering my options from the time my kids were very young. There are lots of homeschooling forums and message boards that can point you in the direction of various curriculum. There are a million homeschoolers and a million ways to homeschool. My advice is don't let anyone tell you there is only one, best way.

Kathleen said...

Anna, that's wonderful!

Can I share another book that I have found fantastic? It's called "A Thomas Jefferson Education" by Oliver DeMille. Even if you disagree with his end, the principles and ideas he suggests are really good. "Leadership Education" by the same author goes into more depth and I found to be better thought-out. I've blogged a little about Thomas Jefferson Education (TJEd) and leadership education, if you're curious.

And if you're studying teaching children/parenting in the Jewish way, I bet I'm not the only reader who would be interesting in learning more!

Rain-girl said...

Hi! I'm 19 years old and I've been successfully homeschooled my entire life. :-) The Homeschooling Handbook and the Charlotte Mason books are really good! (I also like parts of A Thomas Jefferson Education)I love my homeschooled education, and can't imagine anything better, for me personally.

From my experience and my family's experience...I would say trust your own instincts and don't let anyone else tell you what to do...you'll know exactly what is right for you and your family. So yeah...just trust yourself!
I'm excited for you! Homeschooling is a great adventure. :-)

Cindi said...

I am headed into our 13th year of homeschooling. We have one homeschool graduate who now attends college. It has been a great blessing to our family, I hope it will for yours.

Gothelittle Rose said...

My most recent blog post involves my reasons and methods for homeschooling my five-year-old this year. :) I don't know if any of it will help, but it couldn't hurt, perhaps?

Anonymous said...

How about a nice new edition of Encyclopedia Americana --paper copy, of course, several sets of graduated in difficulty math texts, and a set of the national genre 'classics', maybe as put out by Encyclopedia Britannica, a foreign language set of texts, and readily accessible public library (for all those expensive children's books with the wonderful illustrations), and of course writings from one's own family history and culture?

With my second child 10 yrs after the first, a different educational tact that didn't emphasize physical development was the decision of my husband and I. Little Nate 'heard' music classics in utero and after birth, was encouraged to develop visual discrimination,manual dexterity, brain pattern development, and absolute pitch at an early age with violin lessons at 3.5 yrs. The benefits of Suzuki was not only seen in the child, but in the parents, as it's a family activity.

Along with an old Grolier Encyclopedia of children classics, Uncle Jim's Book of Things to Do, lots of colored paper, safety art equipment, and daily outings; it might not be necessary to purchase a pre-packaged 'homeschooling' set of books.

Because we have so many immigrant and non-citizens in our town, there are wonderful customs of cultural celebrations, and on top of that, local libraries sponsor used book sales which are held x 3+ days in the library to increase the new book purchase fund, but truth be told, everyone who is anyone brings in their old books, and swaps out for others' gently used ones, at the price of 50cents or less. There are books in foreign languages, classics, traveling, etc.. Scheduled regularly quarterly, there's just enough time to read a passel before the next swap.

Paramount to this reply, however, is non-access at homes to internet by children before age 15! And, yes, parents worked full-time, took care of the home, and were part-time students!


Anonymous said...

There is no higher vocation than that of educating your children at home! I truely believe that. I have homeschooled my children since they were in my tummy and my eldest will be in 12th grade next year. What a true blessing it has been!

Milena said...

My sister-in-law told me to check out your site, I adore it!

I plan to keep reading...but just wanted to say it looks wonderful!

Mrs. Rabe said...

I have educated all my children at home. My oldest is 19 years old now and graduated last year, from our homeschool. He did very well.

I am currently educating my daughters in grades 11, 9, 4 and 1st. My youngest is almost 3, and I don't do anything formally with him.

I love the Charlotte Mason Method and philosophy of education. It works very well, so I was delighted to see you had her books as well as Susan Schaffer MacCauley's book. They are wonderful!

Homeschooling allows for us to build strong relationships with our children and to teach them throughout the day about God's ways.

Happy Reading!

MarkyMark said...


My former pastor & his wife homeschooled, and it worked out well for them. I know that there are websites, groups, etc. devoted to this, but I don't know much about them. Does the LAF site have info on this? I seem to remember seeing homeschooling info on there...


MarkyMark said...


I forgot to mention something about books. Even though there are homeschooling curricula & books out there, you might wish to supplement those with other texts. When it comes to math, get the OLDEST BOOK YOU CAN FIND! Yeah, you read that right; get the oldest books you can find in math.

Why? Because, older math books are simply better. Their content is superior, since it relates to the real world. I have an old (1940s vintage) math book that covers arithmetic & basic algebra that was wonderful. I used to to review, and get mentally sharp before returning to college as an adult. Unfortunately, it wouldn't be used today, since it's not PC; they have separate problems for guys & girls. Guys back then were given shop problems, while girls had homemaking style problems to do. I worked both guys & girls problems, and I learned useful things from both.

For example, I never knew that recipes were written with the intent of serving six people. Then, to increase proficiency with fractions, they'd have you adjust the recipes for 2, 3, or 4 people. This is good stuff, and it's a shame that modern math books do not have these types of problems in them. If there is ONE thing I like about older math books, it's their RELEVANCE to everyday life.

As I said, my old math text would not be used today, since the girls' homemaking problems would be seen as 'sexist'-what a bunch of hooey! They should be taught, since the knowledge is good & useful. Even if someone is single, knowing how to adjust a recipe is good to know.

Now, where to FIND these older math books? I found most of mine at the library's used book sales. As books got old, or as demand for them fell to zero, the library would sell their old books. People could also donate their old books to the library, so the library could raise needed funds. Anyway, that's where I got the bulk of mine. You could also try flea markets, yard sales, etc.

Even the more advanced math texts that I procured over 15 years ago have things in them that the newer texts don't. For example, I have a trigonometry book from 1943, the WWII era. It has spherical trigonometry in it, which a majority of modern trig texts do not have; along with that, it had artillery problems, which I found interesting. Another trig book I had, had bombing, reconnaissance, and elementary gunnery problems. The older math books just had more INTERESTING material (my books do), so you as a student would actually WANT to learn the stuff! Isn't that the name of the game, wanting to learn?

Anyway, I hope that this helps. When it comes to teaching math, noting-and I mean nothing-beats the older math texts. Even if you use a homeschooling curriculum, an older math book is good as a reference. It's good for extra problems. Finally, seeing the same material presented differently can make the difference between learning and not learning. Have a good night...


Green Eyes said...

What a great gift! As you know, we don't yet have any children, but we made the decision to homeschool before we were married, as well. I've read the summaries of each volume of the Charlotte Mason books online... I can't wait to read the real things!

How are your homeschooling laws? Our law varies widely by state here in the US. Must you teach certain subjects, send your children in for standardized testing, etc? Just curious.

weinstock4jc said...

Mrs. T.,
I'm thrilled that you two are considering homeschooling.
I'd like to recommend a resource called by Susan Wise Bauer entitled The Well Trained Mind. It is an excellent resource. It details a rigourus classical education. The book can be intimadating. The authour though advises to focus mostly on phonics, reading, and Math for younger children.
Mrs. W.

earthly jane said...

I homeschool my daughter. She's only 2 so it's nothing at all formal. But we are learning the alphabet, colors, animals and numbers.
I've known my entire adult life that I wanted to homeschool. I went to college to become a teacher and I didn't like at all what I saw when I was student teaching.
My best advice to you would be to find a homeschool group online in your state. The members will have the best tips for you. And often times old cirriculum {sp?} for very cheap!
Good luck on your quest!

Anonymous said...

It looks as though you have some great materials there....what a generous gift!


Neuropoet said...

We have homeschooled our boys from the beginning, and it has been wonderful for our family. :) The Original Homeschooling Series by Charlotte Mason is absolutely brilliant - I wish I had my own copies - you have been greatly blessed!! It takes a lot of work, but my family loves homeschooling and we revel in the ability to learn all the important things of life together - including important character traits, virtues, and family values that aren't necessarily part of a traditional school's lesson plans. :)


Anonymous said...

Hi there. That was a lovely gift indeed.

My daughter, at 4.5 years old, already knew all her shapes, colors, counting, letters etc through informal learning. So even though she's not school age, I bought some books from


Fantastic stuff. Every page of her work book has instructions for the parent "say a a a as in apple, and ask the child to repeat, and colour in the A a and the apple" and then has letters for tracing, and activity sets to go with each lesson. I am impressed and this was not expensive.

So far she loves it, in the activities she has colored in a cat that cut out to become a mask with whiskers, colored in a caterpillar and glued real grass for it to eat, given antennas to an ant etc etc and all the art stuff is included.

We tack all theses to a special wall and she proudly shows her father when he comes home.

I have not started the maths book yet, but the teaching method is also fantastic.

Soon she'll be sounding out words and its so exciting. She loves the learning.

Big hugs,

Learning To Love said...

Good choice in choosing homeschool before having children. I started homeschooling my son last year and I'm very very thankful to have a sister who has homeschooled for 7 years to date, and also women at my church who do too. It is a blessing to know my boys are getting a good and Godly instruction rather than what a lot of public schools are teaching these days.
The biggest challenge (for me) is making sure the boys are meeting other children their age for friendships. Church helps this; and I am praying for neighbors with children around the same age.

God bless you & your hubby in preparing for this.

Julie said...

We homeschool. We adopted our children. We could not homeschool until the adoption was finalized. I went from the courthouse for the adoption to our school board to register them. It was an exciting day!
There are lots of neat resources online.
amblesideonline.org and
oldfashionededucation.com are some of my favorites.

Alexandra said...

Most homeschool programs are Christian. You would probably be better off piecing together some secular resources. The Well Trained Mind is quite rigorous, but can be adapted to your faith. Charlotte Mason has some Christian overtones, but you could apply the program in theory. Ruth Beechick's approach might be a good philosophy to research.

There are a lot of good resources for Orthodox Jewish homeschoolers online. There is even an Israeli homeschool group.

Here are two links I found:

Jon's Jewish Homeschool Resources: http://www.midnightbeach.com/hs/Jewish.html

League of Observant Jewish Homeschoolers: http://www.chayas.com/homeschoolindex.htm

I like the Mennonite homeschool resources for our family, and I supplement with Catholic books. It works for us very well, but I think it would be difficult to adapt to an observant Jewish homeschool.

Be careful with the U.S. and British vintage texts...they are old fashioned learning which is great, but not so great if you are Jewish...strong Christian(Protestant) content.

You could do what I do...black out content that is counter to your faith. We do this with the Mennonite resources, although it's been very rare.

Anonymous said...

excellent choices of books! may i also recommend mary hood's books relaxed homeschooling and joyful homeschooling?
i like your blog so much!!!

Rina said...


I've been exploring your archives and came across this article... another excellent book to have is one called "Better Late Than Early" by Raymond and Dorothy Moore. It's filled with research and information that points to the fact that "it's better late than early" in terms of education. Here is an excerpt:

"This book is a result of research on the young child's mental development originally undertaken by our research Foundation as a background for a pioneer study in early childhood development. A number of research studies by brain specialists and by psychologists had suggested that the normal child's brain is not ready for sustained learning programs - until he is 8 to 10 years of age."

This book mostly deals with schooling outside of the home, but I've found it to be an excellent resource in helping my husband and I determine how much is too much (and too soon) in terms of schooling our children. My oldest daughter was able to recognize letters (upper and lower case and phonics) at age two. My middle child (who is four) has no interest in letter or number recognition. Thanks largely to this book, we've learned to allow each child to progress at their own pace.
If you think you might be interested in this book, I'd be happy to send you a copy.