Someone asked a great question on a homeschool forum the other day. What would you do if you had three years to prepare to homeschool? Would you start buying curriculum, would you start buying supplies? Would you begin making schedules and lesson plans? After thinking about it, I know exactly what I would do. I would read. I would read about different teaching methods and educational philosphies. And I would pray. I would pray for God to show me what was right for my kids. I will admit that I did not really know if I wanted to homeschool when my kids were toddlers. When the time for that decision came, I was a young mom, with a 4 year old and a 2 year old. I am a homeschool graduate myself, having been homeschooled from 3rd grade through high school. I LOVED being homeschooled, and can honestly say I have never regretted it, or felt as if I missed out on anything. I also know first hand the sacrifice required. I look back and see how many things my mother missed out on, how many other activities she could have been doing, how many talents she could have explored. So as my oldest approached school age, I began to really wonder, was I up to it? I find myself still asking that question, especially as I begin to think about a new school year, and new challenges. Looking back, there are so many things I wish I had known, so many books I wish I had read. So here is my list of books I think are most helpful as one begins to consider homeschooling. If I had a year to prepare, I would spend it reading these books and praying.
The Well Trained Mind - This book was the one that gave me the confidence to begin, a path to follow, from preschool to highschool. While we have strayed from that path, I still consider it an invaluable resource for any homeschooler.
Education Is - a free E-book - a short collection of Charlotte Mason's writings and commentary
on what education truly is - an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life. This little book is invaluable for any parent, even if you are not planning to homeschool.
A Charlotte Mason Education - This easy to read book gives an overview of CM, broken down by subject. It is a very practical guide for how to implement the principles of beauty in education professed by Charlotte Mason.
Dumbing Us Down - an insightful look at the current educational system, why it is failing, and what it is doing to the future generations of America. Fair Warning: you may not be able to ever consider sending your kids to public school after reading this book!
Educating the WholeHearted Child - This one I have added to my summer reading. A wonderful book about educating your child, from instilling habits and choosing curriculum to planning lessons and determining learning styles in your children.
The Lost Tools of Learning - an essay by Dorothy Sayers on the need for a return to classical education
Multum non Multa - an essay by Andrew Campbell, author of The Latin Centered Curriculum. It is a brief look at the principle of "much, not many", and for me was a balance to the Well Trained Mind, which can become a daunting curriculum to follow if you feel you "have to do it all." For that matter, any article in the Memoria Press magazine is worth reading :)
So there is my list - and I promise not to post another book list the next time I post :)