Updated: Jun 11, 2018
Have you been searching for great summer reads that have homeschoolers as the main character?
Well... look no further!
We have carefully crafted a list of thirty-one titles that we think will interest your homeschoolers of any age from preschool to young adult. Picture books, photo essays, chapter books and even a few series.* There is something for everyone! Maybe they will even inspire you and your family to write your own book or series...
Age recommendations and plot synopsis have been created by the publishers of the book.
Happy summer reading!
by Gilselle Potter
Age level 4-8
“Based on a true story, a young girl skips the second grade to go with her family on an adventure to Italy to perform in her family's theater troupe, The Mystic Paper Beasts, for a year where she gets the chance to play the part of a bear in a piazza and a stork in an open-air theater.”
Age level 4-8
Amazon price $14.83
“Drawing from his own childhood experiences, Jonathan Bean takes the autobiographically inspired family he introduced in Building Our House through the special rhythms and routines of a homeschooling day. For young Jonathan and his sisters, Mom is the teacher and a whole lot more, and Dad is the best substitute any kid could want. From math, science, and field trips to recess, show-and-tell, and art, a school day with this intrepid, inventive family will seem both completely familiar and totally unique. Includes a selection of family snapshots and a note from the author.”
by Angelina Hart
Age level 4-8
“We all choose to homeschool for a variety of reasons. Some for religious reasons, some political, some of us use curricula and others unschool. Yet the one thing we all have in common is that when we move through our day during what most people consider to be 'school hours' we are faced with the same question: 'Shouldn't you be in school?' This book strikes a humorous chord with all of us that attempt to find creative ways of answering, ignoring, overlooking, informing, defending or explaining our situation when that inevitable question comes our way. Follow two young girls as they are faced with this question many times throughout the day and watch all that they learn while not in school.”
by Jesse Honn
Age level 4-8
Amazon Price $5.99
“There's a magic about summertime that excites the imagination and leads to incredible adventures. Dace and his six intrepid friends set out to explore the neighborhood woods for themselves, seeking out hidden treasures and mysterious secrets. As they soon find out, the woods hold much more than the adventuresome group could ever hope to explore in only one summer. For these daring woodsmen, however, another great adventure is never far away. Welcome to the neighborhood.”
by Jesse Honn
Age level 4-8
Amazon price $7.99
“Seven young adventurers set out once again to experience the thrilling challenge and mystery that is the neighborhood woods. When an old family friend divulges a secret to the group known as The Woodsmen, they encounter their toughest challenges yet. The adventurers soon discover hidden clues to a treasure that may have ancient connections, but they quickly realize that not everything is as simple as it first seems. Experience the continuing adventures with Dace and his friends as they forge ahead into the amazing woods.”
by Nicole Olson
Age level 4-12
Amazon price $9.95
“Ippie’s a barefooted, band-aid covered, free-spirited eight-year old. She’s a lot like all the other kids in her neighborhood, except for one thing...Ippie doesn’t go to school. She has no teacher and follows no curriculum. So just what is Ippie doing all day? And how can she possibly be learning? Come spend some time with Ippie and find out. Written by former educator and current unschooling mom of four Nicole Olson, this ground-breaking story gives us a sneak peek into the world of unschooling through a child’s eyes.”
by Jon Lurie
Age level 4-8
Amazon price $15.33
“Allison narrates this appealing photo-essay about her homeschool experiences. The photos are a little dark, but they are plentiful and unstudied, catching Allison at work and at play, alone and with her family, content and moody. Although this is a very upbeat view of homeschooling, it is also nicely tempered with reality: Allison admits that being with her whole family all the time isn't easy, and she alludes to the prohibitive cost of some materials and the need to find outside teachers for certain things, such as dancing and knitting. However, the portrait is a winning one, showing a bright, eager child whose schooling may be different but who seems just like the girl next door. An appended section includes information about homeschooling, and an eclectic list of further reading rounds things out.”
by Kay Thompson
Age level 4-8
“Eloise is a very special—and very precocious—six-year-old girl who lives at The Plaza Hotel in New York City. She may not be pretty yet, but she’s definitely already a real Person. Join Eloise and experience her fabulous life in the famous Plaza Hotel. You’ll be glad you did.”
Wright on Time Series
by Lisa M. Cottrell-Bently
Age level 8-12
“The Wrights travel the USA in an RV. Each month brings them to a new state with a new educational theme to explore and play with. They prove that learning can happen all the time, anywhere, and that being with family is fun!”
“Explore an Arizona desert cave with the Wrights as they begin their trip. What
will Aidan and Nadia discover?”
“Explore a dinosaur dig with the Wrights as they roadschool in Utah. What will Aidan and Nadia discover about the mysterious device they found in Arizona?”
“Join Aidan and Nadia as they continue their roadschooling adventures in Wyoming! The Wright family visits geysers, tours a hydroelectric plant, flies in a private plane, visits a wind farm, and more! What will they find and what will they learn about their mysterious Time Tuner?”
“The Wright family’s homeschooling adventure continues on to South Dakota as their RV hits the road again. The kids wonder what all those motorcycles are doing in the small town of Sturgis. Nadia learns how newspapers are created. Aidan gets to lead the way on a daring round of follow the leader. Prince Pumpkin the Third, their pet turtle, stumbles across something that he probably shouldn’t have. Meanwhile, what startling new secrets of the Time Tuner are revealed? “
“The Wright family has trekked their way from Arizona to Minnesota on their homeschooling RV adventure of a lifetime! In the "Land of 10,000 Lakes", they discover some really big things. Will Nadia have time to see all the sculptures she wants to? Can Aidan pick up a cherry as big as his head? Will Stephanie's love of rock climbing come in handy to keep Harrison safe? Just how do you paint metamorphosis? And can the Wrights manage to get the Time Tuner to work again?
by Stephanie S. Tolan
Age level 8-13
Prices vary- Free Kindle Unlimited
“The side-splittingly funny Newbery Honor Book about a rebellious boy who is sent to a home-schooling program run by one family—the creative, kooky, loud, and loving Applewhites! Jake Semple is notorious. Rumor has it he managed to get kicked out of every school in Rhode Island, and actually burned the last one down to the ground. Only one place will take him now, and that's a home school run by the Applewhites, a chaotic and hilarious family of artists: poet Lucille, theater director Randolph, dancer Cordelia, and dreamy Destiny. The only one who doesn't fit the Applewhite mold is E.D.—a smart, sensible girl who immediately clashes with the defiant Jake.”
by Stephanie S. Tolan
Age level 8-13
Amazon price $6.99
“Jack Semple and E.D. Applewhite are back, in this middle-grade sequel to Stephanie S. Tolan’s Newbery Honor Book Surviving the Applewhites.
Teenager E.D., the not so artistic, not at all eccentric member of the unconventional Applewhite clan, can't believe the plan her father has hatched to save the family from financial disaster. He’s decided to transform their rural North Carolina farm into a summer camp for creative children.
Soon the farm is packed with temperamental artists, out-of-control campers, and an even more out-of-control goat. It's all a little too much for structure-loving E.D., even before threatening notes begin appearing in the family mailbox. Together with Jake Semple--the boy who survived his first year in the Applewhites' home school—she's determined to save the camp and the family from disaster.”
by Stephanie S. Tolan
Age level 8-13
Amazon price $12.48
“This third story about the madcap family introduced in Stephanie Tolan’s Newbery Honor Book Surviving the Applewhites features even more outlandish adventures and will appeal to fans of the Applewhites and those meeting them for the first time.
E.D. and Jake are doing their best to forget their bewildering kiss—after all, they’re practically family—and get back to “normal” life with the decidedly abnormal, highly creative Applewhites. When the family’s biggest fan, Jeremy Bernstein, pulls up to Wit’s End in an “Art Bus,” he brings with him a proposal for an Education Expedition: a cross-country road trip, educational quest, and video-documented competition for a big cash prize. Jeremy also drags along his troubled but beautiful niece, Melody. She’ll be joining the expedition with her own rebellious flair, much to Jake’s delight . . . and E.D.’s exasperation. With characteristic Applewhite enthusiasm, the artists face disastrous performances, fainting goats, and some very bad ideas—but can they make it through the road trip in one piece?”
by Johann D. Wyss
Prices vary- Free Kindle and Audiobook
“Following a wild and raging storm, the Swiss family Robinson are stranded at sea. But the thundering waves have swept them off to a tropical island, where a new life awaits them. Their ship is laden with supplies and the island is packed with treasures, so they soon adapt and discover new dangers and delights every day.”
by Wendy Orr
Amazon price $5.59
“A girl. An iguana. An island. And e-mail. Meet Nim–a modern-day Robinson Crusoe! She can chop down bananas with a machete, climb tall palm trees, and start a fire with a piece of glass. So she’s not afraid when her scientist dad sails off to study plankton for three days, leaving her alone on their island. Besides, it’s not as if no one’s looking after her–she’s got a sea lion to mother her and an iguana for comic relief. She also has an interesting new e-mail pal. But when her father’s cell-phone calls stop coming and disaster seems near, Nim has to be stronger and braver than she’s ever been before.”
by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Amazon price $8.48
"Laura Ingalls's story begins in 1871 in a little log cabin on the edge of the Big Woods of Wisconsin. Four-year-old Laura lives in the little house with her Pa, her Ma, her sisters Mary and Carrie, and their trusty dog, Jack. Pioneer life is sometimes hard, since the family must grow or catch all their own food as they get ready for the cold winter. But it is also exciting as Laura and her folks celebrate Christmas with homemade toys and treats, do the spring planting, bring in the harvest, and make their first trip into town. And every night they are safe and warm in their little house, with the happy sound of Pa's fiddle sending Laura and her sisters off to sleep."
by Katherine Hannigan
“Ida B. Applewood believes there is never enough time for fun.
That's why she's so happy to be homeschooled and to spend every free second outside with the trees and the brook. Then some not-so-great things happen in her world. Ida B has to go back to that Place of Slow but Sure Body-Cramping, Mind-Numbing, Fun-Killing Torture—school. She feels her heart getting smaller and smaller and hardening into a sharp, black stone. How can things go from righter than right to a million miles beyond wrong? Can Ida B put together a plan to get things back to just-about perfect again?”
Cody Greene and the Rainbow Mystery by Linda Fields
Amazon price $10.39
"When a painting is stolen from nine year old Cody Greene’s family’s art gallery, he does what any artist does best: he sketches the clues. Through cooking with his friend, visiting the midwife with his mom, hiking with his dad, and helping to prepare for an upcoming art and craft festival, Cody’s homeschooling takes a new turn as he unravels the Case of the Rainbow Mystery.”
by Leanne Lucas
"While her school is being repaired following a tornado and she is attending a cooperative homeschool, Addie becomes involved in a mystery surrounding the school's computer software."
by Watt Key
Age level 10-14
Amazon price $6.98
"For as long as ten-year-old Moon can remember, he has lived out in the forest in a shelter with his father. They keep to themselves, their only contact with other human beings an occasional trip to the nearest general store. When Moon's father dies, Moon follows his father's last instructions: to travel to Alaska to find others like themselves. But Moon is soon caught and entangled in a world he doesn't know or understand; he's become property of the government he has been avoiding all his life. As the spirited and resourceful Moon encounters constables, jails, institutions, lawyers, true friends, and true enemies, he adapts his wilderness skills and learns to survive in the outside world, and even, perhaps, make his home there.”
by Jennifer Lynn
Amazon price $6.99
"Jackson, Haley, Lainey and Katie are homeschool kids out for an adventure. They’re looking forward to a few days away from the books, exploring an old Civil War battlefield. But they end up with more than one mystery to solve as they form a new friendship that takes them down a dangerous road. Join these homeschool detectives as they crack codes, follow clues and learn by doing."
by Don and Aneladee Milne
Kindle price $2.99
"In Home School Adventurers: The Lost Da Vincis, four resourceful homeschool siblings discover their parents and youngest brother have disappeared. Was it caused by their scientist father's new invention going terribly wrong? Will the children be able to find their parents before it's too late? Will they be able to keep it a secret? Will their father's chief rival ruin everything? Children of all ages will enjoy reading the adventures of 14-year old Sophie, 13-year old twins Frankie and I.T., and 11-year old Eddie. Will they find The Lost Da Vincis?
by Lucy Frank
Prices vary- click used options for best prices
“After a summer at Wilderness Camp, thirteen year-old Katya decides that she absolutely cannot go back to school. At school she can’t eradicate invasive alien plants, go on foraged-food-finding missions, or just be herself. Her parents, despite being 'school kind of people', are willing to give it a try, but Katya has to stick to their (just-like-school!) assignments. This isn’t what she had in mind. So with the help of a mysterious violin-playing boy, Milo, and new friend Francesca, Katya comes up with a plan to save her homeschooling experience. The three become the founding members of the Homeschool Liberation League––but will it be enough to convince Katya’s parents that her ideas about learning might be just right for her?”
by Jessica Gruner and Rob Reger
Amazon price $8.99
"Emily's uniquely strange homeschool syllabus includes:
1. Time Travel 101
2. Advanced Spy Photography
3. Bonnet Basics
4. Great Aunts Through the Ages
5. Intro to Germ Theory
6. Care and Feeding of 'Squito Fish
7. Fundamentals of Black Rock
8. Spiderweb Embroidery
9. Historical & Contemporary Felines
10. Pop Quizzes
11. Foodstuffs of the 1780s
12. Thwarting Ancestral Enemies
13. Techniques in Parallel"
by Ed Ditto
“The Cosgrove (homeschooled) family has just settled into a beach cottage for a nice vacation. Sunny days, starry nights; peace and quiet. But when an abandoned sailboat washes ashore in a storm, Matt and Stephanie Cosgrove get pressed into the Coast Guard’s search for its missing owner—Rick Wagner, an eccentric museum curator on the run from a local loan shark. Wagner swears it’s not about the money.
His strange story and stranger offer launch Matt and Stephanie into a desperate race for a Confederate smuggler’s lost secret…in the dark of a gunrunner moon.”
by Gerald Durrell
"When the Durrell family can no longer endure the damp, grey English climate, they do what any sensible family would do: sell their house and relocate to the sun-soaked Greek island of Corfu. Through glorious silver and green olive groves and across brilliant tusk white beaches, ten year old Gerry, the youngest of the four Durrell children, pursues his interest in natural history with a joyful passion, revealing the engrossing hidden world of the islands fauna. Many hilarious mishaps ensue as each of Gerry's new animal friends is installed in the family villa. Watersnakes recuperate from heatstroke in the bathtub, matchboxes are filled with scorpions, and a pair of rowdy magpies makes short order of everything from elaborate dinner spreads to Gerald's brother Lawrence's prized manuscript to the patience of the family's puppies, Widdle and Puke. Toads and tortoises, bats and butterflies, scorpions and geckos, ladybugs, praying mantises, octopuses, pigeons and gulls are only some of the animals lovingly described in Durrell's classic tale of his childhood island home.”
by Grace Llewellyn
"In 1993, eleven homeschooled teenagers described their lives in rich detail, and Real Lives quickly became a homeschooling classic. Erin’s favorite teacher was her horse Nick, blind in one eye. Kyla flew to South America in September of what would have been her senior year—alone, except for her mountain bike. Jeremiah and his sister Serena published a newsletter on peace issues. Patrick, who hoped someday to design video games, had spent the past few years compiling portfolios of his writing and artwork. Rebecca worked at homeless shelters and, through Habitat for Humanity, built houses for people in need. Anne tended honeybees and plucked a bluegrass banjo. Ayanna kept pace with 50 pen-pals—mostly in Africa—while Kevin talked with people all over the world on his ham radio. Amanda performed with a violin quintet and worked through the mail with her writing mentor. Vallie answered questions at a marine science center; Tabitha answered the phone at a crisis line, and helped midwives at births…. Now those eleven homeschoolers have grown up and engaged the territory of adulthood, college, and career—and the new edition of Real Lives includes updates from all of them. From gaining admission to an Ivy League institution without taking the SAT to crafting a simple life centered on writing and gardening, they tell where life has taken them and where they have taken life, and offer hindsight and advice for others choosing to learn outside of school.”