Parent Summer Reading List



Summer time reading for a homeschool parent often means reflection on the past school year and planning for the next.


We have carefully chosen the following homeschool related reading recommendations* for you to consider adding to your list.


Explore philosophies, encouragement and helpful learning guidelines for your family’s homeschool journey.


Happy summer reading!



* Amazon Associates and Amazon Smiles


The book summaries have been created by the publishers.




Guerrilla Learning: How to Give Your Kids a Real Education With or Without School

by Grace Llewellyn


Prices vary


"Creating a home environment that fills your child with the joy of learning.

If you've ever felt that your child wasn't flourishing in school or simply needs something the professionals aren't supplying, you're ready to become a 'guerrilla educator.'


Revolutionary and inspiring, Guerrilla Learning explains what's wrong (and what's useful) about our traditional schools and shows you how to take charge of your family's education to raise thinking, creative young people despite the constraints of traditional schooling.


Filled with fun and exciting exercises and projects to do with children of all ages, this remarkable approach to childhood, education, and life will help you release your child's innate abilities and empower him or her in the wider world that awaits beyond the school walls."





Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life

by Peter Gray


Prices vary


“In Free to Learn, developmental psychologist Peter Gray argues that in order to foster children who will thrive in today's constantly changing world, we must entrust them to steer their own learning and development. Drawing on evidence from anthropology, psychology, and history, he demonstrates that free play is the primary means by which children learn to control their lives, solve problems, get along with peers, and become emotionally resilient. A brave, counterintuitive proposal for freeing our children from the shackles of the curiosity-killing institution we call school, Free to Learn suggests that it's time to stop asking what's wrong with our children, and start asking what's wrong with the system. It shows how we can act-both as parents and as members of society-to improve children's lives and to promote their happiness and learning.”





Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book Of Homeschooling

by John Holt & Pat Farenga


Prices vary


“Today more than one and a half million children are being taught at home by their own parents. In this expanded edition of the book that helped launch the whole movement, Pat Farenga has distilled John Holt's timeless understanding of the ways children come to understand the world and added up-to-the-moment practical advice. Rather than proposing that parents turn their homes into miniature schools, Holt and Farenga demonstrate how ordinary parents can help children grow as social, active learners. Chapters on living with children, 'serious play,' children and work, and learning difficulties will be of interest to all parents, whether home schooling or not, as well as to teachers. This new edition is supplemented with financial and legal advice as well as a guide to cooperating with schools and facing the common objections to home schooling. Teach Your Own not only has all the vital information necessary to be the bible for parents teaching their own children, it also conveys John Holt's wise and passionate belief in every child's ability to learn from the world that has made his wonderful books into enduring classics.”





Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play

by Mitchel Resnick

Amazon Price:

Kindle $9.50, Hardcover $18.99


“Drawing on experiences from more than thirty years at MIT's Media Lab, Resnick discusses new technologies and strategies for engaging young people in creative learning experiences. He tells stories of how children are programming their own games, stories, and inventions (for example, a diary security system, created by a twelve-year-old girl), and collaborating through remixing, crowdsourcing, and large-scale group projects (such as a Halloween-themed game called Night at Dreary Castle, produced by more than twenty kids scattered around the world). By providing young people with opportunities to work on projects, based on their passions, in collaboration with peers, in a playful spirit, we can help them prepare for a world where creative thinking is more important than ever before.”





Free Range Learning: How Homeschooling Changes Everything

by Laura Grace Weldon


Amazon price:

Kindle $7.49, Paperback $23.28


“Free Range Learning should be read by every parent, teacher, and school administrator as the beginning of education reform that includes respect for the learning process of every child. About much more than homeschooling, it incorporates beautiful philosophies such as slowing down, kindness, empathy, cooperation, the dangers of materialism, creating a heart-centered lifestyle. A beautiful read.”

---Jane Nelsen, co-author of Positive Discipline in the Classroom and Raising Self-Reliant Children in a Self-Indulgent World.





Homeschooling and the Voyage of Self-Discovery: A Journey of Original Seeking

by David H. Albert


Amazon price $17.07


“Are children empty boxes into which we pour knowledge and wisdom? Or are they naturally predisposed to acquire these things? David H. Albert presents a collection of articles laden with gems, -including the single most important lesson to teach a child.”











Don't Go Back to School: A Handbook for Learning Anything

by Kio Stark


Prices vary


“Here is a radical truth: school doesn’t have a monopoly on learning. More and more people are passing on traditional education and college degrees. Instead they’re getting the knowledge, training, and inspiration they need outside of the classroom. Drawing on extensive research and talking to over 100 independent learners, Kio Stark offers the ultimate guide to learning without school. Don’t Go Back to School tells you how to learn what you need to learn in order to do what you need to do, without having to bend your life or your finances to fit into traditional schooling. This inspiring and practical guide provides concrete strategies and resources for getting started as an independent learner.”





102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum

by Cathy Duffy


Prices vary


“102 Top Picks makes it easy for home educators to select the right curriculum for each family situation and each child's learning style. Widely-recognized curriculum expert Cathy Duffy walks you through the curriculum selection process: goal setting, figuring out which educational approach to use, developing your own philosophy of education, determining your teaching style, and identifying your children's learning styles. 'At-a-glance' charts highlight key features of each Top Pick selection. Scanning through the charts allows you to quickly identify products likely to be of interest. The charts are followed by extensive reviews of each of Cathy's Top Picks. This is an updated and extensively revised edition of 101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.”


Also available in a variety of formats and prices from Cathy Duffy’s website





Big Book of Unschooling

by Sandra Dodd


Amazon price $25.00


“Summary of Sandra Dodd's website on unschooling and mindful parenting, with hundreds of practical ideas about how to move from schoolish thinking to living a life of natural learning and joy.”














Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners

by Lori McWilliam Pickert


Amazon price:

Kindle $7.99, Paperback $14.99


“This is an essential experience for children: to spend time working on something that matters to them, with the support of a dedicated mentor. This book is an introduction and guide to creating the circumstances under which children can teach themselves.

The author gives parents concrete tips for helping children do challenging, meaningful, self-chosen work. From setting up a workspace that encourages independence to building a family culture that supports self-directed learning to concrete suggestions for a step-by-step approach to inquiry-based investigation, Project-Based Homeschooling shares techniques for mentoring independent, confident thinkers and learners.”





Carschooling: Over 350 Entertaining Games & Activities to Turn Travel Time into Learning Time - For Kids Ages 4 to 17

by Diane Flynn Keith


Amazon price:

Kindle $8.97, Paperback $20.99


"'Are we there yet?' You won't hear that question when you seize the opportunity to turn travel time into learning time with Carschooling! Whether running a 5-minute errand or taking a 500-mile road trip you can enhance your kids' education with fun and enticing activities, resources, and zany games designed to improve skills in math, science, grammar, and more! Enjoy: ·Windshield Entomology, Road-Cut Geology, and 18-Wheeler Chemistry ·Dashboard Decimal Drills and Rock 'n' Roll Multiplication Tables ·Drive-By History, and Glove Compartment Geography ·Billboard Poetry & Parts of Speech ·Rest Stop Olympics, Car Seat Calisthenics, and more! See? There is an alternative to "Slug Bug" and "The Song That Never Ends." And with Carschooling, you don't have to plug your kids into electronic games or non-stop videos. Carschooling will help boost your family's knowledge of the world and show you how to spend meaningful time together in the car that produces life-long, heartfelt memories.”





Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning

by Oliver and Rachel DeMille


Amazon price: $19.95


“The Phases of Learning is the manual that every person who aspires to be an effective leader, or to raise one, needs. Principled decision-making, the cultivation of character, studying the classics, and using critical thinking skills are just a few of the lost educational virtues of today restored by this book. An in-depth look at the philosophy and phases of education is indispensable when creating leaders. This book will help any family find the direction they are looking for when pursuing leadership education. This book teaches not only the theories behind Thomas Jefferson Education but also the practical application of these theories for you and your children, with great detail on the features of Thomas Jefferson Education-modeled home, parenting, family, education, leadership and life's mission. As we apply the philosophy contained in Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning we will transform not only our families and our classrooms, but the world.“





The Core: Teaching Your Child the Foundations of Classical Education

by Leigh A. Bortins


Prices vary


“In the past, correct spelling, the multiplication tables, the names of the state capitals and the American presidents were basics that all children were taught in school. Today, many children graduate without this essential knowledge. Most curricula today follow a haphazard sampling of topics with a focus on political correctness instead of teaching students how to study. Leigh Bortins, a leading figure in the homeschooling community, is having none of it. She believes that there are core areas of knowledge that are essential to master. Without knowing the multiplication tables, children can't advance to algebra. Without mastery of grammar, students will have difficulty expressing themselves. Without these essential building blocks of knowledge, students may remember information but they will never possess a broad and deep understanding of how the world works. In The Core, Bortins gives parents the tools and methodology to implement a rigorous, thorough, and broad curriculum based on the classical model."





A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on The Gentle Art of Learning(TM)

by Karen Andreola


Prices vary


“Charlotte Mason's principles of education are not only a way of learning but also a way of life. A Charlotte Mason Companion gives you powerful tools to create an extraordinary learning experience. At the turn of every page, you will meet a practical idea and the inspiration to carry it out. Chapters on using good books, heroes in history, poetry, art and music appreciation, nature study, the atmosphere of home, the discipline of habit, keeping up enthusiasm, (to name a few) are referred to again and again by Karen's readers. Since its debut in 1998, A Charlotte Mason Companion continues to be one of the most trusted and often quoted books in the home school world. Plenty of encouragement, wisdom and gentle instruction await you in this beautifully written and beautifully illustrated book.”





The Waldorf Homeschool Handbook

by Donna Ashton


Prices vary


“The Waldorf Homeschool Handbook is a simple step-by-step guide to creating and understanding a Waldorf inspired homeschool plan. Within the pages of this comprehensive homeschooling guide, parents will find information, lesson plans, curriculum, helpful hints, behind the scenes reasons why, rhythm, rituals, helping you fit homeschooling into your life. Discover how to educate your children in a nurturing and creative environment.”







Home Learning Year by Year: How to Design a Homeschool Curriculum from Preschool Through High School

by Rebecca Rupp


Prices vary


“Finally, homeschoolers have a comprehensive guide to designing a homeschool curriculum, from one of the country's foremost homeschooling experts. , Rebecca Rupp presents a structured plan to ensure that your children will learn what they need to know when they need to know it, from preschool through high school. Based on the traditional pre-K through 12th-grade structure, Home Learning Year by Year features:

  • The integral subjects to be covered within each grade

  • Standards for knowledge that should be acquired by your child at each level

  • Recommended books to use as texts for every subject

  • Guidelines for the importance of each topic: which knowledge is essential and which is best for more expansive study based on your child's personal interests

  • Suggestions for how to sensitively approach less academic subjects, such as sex education and physical fitness.”





What Your Preschooler Needs to Know: Get Ready for Kindergarten

by E. D. Hirsch Jr.


Prices vary


“Designed for parents to enjoy with children, filled with opportunities for reading aloud and fostering curiosity, this beautifully illustrated anthology offers preschoolers the fundamentals they need to prepare for a happy, productive time in school—and for the rest of their lives. Hundreds of thousands of children have benefited from the acclaimed Core Knowledge Series, developed in consultation with parents, educators, and the most distinguished developmental psychologists. In addition to valuable advice for parents, such as what it means for a child to be ready for kindergarten, special sidebars throughout the book help parents make reading aloud fun and interactive, suggesting questions to ask, connections to make, and games to play to enrich their preschooler’s learning experience.”





What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know (Revised and updated): Preparing Your Child for a Lifetime of Learning

by E. D. Hirsch Jr.


Prices vary


“Designed for use by parents and teachers, this groundbreaking first volume in the Core Knowledge Series provides kindergartners with the fundamentals they need to prepare them for a lifetime of learning. It sets out the elements a parent or educator should look for in a good kindergarten program and introduces activities that help a child take the first steps in learning to read and write. Featuring a new Introduction and filled with age-appropriate questions and suggestions that stimulate thinking and build vocabulary.”





What Your First Grader Needs to Know (Revised and Updated): Fundamentals of a Good First-Grade Education

by E. D. Hirsch Jr.


Prices vary


"What will your child be expected to learn in the first grade? How can you help him or her at home? How can teachers foster active, successful learning in the classroom? This book answers these all-important questions and more, offering the specific shared knowledge that hundreds of parents and teachers across the nation have agreed upon for American first graders. Featuring a new Introduction, filled with opportunities for reading aloud and fostering discussion, this first-grade volume of the acclaimed Core Knowledge Series presents the sort of knowledge and skills that should be at the core of a challenging first-grade education."





What Your Second Grader Needs to Know (Revised and Updated): Fundamentals of a Good Second-Grade Education

by E. D. Hirsch Jr.


Prices vary


“What will your child be expected to learn in the second grade? How can you help him or her at home? This book answers these all-important questions and more, offering the specific shared knowledge that hundreds of parents and teachers across the nation have agreed upon for American second graders. Designed for parents and teachers to enjoy with children, featuring a new Introduction, this second-grade volume of the Core Knowledge Series presents the knowledge and skills that should be at the core of a challenging second-grade education.”





What Your Third Grader Needs to Know (Revised and Updated): Fundamentals of a Good Third-Grade Education

by E. D. Hirsch Jr.


Prices vary


"What should your child learn in the third grade? How can you help him or her at home? This book answers these important questions and more, offering the specific shared knowledge that thousands of parents and teachers across the nation have agreed upon for American third graders. Featuring sixteen pages of full-color illustrations, a bolder, easier-to-follow format, and a thoroughly updated curriculum, What Your Third Grader Needs to Know is designed for parents and teachers to enjoy with children. Hundreds of thousands of children have benefited from the Core Knowledge Series. This edition, featuring a new Introduction, gives today’s generation of third graders the advantage they need to make progress in school and to establish an approach to learning that will last a lifetime.”





What Your Fourth Grader Needs to Know (Revised and Updated): Fundamentals of a Good Fourth-Grade Education

by E. D. Hirsch Jr.


Prices vary


"How can you help your child at home? This book answers that important question and more, offering the specific shared knowledge that thousands of parents and teachers across the nation have agreed upon for American fourth graders. Featuring full-color illustrations throughout, a bolder, easier-to-follow format, and a thoroughly updated curriculum, What Your Fourth Grader Needs to Know is designed for parents and teachers to enjoy with children."





What Your Fifth Grader Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good Fifth-Grade Education

by E. D. Hirsch Jr.


Prices vary


"What Your Fifth Grader Needs to Know, Revised Edition, covers the basics of language arts, history and geography, visual arts, music, math, and science. A collection of American speeches, tales from around the world, math problems, and biographies of famous scientists add to the book’s usefulness and enhance the pleasure of both adult and child as they work together.”






What Your Sixth Grader Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good Sixth-Grade Education

by E. D. Hirsch Jr.


Prices vary


"What should your child learn in the sixth grade? How can you help him or her at home? This book answers these important questions and more, offering the specific shared knowledge that thousands of parents and teachers across the nation have agreed upon for American sixth graders."




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