Books About Homeschooling

It’s our 6th year of homeschooling and out of the past six years, I’ve spent three working for the public library, in the children’s department, no less! To say that I’ve had the opportunity to have my hands on a good variety of homeschooling books is like saying Babe Ruth had the opportunity to touch a few baseballs.

Speaking of books, when I go for a weekly visit at my best friend’s house, I usually lug a bag full of books in (or maybe just one special book) to share with her. When I discovered we could talk books together, I knew it was going to be a lasting friendship.

bookshelf friends

I’ve had the chance to see the good, the bad, and the truly ugly (and outdated). Today I’d like to share some of my favorites. Yes, I am an Amazon Associate and these are affiliate links – because that’s an easy way to link to pictures of books. Clicking on the picture will take you to the Amazon page for that book where you can read reviews by other readers (so you don’t have to just take my word for it that these are good), and often you can click on the book to read an excerpt. I love that! I want to know I’ll like it before I buy it!

Not sure where to start? Or how to turn a curriculum into an actual plan? Or how to create a schedule? Here is a clear-cut book that won’t overwhelm you with too much information too soon.
Homeschooling 101: A Guide to Getting Started.

This is still my favorite book for keeping my head on straight (homeschooling-wise … there’s not help for every problem I have! LOL!) With 330 pages, it is totally worth the cost to be able to refer back to this book over and over across the years. With sections on 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, you can’t go wrong with this one. (And after six years of this, I can tell you that you won’t get it all figured out the very first year, or the second, etc … can I get an AMEN??)
101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum

Here is another that I’ve referred to more than once. At one time, I was certain I wanted to homeschool in a classical style. I’ve learned this is not right for my family, but I wouldn’t know that if I hadn’t spent some time really exploring what it’s about (and trying it). That said, classical education IS the right fit for many families, and this is the place to start in learning what it is and how to bring it to life in your home.
The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home (Third Edition)

Want to raise independent learners? Project-based homeschooling might be right for you. Learn more about this method and ideas for implementing it through this great book:
Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners

Interested in getting a realistic, honest look at homeschooling and answers to the more emotional and practical questions you and your family have? I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with these easy reads that come from the heart. These are also good to read when you hit a speedbump on your journey. I love Amy’s highway metaphor … so accurate.
The Homeschool Highway: How to Navigate Your Way Without Getting Carsick

The Homeschool Highway 2: Further Down the Road

I found this book inspiring and enlightening regarding preparing children for college. Is this the track my own children are on? No, but reading about the Harding Family’s experiences encouraged me to expect more from my kids.
The Brainy Bunch: The Harding Family’s Method to College Ready by Age Twelve

Starting to feel overwhelmed by the burden of homeschooling? Check out this quick, easy read to discover secrets of simplifying your homeschool.
Simplify Your Homeschool Day: Shorten Your Day, Sweeten Your Time

Let’s stop here while we’re ahead. I’ve given you more than enough for one week’s worth of reading! LOL! When it comes to books, I’m slightly passionate. I hope one of these books brings you hope, encouragement, inspiration, or a roadmap … whatever it is you’re looking for.

Let me know if you have a favorite book I haven’t listed yet.
Happy homeschooling!
~ Courageous Jane


Why We Homeschool Reason #77

“A picture’s worth a thousand words.” But I didn’t get a picture of it. So my words will have to suffice.

At the end of my day, I sit reflecting on the beauty that was my daughter today … in the middle of our school district’s school day, my 7th grade homeschooled daughter was spinning on the swing that hangs from the tree in our backyard, her hair flying around her, her flouncy skirt flouncing (with shorts underneath), while her 5th grade brother leaned against the tree, yakkety-yakking at her, waiting his turn. They were just out enjoying the weather and each other’s company.

I stood at the kitchen window and gawked at this incredible blessing.

This 13-year-old wasn’t standing by a brick wall trying to look cool, checking her phone – her hair, her makeup – talking about (well, I don’t even know what they talk about nowadays) and worrying about whether the boys like her. Instead, she was enjoying another day of childhood. This is a gift that homeschooling has brought to our lives.

Don’t get me wrong – she’s got a crush on a boy. She has an iPod that I have to confiscate sometimes. She makes music videos with her friends. And she’s pretty much traded in her Littlest Pet Shop toys for nail polish.

But she doesn’t have to pretend to care about all of this all the time. Most of the time, she’s still busy enjoying the last remnants of her childhood in a world that sucks that out of our children earlier and earlier, it seems. 

One of her public school friends is here for a sleepover in the tent in the backyard tonight. Tomorrow they’ll switch houses. This is not a backwards, sheltered, unsocialized homeschooler.

This is just a beautifully well-rounded, intentionally socialized child. She can grow up another day. Tonight I’ll hold onto this gift.

A Funny Girl and Her Brother

What 7th grade and 5th grade look like at our house …

Embracing Life

Forgive me for not posting lately!

One of the greatest joys of homeschooling is the ability to embrace life all year long, not just during a school break. However, we’ve had incredibly excellent weather lately, which isn’t always the case in Ohio (nor few other places, I’d venture to guess). So, I’ve been not wasting time sitting in front of my laptop blogging all my favorite words and thoughts. I’ve been getting out and “doing” instead.

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Some of the ways I’ve been embracing life include going on a small vacation with my family, visiting a neurosurgeon so he could tell me I don’t need to see him anymore, and packing up my oldest daughter for a move 15 hours away from me. (That’s her leaving me in the picture up above.) I refused to allow myself the luxury of blogging during those activities, while preparing for them, or during the decompression period afterward. I just wanted to embrace the moments and hog them to myself.

Gotta grab the moments, People! They fly by faster than a toddler running naked!

I’ve also been slowly but surely reading my way through “I Just Want to Pee Alone” because reading is one of the ways I take care of me.


Those are some funny ladies, those Pee Alone women! I allow myself a little time to read a chapter (usually in the bathroom where I’m thankfully peeing alone). Then I hit the web and find their Facebook pages and blogs so I can do some liking and commenting and general loving on these writer/bloggers! If you haven’t read this book yet, you should! For one, then you’ll know what I know. For two, daily laughter is a great stress-reducer. Sometimes a good book is the only place I can get my laugh on. You should get your laugh on, too! If one chapter doesn’t tickle your funny bone, either go on to the next chapter or check your pulse. Either you’re dead, or you just need to hear someone else’s funny voice. I’m so, so thankful for this compilation of bloggers writing the words I want to read! Write on, ladies!

So, in case you’re worried, know that I will be back very, very soon, with the next installment of our Homeschooling A – Z theme … we’re now up to “J is for … ” Anyone have any suggestions? I’ve got some good ideas. Let’s hope they don’t fall out of my head before I allow them to escape through my fingertips.

How about sharing some “embracing life” ideas? What have you been up to lately?

D is for …

Continuing our Homeschooling A-Z theme, we’re finally up to “D.” I think you’ll like this one. Be sure to leave me a comment at the end!


D is for … decisions. Oh my aching head. Are we not plagued with decisions on a constant basis?? To homeschool or not to homeschool. Online public school, eclectic-hodge-podge, unschooling, Charlotte Mason, Classical, Christian or secular, blah blah blah … and that’s before we even jump into the fire! 4 days per week, or 5? How much screen time will I allow in my house? Workbooks or computer-based? Do they really need to know how to parse a sentence?!?  How many days per week is it acceptable to serve mac and cheese for lunch? (And pick up pizza for dinner!) The decision-making is never-ending and can be daunting to say the least. BUT! … (Yes, I could use the word ‘however’ here, but I decided to use the word ‘but’ instead. I have a 10-year-old boy. Yelling ‘But!’ is currently the better choice for obvious reasons.) Decision-making is actually one of the perks of homeschooling. This is one of the reasons many of us choose this lifestyle. We want the right, the freedom, to choose what we believe is best for our children. We don’t want a school system to dictate what hours our children are on a bus, in a classroom, or how much time they’re required to spend on homework each night. We want to be the ones deciding when our children will learn their multiplication facts, and whether we think cursive handwriting is important or not. Yep, in the homeschooling world, D is for decisions … thank God for that!

D is for … doubts. Let me make this crystal clear: we ALL have them! I guess this isn’t really specific to homeschooling. This is human nature. The trick is to figure out what you’re going to do with your doubts when they creep in. (I tend to just stuff them down and do my best to ignore them. I’m mature that way.) It’s a good idea to find a good homeschooling friend who will listen, then remind you that doubting is part of the process that ultimately leads us to a place where we better understand our motives.

D is for … determined. I love the word “determined.” To me, it denotes a certain strength of character. I don’t know about you, but I am determined to make this thing called homeschooling work for us! There are days when I want to give up. There are days when I think the kids would be learning more if they went to public school. There are days when I think this is just too hard. But then I remember why we chose this path, and I set my heart back in the right place. I am determined to see this through to the end (God willing). I am determined to do this our own way, and to not be sidetracked by what The Jones Family is doing. It would be easy to give up, to throw in the towel, to call it quits … but I am determined to stay the course and hopefully teach my children a thing or two in the process.

*I will not use this forum to discuss how determined my kids are to sneak in as much screen time as they possibly can while avoiding their math and spelling. 😉

D is for … dedication. We are a committed bunch, aren’t we? Many of us have given up jobs, careers, and other opportunities because of our dedication to doing this particular job well. Many of us are willing to withstand the scrutiny, ridicule, and skepticism of family, friends, neighbors, and even strangers because we are wholly committed to our belief that this is right for our family. Some of us have dedicated our entire lives to educating our children ourselves. (Not me. It took me a long time to jump on this band wagon!) It takes dedication and determination to stick with this when we’re faced with stubborn, rebellious, or lazy children, naysayers from other areas of our lives, or through an illness or pain. I think dedicated is a good word to describe those of us who are in this for the long haul.

D is for … dizzy.

Decimals. Division. Direct Objects. Dissection.

The variety of things we must teach … sometimes it makes me dizzy. (The aroma of Sharpie markers makes me dizzy too.) Going from one child to another, trying to keep up with who is working on what, all while folding laundry and doing dishes. Yep. I’m dizzy just thinking about it.

Anura Dissection

D is for … delirious. I’m just sayin’! defines delirious as “Affected with or characteristic of delirium. (Also: “Wild with excitement, enthusiasm, etc.”) Of course I had to then check the definition of delirium … now this left me rolling in laughter as I considered it in light of our choice to be homeschoolers:  “a more or less temporary disorder of the mental faculties, as in fevers, disturbances of consciousness, or intoxication, characterized by restlessness, excitement, delusions, hallucinations, etc.” … I think I can stop right there. Anyone who’s homeschooled for any length of time, or who has been considering homeschooling and is still in the “research” stages, should completely understand this without further explanation. Yes Mam! D is for delirious!

I’ve decided I’m going to stay dedicated to this delirious pursuit called homeschooling, no matter how many doubts I have or how dizzy it makes me! 🙂 Who’s with me?!?

Happy homeschooling, Everyone!

~Courageous Jane

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Courageous Jane Homeschools From A-Z

I’ve got a great idea!

My *absolutely brilliant* idea is to do an A-Z theme here at Courageous Jane Homeschools … but not the kind where I’m providing preschool alphabet ideas. No way! I’m so far past that (my youngest is over the age of 10), and the internet is inundated with those kinds of ideas anyway (you’ve heard of Pinterest, right?!?).

My plan is to write a little something (or a lot, if you know me) about *anything* homeschoolish (or just our day-to-day life, because we homeschoolers LIVE our educations, right??) … and each post will be inspired by an individual letter of the alphabet.

I should probably do them in order, shouldn’t I? But what if I’m inspired to write about peanut butter when I’m still on the letter “F” and no where near “P?” I’m going to give it the old college try! I’m going to start with the expected “A” and try my darndest to stick to the plan!

I hope you enjoy my drivel! 🙂

~ Yours truly,

Courageous Jane

P.S.  Please, share your thoughts! We’ll conversate about homeschooling and such! (Yes, I know that’s not a dictionary word. I just made it up. I’m fun like that.)

P.P.S. See that cool Facebook button on the right side of the page? You can click there if you kinda like me, then others can find me, too.

So, what do you suppose “A is for … ?”

Click here to find out …