As of 2014

Our full month of homeschooling lists is nearing an end. I can hardly believe it. I’m joining up with The Nester’s 31 Days series and sharing 31 homeschool lists with you! Everything from sanity strategies to book lists to managing life details: I’ve got a list and I’m sharing it.

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Just as I decided to make the tough calls and limit my picture book list to the best 12, so I’ve made myself narrow my top homeschooling books to the best 5.

Educating the Whole-Hearted Child by Clay & Sally Clarkson

This was my favorite book for starting out without stress and with perspective in the young years. It’s a holistic, well-rounded and well-grounded approach to learning that doesn’t limit what “counts” to worksheets and checkboxes.

Classical Education and the Homeschool by Doug Wilson & Wes Callihan

This is a brief and straightforward overview of classical education and an outline of the sort of hard work it will take to accomplish. I especially appreciated how “imagination” was a key principle developed.

A Philosophy of Education by Charlotte Mason

Volume 6 is the volume to begin with if you want to know what Miss Mason actually taught and why. It’s her overview of her principles and methods, and it is rich.

Leisure, the Basis of Culture by Josef Pieper

This book is deceptively short. I wish there were a better translation available, because his meaning is clouded in places due to translation and the fact that he’s writing to a very specific audience that is foreign in culture and in time. Still, it is well worth the effort it requires. This is the book that introduces scholé to the discussion.

Norms and Nobility by David Hicks

I loved this book. It’s a dense read, but it is the book that taught me classical education was so much more than “trivium as stages.” It is a tradition that we can join.

There are several education books in my to be read stack that might supplant these. I bet Ravi Jain’s The Liberal Arts Tradition: A Philosophy of Christian Classical Education will replace Classical Education and the Homeschool when I finally read it. I also really need to read Beauty in the Word: Rethinking the Foundations of Education because I’ve heard so many good things about it.

But the book I’m so excited to read is by Karen Glass, and it’s now available: Consider This: Charlotte Mason and the Classical Tradition. Whether you’re coming from the Charlotte Mason angle or the classical angle, this book will address your questions and show you how education has a long tradition that we can return to. If you want to know what Miss Mason drew on to form her principles, this is the book for you. If you want to have an overview of the leading ideas on education from the ancients through Christendom, this is the book for you.

The forward is by David Hicks – that same David Hicks who wrote Norms & Nobility, mentioned above. This is a book for classical educators and not just Charlotte Mason fangirls.

If you want a book that covers educational philosophy but is clear and straightforward, this is the book for you.

Karen graciously sent me a digital copy of the manuscript before it was edited, and it was fantastic. I hear that she’s improved it even more based on the feedback she received from those early readers, and I ordered my “real” copy today.

You should, too.


  1. Thanks Mystie! Rhett and I were just talking about finding some books about homeschooling schools of thought. Charlotte Mason and Doug Wilson I know, bit the others will be good to add to our reading piles!

    1. Hi Britt! Oh, the reading piles. :) Hans will be in 7th grade next year, so I sorta feel it’s about time I read the rest of the education books in my piles before “it’s too late”. :)

  2. The liberal arts tradition supplanted everything on my list. I read it and fell head over heels. That is what I want for my children. It is completely worth getting to. I plan to read it every year as a vision renewal.

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