The Reading Road

Growing up, our family library consisted of books on topics you wouldn’t be likely to find on the average person’s bookcase. These topics included rock hounding, rock polishing, salt water aquariums, raising tropical fish and birds, dog breeding/grooming/pedigrees, exotic landscaping, cross pollenating fruit trees, how to build a sauna, gourmet cooking, the best national forests to visit, intricate woodworking, hunting for arrowheads and native American historical sites, how to make sushi, strategies for playing chess, curing your own jerky, hieroglyphics, snorkeling… you get the idea.  My dad was a little bit eccentric and a lot spontaneous. He’d get an idea in his head, read a book about it, and then do it, bringing the family along for the ride. All of this made for some interesting experiences when I was younger.

As an adult, I’m finding that the thing I carried away from those experiences, besides a lot of great memories, is the habit of looking to books when I want to learn about something. As I turn to my own bookshelves I see titles on making bread, square foot gardening, natural child birth, writing poetry, and many other things that interest me.

Naturally, when we first considered homeschooling, I read every book I could get my hands on about educating children, child development, and, well, homeschooling. We’ve committed to homeschooling, but I still do a lot of reading in this area. And although books are not the only factor that went into our decision, I thought it might be interesting to look back at the reading road I’ve taken so far in my homeschooling adventure. I should probably mention that I liked some of these books better than others, agreed with some more than I did others, and found some to be more helpful than others.  What you like and take to heart is completely up to you, this list is merely a map of where I’ve been over the last year. Here they are, in no particular order, the books I’ve read to try and prepare myself for a future of educating our children.

  • A Thomas Jefferson Education by Oliver Van Demille
  • Creative Home Schooling: A Resource Guide for Smart Families by Lisa Rivero
  • Science is Simple: Over 250 Activities for Preschoolers by Peggy Ashbrook
  • Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka
  • Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman
  • Marshmallow Math: Early Math for Toddlers, Preschoolers, and Primary School Children by Trevor Schindeler
  • Home Learning Year by Year: How to Design a Homeschool Curriculum from Preschool Through High School by Rebecca Rupp
  • Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know about the Emerging Science of Sex Differences by Leonard Sax
  • Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers by Gordon Neufeld
  • Unplugged Play: No Batteries, No Plugs, Pure Fun by Bobbi Conner
  • Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling by John Taylor Gatto
  • What Your Preschooler Needs to Know: Read-alouds to Get Ready for Kindergarten by E.D. Hirsch Jr.
  • Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Frontlines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture by Peggy Orenstein
  • Boys Adrift: Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men by Leonard Sax
  • The Absolute Best Play Days: From Airplanes to Zoos by Pamela Waterman
  • Preschool Art: It’s the Process Not the Product by MaryAnn F. Kohl

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- Krystal