Six Books that have Informed my Homeschool (and parenting)

I love to read. So it’s shocking to me that I don’t read a lot of books about homeschooling. In fact, there’s only one homeschooling book that I’ve read and loved. Schooling your own child is a huge responsibility, so shouldn’t you read everything you can about it?

I mean, yes and no. There are so many lessons to be gleaned from books that have nothing to do with homeschooling at all, so sometimes I feel like I’m covering my bases just fine. And our homeschool is so unique that a lot of times, the advice just doesn’t apply. But for me, these are the books that have had the biggest impact on my homeschooling. And because homeschooling is such a large part of our life, I guess you can say they’ve influenced my parenting as well.

5 Levels of Gifted: School Issues and Educational Options by Deborah Ruf

There’s a bit of controversy surrounding this book. A lot of parents have found it inaccurate compared to their child’s IQ tests, especially with twice exceptional children, but for me this was the book that made me understand that my child has different educational needs. It seems common sense, but as a gifted child myself I was still on the “he’ll be fine” train. The more I’ve learned about giftedness, the more I’ve realized how not fine I really was. Am. Yikes. I think this book can be so helpful to parents of young, potentially gifted children, whether you intend on homeschooling or not. It was certainly the one that made my husband and I realize that damn, we were going to end up here sooner or later.

The Boy Who Played with Fusion: Extreme Science, Extreme Parenting, and How to Make a Star by Tom Clynes

Maybe most parents would be proud of their three year old’s obsession with the periodic table but my husband and I were terrified. While most kids his age were using their toy kitchens to pretend to cook, our child was pretending it was a particle accelerator. He would pretend he was making element 119 in the basement with Mendeleev. He was obsessed with radioactive decay chains. What was he going to be like as a teenager if this persisted? What were we supposed to do with him? The Boy Who Played with Fusion was simultaneously reassuring and daunting. Now it’s become our goal to make sure that our child’s passions don’t get squashed, which is easier said than done. I just hope he doesn’t ask me to go hunting for uranium any time soon.

The Brave Learner: Finding Everyday Magic in Homeschool, Learning, and Life by Julie Bogart

Here it is, the only homeschooling book on the list. I love the Brave Learner lifestyle. We lived a lot of it before ever having heard of it, but three years in and both my son and I still look forward to our poetry tea times so I had to read Ms. Bogart’s book. I love that it is full of encouragement and inspiration but also doesn’t shy away from some of the problems with homeschooling. When you’re homeschooling your child doesn’t get an escape from their home life, so I love that this book really tells families to make their home as harmonious as possible.

Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Maté

My husband and I are accidental attachment parents. We never intended to do a lot of the things we ended up doing, but they work for us. So I read this book trying to find out a bit more about this philosophy we accidentally came to follow and ended up getting some homeschool reassurance. This book argues that other kids are terrible at socialization, and that children need parents to guide them so that they gain proper skills. While it’s far from an argument for homeschool, it’s reassuring for those of us who are sick of hearing “but what about socialization?”

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

I resisted this book at first but I was told I “had” to read it and I’m so happy I did. Whether Mr. Gladwell intended to or not, in my opinion he wrote the best argument for gifted education out there. A high IQ is not a recipe for success. It’s dependent on a complicated recipe of opportunity, luck, skin colour, privilege, and sometimes just being born in the right time and place. Gifted kids won’t just be “fine,” and this book reassured me to keep fighting against the myth that they will be.

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

This book can only be described as a philosophical thought experiment and it definitely made me think. What kind of a world am I preparing my child for? What careers are going to be available to him? Forget about stick shift, will he ever even learn to drive a car period? For better or worse, this book has made me ease up on my screen time limitations and try to encourage my child’s love of coding. It’s the reason I love Art Of Problem Solving for math. It’s why, to my kid’s dismay, I’d rather spend our time talking about books than doing spelling tests. I want to raise a thinker, not a memorizer, because thinking is the one advantage humans have over computers. For now.

I love all things books so tell me, have you read any of the books on this list? What are your thoughts? Is there a book that has informed your homeschooling, or even just parenting in general?

Note: I have linked to the Amazon listings of these books out of ease and availability, but I was able to find all but one at my local library. I encourage you to do the same!

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