If you know me at all, you know that two of my favorite things are books and lists, and combining both of these things is oh, so sweet. A book list on educational thought is just what we need to always have something “going to grow by!” It’s tough to be a parent, a wife, a homemaker, AND a teacher. As you see in the quote above, this is not a new problem. There is so much to do and so much to learn. Here at the Lutheran Homeschool Association we want to support each other in these roles, and what better way to become a better home educator than to read a good book? Do we need to learn everything before we start? Do we need to understand calculus before teaching double-digit multiplication? Do we need to know all the methods and teaching strategies out there? No! We are learners right along with our students. Day by day, year by year, we learn a little more and a little more. If we open our hearts to learn and spend a little time reading we will be the best educators our children could ever ask for.
Below I have listed some of my favorite books on education. Along with them are some of the favorite book selections of two other wonderful Lutheran home educators, Amanda Moldstad and Jenna Thompson. This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are so many great books we could go on reading forever, but you don’t need to rush your reading endeavors. Read one book and see where it leads you. Maybe you are busy in this season of life and reading seems too overwhelming. The books will wait. Kids need to be fed, babies need to be cuddled, housework needs to be done. Lifelong learning is a joy! A joy that can be unfolded at the pace God has set before you. So grab a book and have it ready and waiting in the wings for those precious minutes you can squeeze in a little reading.
A little about our book list: most of these books are NOT written from a Lutheran perspective, so please use discretion on theological matters. Timeless truths are woven throughout all of these writings, but the authors may have doctrinal errors from time to time in their thought. Within the categories, I have listed the books loosely in order from easier reads to harder and more in-depth works. An * indicates the books by Lutheran authors.
Don’t know where to start? I have three suggestions, each for different phases of life. If you are new to homeschooling or all your kids are elementary age and younger, read For the Children’s Sake. It will help you dig into the “why” of your homeschooling journey and the “how” of making childhood delightful and enriching. If you have been doing this for a while, every Lutheran should read Lutheran Education to become familiar with the rich tradition of education handed down to us by our own church fathers. If you are overwhelmed, burned out, or just plain tired, read Teaching From Rest. This book got me personally back on track when I was deeply distraught with how our homeschool was going. If another book on this list catches your eye, just start there! Everyone will be inspired by something different. Happy Reading!
Getting Started: These books will help you get started on your homeschool journey and assist you in making a plan.
Foundational Reading: These books will help you form a philosophy of education and get you thinking about why and how you will homeschool.
- For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer MacCaulay
- Eternal Treasures: Teaching Your Child at Home by Cheryl Swope *
- Echo in Celebration: A Call to Home-Centered Education by Leigh Bortins
- The Hurried Child by David Elkind (not homeschool specific)
- Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola
- Home Education by Charlotte Mason
- The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer
- Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child by Anthony Esolen
- Tending the Heart of Virtue: How Classic Stories Awaken a Child’s Moral Imagination by Vigen Guroian
- Consider This: Charlotte Mason and the Classical Tradition by Karen Glass
- Irrigating Deserts by Joel Heck *
- Rallying the Really Human Things by Vigen Guroian
- A Philosophy of Education by Charlotte Mason
- Beauty in the Word by Stratford Caldecott
Support For You: These books will uplift you and give you strategies to get you through the day to day struggles of homeschooling.
- Teaching From Rest by Sarah Mackenzie
- Mere Motherhood by Cindy Rollins
- How to Really Love Your Child by Ross Campbell
- Mothering Many by Marie MacPherson *
- Meditations on the Vocation of Motherhood by Marie MacPherson *
Classical Education: A topic that can be very misunderstood. I often think of this topic as just plain old “education.” Prior to the last 150 years, education stood on the philosophy and practices of the ancients, refined by the church in the Middle Ages and re-aligned, in part by Martin Luther, during the reformation. Regardless of your teaching style, classical education is worth becoming familiar with as it was the standard for thousands of years, is what this country was founded on, and is what Martin Luther used as a basis for his thoughts on education.
- Classical Education: the Movement Sweeping America by Gene Veith and Andrew Kern *
- Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child by Cheryl Swope *
- The Liberal Arts Tradition by Ravi Jain and Kevin Clark
- A Handbook for Classical Lutheran Education: The Best of the Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education’s Journals *
- Lutheran Education by Thomas Korcok *
- Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn
- Climbing Parnassus: A New Apologia for Greek and Latin by Tracy Lee Simmons
- The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis
- Norms and Nobility: A Treatise on Education by David Hicks
- The Great Tradition: Classic Readings on What it Means to Be an Educated Human Being by Richard Gamble
Personal Devotions: Always start your day asking for God’s blessing on your school day!
- Treasury of Daily Prayer (CPH) Also available in app form as “Pray Now” *
- God Grant It by CFW Walther *
- To Live With Christ by Bo Giertz
- Book of Family Prayer translated by Mark DeGarmeaux *
- The Songs of Jesus by Tim and Kathy Keller
- CIRCE Institue
- Classical Academic Press (particularly “Classical U”)
- Consortium for Classical Lutheran Education *
- CIRCE Podcast Network
- Read-Aloud Revival Podcast
- Your Morning Basket with Pam Barnhill Podcast
- Issues Etc. Podcast *
- Bethany Lutheran College Chapelcast *
What books would you add to this list? Tell us in the comments below!
Laura Mears is a co-founder of the Lutheran Homeschool Association. She and her husband, Joshua, homeschool their four children in Lakeville, MN.