You may have books you’d add to the Homeschooling Reference Library, but I leaned heavily on these five books: The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia, The Heart of Homeschooling, The Well-Trained Mind, Streams of Civilization, and The Time Chart of History of the World.
I homeschooled my three children from kindergarten through high school and these foundational books enabled me to chart the course. I used different curricula for subject areas which required a systematic and logical path – Saxon for Math and Apologia for Science in middle and high school. But for all other subjects, I depended heavily on guidance from Susan Wise Bauer’s Well-Trained Mind and The Heart of Homeschooling.
These references provided a structure from which I created our unique home school. Each year I began with a plan, but circumstances and the individual character of my own children usually altered the plan significantly. When it began to dissolve, I admit I often panicked. But re-focusing on Jesus Christ and trusting him with the hearts and minds of my children, usually got me back into the game. I soon came up with more realistic objectives for the year and all ended well.
We used reference books and text books in our home school, but they never controlled our homeschooling experience. If they were ineffective or unhelpful, we set them aside and went back to the basics. There were, for example, books which provided repetitive practice of grammar and spelling rules we used for a couple of years. I had to scrap them when I realized my children were completing the pages with no comprehension of the skills being taught. At that point, I pulled out the white board we went through the language skills until I was convinced my children understood them.
As my last child prepares to graduate from college in May, I realize an emphasis on academics is necessary for college and perhaps their career. But, in retrospect, I urge you to focus on the heart and character of your children while you have them at home. A genuine foundation of faith in Jesus Christ has a far greater impact on future joy and success in the lives of our children. Trust God with the academics and the hearts of your children, you will never regret it.
What reference books do you recommend?