Nate and I were not in agreement about the type of education we wanted for our future children.
I was 100% for public school. He was 100% for private school.
We prayed. A lot. We prayed that we'd eventually agree, preferably before our first child turned 5.
Thankfully the Lord answered our prayers, but not in the way that either of us thought He would. (Seems to be a fairly common theme in my life.) He turned our minds and hearts toward this counter cultural thing called, "homeschooling". While it didn't seem that crazy to Nate (his good friend/cousin was homeschooled), homeschooling seemed absolutely nutty to me.
Growing up, I had only ever known of one family who homeschooled and I thought they were WeIrDoS. Not that I ever actually engaged them in conversation...ahem...I just KNEW they were weird. I mean, come on. They didn't go to school, which obviously means that they were not properly socialized. And, let me just tell you, one of the boys sat around at church reading a book (for goodness sake) All. The. Time. They were strange, strange people.
So, I may have been more than a little surprised to find that I actually liked the homeschooling family that lived across from us when we were first married. They didn't seem odd and their children were super cute and very sociable (who'da thunk??!).
Well, I was in for a big surprise over the next couple of years. Not only were we going to be persuaded to think (through much reading, thinking, praying, discussing) that homeschooling was a viable option for educating one's children and that homeschoolers were, in fact, not all weirdos (although there are some...probably even us...to some), but we were going to fully, happily embrace the homeschooling lifestyle (except for those jean jumpers...sorry, not happening).
Here are some of the books that I enjoyed while learning about homeschooling. However, if you choose to read these, know that I do not agree with everything every author puts on a page. For example, in the first book, it talks about homeschooling being the "right thing to do" as if it is the only "right thing to do". While I think that homeschooling is a great way to educate children, I do not think it is the only great way.
With that said, here is my list:
Educating the Wholehearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson - This book shows what homeschooling looked like in the Clarkson family. It was the very first book I read on homeschooling. I was randomly (even though I don't believe in randomness) searching for ideas to teach my 2-5 year old class at church when I stumbled upon a homeschooler's blog. I sent Heather an email asking about homeschooling, and she recommended this book to me. Pretty cool that the Lord used her (and a number of other people) to guide me toward homeschooling - something that I was pretty much against - more than 5 years ago. (I own this book if anyone wants to borrow it from me.)
A Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola - This book is wonderful. I've read it two or three times. I still don't own it, but it would be a great resource to have at my fingertips. Karen walks you through her days while homeschooling her three children in the style of the late 1800's educator, Charlotte Mason. I'd love to be able to say that my kids have had an education like the one portrayed in this book. I'd also love to be able to say that I am as patient, sweet tempered, and organized as Karen seems to be. ;)
Mary Pride's Complete Guide to Homeschooling - This is a huge book with tons of great ideas for getting started.
So You're Thinking About Homeschooling (15 Families Show How You Can Do It) by Lisa Whelchel - Interesting to read about the different ways each family tackles homeschooling. This is why I like to read homeschooling blogs!
The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling by Debra Bell - I remember really liking this book. However, I can't remember any specifics, but I know I liked it! :)
For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay - This is one of those books that everyone says you need to read if you're going to homeschool. Not sure I agree completely, but I did think it was a thought-provoking read.
Home Learning Year By Year: How to Design a Home School Curriculum by Rebecca Rupp - I just put this one on hold at the library so I can see if I'm missing something in our curriculum! I can't remember what I liked about this one. You see, I have this list of all the (many) books I've read with stars by the ones that I learned from and enjoyed. This one has a star. That's all I know.
A Charlotte Mason Education by Catherine Levison - Another one of those Charlotte Mason books. Wishing I could be a little more gentle and organized with this homeschooling thing. ;)
Home Sweet Home-School by Sue Makestaad - I think I laughed and shook my head (yes) a lot with this one...I think...I really should have taken better notes. I know that when I finished reading this, I emailed the author to let her know I appreciated this encouraging book. She wrote back a nice "thank you" note with some more encouragement in it just for me. I thought that was very kind. She must be a nice lady. :)
The Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson - WOW. You've gotta read it. I really, really liked it. It's for all mothers, not just homeschool moms. This is the same lady who wrote the very first book on my list.
Seasons of a Mother's Heart by Sally Clarkson - Can you tell that I like Sally? :) This book/Bible study is geared toward the homeschooling mom. (This one can be borrowed from me as well.)
I'm currently working (very slowly) through, The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson. I'm having a hard time getting into this one, which is strange since I've liked all of her other books. I've heard that some like this book even better than The Ministry of Motherhood, so I'll have to keep reading.
So, there you have it: How we began this homeschooling thing, and a list of all my favorite homeschool-type books. :)