The best homeschooling books

1 authors have picked their favorite books about homeschooling and why they recommend each book.

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Eight Cousins

By Louisa May Alcott,

Book cover of Eight Cousins

Eight Cousins is my favorite Louisa May Alcott book (but I like most of her books). Once again, the relationships are what make the story special. Rose begins the story as a sickly orphan, but through the unusual care and schooling of her guardian as well as her relationships with her cousins and aunts (she lives on the “aunt hill” – I love that name!), Rose learns and grows into a wise young woman. I loved the way the cousins acted like siblings and fought with each other and cared for each other. They reminded me of my siblings and cousins. Rose’s cousin, Mac, is one of my all-time favorite characters. This was a book I couldn’t put down.


Who am I?

I was homeschooled from the beginning until I graduated from high school, and I’m now homeschooling my family. I also teach writing and English to kids from around the world, many of whom are homeschooled. As a kid, I loved fantasy and adventure stories, but I didn’t really like realistic stories because I wasn’t familiar with things like homeroom or class periods. I have loved finding books with characters who are homeschooled, especially if homeschooling is portrayed accurately. I also love stories about relationships, so stories with strong family ties and deep friendships are meaningful to me. I hope that both homeschoolers and other schoolers can enjoy these book picks!


I wrote...

Best Friends Playbook

By A.W. Downer,

Book cover of Best Friends Playbook

What is my book about?

What do touchdowns and tea parties have in common? Absolutely nothing.

Eleven-year-old football superfan, Hannah Taylor, has watched her friends leave the homeschool group one by one. It was okay, at first, because she always had Beth, her best, best friend. They were a team for science experiments, for co-op classes, and on the football field. But just as they’re starting sixth grade, Beth’s parents put her in private school. Now Hannah is the only middle schooler left in the homeschool group. She’d better come up with a new play fast. The only kids even remotely close to her age don’t like football, and they don’t play sports. They play princess. And they want Hannah to join their team.

Growing Up Roadschooled

By Kelsey Henry,

Book cover of Growing Up Roadschooled: Stories, Lyrics, & Lessons Learned From Full-Time RVing & Life After Roadschooling

With so many families working and schooling remotely, there’s been a huge influx of teens and kids RVing for extended periods of time. Kelsey was roadschooled from ages 12-17 and shares the highs and lows of life on the road as a teenager. (It also makes a great read for parents wondering if full-time RV life is worth it for their kids!)


Who am I?

In 2014, Alyssa Padgett convinced her husband Heath to take her to all 50 states for their honeymoon. Somehow he tricked her into doing it all in an RV. They’ve lived and traveled in an RV ever since. With her husband, Alyssa runs The RV Entrepreneur Podcast, a resource for anyone who wants to run a business while RVing.


I wrote...

A Beginner's Guide to Living in an RV: Everything I Wish I Knew Before Full-Time RVing Across America

By Alyssa Padgett,

Book cover of A Beginner's Guide to Living in an RV: Everything I Wish I Knew Before Full-Time RVing Across America

What is my book about?

Both aspirational and practical, Living the RV Life is your ultimate guide to living life on the road—for people of all ages looking to downsize, travel, or work on the go. Learn if life in a motor home is right for you, with insightful details on the experiences of full-time RV-ers, tips for how to choose an RV (how big? new or used?), model costs, sample routes and destinations, basic vehicle maintenance, legal and government considerations—and much more! Written in a light and an easy-to-understand style, Living the RV Life is your bible to living a mobile life.

Life on a Plantation

By Bobbie Kalman,

Book cover of Life on a Plantation

When I begin researching a new historical subject I usually turn first to children’s books for a quick, broad overview. For Southern USA plantation life, Kalman’s book, part of the Historic Communities series, is a perfect introduction to the subject of southern plantations, with splendidly detailed drawings of homes and outbuildings, a glossary of terms, and many photographs from the latter decades before emancipation. Its focus is split between the planters’ lives and the lives of those they enslaved, introducing readers to every facet of this setting and the challenges faced by those who lived there. A great springboard into the subject for homeschooling.


Who am I?

Lori Benton is an award-winning, multi-published author of historical novels set during 18th century North America. Her literary passion is bringing little-known historical events to life through the eyes of those who lived it, either set along the Appalachian frontier, where European and Native American cultures collided, or amidst the conflict-laden setting of the southern plantation. Her novel, Mountain Laurel, begins an epic family saga that immerses readers in 1790s North Carolina plantation life and the moral dilemmas created by the evils of slavery.


I wrote...

Mountain Laurel

By Lori Benton,

Book cover of Mountain Laurel

What is my book about?

Ian Cameron, a Boston cabinetmaker turned frontier trapper, has come to Mountain Laurel hoping to remake himself yet again--into his planter uncle's heir. No matter how uneasily the role of slave owner rests upon his shoulders. Then he meets Seona--beautiful, artistic, and enslaved to his kin.

Seona has a secret: she's been drawing for years, ever since that day she picked up a broken slate to sketch a portrait. When Ian catches her at it, he offers her opportunity to let her talent flourish, still secretly, in his cabinetmaking shop. Taking a frightening leap of faith, Seona puts her trust in Ian. A trust that leads to a deeper, more complicated bond.

Outside in

By Deborah Underwood, Cindy Derby (illustrator),

Book cover of Outside in

During the pandemic, I seek refuge outdoors. I walk from my home to a metro park in my neighborhood. The woods are soothing in their peacefulness and beauty. When I read Deborah Underwood’s Outside In, that same peacefulness surrounds me. Cindy Derby’s watercolor illustrations are stunning. The lyrical language and illustrations in the book are comforting and exhilarating at the same time. The beauty of nature is our hope for healing.


Who am I?

I am a word gatherer. I can sweet-talk a phrase here and surprise a pun there—finding the words to hold a feeling. I revel in playing with words for the sheer joy of writing. My passion is cultivating the heart-to-heart writer/reader connection. A joy-bringer, my glass is always half-full. A former Poetry Day Liaison for OCTELA (Ohio Teachers of English Language Arts), a Teacher Consultant with the National Writing Project, educator, author, and poet, I share hope-filled stories and poems.


I wrote...

When Water Makes Mud: A Story of Refugee Children

By Janie Reinart, Morgan Taylor (illustrator),

Book cover of When Water Makes Mud: A Story of Refugee Children

What is my book about?

When Water Makes Mud: A Story of Refugee Children is a tribute to the resourcefulness of children who have no toys but continue to play. Play is the work of a child. You will be inspired by the refugee children's use of critical thinking, problem-solving, design, and engineering skills. 

The exquisite pictures in a National Geographic article started the picture book story for me. Nora Lorek, the photographer graciously gave me her email and became my inspiration and resource. This picture book is dedicated to the 200,000 refugee children living at the Bidibidi settlement in Uganda. These refugee children come with nothing but their hopes and dreams. Their hope becomes our hope. Publisher’s profits from this book are being donated to UNICEF Uganda.

Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen

By Deborah Hopkinson, Qin Leng (illustrator),

Book cover of Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen: The Story of Six Novels, Three Notebooks, a Writing Box, and One Clever Girl

A luminous portrait of Jane Austen chocked full of spirited text and shimmery illustrations that capture the times. The story highlights the beginnings of Austen’s great career as a novelist from her youngest days all the way to famous writer. It’s a great addition to any classroom or library. Like Jane Taylor before her, Austen’s success paved the way for women authors to come.


Who am I?

I’m an author and a college writing professor with an MFA in Creative Writing. Additionally, I am involved in and teach other art forms and the humanities including music, film, and literature. I enjoy researching and writing about literary figures, musicians, and other creatives, all of which have been a focus in my children’s books.


I wrote...

Like a Diamond in the Sky: Jane Taylor's Beloved Poem of Wonder and the Stars

By Elizabeth Brown, Becca Stadtlander (illustrator),

Book cover of Like a Diamond in the Sky: Jane Taylor's Beloved Poem of Wonder and the Stars

What is my book about?

Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are. Did you ever wonder who wrote that famous verse?

In the days when most girls were brought up to run a home, Jane Taylor had a different kind of education in the English countryside, where she was inspired by nature and the stars, and dreamed of becoming a writer. But in the late 1700s, it was not considered proper for women to be writers. Jane and other female poets were shunned, unable to use their own names when published. But Jane did write, and she never forgot her love for the beauty of nature and the glow of stars, or her desire to write for children. Her published poetry became universally known for generations to come: Twinkle, twinkle little star.

Hinds' Feet on High Places

By Hannah Hurnard,

Book cover of Hinds' Feet on High Places

This book is an allegory that shows life as full of struggles and doubts as we make our way to our spiritual destination. I fully related to the main character, Much-Afraid, and her insecurities. This book helped me to focus less on my fears and more on trusting a loving God who wants to help me to overcome my insecurities and fears.


Who am I?

As an artist, I have always had an active imagination which is fueled by great imagery found in fantasy and sci-fi books and movies. When this is coupled with spiritual themes, the experience becomes transcendent for me. Given my passion for spirituality and my desire to know God more deeply, I write books with characters that ask hard spiritual questions and who ponder their place in the universe. I also write inspirational articles that challenge people to rethink their suppositions about God. Currently, I am a game programmer who is working on my second novel, a mystery thriller, in my free time.


I wrote...

Four in the Garden: A Spiritual Allegory About Trust

By Rick Hocker,

Book cover of Four in the Garden: A Spiritual Allegory About Trust

What is my book about?

What if you were the only human made by Creator and He wanted a relationship with you, but you found it difficult to relate to Him? This award-winning book challenges readers to trust in God in spite of our fears and misconceptions. A compelling, emotional, and thought-provoking allegory of one's relationship with God. In this spiritual fantasy, Creator makes one human, named Cherished. Instead of creating a second human to be a companion for Cherished, Creator desires to fill that role. Can this relationship work?

"A must-read for anyone on a spiritual journey." ​​​- Richard Rohr, OFM, Founder, Center for Action and Contemplation

Pax

By Sara Pennypacker, Jon Klassen (illustrator),

Book cover of Pax

Another fox book! Such a wonderful story of love between a boy and a wild creature. Pax’s relationship with the rest of the foxes is so brilliantly told – he longs to belong with them, but he’s still so closely woven with Peter, his boy. The strange, jarring background of war adds so much tension to this story too – no one can be safe. Utterly gripping.


Who am I?

My first animal story, Lost in the Snow, was based on stories that my mum and I invented together when I was very small, about our stray cat Rosie. She walked into my dad’s office and sat down in his chair when he was out at lunch! I loved imagining her adventures as a stray kitten, and those stories could be scary, sad, emotional as anything – because we knew she came home to live safe and happy with us. I’ve been creating stories about animals ever since. 


I wrote...

The Story Puppy

By Holly Webb, Sophy Williams (illustrator),

Book cover of The Story Puppy

What is my book about?

Jack is having a hard time at school, as he’s struggling with his reading. No one seems to understand how he feels – until he visits the animal shelter where his sister Mattie works and meets Daisy, a tiny white puppy who’s been abandoned by the roadside. Daisy is terrified of people, but she’s desperate to be loved too. When Jack practices his reading sitting by her pen, a bond begins to grow between them.

For Black Girls Like Me

By Mariama J. Lockington,

Book cover of For Black Girls Like Me

This novel is about eleven-year-old Makeda, who is adopted and Black and her parents and big sister are White. Keda is a great character and I loved this coming of age story that touches on family and identity. Also, the writer is an adoptee and I’m always looking for more adoption stories written by adoptees.


Who am I?

I went into foster care at nine months old, was adopted three years later, and as an adult I was reunited with five siblings I never knew I had. I’ve spent my whole life wondering or searching for the truths about my past. 


I wrote...

The Name She Gave Me

By Betty Culley,

Book cover of The Name She Gave Me

What is my book about?

Rynn was born with a hole in her heart—literally. Although it was fixed long ago, she still feels an emptiness there when she wonders about her birth family. As her relationship with her adoptive mother fractures, Rynn finally decides she needs to know more about the rest of her family. Her search starts with a name, the only thing she has from her birth mother, and she quickly learns that she has a younger sister living in foster care in a nearby town. But if Rynn reconnects with her biological sister, it may drive her adoptive family apart for good.

This powerful story uncovers both beautiful and heartbreaking truths and explores how challenging, yet healing, family can be.

Savvy

By Ingrid Law,

Book cover of Savvy

Mibs (the main character) isn’t homeschooled yet, but she is about to be homeschooled with her older siblings. The characters felt like ones I would meet in my homeschool or church life. They felt comfortable.

But more than that, this book is just fun. I love the story and the characters so much, as well as the struggle to find what makes a person unique. The family bonds in Savvy are strong, and Mibs develops deep friendships with characters of all ages. It’s a special story, and one of my favorites. I am not doing it justice by half.


Who am I?

I was homeschooled from the beginning until I graduated from high school, and I’m now homeschooling my family. I also teach writing and English to kids from around the world, many of whom are homeschooled. As a kid, I loved fantasy and adventure stories, but I didn’t really like realistic stories because I wasn’t familiar with things like homeroom or class periods. I have loved finding books with characters who are homeschooled, especially if homeschooling is portrayed accurately. I also love stories about relationships, so stories with strong family ties and deep friendships are meaningful to me. I hope that both homeschoolers and other schoolers can enjoy these book picks!


I wrote...

Best Friends Playbook

By A.W. Downer,

Book cover of Best Friends Playbook

What is my book about?

What do touchdowns and tea parties have in common? Absolutely nothing.

Eleven-year-old football superfan, Hannah Taylor, has watched her friends leave the homeschool group one by one. It was okay, at first, because she always had Beth, her best, best friend. They were a team for science experiments, for co-op classes, and on the football field. But just as they’re starting sixth grade, Beth’s parents put her in private school. Now Hannah is the only middle schooler left in the homeschool group. She’d better come up with a new play fast. The only kids even remotely close to her age don’t like football, and they don’t play sports. They play princess. And they want Hannah to join their team.

Sunny

By Jason Reynolds,

Book cover of Sunny

Sunny is one of four books in Reynold’s Track series. Each focuses on a member of the team. Sunny is extremely likable with his quiet voice and big—boomtickaboomboom—heart. He is home-schooled and raised by his father after his mother died in childbirth. Sunny’s journey is accepting that he did not kill her. It’s a poignant story told with the lyrical charm that belongs to Jason Reynolds.


Who am I?

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been fascinated with life and death. As a child, my own life was fairly mundane and even joyful. However, I went through loss like most. We lost two dogs when I was maybe seven or nine. Then my beagle Suzy, who we had the longest, was struck by a car on a rainy day. A few years later, my grandfather passed from cancer. Watching my mother grieve stuck with me. It shaped me—how I cared about life, how I longed to understand it. Once I decided to write stories for children, I knew it could be a safe place to explore my hidden feelings.


I wrote...

This Girl Climbs Trees

By Ellen Mulholland,

Book cover of This Girl Climbs Trees

What is my book about?

What is a new teen to do when her father chops down her first best friend, a motherly maple that has guarded her window since birth? Eliza Mills sulks over her beloved tree where she climbed to the top to think about the world. Who will now listen to her worries? What's up there, out there? If there is a god, why has he/shetaken away what and who she loves? Answers might be hidden inside a mysterious box left behind by her dying grandfather. Convinced he is trying to send her one final message, she believes the box is her final hope. Eliza Mills takes the reader on a deep but often humorous journey of life and death until arriving at the door of self-discovery.

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