It’s summer. Most homeschool families love the chance to coast for a few months, catching up on curriculum or enjoying leisure reading and field trips. As you stock your pool bag or your suitcase or your school room table for the summer, consider adding a few of these books.
For home educating parents
Know and Tell by Karen Glass
I’m slowly learning more about the Charlotte Mason technique of narration and this book has been wonderfully eye-opening. I’m finding out how well narration meshes with all the techniques I’ve always assumed were good, but hadn’t learned as official teaching methods. I plan to incorporate this into my home education in my own home, and also integrate some of the concepts into the classes I teach at ALC. I highly recommend this book for all ALC moms!
For your faith
The Secret of Communion with God by Matthew Henry
These old-fashioned Christians might be wordy sometimes, but they are packed with wisdom. I am loving a re-read of this rich Christian classic. My advice: read the whole thing at a quick pace, then go back and drink it slowly. This is a spiritual treasure.
Fiction for the whole family
Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
A classic novel for the adventure-loving. It’s a bit dated, so there are some slow sections and a few instances of cultural awkwardness that surely wouldn’t be published today, but it kept me on the edge of my seat. Many chapters end with cliffhangers and on my first read (just this spring!), I didn’t know how it would end. We fell in love with Mr. Fogg along the way. My seven year old loved this as a read-aloud, but I don’t think I’d suggest it for independent reading until upper middle school.
Paddle to the Sea by Holling C. Holling
This extra-long picture book follows a toy-sized carved wooden boat from Canada’s Lake Nipigon, through all five great lakes, and to the Atlantic Ocean. The illustrations are lovely and the story is told in a series of 27 page-long “chapters,” each of which tells another of Paddle’s adventures. It’s engaging, while being secretively educational. Fun as a read-aloud for elementary students, but equally fun as independent reading for middle schoolers. Coordinate with a geography unit!
The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald
Did I recommend this one before? It’s possible. George MacDonald was among C. S. Lewis’s favorite authors, so this famous children’s fantasy story is worthy of a re-recommendation! If your family has loved the Narnia books, add this one to your list. There’s at least one sequel too, if you like it.
Nonfiction for students
Around the World in 100 Years by Jean Fritz
I haven’t actually read this one, but some of you have! As a play on the famous Jules Verne classic, the title intrigued me. It also bridges the gap well between our study of the Renaissance this year and our study of early America this coming year, covering the years in which Europeans finally rounded the globe. I plan to read it this summer and hopefully get a running start before the Europeans burst onto the scene in the New World in our history studies this coming year.
Come Look with Me series
These art books would make a great addition to a homeschool art curriculum. Famous artwork is shown, along with notes about the artist and/or the piece, and then questions are provided to help the child engage with the artwork. The questions could be answered as a written assignment or the art could be imitated by the student… the opportunities for interdisciplinary studies are endless!