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Classical Homeschooling: An Essential Book List

Classical Homeschooling: An Essential Book List

This is part of the series on Classical Homeschooling.

Maybe you’re new to homeschooling, or simply new to the idea of homeschooling classically. This book list will give you just what you need both to start learning about classical homeschooling and to go deeper when you’re ready.

The Well-Trained Mind: Guide to Classical Education at Home by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise:

This mother/daughter pair has written the seminal work in practical, classical homeschooling. Susan was homeschooled classically by her mother, Jessie, and together they wrote this book which gives not only a general overview of classical education, but is filled with curriculum recommendations for every subject all the way from pre-kindergarten through high school graduation. There’s really no better place to start, but this book does make it easy to get overwhelmed, so use the table of contents to your advantage here and start with the sections relevant to your family. Side note: an updated fourth edition of this book is on the way.

The Core: Teaching Your Child the Foundations of Classical Education by Leigh Bortins

This book is also a great one for beginners. Leigh Bortins is a former engineer who began homeschooling her children, and during this process founded the wildly popular Classical Conversations products and franchise of co-ops. In The Core, she lays out the Trivium in detail. She has subsequently written another on the Quadrivium for those with older students.

Classical Education and the Homeschool by Wesley Calahan, Douglas Jones, and Douglas Wilson

Mirroring his other book on classical education, Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning: An Approach to Distinctively Christian Education, Douglas Wilson takes classical ed into the homeschool. Calahan, Jones, and Wilson break down specifically classical topics like Latin, Logic, and Rhetoric. This is a quick read, with a good book list in the Appendix.

The Liberal Arts Tradition: A Philosophy of Christian Classical Education by Ravi Jain and Kevin Clark

One of the newest, most well-reviewed books on the classical ed. scene. Written by two teachers at a classical school in Winter Park, FL, this book has much of value for the homeschooler. Jain and Clark make the case for classical education beyond just the traditional seven liberal arts. Their discussion of piety, gymnastics, music, the liberal arts, philosophy, and theology, will broaden your vision for what a classical education was meant to be.

Norms and Nobility: A Treatise on Education by David Hicks

Originally published in 1981, this book is just as relevant now than it was then. If you’re looking to go deep into a philosophy of classical education, this is THE book. Mr. Hicks writes for the private school setting, but gives a vision of classical education as formation of the person. He contrasts the classical vision with modern education, and does not pull his punches. This book will take you some time, and if you’re like me, you’ll get more on a re-read. It’s dense.

There you have it: all the books you definitely should read to get a good grip on what classical homeschooling is, and can be in your household.

Rhiannon Kutzer

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Nice to meet you!

Nice to meet you!

I’m Rhiannon.

You can call me Rhi for short (as in “rewrite”). I’m a fiercely independent homeschooling mom of five, a Navy wife of almost 13 years, and a creator of various things: articles, a monthly newsletter, quilts, furniture, and the occasional knitted scarf. This is the site where I write about our homeschool journey and news and happenings in the homeschool world. more about me.

Rhiannon

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Need a shot in the arm for your homeschool? Get Thrive Together, a monthly email that brings you:

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  • When your 7yo wakes up and wants to bake a Pokémon cake before you’ve had enough coffee, saying “Yes!” Is an opportunity to bring enchantment, independence, empowerment, and fun into what would otherwise be an unremarkable homeschool day of blah.
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Here are 2 CM principles to accompany, so you don’t break out in hives at the prospect of a kitchen tornado: “(a) The children, not the teachers, are the responsible persons; they do the work by self-effort. (b) The teachers give sympathy and occasionally elucidate, sum up or enlarge, but the actual work is done by the scholars” (vol. 6, p. 6).
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I had to resist 1) Saying “No,” in the first place. I literally had to say to myself, “Okay, this is what we’re doing today.” 2) The urge to turn baking into a whiteboard lesson on fractions. That would have killed the enchantment quicker than snuffing out a candle. We *may* talk *after* we bake. 3) The urge to correct or do it for her. If the cake fails, it fails, and we will talk about why.
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That is all, happy Thursday!
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