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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!

I’m Rhiannon.

You can call me Rhi for short (as in “rejoice”). I’m a fiercely independent homeschooling mom of five, a Navy wife of 13 years, and a creator of various things: articles, a semi-regular 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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  • Morning Time Details! E. (12), S. (almost 8), and L. (6). Our Morning Time morphs as the kids grow and change. It usually includes a combination of memory work and reading aloud. We try to cover a WHOLE LOT of things: Shakespeare, Bible, poetry, catechism, hymns, timeline, art study, composer study, and Ambleside selections for nature study, tales, and church history. This term I’m adding Plutarch.
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The hard part is figuring out where I want to aim, with the 5-year gap between E. and S., and then L. being a newbie to full-on school. Having moved twice in 2019, I nixed MT and just focused on individual work. That came with costs. Shakespeare, Plutarch, art study, and composer study suffered. Memory work barely happened at all. I was BUSY. We missed out on discussing things together. Now that we’re settled, it’s time to restart MT.
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This term I’ve decided to aim Shakespeare and Plutarch at the oldest, while the girls listen in and do handwriting/drawing/fine motor. I won’t ask them for much narration. Our reading schedule for these is AMBITIOUS. Maybe crazy. Then we’ll do all the memory & read aloud stuff that suits everyone. These lessons are SHORT. Then E. will go do his individual work while I read aloud w/ just the girls.
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Also, “Morning Time” is a misnomer, considering we break it up throughout the day. It should really be called Morning/Lunch/Nap Time. I need a new name. Circle Time? Except we don’t sit in a circle. Together school? Except we’re together doing school all day. I don’t think English has the word I’m looking for. Maybe Tertulia or Salon?
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Our actual coursework is: the Scottish Play, Plutarch is Alexander the Great’s life, our artist is Gustave Courbet, composer is Paganini, Bible memory is Psalm 46, Hymn is Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me, read alouds will rotate from Burgess Bird Book, Trial and Triumph, Blue Fairy Book, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Vanderbeekers, & picture books. Timeline is from Classical Conversations. Poems are Charge of the Light Brigade, Winter Night by Teasdale, and The Land of Nod.
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Whew! It’s gonna be a fun term! What do you guys do for Morning Time?
  • #homeschool #family #weekend projects. Oldest got through a CPR course, curtains are hung, first batch ever of hard apple cider is bottled (a big learning experience!), and Morning Time for the next term is planned. 👊🏻 Time to call Dominos so these people can get fed 😂
  • Oh Halloween. That day when I pull costumes out of thin air at T-minus one hour ‘till trick-or-treating. Then one kid melts down in the middle of the fun, and is carried screaming to the car, with me hoping all the while that no one thinks I’m abducting a child. And, my favorite non-PC thought: one kid suggests we should have dressed as hobos, since we’re going around asking people to give us free candy. Phoned it in this year, Kutzers. 🤦🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️ #gladitsover For the record, we had a soccer player, an archer, Spider Girl, a princess, a tiny farmer, a witchy mom (Is that even a costume or just a Thursday?), and Bat Dad.
  • We may not get school started until 8 or 9, but we eat well while we read. “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life.” I think the house smelling like bacon counts as atmosphere. 😂🥰
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#homeschool #charlottemasonirl #homecookedmeals #livingbooks
  • A husband out to sea. A solo drive to and from MT. A freak snowstorm in September. Unpacking, appointments, and homeschooling, cooking and cleaning, laundry and loneliness without my better half and my biggest helper. All so that a grandson can learn from and adventure with his grandpa. I call it a RAGING SUCCESS.💛🥰 #family #navywifelife #homeschool #worldschool #bravewriterlifestyle
  • #pcs day 5 = #HOME (hallelujah!) 😊 and delicious homemade chili from the amazing @mythirdacrelife It was a long 3000 miles, but everyone made it here alive, if a little less sane than when we drove out of CT. #navyfamily #navywife #roadschooling #homeschool

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