Originally posted in 2013: One of the biggest benefits of homeschooling my children, by far, has been my self-education. I can honestly say that I’ve learned more in ten years of homeschooling than I ever learned in all my years in public schools.
When you homeschool, inevitably, you will come across topics you never studied before. Or perhaps you glossed over them in public school, but really wished you could have spent more time on that topic. This is the perfect opportunity for you, as the parent and teacher, to deepen your knowledge! My children and I have delved into topics that I never really thought much about before. One of my twins had a fascination with birds, causing all of us to become avid bird watchers. Another was obsessed with dinosaurs from a young age. I now know more about dinosaurs than I ever thought I would!
For example, if you are studying ancient history with your children, you can read 24 Hours in Ancient Rome by Philip Matyszak, which gives you a fun peek into life in Ancient Rome. Another could be The Woman Who Would be King by Kara Cooney, a fascinating biography of Hatshepsut (scheduled in Level 10). If you want to get a better knowledge of a science topic, say biology, then Biology: A Self-Teaching Guide is a great resource. You can also find all of the other basic science topics in this series.
However, self-education doesn’t have to follow your child’s studies. If you have a particular interest, explore it! It’s good for our children to see us devote some time to our own learning. It teaches them that learning never really ends. I have always been fascinated with all things medieval and Tudor England. Castles, royalty, political intrigue, battles, I love it all. Whenever I have free time, I read history, and historical fiction and watch documentaries. Some of my favorite writers are Alison Weir, Philippa Gregory, and Bernard Cornwell.
One of my favorite mom-schooling resources is The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had. Susan Wise Bauer lays out a reading plan for adults to cover a variety of classical works of literature, history, drama, and poetry. She gives you some tools to help you learn to read heavy material, as well as extensive book lists.
Teaching my children has made me even more of an avid reader. It has also given me a good reason to delve into my interests and has taught me so many things I probably would have never learned otherwise.
2022 Update: When I wrote this post back in 2013, HistoryBookByBook.com only existed in my mind. I have always loved organizing booklists, to-do lists, and checklists of all kinds. I have literally spent decades researching books for homeschooling and Build Your Library. I’ve often found it frustrating that there wasn’t one reliable resource where I can find an organized timeline of literature.
That is what led me to create History Book By Book in 2021. This resource will guide your family on a literary adventure through history. This is a fantastic tool to help you find additional resources if you need a companion book to something scheduled in Build Your Library curriculum. Are you looking for a book for a younger child to match what your older one is studying? Do you as the parent, want some further reading for yourself about the topics your children are studying?
You can find books here on just about every time period or historical topic and for any age level. I’ve done my best to research and vet each title to ensure that this list is filled with secular living books. I’ve noted content warnings when necessary and my daughters and I have reviewed many of the titles recommended. This has been and will continue to be a labor of love, as we continue to build this website and update these book suggestions.
We also have a growing number of parents who have said are actively reading through the booklist of high school curriculum themselves. They are working with their children on elementary levels, but reading the books from Level 8 or Level 9 at night. Just for fun! Self-education is one of the most rewarding rabbit trails you can be led down!
So what are you currently learning?
Emily Cook is the author and creator of the secular homeschool curriculum Build Your Library, a literature-based K-12 program infused with the teachings of Charlotte Mason. She writes full year lesson plans as well as shorter topical unit studies. Emily has been homeschooling her four children in Southern NH for 21 years. She is passionate about reading aloud to children of all ages and loves to share her love of literature with others. She and her family also makes incredibly dorky videos about homeschooling, books and more on Youtube at ARRRGH! Schooling. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.