Sneaky Summer Learning Library

Could you ever just lose yourself in the children’s section of our library or bookstore?

I believe the sheer amount of beauty and possibility contained on the shelves is the attraction for me. As mothers and teachers of our children we know the immense power of literature. Well chosen books (whether they be picture or chapter books) can provide an education in and of themselves.

Summer is the perfect time to sneak in loads of learning with our kids.

Hit the library. Load up your Amazon cart. Ask friends to have a book swap. Strew literature around the house and stock your book baskets and shelves.

I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.
— Jane Austen

Over the last week some I’ve been participating in a Sneaky Summer Learning book recommendation event on Instagram. Each day of the week I chose five books from five different subject areas to share.

These books represent just a smattering of what I COULD recommend - but I had to practice restraint and limit myself to five.

I tried to include selections for all ages, from preschoolers to high schoolers. I’ve taught all of those ages, and at each stage my children have the most from simply READING.

On to the recommendation…


From basic counting books to a book about female mathematicians that helped us get to the moon, these books represent a fascination with numbers.

Don’t forget that math is everywhere - encourage even your youngest ones to count any and everything.

Sing counting rhymes and times tables. Point out the use of Roman Numerals in everyday life.

These are just five of my favorites for encouraging a love of math.

Science/Nature Study

Summer is the perfect time to go outside.

Keep a basic spiral notebook and some nature study books with you in the car. Go on a tree walk. Pick flowers and see if you can identify them.

Bird watch.

And, don’t forget that the 50th anniversary of the moon landing on July 20. Sneak in some books about that, too.


If you are traveling this summer, find books about specific cities and/or geographic regions. Watch the lightbulbs go off when you visit a place you’ve read about!

You can sneak in learning about big events in history - like the Yellow Fever in 1793 and the Siege of Leningrad. Reach farther back and spend some time as a Viking with Leif Erikson.

There are also so many beautiful picture books that follow characters around the world, as they age and face challenges and experience successes.

Fine Arts (Music!)

I could recommend a million books about music (it’s kind of my thing).

Any time we learn about a composer I start with Opal Wheeler biographies by Zeezok Press. These books explores the childhoods of musicians and are beautifully written.

We’ve also learned about instruments from faraway places and also about composers and musicians from America that every child should know.

And, music can also play a vital role in history - books share those stories for us.


Some of our most touching moments have been reading books that deeply speak to my children about family, friendship, and personal challenges.

Sometimes there is just no other way to communicate a feeling other than through a story.

Studying heroes of our faith - reading their biographies - has also inspired us and broadened our world.

These books are just a few that my children have enjoyed.

I hope these recommendations have given you a start for your own summer of sneaky learning with books!

Do you have a favorite book for sneaky learning?

Share it with me in the comments below!

You might also like:

Book Series for Middle School Boys

Reading for Kids

January Reading Update

One of the glorious byproducts of homeschooling is self-education.

Much of my self-education has been done through reading.

(My husband gave me this shirt for Christmas - my family gets it now that mom needs time to READ!)

Homeschool moms should read often, widely, aloud - you get the point! Carve out that time for yourself.

Through reading we deepen our knowledge, empathy, and understanding of the world.

We model for our children how to settle down and enjoy a good story. We model a hunger for knowledge. We model discipline, curiosity, and self-care.

January Reading Update for Mom & Kids

January is typically a wonderful reading month. The weather is cold and the calendar isn’t as hectic.

I will update you on my reading, my son’s reading with me, and professional development reading. (My kids’ reading will be saved for another post!)

Here’s an update on reading accomplishments for January.

Books for Pleasure for Mom

I always read two books each month for book clubs. One is an in-person book club, and the other is the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club.

I enjoyed most of these (and you can see more about them on my Homegrown Book Picks Instagram account). The Time Traveler’s Wife wasn’t for me - I know a lot of people enjoyed it, but it didn’t resonate with me.

If you’re looking for a great audiobook, I enjoyed 84, Charing Cross Road on Audible. I also watched the movie with Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft

The other three books - Harry’s Trees, The Lake House, and Where the Crawdads Sing - get a hearty recommendation from me!

84, Charing Cross RoadThe Time Traveler's WifeHarry's Trees: A NovelThe Lake House: A NovelWhere the Crawdads Sing


Read-Alouds for Homeschool

We learned quite a bit from Jefferson’s Sons. It brought up many interesting points for discussion between my 8th grader and me. Can a person still be a GOOD person and own slaves? What was Thomas Jefferson’s motivation behind owning slaves? Did Thomas Jefferson do what was right in the eyes of God? Much to be discussed!

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was a short story for Grant’s Challenge B curriculum. The complexity of the language, along with an extremely interesting premise (aging backwards) also lent itself to a lot of discussion!

Jefferson's Sons: A Founding Father’s Secret ChildrenThe Curious Case of Benjamin Button


Professional Development for Homeschool Moms

It is important for us to understand WHY we homeschool, and what our philosophy of homeschooling and education truly is. Mine has evolved and deepened over time.

Beauty in the Word has been on my shelf for at least two years. It is a deep book, and it has taken a couple of readings to let everything soak in.

I HIGHLY recommend you read this book if you are classically educating your children and, contrary to what a lot of people think, this isn’t just for Catholic educators.

I am leading a book club on this book and EVERYONE is invited! We begin this Thursday, January 31 @ 8 p.m. ET and continue for the next 7 Thursday evenings (excluding February 14).

Join us via Facebook, or through this webinar registration link (if you don’t do FB).

Beauty in the Word: Rethinking the Foundations of Education


January Reading Update: books for #homeschool moms, read-alouds, professional development

What have you been reading this month?

Let me know in the comments below!

You might also like:

Learn About C.S. Lewis - a Parent’s Guide to Self Education

Engaging Book Series for Middle School Boys