The Big Summer Reading List for Moms

When I resolved in January to read, I wasn't kidding!  

The funny thing about reading is this: once you commit to read more, it becomes a bit of an addiction. I can't wait to finish a book so I can start the next one, and I find myself relishing quiet time to read. 

And here's the even BETTER thing about reading: I'm watching my whole family hop on board the reading train, too. There is so much to be said for modeling a behavior you want to see in your children.

(Check out the summer reading list for kids on the blog, too!)

The list of suggestions for this summer include everything from classics to great beach reads, with a few powerful works of nonfiction thrown in, too.  And yes, there are 26 books on this list - and I'm doing my best to read ALL OF THEM this summer!  (It's good to have goals, right?)

Actually, I am going to be driving my oldest to and from her first job this summer - and I think I might be doing a lot of audiobooks and a lot of waiting and reading. 

Here's to a WONDERFUL summer of reading!

The Big Summer Reading List for Moms

Non Fiction

Screens & Teens:  Connecting With Our Kids in a Wireless World

Why Can't We Just Play? : What I Did When I Realized My Kids Were Way Too Busy  (Put this on the TOP of your list -- I laughed out loud and could see myself in so many parts of this book!)

How Dante Can Save Your Life

The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis--and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance

Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood

Comfort Detox: Finding Freedom from Habits That Bind You

*Because we have been doing some driving this summer, our Audible subscription has come in quite handy. My husband and I took a trip to the beach for our anniversary and completed  How Dante Can Save Your Life -- this is one of our all time favorite books. 


(I just finished Persuasion - what a lovely Jane Austen book it is.  Her last book, the title was actually assigned to it by Jane Austen's brother after her death. I think it's a GREAT place to start if you're hesitant to read the classics!)

 Persuasion - FREE for Kindle

The Mayor of Casterbridge - FREE for Kindle

Dante's Inferno

The Island of the World

I've been trying to vary what I read - sometimes it's just fun to pick up a book that doesn't make a profound statement and that isn't hard to read.  Those are my beach reads, and I must say I'm hooked on Liane Moriarity! In fact, I read Big Little Lies in just one day at the beach recently!

Books for the Big Summer Reading List for Moms

Screens and Teens: Connecting with Our Kids in a Wireless WorldWhy Can't We Just Play?: What I Did When I Realized My Kids Were Way Too BusyHow Dante Can Save Your Life: The Life-Changing Wisdom of History's Greatest PoemThe Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis--and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-RelianceConsuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of ChildhoodComfort Detox: Finding Freedom from Habits that Bind YouPersuasionThe Mayor of CasterbridgeThe Inferno (Signet Classics)The Island of the WorldLincoln in the Bardo: A NovelA Gentleman in Moscow: A NovelLilac Girls: A NovelBefore We Were Yours: A NovelThe Second Mrs. Hockaday: A NovelHalf Broke Horses: A True-Life NovelCity of LightRoss Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall, 1783-1787 (The Poldark Saga)Beauty in the Word: Rethinking the Foundations of EducationThe Core: Teaching Your Child the Foundations of Classical EducationThe Husband's SecretBig Little LiesWhat Alice ForgotSmall Great Things: A NovelThe Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and DyingWhen Breath Becomes Air


I'd love to hear what you are reading!  Share it with me in the comments below!

The Big Summer Reading List for Moms

Benjamin Franklin Unit Study

Do you ever find yourself stumbling into a unit study? 

This recently happened in our home. Finding one sweet book about Benjamin Franklin at a used book store led to asking the librarian to help us find further Ben Franklin resources, which led us to more and more resources.

Unit studies often snowball like that and I LOVE it!  

Our simple Ben Franklin Unit Study has been a lot of fun. 

Free Benjamin Franklin Unit Studay

*This post contains affiliate links - please see my Disclosure Page for more details. 

Keep The Unit Study SIMPLE

I don't like to plan too much for a unit study because then I feel like a failure if we don't accomplish it all.  Less is more, and sometimes a few beautiful resources go a long way. 

Honestly, our unit studies kind of plan themselves - I let my children lead me into what interests them. (and the rest is history!)


Books About Ben Franklin


Ben and Me - This sweet book is told from the perspective of Ben's mouse, Amos. It's so informative, humorous, and satirical. I found that BOTH my sixth and second grader loved it.  This is what started our interest in Ben Franklin.

Electric Ben - Our local librarian recommended this book to us - it had just arrived at the library. It is a picture book, but full of hundreds of details and appropriate for upper elementary and even some middle grade students. We read several pages each night and finished the book in a week. 

Ben Franklin and His Magic Squares - One of the most fun things to do when studying Franklin is Magic Squares. This book shows what they are all about and tells why Franklin was led to develop them in the first place. This book was a thrift store find and I think it was a lucky find at that! 

You can also find Magic Squares to play on the computer.

Now and Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin - Kids love to learn about inventions, and this book is a great picture book for just that.

Who Was Ben Franklin?:  This series of books is always a go-to for me when helping kids learn about a historical figure. They are short, sweet, and can be used as a read aloud or read alone.




Hands On Inventions

Kid Inventor, Basic Electronics Kit - This kit was handed down to us (by my same friend who initially loaned me all those great homeschool books!).   I am so thankful for this.  The kids have been having lots of fun with it. 

Snap Circuits -  Doesn't it seem like all homeschoolers should have a set of these?  I think it's a law or something. We have two sets and use them often! 

Snap Circuits RC Rover:  This is especially fun if your child likes Snap Circuits.

ZOOB Inventor's Kit: ZOOBS are such fun for kids -- this inventor's kit is great!



Using Notebooking Pages new copywork feature I am making copywork pages of Franklin's most famous quotes.  

I have a great little book - Sayings of Poor Richard, but you can also find a lot of Franklin Quotes online



Music - The Glass Armonica

Of course we gravitate towards Franklin's musical invention, the Glass Armonica. We read a great article from PBS about his invention. 

This is a wonderful video to watch, too: 

We've been listening to Mozart, Beethoven, and Haydn - three composers who wrote music for the Glass Armonica.  This has gone along quite nicely with our SQUILT Music Appreciation studies - specifically Volume 2, The Classical Era. 


You could continue to let this Benjamin Franklin unit study expand and expand.


For now, we have gotten our feet wet with Ben Franklin, and when we get around to that point in American History to study him we will be ready to go DEEPER.

At this young age I think it's about cultivating a curiosity and a love for great figures from history, so that one day my children will want to find out MORE and be able to converse intelligently about that person and their place in history.

Have your children studied Ben Franklin? 

Free Benjamin Franklin Unit Study

The Importance of Being a Homeschool Ambassador

Part of my job as a homeschooling parent is to lend credibility to what we do. Yes, I know I don't have to "answer" to anyone, but it sure is nice to show non homeschooling parents that we are intentionalintelligent, and successful.

We want to further the cause of homeschooling, correct?

What exactly is an ambassador? 


An authorized representative or messenger

When someone asks you about homeschooling (as we know they inevitably will - and you know I often grow weary of people telling me why they could NEVER homeschool their own children), are you prepared to offer an articulate answer as to why you homeschool?  Are you prepared to talk about the pros and cons of homeschooling? 

Can your children articulate what they like about homeschool and what their homeschool day is like?

The Importance of Being a Homeschool Ambassador

*The following is something I wrote a few years ago, when I was more new to homeschooling.  I wanted to share it with you again today because it's IMPORTANT.

After a long conversation with a public school teacher last week, I came away feeling like I had furthered the cause of home education, and that just maybe I had encouraged a deep rooted interest in home education in the woman I was talking with.

This woman and I have been sitting together at the tennis courts for the past several months. We always exchange pleasantries (normally I'm busy knitting); I know her children attend the public school where she is a teacher.

Last week, she struck up a conversation about homeschooling, and expressed to me her worries about middle school, and how she felt the public schools limited her daughters from achieving their potential. As I listened, I saw SO MUCH of myself in this woman ~ so much of the uncertainty and concern about her children's education, and her longing to try something different, but at the same time being worried about trying something different.

As we were talking, another parent from the class approached me and said,

"Excuse me - I don't mean to interrupt, but do you mind if I listen while you talk about homeschooling?"

Right then I put down my knitting and gave them my full attention. Each of them had daughters approaching middle school, and each of them longed for more freedom, creativity, and control in their children's education.

We had a wonderful conversation about homeschooling, and I feel perhaps I made a difference in both of their decisions - at least I hope I did. Driving home, I began to think about WHY it is so important that we, as homeschooling parents, can articulate our viewpoints and the importance of what we do.

Questions to Ask Yourself About Homeschooling


Can you clearly state WHY you homeschool your children?

When people ask why we homeschool I simply state, "We tried the public schools and after several years I just realized we could do it better at home. We have the resources and the time and think they will get the best possible education on our watch."

Can you clearly articulate your educational philosophy and what your children are learning?

People inevitably ask how you decide what they will learn and if they will go to "regular" high school and how will they get in college? I have researched all of this thoroughly and once I start talking about the four year cycle of history in the classical education model their eyes start to glaze over - ha!

But seriously, I make a point of telling them the major things my children are learning and usually my oldest chimes in because she's excited to share about our homeschool.

(Reading books like The Well Trained Mind, A Charlotte Mason Companion, and For the Children's Sake really equipped and motivated me to share about home education with others.)

Are you able to relate to parents with children in traditional school, and affirm their worries about homeschooling? 

In the conversation I had at the tennis court I made sure to mention that I had worried about how I would "get it all done", and "would my children really listen to me?". Moms contemplating homeschooling worry about the death of their "me time" and think they might be very isolated homeschooling . I share my fears and how I dealt with them, and also tell them all about our co-op and local homeschool association.

Are you really honest about the toll homeschooling can take on you at certain points in time?

I have to confess and tell people it isn't always easy and the first year was ESPECIALLY DIFFICULT! It does, however, get easier - and through our struggles my children and I grew closer. I would say the good days outnumber the bad, hands down.

Do you show a genuine love for being with your children each day, or do you see them as your "educational burden"?

I have to be careful sometimes (especially with my closest friends) not to complain when I'm tired and run down. I have days when I could fill a whole conversation with complaints, but then I have to stop myself and realize how blessed my family is to be in each other company each day. I love watching my children learn and I love learning with them. Does this radiate through in a happy, loving spirit?

(I do have a few trusted homeschool friends that I can vent to - it's important to voice your frustrations!)

I'm finally getting to a point (now that we've been homeschooling a few years) to where I feel as if I can encourage others, and I feel it is my responsibility to further the cause of home education.

God placed it on my heart to bring my children home, and now He has placed it on my heart to share that good news, if you will, with others.


The Importance of Being a  Homeschool Ambassador

Have you found yourself in a situation like the one I described recently? What did you do? I'd love to hear from you!