Reading Widely and Well (a reading update)

As a mother who educates her children at home I have the responsibility of keeping MYSELF well educated, tended and fed.

I’ve been posting bookish updates every few months.

This year my goal has been to focus on reading widely and well - from a variety of genres and authors. Specifically, I knew I needed to add a bit more nonfiction to my reading life, as well as books that might not appeal to me from the get go. (So much of teaching our big kids is modeling for them, so I am hopeful my spirit of inquiry is rubbing off on them!)

My oldest is graduating high school and my youngest is entering high school. I want to be able to discuss BIG topics with them, while at the same time tending to my soul (which is going through a bit of upheaval as I face one child leaving the nest).

Learning for the #Homeschool Mom: Reading Widely and Well

How Do I Find the Time to Read?

The answer is simple: I’ve become much better about using my time!

I use all of those little bits of time in between times and while I am doing household chores - to READ. We all know how much time we spend shuffling children to and from places in the car, so I use that time to listen to books with my children.

Audiobooks have become my friend (check out, and I also make use of Overdrive through my local library.

Where Do I Get Book Recommendations?

I love being in the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club! I get so many recommendations from that group, as well as Anne’s What Should I Read Next? podcast and her new podcast - One Great Book.

It’s also been fun to take part in the #bookstagram community on Instagram. My book account, @homegrownbookpicks , is where I chronicle what I’ve been reading.

Following is my latest book update! I’ll give you my favorite from each category, so if you just want to pick a few books to get started you can!

Truly, I enjoyed almost every book you see here (with the exception of The Enchanted April and The Time Traveler’s Wife) - so I can recommend them to you without reservation.

Middle Grade Books

Hands down, Out of My Mind is my favorite middle grade book I have EVER read.

I believe that everyone should read this book - it’s a great one to read aloud with your kids and discuss. This book has been especially meaningful to me because I have a dear friend who has adopted a disabled child. We are reading this book together.

I love that books can speak to us on all the circumstances of life.

Professional Development for the Homeschool Mom

I led an online book club earlier this year using Beauty in the Word (access our recordings here). This book is a deep, meaningful read, and it was beneficial to discuss it in a group!

Education by Design, Not Default is a book I would recommend EVERY homeschooling parent read. Recently written by Janet Newberry, the book has inspired me evaluate my homeschool philosophy and make some changes as my youngest enters high school.

Super good stuff!


It’s hard to choose a favorite here, but if pressed I will go with The Warmth of Other Suns.

This book told the story of America’s Great Migration - the mass movement of African Americans from the south to the north and west in the 20th century. I found myself sharing so much from this book with my family as I read!

I enjoyed all of the books in this category, and look forward to reading more non-fiction in 2019.

Historical Fiction/Classics/Books about Books

One of my favorite audiobooks of all time is Parnassus on Wheels.

This little book about books has such a charming narrator and the story just speaks to the heart of a book lover! I found myself chuckling out loud as I listened to this in the car.

I also recommend Finding Dorothy. While it is a fictional account of L. Frank Baum’s life and The Wizard of Oz, there were many grains of truth in it that were fascinating. I had no idea what Baum’s (and his wife Maud) life had been like and how his residency in the Dakota Territories in the late 1800s shaped the story of The Wizard of Oz. Fascinating stuff.

Other Book Recommendations

If you’re looking for sweet escape, I would recommend the Supper Club Novels by Carla Laureano. I zipped through both of these and enjoyed a clean Christian romance.

Of course so many readers have loved Where the Crawdads Sing - my in person book club read this one earlier this year. I enjoyed it, but there were parts that seemed a bit unbelievable to me.

I’m not much of a thriller reader, but I must say that The Silent Patient and An Anonymous Girl had me hooked. (So… maybe I am coming to like this genre more?)

Again, with the exception of Time Traveler’s Wife, these all get a hearty recommendation from me.

I’m busy putting together a summer reading list. I would love to read more nonfiction this summer, with a few beach reads, too!

Beginning August 2019 my son will be in Challenge I and there are many wonderful American novels in his curriculum. I expect I will be reading many with him so we can discuss.

Do you have a book recommendation for me?

Is there a particular book from my recommendations you will choose to read next?

Let me know in the comments!