Making Time To Read - Recent Favorites

The goal this year has been to read widely and well.

I’ve noticed an improvement in my ability to home educate because I am making time to read.

Not only am I improving my knowledge (which can then be passed on through home education), but I’m also improving my general feelings of happiness and well-being. Books are a worthwhile escape - my faithful friends at all times.

(If you’re the bookish sort I’m sure you can relate.)

Making Time to Read - Current Favorites

Let’s get to the update - the last time I updated you was in May - an entire summer has gone by and I’ve done a lot of reading!

I’ll keep the categories the same as I did in the May update - so that you can see my efforts to read widely and well - and my efforts to include more nonfiction in my reading life.

There are probably only one or two books on the list that I wouldn’t recommend to you: The Martian (I just didn’t care for it - and too many f-bombs throughout) wasn’t up my alley. Additionally, I listened to Nora Ephron’s Heartburn on a road trip and have mixed feelings about this one. I’m not sure I recommend you spend your time on it.

Read-Alouds/For Homeschool

This year (9th grade) my son is studying American History.

I’m trying to incorporate some interesting stories from American History, as well as stories of faith.

I had never heard of Steve Sheinkin until this summer, and both of his books have been excellent! You’ll want to check them out (especially if you have older boys).

I also received a huge box of books from Voice of the Martyrs this summer - and in that box was a Christian Heroes book about Adoniram Judson. We have loved all of these missionary biographies, and this one didn’t disappoint us.

Personal/Professional Development

A lot of my reading the past few months has centered around my oldest leaving home for college.

The anxiety and grief I felt was surprising to me. I honestly thought I would be “ok” - but her leaving threw me for a bit of a loop. Listening to Anxious for Nothing and then reading Release My Grip were truly helpful during this period of time.

Mere Motherhood was a re-read for me. This is just such a beautiful book. I remember it giving me peace when it first came out, and reading it again instilled that same sense of educational peace in me again.

Historical Fiction/Classics/Memoir

My husband challenged me to read Lonesome Dove after our trip out West this summer. Well - I read it. I’m glad I did, but it’s not my favorite thing ever. I would say read it if you ever have time, but it’s not one I will heartily recommend.

I do think, however, that everyone needs to listen to Sissy Spacek read To Kill a Mockingbird. This is probably my favorite literary experience of all time!

I am also very thankful I read The Gown (a Modern Mrs. Darcy book club selection this summer) - such a great piece of historical fiction and just a lovely book in general.

Literary Fiction/Other

I had a lot of light reads this summer - probably you could categorize them as “fluff”. As I look back I think I was just escaping into my books as I prepared to send my daughter to college. I simply needed easy and fun - and there are a lot of those books in this list.

I think my favorite of the fluff was Jane of Austin - pure enjoyment.

Once Upon a River was probably the best book I’ve ever listened to - Juliet Stevenson is a brilliant narrator and I highly recommend listening to this book if you get a chance!

Susan Meissner is quick becoming one of my favorite authors. I’ve read three of her books now, and I think Why The Sky is Blue has been my favorite. This one tugged at my mama heartstrings and was just such a beautiful story of hope and redemption.

I’d love to talk books with you.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you’ve been reading and if you have a recommendation for me!

You might also like:

The 50 Books I Read in One Year

Three Reasons to Read

Three Books That Will Motivate You To Homeschool

A few books helped motivate me to homeschool. Once I read them I was CONVINCED this was the path for my children.

Every few years I revisit these books to fortify myself for the journey to come.

We must always remind ourselves why we are homeschooling.

What are our motives? How does traditional school fail the majority of children in our country, and why should we do everything in our power to keep our children out of that system?

What are the reasons homeschooling is the best alternative to traditional school?

If I could have only three education books on my shelves right now, the following would be there.

Three Books That Will Motivate You To #Homeschool

I have included something OLD, something NEW - and something TRIED and TRUE.

I’ve been at this for many years now, and read a lot of books. There are precious few that speak directly to my heart and soul.


This one (while I guess it probably spoke to my heart and soul) got me FIRED UP!

John Taylor Gatto doesn’t spare any feelings as he unveils the agenda behind compulsory schooling.

The aim of public education is not to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence. . . Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim. . . is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States. . . and that is its aim everywhere else.

Warning: if you are a former public school teacher (as I am), or have children in public school this may be a very hard read.

Or, it just might make a lot of sense and will leave you feeling completely duped by a “system” you thought was designed in your best interest.

This book inspired me to homeschool when it was first published, and after my most recent read-through (this summer) it is giving me renewed vitality for homeschooling through high school with my youngest.

We’ve been having a healthy conversation about this book on my Instagram book account.


This book - something new - fell into my lap last spring. A friend of mine attended a ministry conference and told me she heard the author speak and that I needed to read a book she had written.

Since that time, I’ve been immersing myself in everything Janet Newberry puts out. Her book, podcast, and blog are all favorites.

Her very consistent message is this:

Childhood isn't a season of measuring up. It's a season of growing up.

What I love about Janet is that she comes from a background of public, private, and Charlotte Mason education. She has experience in all realms and mainly speaks to parents about what we need to do to live and learn in LOVE alongside our child - no matter which school environment we choose.

Her book speaks so beautifully to ALL parents. If we can come alongside our children in LOVE and HUMILITY, all things are possible in their education. Janet has convicted me that true education doesn’t stem from being better than someone else or having wonderful standardized test scores. True education happens in a loving relationship, where we can model for our children that love means doing something for the benefit of another.

Janet wrote a post for Homegrown Learners - The Joy of Raising Children Who Ponder - you’ll want to read that, too.


Finally, this book by Susan Schaeffer MacAulay found its way into my life eleven years ago as we began to contemplate homeschooling.

I devoured it in one day, sitting on the beach with my children playing around me. I remember being in tears, moved at the thought of the IMPACT I could make on their lives, and also convicted that I could not let another year pass by with my oldest attending public school.

We have been trained in our society to think that only experts can teach children. I didn’t realize how false this was until it was pointed out to me in this book:

"It isn't all as hard as the experts make out. We are human beings, persons, created to live. To have life more abundantly. Wonder together; grow together. Together share the struggles of knowing that we cannot perfectly follow God's law. We are fellow-pilgrims. We walk side by side as human beings under the love and authority of Him who made us."

I love thinking of myself walking side by side with my children. We are learning together. We are wondering together. It is a beautiful, precious gift.

image courtesy Little Book, Big Story

The biggest gift this book gave to me was the knowledge that all of life could be a learning experience. It helped me see education didn’t need to be put into a box; it didn’t need to be categorized into subjects. Education is everywhere, all the time.

For the Children’s Sake definitely is a Charlotte Mason book, but I believe (as I do with all of the books in this post) that it should be read by every parent.

Have you read any of these books?

Which one will you pick up first?

You might also like:

Homeschoolers, Stay in Your Own Lane

Five Ways to Encourage a Fellow Homeschool Mom