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!

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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!

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