Letter Re: Advice on Classic Books for Homeschooling

Mr. Rawles,
This is in response to Paula S.’s recent letter requesting information on classic books for homeschooling. I just returned from a homeschool convention in Memphis where I was introduced to Memoria Press. They have curricula for parents interesting in providing their children with a classical education. I have looked at the early elementary sets–they include books for the kids to read aloud and other books to be read aloud to the children. You do not have to buy their material to see the list of books that they use–the lists are posted on their web site under each curriculum description.

Sonlight is another homeschool curriculum that relies heavily on “living books” for the student’s education. You can find all of the books that they use listed on their web site. They offer a free catalog which is filled with useful information.

For history, there is a series called Story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer which has four volumes and is designed to be read initially in Grades 1-4 and then repeated in middle school and high school with the addition of classic books in the middle and upper grades. Story of the World is appealing because it teaches history in chronological order from ancient times to present day. You can find these books on Amazon or at the publisher’s web site.

I hope you find some of this useful. – Leigh C.


Captain Rawles:
A couple quick recommendations for books:

I highly recommend “The Story of the World” by Susan Wise Bauer for kids of all ages. We’ve been using this to teach our kids for years. Fascinating for adults and young kids alike. There are audio books, activity books, etc… very comprehensive and easy to comprehend but the stories are not just about America, though it does cover modern times including the United States. Even my youngest will spout out knowledge about world history that most adults don’t know. The books do get some criticism for a lack of distinction between legend and fact. In my opinion, this is something easily dealt with by a simple discussion with the kids about the material. Teaching logic and critical thinking won’t hurt either.

A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn is also very thorough, although not for younger readers.

Thanks for all your hard work, – Matt B.