It's hard for parents to foster a love of reading in kids if the parents themselves don't read much. One of the cornerstones of our inspiration-driven homeschool environment is making sure that I am leading out by pursuing my own education alongside my kids. I've seen that this really works: the more my kids see me reading, writing, and even doing math, the more they naturally want to do the same.
And you know what else? Pursuing my own education is really fulfilling! It helps me be more balanced and happy to be regularly learning new things and thinking deeply. It can be difficult to prioritize my own education amidst my busy homeschooling-and-part-time-working life, but it is totally worth it.
I make sure I've always got a few books going, so that there is always at least one book I'll want to read whenever I can carve out a little time. I usually have a mix of different types of books ready to read: a novel, a history/science book, a spiritual/self-help book, and a homeopathic/health book. Although I don't have hours to devote to my own education every day, if I keep working at it little by little, I can usually read about one book each week. (And if you want more info about *how* I actually pursue my own education as a busy parent, check out this article.)
Top 10+ Books I Read in 2019
These are the top 10+ books I read last year. These books left a lasting impression, enlightened my perspective, and left me feeling inspired.
12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson - so many practical tips for living a more meaningful life
Carry On, Mr Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham - great example of self-education and mission
Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing - inspiring tale of bravery and perseverance
Little Britches, Man of the Family, The Home Ranch, Mary Emma and Company, and The Fields of Home by Ralph Moody - fantastic autobiographical series for the whole family which is filled with meaningful lessons about family, work, money, love, and responsibility
Little Men by Louisa May Alcott - one of the best books on creating a love of learning in kids
The Story of the Earth in 25 Rocks by Donald Prothero - really interesting with plenty of pictures and stories to share with the kids
The Wonder of Girls by Michael Gurian - gave me a paradigm shift on a new model for womanhood while helping me learn how to better support my adolescent daughter
They Loved to Laugh by Kathryn Worth - sweet coming-of-age story of character growth in a young girl
Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington - inspiring story of rising up through the power of education and hard work
Complete Reading List for 2019
Here is a breakdown of all the books I read in 2019. Books marked with an asterisk (*) were read for bookclub or as part of my Mentoring in the Classics subscription. Some of the classic books were "read" via free audiobook from Librivox.
History and Science
I make sure to read a few books that complement the history and science lessons we're doing in our homeschool every year. This gives me a lot more enthusiasm and knowledge to share with my kids. In 2019, our history studies focused on the Middle Ages through the Revolutionary War, and our science studies focused on Earth Science. Historical fiction and biographies of scientists are great to incorporate into my learning, as they make the events in history/science have more meaning when seen within the context of people's lives.
Carry On, Mr Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham*
In Defense of Liberty: The Story of America's Bill of Rights by Russell Freedman
Give Me Liberty: The Story of the Declaration of Independence by Russell Freedman
Mansa Musa: The Lion of Mali by Kephra Burns
The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle
Son of Charlemagne by Barbara Willard
The Door in the Wall by Marguerite De Angeli
The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology by Simon Winchester
The Story of the Earth in 25 Rocks by Donald Prothero
Classics, Novels, and Memoirs
Classics, novels, and the stories of people's lives provide much to think about in terms of continuing my own character development. Through reading about the trials and tribulations of others, I enrich my own life and way of living.
Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton*
A Hawaiian Reader by Grove and Strover
A Wolf Called Romeo by Nick Jans
Bendigo Shafter by Louis L'Amour*
Call it Courage by Armstrong Sperry
Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing*
Hamlet by William Shakespeare*
Laddie by Gene Stratton Porter*
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes*
My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier*
Silas Marner by George Eliot*
The Good Master by Kate Seredy
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
They Loved to Laugh by Kathryn Worth
Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington*
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls*