My Favourite Books for Home Ed

Recently, I blogged about my Favourite Home Ed Resources, I deliberately didn’t include any books, because I thought that they deserved a post of their own. 

We read a lot in our house and we buy a lot of books. Some purchases have been more worthwhile than others, however. This is a list of my favourite Home Ed books. It has been very difficult to make! There are lots of books that I love, lots of books that the boys love, and a surprisingly large number of books that we all love.

Where it’s been very tricky to narrow choices  I down, I’ve tried to choose books that might be new to some people, since I think they’re the most useful to mention.

I strongly recommend all of these books. Please let me know your favourites too. We always need more books!

Oxford School Dictionary
This is a fantastic dictionary for children. It’s easy to understand. Plus, it has short entomological entries for most words, which the boys find really interesting. We’ve tried a few dictionaries, but this is our favourite. It’s a good length, not too long for the boys to look through, but long enough to contain most words they want to use. The definitions are in clear language, so the children can understand them.

Yum, yum! by Mick Manning and Brita Granström

This entire series of books is absolutely brilliant. It’s pitched just right for small children, and effortlessly introduces scientific ideas. This one is about food chains.

Dinosaurs Life Size by Darren Naish

Beautifully inviting from the very start, this book is packed with memorable pictures that help establish an idea of perspective and comparison, as well as lots of facts about dinosaurs.

How Your Body Works by Judy Hindley and Colin King

I adore this book! We had a copy when I was growing up, and I knew that I needed one for the boys. By drawing the body as a machine, it simplifies processes so that they can be clearly seen and understood. The pictures are lively and funny.

The Usbourne Guide to Better English by R. Gee

Clear explanations and carefully chosen examples make this book really easy to use. We refer back to it over and over again. The Contents and Index are exemplary, making it simple for the children to check any aspect of grammar quickly. I’ve bought plenty of books on language, but this is the one we really use.

Microcosmos by Brandon Broll.

It can be tricky to use microscopes with children. A lot of the time, the bulk of the session is devoted to trying to focus the microscope rather than talking about what we can see. So, this book is glorious. It has big pictures, already focused, and still, and allows us to talk about what tiny things actually look like, rather than just how difficult it is to see them.

A Piece of String is a Wonderful Thing by Judy Hindley

When talking about history, it can be really hard to grasp the chronology of things: how all those Romans, Vikings and Normans slot together and follow on from one another. This book gives a broad sweep of human history and can be read in one sitting. It’s funny and it rhymes, so is fun to read, and to listen to, for all ages, over and over again. The focus is small enough for even tiny children to understand, and ubiquitous enough to never lose relevance. I particularly like the extra facts in the corners, which encourage the boys to pick it up and read it again on their own.

The Works: Poems chosen by Paul Cookson

There are many editions of this book. We have the red one. It’s got loads of different types of poetry, some old and some modern. There are lots of funny poems in here. There’s also a huge variety of poets, which gives a fair chance for readers to discover a new favourite. It’s a fantastic book to have on hand. It’s the book that I used to teach Poetry to a home ed group.

Play Time by Julia Donaldson

Plays  are a great way to help children practice reading aloud and performing. This book has lots of fairy tales in script form. There’s a variety of cast sizes but all the plays are short enough for even young children to perform.

Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi by Cindy Neuschwander 

I am a big believer in early exposure to ideas and language. I think that children who hear technical terms from a young age are less likely to be afraid of them later. So, though I don’t believe this book has taught my little ones about pi, I do think it has paved the way. It’s very funny, with lots of mathematical puns, so everyone enjoys reading it. There’s a series of Sir Cumference books, and I think they’re a fun way of making sure that maths is never scary.

What are your favourite books?

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