Homeschool Books that Shaped Us

Here is a list of the books that have shaped our life of learning the most! Remember that I am a Classical/Charlotte Mason homeschooler and a Wild + Free Mama so that blend is quite obvious in my choices below. While I do not agree with every single concept in every single book, I have found the books below to be extremely helpful in my life as a mother, student, educator and writer. Enjoy!

Books with an asterisk (**) are books that I frequently reread.

Getting Started:
Educating the Whole Hearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson **
Teaching From Rest by Sarah Mackenzie **
Margin by Richard Swenson
Laying Down the Rails for Yourself by Sonya Schafer
Rethinking School: How to Take Charge of Your Child’s Education by Susan Wise Bauer

Casting Vision: 
The Holy Bible (I love the ESV translation)
10 Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child by Anthony Esolen **
For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schafer Macaulay
L’abri by Edith Schafer
The Life Giving Home by Sally and Sarah Clarkson **
The Life Giving Table by Sally and Clay Clarkson
Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv
Nurtured by Love by Shin’ichi Suzuki
Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations by Alex Harris
Death by Living ND Wilson **
The Mind of the Maker by Dorothy Sayers
Total Truth by Nancy Pearcy
How Should We Then Live? by Francis Schafer
The Abolition of Man by CS Lewis

For the Heart:
Mere Motherhood by Cindy Rollins
Practicing Affirmation by Sam Crabtree
Humility by Andrew Murray
Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic
The Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson
Reading People by Anne Bogel

For Kids that Break the Mold:
Different by Sally Clarkson
Living with Intensity by Susan Daniels
Smart but Scattered by Peg Dawson
The Dyslexic Advantage by Brock L Eide and Fernette F Eide
Good and Angry by Scott Truancy
The Heart of Anger by Lou Priolo
Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for any Child by Cheryl Swope

Classical Education:
The Lost Tools of Learning by Dorothy L Sayers **
The Core by Leigh Bortins **
The Question by Leigh Bortins **
The Conversation by Leigh Bortins
Beauty in the Word: Rethinking the Foundations of Education by Stratford Caldecott
Beauty for Truth’s Sake: The Re-enchantment of Education by Stratford Caldecott
The Liberal Arts Tradition by Kevin Clark and Ravi Jain
The Trivium: The Liberal Arts of Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric by Sister Miriam Joseph
Norms and Nobility  by David Hicks (Yes, its ridiculously expensive and will stay that way till someone else acquires publishing rights. Its an incredibly difficult book but I have loved studying it)
The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer
Climbing Parnassus by Tracy Lee Simmons
Saving Leonardo by Nancy Pearcy
Charlotte Mason:
Charlotte Mason’s Original Writings (I’d start with either Book 1 or Book 6) **
The Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola
When Children Love to Learn by Elaine Cooper
The Living Page by Laurie Bestvater
Know and Tell: The Art of Narration by Karen Glass

Blending CM and CC:
Consider This by Karen Glass **
Mind to Mind by Karen Glass and Charlotte Mason
All of Charlotte Mason’s books because she WAS a Classical Educator 🙂

The majority of these are affiliate links.

A Charlotte Mason Approach to Classical Conversations Cycle 3 Quarter 3

Hello friends and Happy New Year! Here is our List of Quarter 3 work for Classical Conversations Cycle 3 using a Charlotte Mason Approach and a brief description of our work for the next six weeks. I have grouped all the books for science into one section and all the books for geography into another. History and Timeline are broken up per week. As always, I tried to list only IN PRINT books with very few exceptions. Most of these can be found at the library. You DO NOT NEED to purchase all these books. We will probably choose one or two each week to do as a family and smaller books will be read by my older children during their daily independent reading hour. Enjoy!


Book of Narrations & Book of Centuries
Each week the child can choose two pieces from the TIMELINE to study and narrate. I have included a list of books we use for these, if there is no book available then we use the timeline card. If the child is too young for written narration, I will record his oral narration and then type it out. He will then illustrate the narration and put it into his Book of Narrations. An older child will write their own written narration and illustrate it for their own Book of Narrations. With each passing year we add more pieces to our Book of Narrations, slowly moving towards a completely narrated Timeline. We will update our Book of Centuries with new information as we go along

We continue to use Right Start Math and are thrilled with the success (and fun!) we’ve had so far. The short focused lessons make it ideal for juggling between ages and the family book game helps increase our math fluency at the end of our lessons. I have noticed an increased attention to math in the children’s free play which I connect back to our Right Start Math lessons.

Each child will receive a composition notebook for recording their History study notes. We will read a portion of the chosen book and then narrate and illustrate it. I am listing several choices but only reading a few each week. We will also be reading through “A Child’s First Book of American History” by Earl Schenk Miers, illustrated by James Daugherty as our main history text. The boys will probably listen to The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Vol. 3: Early Modern Times audio at night before bed. The Stories of America book by Lorene Lambert (and Stories of the Nations) can be purchased from Simply Charlotte Mason.

Map Work
We have fallen in love with Draw the USA. The kids are using it every other day and on Fridays they draw the entire US and fill in the features they know. Its fun and challenging and we are having a blast with it. We started this out on a whiteboard together. I drew for the kids and we all had a good laugh at my artistic skills and I think that took the pressure off everyone. We will also be using some of the following books for our study:

Geography (weeks 13-18)
Swift Rivers by Cornelia Miegs
Robert Fulton: Boy Craftsman by Marguerite Henry
Seabird by Holling C Holling
Minn of the Mississippi by Holling C Holling
Paddle to the Sea by Holling C Holling
Lightships by Brian Flocca
Beyond the Sea of Ice: Voyages of Henry Hudson by Joan Goodman (NOT a Living Book, but the maps and information are well done)
River of Dreams: The Story of the Hudson River by Hudson Talbott ** Touches on many Timeline Events too!
Swan Flyway: The Tundra Swan by Dana Limpert
Mississippi Going North by Sana Baker
Hoover Dam by Elizabeth Mann

We completed our Lyrical Life Science study before the holidays and thoroughly enjoyed it! Now that CC is moving on to Chemistry we will need to reevaluate our science study.
Science (weeks 13-18)
What’s Smaller Than a Pygmy Shrew? by Robert Wells
What is the World Made Out of? by Kathleen Zoehfield
Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Element in the Universe by Theodore Gray
The Story of Salt by Mark Kerlanksy
Magic School Bus Gets Baked in a Cake
The Mystery of the Periodic Table of Elements by Benjamin Walker (We will be using this along with “Medeleyev and His Period Table” by Robin McKown, sadly it is OoP).
Napoleon’s Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History by Penny Le Couter

Periodic Videos (one for each of the elements!)

I’ll be reading “Thats the Way the Cookie Crumbles” by Joe Schwarcz

Independent Loop
The boy’s independent work consists of the following components and they have a set time each day to work on the next item on their list before looping around. Some days they do more than one task, some days they only focus on one. I love that they get a bit of time with each as they cycle through. This idea came from Sarah Mackenzie’s wonderful book: Teaching From a State of Rest.

Handwriting (Cursive Prescripts from Classical Conversations)
Typing- The Good and the Beautiful
Crochet Project
Pin it! Maps Work
Elenco work
Paper Sloyd


Language Arts
My eldest is having a wonderful first year with the Essentials Program. To be honest, I am completely taken aback by how well he has done. I thought his dyslexia would make this year a miserable experience for all but we have found just the opposite to be true. Thanks to his fantastic memory (one of the gifts that came with dyslexia) he is breezing through his charts! I am still scribing his papers but he loves the IEW program and is enjoying composing a paper each week.
My next eldest is using an IEW writing book and both boys use the
Phonetic Zoo Spelling Level A IEW Spelling Program every day. They do not get to move on from a list till they have mastered it two days in a row and I am so thankful to see their spelling rapidly improving! (If you have a dyslexic child, you know how amazing this is!) The older two boys still have one hour of independent reading each day. Use the IEW tab on our page to explore the site!

My next eldest is wrapping up his time with My Father’s World 1st Grade and Five in a Row. Since we had both programs already we have been picking and choosing our favorite aspects. By no means did he do both programs in their entirety! He will not start formal spelling for a bit yet. His copywork is from Simply Charlotte Mason.

We are still using Memoria Press Latin Cristiana 1 for Latin and enjoying it tremendously. Its exciting to see how much our memory work helps in this area!


We continue to use The Homegrown Preschooler for our youngest (and his brothers always end up joining him whenever they can!) Along with Right Start Math Level A, this combination has been more than enough for our 5 year old. He is in his 3rd year with HGP and the amount of growth and learning we have seen is far beyond what our evaluators initially projected for him. I am so thankful to Lesli Richards and Kathy Lee for compiling this beautiful program.

Morning Time
A Child’s History of Architecture by Hillyer
Speaking Spanish with Miss Mason and Francois by Cherrydale Press
The Harp and the Laurel Wreath by Laura Bergquist
American History Picture Study by Queen Homeschool
Hymn Study (check out @happyhymnody on Instagram!)
Grandma Moses by Charles Graves
Stories of America Volume 2 by Lorene Lambert
Trial and Triump by Richard Hannula
Training Hearts, Teaching Minds by Starr Meade

(See Quarter 1 for details on Poets, Composers and Artists!)


Week 13
They Put Out to Sea by Roger Duvoisin (How I WISH this were in Print!)
Around the World in a Hundred Years by Jean Fritz
The Kidnapped Prince: The Life of Olaudah Equiano by Ann Cameron
Ink on His Fingers by Louise A Vernon
The World of Columbus and Sons by Genevieve Foster
The Royal Diaries: Isabel: Jewel of Castilla by Carolyn Meyer
Blood Secret by Kathryn Lansky
**Books on Spanish Inquisition are for older children, I have not read either one but included them on recommendation from a friend.

14th Amendment (includes links to newspaper articles, opinion pieces, etc published at the time).
Heart and Soul: The Story of American and African Americans by Kadir Nelson
John Newton: A Slave Set Free by Irene Howat
Freedom Over Me by Ashley Bryan
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor
Many Thousand Gone: African Americans from Slavery to Freedom by Virgina Hamilton

Week 14
Columbus by D’Aulaire
Courage and Conviction by Mindy and Brandon Withrow
Trial and Triumph by Richard Hannula
-Chp 19-26 The Reformation
Peter the Great by Diane Stanley
The World of William Penn by Genevieve Foster (Absolute Monarchs)
The King’s Fifth by Scott O’Dell
Johann Sebastian Bach by Mike Venezia
Sebastian Bach by Opal Wheeler
Becoming Bach by Tom Leonard

**We have already done an in depth study of the Industrial Revolution and my boys have asked to look at Child Labor a little more closely.

Mill by David Macaulay 
The Chimney Sweep’s Ransom by Dave and Neta Jackson ( I have not read this one yet but its been recommended several times to me so we are trying it this year!)*
Counting on Grace by Elizabeth Winthrop*
Kids at Work: Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child Labor by Russell Freedman*
The Industrial Revolution for Kids: The People and Technology that Changed the World by Cheryl Mullenbach
Empire State Building by Elizabeth Mann
Brooklyn Bridge by Elizabeth Mann


Week 15
Stories of America Volume 1 by Lorene Lambert
–Chp 2 Captain Smith and Jamestown
–Chp 3 Miles Standish and the Pilgrims
Trial and Triumph by Richard Hannula
-Chp 31 Jonathan Edwards
-Chp 32 George Whitfield
-Chp 33 John Wesley
-Chp 34 John Newton
Adventures from the Bay by Clifford Wilson
Hearts and Minds: Chronicles of the Awakening Church by  Mindy and Brandon Withrow

Teddy Roosevelt: Young Rough Rider by Ed Winfield Parks
The Camping Trip that Changed America by Barb Rosenstock
The Remarkable Rough Riding Life of Theodore Roosevelt by Cheryl Harness
Theodore Roosevelt by Mike Venezia (available at most libraries)
To Dare Mighty Things: The Life of Theodore Roosevelt by Doreen Rappaport
Bully For You Teddy Roosevelt by Jean Fritz
Young Teddy Roosevelt by Cheryl Harness

Week 16

Story of the Nations Volume 1 by Lorene Lambert
-Chp 14 James Cook
Stories of America Volume 1 by Lorene Lambert
–Chp 16-22 Revolutionary War
–Chp 23 Voyage of Our Ship of State (Constitution)
–Chp 25 America Grows (Lewis and Clark)

The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus
At Ellis Island: A History in Many Voices by Louise Peacock
Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say
Coming to America: They Story of Immigration by Betsy Maestro
The Memory Coat by Elvira Woodruff
When Jessie Came Across the Sea by Amy Hest
Emma’s Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty by Linda Glaser
The Journey by Francesca Sana
The Matchbox Diary by Paul Fleischman


Week 17

Story of the Nations Volume 1 by Lorene Lambert
-Chp 16-19 Napoleon
-Chp 20 Bolivar the Liberator
Stories of America Volume 1 by Lorene Lambert
-Chp 27 How the English and the Americans Fought Again

Where Poppies Grow: A World War 1 Companion by Linda Greenfield
Remember the Lusitania by Diane Preston
Only a Dog: A Story of the Great War by Bertha Smith
Christmas Truce by Aaron Shephard
In Flander’s Field: The Story of the Poem by John Macrae. by Linda Greenfield
Christmas in the Trenches by John McCutcheon
The War to End All Wars by Russell Freedman **Advanced

Week 18
Stories of the Nations Volume 1 by Lorene Lambert
-Chp 25 Commodore Perry Opens the Door to Japan
Stories of America Volume 2 by Lorene Lambert
-Chp 1 Heading West on the Oregon Trail
-Chp 3 The Sad Story of Slavery
Soft Rain by Cornelia Cornelian
Trail of Tears by Joseph Bruchac
Charles Darwin by Jennifer Thermes
Commodore Perry in the Land of the Shoguns by Rhoda Blumberg

I Survived the Bombing of Pearl Harbor by Laura Tarshis
Pearl Harbor by Stephen Krensky
Pearl Harbor Child by Dorinda Nicholson
A Boy at War: A Novel of Pearl Harbor by Steve Mazer
Pigeon Hero by Shirley Redman
Going Solo by Roald Dahl
Never Give In: The Extraordinary Character of Winston Churchill by Stephen Mansfield
A Boy Named FDR by Kathleen Krull
Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorenson
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr
The Winged Watchman by Hilda VanStockum
The House of 60 Fathers by Meindert De Jong
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
All Those Secrets of the World by Jane Yolen
Twenty and Ten by Claire Bishop
Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan
The Story of the USS Arizona by Conrad Stein

There is an abundance of read alouds to choose from for this time period. Our family will be reading the following three this quarter in the evenings as a family:
The Evolution of Calournia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly  (1899-1900)
The Singing Tree by Kate Seredy (WW1)
The Chestry Oak by Kate Seredy (WW2)


Farmhouse Schoolhouse Christmas Guide: Babes, Tots and Homegrown Preschoolers

All right guys, this is the one I had the most requests for! Next up is our Homeschool Mama Gift Guide. Enjoy!

For the Babies (0-12 months): 
1) Sarah’s Silks. This is my go to baby gift- especially the teethers. They are so lovely, soft and a perfect early sensory experience.

2) The softest swaddle blankets. My boys loved these.

3) A bead grasper from Grimm’s Speil and Holz
4) A Bella baby terry cloth doll. These are small and sweet and soft, perfect for little hands!
5) Music by Elizabeth Mitchell. We love “You are My Little Bird,” “Sunny Day,”  and a Christmas album called “The Sounding Joy.” And, of course, my most favorite music album for babies OF ALL TIME 🙂 “Hidden in my Heart.”

6) Beautiful Poetry and Stories recorded by Jim Weiss. The more beautiful words babies are exposed to-the better!

For Toddlers (1-2/3)
1) Grimm’s Spiel & Holz Wooden Stacker is an heirloom quality toy that is incredibly beautiful and well made.

2) Grimm’s Spiel & Holz Nesting Bowls are equally wonderful for this developmental age.


3) HABA’s First board games. We love this sweet collection of first board games for littles, especially those that are mentally ready for “bigger things” but not quite there emotionally. Most of these games are appropriate for ages 2+

First Orchard
Here Fishy Fishy
Animal Upon Animal
Feeling and Touching

4) A sweet percussion station for children to experiment with. We loved handing our kids instruments and turning up tunes for them to jam out with. They developed a special fondness for many different forms of Brazilian music.

5) One of the best things I ever did as a Mom was say YES every single time one of my toddler said “me do it” or ” I help Mama.” They were never discouraged from helping, in fact, I went out of my way to involve them and praise them even if it meant more work for me later. These days my kids do a large share of the chores around here and its a huge blessing to our whole family. A great way to encourage littles is to give them child sized tools. (Remember this is a great gift for a child in that precious little “me do it” phase. Please don’t buy your 12 year old a broom for Christmas with the hopes that they’ll love it and skip off to do chores).
71rLJ0tOqrL._SL1500_.jpg6) I always love to give a gift that says to my child “I trust you to be responsible with the next big thing. I believe you are capable and smart and able.” Now what this item is varies from child to child. My children have received everything from plants to pets to knives. For a child this young maybe the next big step is a toddler bed or a balance bike or a small square of the yard that belongs to THEM and they can use it to grow a veggie garden or make a fairy garden, the point is the gift relays a powerful message just in time for the new year.


7) Wooden animals. We love the Holtziger brand best and purchased most of ours from Padilly.



Homegrown Preschoolers (3+)

1)The Homegrown Preschooler Curriculum! (obvs!) Now just to clarify. There is a wonderful BOOK called “The Homegrown Preschooler” by Lesli Richards and Kathy Lee and its WONDERFUL. I love it and use it often. Then there is their curriculum called “A Year of Playing Skillfully” which is my favorite of all time. (Read this, this and this). If I were to buy this curriculum for Christmas I would set a bunch of the activities up under the tree for my kids to play with right away. Right now Homegrown Preschooler is offering $20 off their curriculum along with the free ebook, 2 sets of water beads, a free sensory kit. Huzzah! P.S. They also have an awesome 12 Days of Christmas thing going down on their Instagram and Facebook page so check it out!


2) An art basket stocked with jumbo brushes, funky brushes , shape sponges, no spill cups, do a dot markers, color diffusing paper and your favorite washable non toxic paints.
3) Sensory Bin tools! Fine Motor Tools, Water Beads, or separated by color if you have one of those kiddos! (Always, always, always make sure the beads you buy are NON TOXIC and safe for play, vase fillers at the Dollar Tree will burn your child). Jumbo tweezers,  stacking cups,  water play cups and safari toobs (We always get our at Michaels with their weekly coupons!)


or try these ready made sensory kits: Ocean Explorers, Jungle Excursion, African Safari, Dinosaur Discovery

4) A Light Table or Light Pad with translucent pattern blocks, letters, or geometric shapes. 


5) Set up a play area in your backyard full of natural materials like river stones, rocks, tree stumps and sticks. You can find great tree trimmings on the side of the road on Saturday afternoons. A nice big tonka truck or two would be a nice touch!

6) Alphabet Tracing Board From Jennifer. All orders at this shop will not arrive before Christmas due to high volume orders.


7) A Big Box of Dress Up Clothes
Beautiful wings and fairytale cloaks from Bella Luna Toys or Magic Cabin are always a great option. Or a simple trip to a thrift store for odds and ends can go a very long way!

8) Element Blocks from Grimm’s Spiel and Holz
or classic wooden blocks

9) Audiobooks like Little House on the Prairie or Hank the Cowdog. Check Read Aloud Revival for great suggestions.

10) A Space to Call Their Own. It can be a nice multi-use table or a beat up old coffee table. Push it up against a corner and decorate with Cavallini paper from Paper Source or odds and ends from places like Tanglewood Hollow or Mirus Toys or Twig and Moth.


Farmhouse Schoolhouse Christmas Guide: Artists & Chefs

1) Art Classes
Creating a Masterpiece comes highly recommended by Simply Charlotte Mason. My son and I stopped by their booth at FPEA this past May and signed up for a free class. It was amazing how much he was able to accomplish by following the video instruction. He really enjoyed the class.  We will probably wait another year or two before diving into this program but I wanted to share it here in case anyone was looking for more formal art instruction for their children or themselves.  Projects are organized by level and come with supply lists directly linked to Dick Blick for easy supply gathering!

If you need something shorter, check out a 9 week online course like “Studying Under the Masters” from Jeanne Oliver.

2) Watercolor Brush Pens
These pens are such a treat!

3) A Sketch Kit


4) A Paper Quilling Kit


5) A Brush Lettering Kit

6) A big pack of blank canvases in multiple sizes 7187qnEFJNL._SL1500_.jpg
7) If you are looking for one big kit that includes many different mediums, this looks like a good deal!

8) Here is a list of our favorite places to stock up on art supplies. We love Stockmar Beeswax and Modeling Clay, they are certainly more expensive than Crayola and Play Doh but their quality is superior and they last far, far longer. We are still using our crayons from last year and they are in great condition!

Bella Luna Toys,  Imagine Childhood,  Palumba, and Paper Scissors Stone 

9) Beautiful Craft boards FROM JENNIFER (Note: We are so excited that this family-owned small business is thriving! They are doing so well that many items in their shop will not be ready in time for Christmas even though they are working round the clock to complete their orders)


10) Crayon Holder






For the Little Chef in Your Life

  1. Our FAVORITE cooking club for kiddos~ Raddish Kids. We eagerly await our new boxes each month. Each box comes with a new tool, grocery list, patch, kitchen project and 3 beautifully laminated recipes that feature a recipe, culinary skill training and geography or history about the recipe.  Dietary substitutions are available as well.



2)  A great children’s knife to work with! You can find additional finger guards here
3) When they are still too small to navigate a larger cooking area, these small electric skillets are perfect for children’s kitchen areas. For more information on establishing an easily accessible kitchen area for small children I highly recommend scouring the blog Our Montessori Life61o80oWmObL._SL1196_.jpg
4) Speaking of easily accessible for children, I have seen such benefit in making sure my children have access to the tools they need to navigate our home and life together. Child-sized tools have made a great difference in our home in encouraging children to be as independent as possible in their cooking, cleaning and life skills. One fantastic resource for finding child-sized tool of all kids is a company called For Small Hands. Check them out! We really love their tableware and bakeware!

5) Our favorite cookbooks for Kids: Honest Pretzels and Pretend Soup911W2dFdNlL.jpg

6) Encourage your chef to branch out into gardening! Check out the Abundant Garden Curriculum IMG_6416.png

7) A Child’s Apron that uses velcro instead of ties! Etsy has many to choose from like these adorable ones from Courtesy and Grace.

8) A Fruit Snack Making Kit
9) An easy peasy apple peeler thats fun to look at and use!


10) Spice up Taco Tuesdays


Our next gift guide: Babes, Tots and Homegrown Preschoolers will be out soon! 🙂

Farmhouse Schoolhouse Gift Guide: Wild Explorers & Mad Scientists

I know, I know, this guide is three days late. But real life trumps blog life every single time and my kids needed my full attention—so they got it!  Our next guide is really just one big category. Here are our favorite picks for Wild Explorers & Mad Scientists!

1) Wild Explorer Club.
This one is a no brainer for us. We LOVE being in the Wild Explorers Club. As a mother, I appreciate that we can use it through the cooler winter months and we never “fall behind” because we complete levels as we can, when we can. Each assignment is stored and now my younger ones are working their way up. My older boys will probably be finishing this Spring. Oh my heart!!! The assignments have been fantastic and I love how much my children have grown and learned throughout the process. Also, every single month a beautiful magazine full of outdoor inspiration from other kids comes to our home. My boys disappear with that magazine for at least two hours and always come back brimming with stories and ideas.

2) A fully stocked Explorer Pack.
Pick a pack and pack it up!
Backpack: long lasting, durable and adorablesensory friendly backpack/vest combo
Compass: pin on or the heavy duty whole enchilada real deal.
Lightweight regional nature guides: check local botanical garden or bird watchers club or plant store.
Swiss Army Knife: toy for a tot or the big time responsibility.
Granola Bars
A heavy duty natural sunscreen that WONT attract bugs or critters.
A sturdy water bottle for big kids or little kids.
A leaf press or small flower press (Easy to make at home!)
Adventure cards 
Jeweler’s Loupe for a closer look
A 3 in 1 pocket microscope, telescope and magnifier for the things you want to study but can’t take home!
Bird Call
THE WHISTLE FOR CHILDREN PRONE TO WANDERING. This has saved my bacon at least 7 times. This exact whistle can be heard a mile away. Stick it on a lanyard and make your wanderer wear it.
Bandanas: artsy or survival

3) Survival bracelet– compass, fire starter, emergency whistle, knife, french fry maker (J/k on the last thing)

4) Pertinent Reading Material51zEvJ7FIsL.jpg

5) Backyard Goodness for the days when you can’t hit the trail.

For the Mad Scientist….

1) Frog-friendly Frog Dissection Kit

2) For the kid that lights up your life. 🙂

3) We love our Brock Magiscope that was gifted to us. They are very pricey though, here is an alternative that some people have recommended.

3) Owl Pellets. (Yup. Go big or go home.)
4) Hands on Periodic Table
5) Molecule Kit

6) A classroom skeleton — anatomy/practical joke resource

7) The History of Science
8) Chemistry Subscription.

9) Rite in the Rain notebooks for all observation needs. These notebooks are AMAZING.
10) A great read about a brilliant 11 year old female mad scientist and her adventures with her naturalist granddaddy. Have you read it? Have you? Ugh. I’m just finishing it and I L-O-V-E this book.

Farmhouse Schoolhouse Christmas Guide: Entrepreneurs, Handicrafters & Storytellers

Its time for our 2nd Gift Guide!  Enjoy!

IMG_2115 (1)


My little entrepreneur is almost always making something, inventing something or trying to sell off something we own. He is always scheming and making plans. I like to give him gifts that keep him gainfully occupied…in other words, good trouble instead of bad trouble! 🙂  He is our puzzle lover, game night enthusiast and logic lover.

I have told him he is not allowed to file taxes until he turns 12 and he recently negotiated that down to 11. He has asked for “business classes” in the mean time. Here is a list of our favorite gifts for budding entrepreneurs.

1. Your Business Math Series from Simply Charlotte Mason.  (ages 8-12)Your-Business-Math-Pet-Store-hd.jpg
Choose between Pet Store, Book Store and Sports Store.  The kids keep an account ledger, learn to write checks, pay bills, figure out taxes, etc. It walks kids through 12 months of a business year and there are chance cards that spice things up!

2) Lemonade to Leadership (6th-8th grade)


Recognizing opportunities, market products, implement business plans, etc. We’re excited to try this one out one day!

3) A LEGIT cash box.
At our most recent Wild + Free Kids Craft Fair I heard a few 9 year olds use the phrase “legit cash box.”  Gotta keep those lemonade stand quarters safe and sound.

4) Business Cards
This would be a great stocking stuffer that sends a message of love, encouragement and support.

5) Monopoly
Practice, practice, practice!

6) Logic Games- here are a few of our favorites


Rush Hour



Logic Links






Settlers of Catan

7) Speaking of logic, we highly recommend The Fallacy Detective! Our boys have loved working through this together and its sharpened their eyes, minds and hearts.


8) Set up a nook in your home for their business. A thrifted desk, a small whiteboard, some office supplies.

9) A Business loan or investment– seed money for their little start up.



  1. Handicrafts Made Simple Series by Simply Charlotte MasonHandicrafts-Crochet-DVD-case.jpg
    This is a great series of instructional DVDs that we personally own and use often. My boys learned how to knit, crochet, hand sew and make useful paper crafts using these DVDs. If you have a craft loving child but have little skill of your own to impart, these are a worthy investment!2) Woodworking tools
    Woodworking with Children & Easy Carpentry Projects for Children are two helpful books.
    51ukEWDI5KL._SX333_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgOr a great book for those wanting to Whittle
    61YG8YMy-qL._SX415_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgCarving Tools
    For more whittling tools, check out JM Cremps

    3) Beginner’s Loom from Melissa and Doug
    4) Lap Loom from Magic Cabin


    5) Children’s Knitting and Sewing Kit 
    6) Nature’s Art Box

    7) Our favorite craft book: “Crafts Through the Year” 617CCYb6tHL._SX455_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

    8) Basket Making Kits

    9) Year in Bloom Calendar Kit 

10) Handmade By Stamp

11) Needle Felting Kit


As a storyteller, this category is close to my heart. I’m pretty much shopping for my childhood self.

  1. For those writers that are not yet writing, of for this highly creative dyslexic students that want to tell stories without stopping to erase and rewrite everything other word…

2) For those not quite ready to fill a whole book or for those visual story tellers…blank comic books!


3) 50 Colorful Blank Books — I think I would have gone bonkers if someone had handed me FIFTY blank books for me to fill. Heaven!

4) Scrabble….if you want to go all out, here is the link for the deluxe wooden rotating board edition

5) A nice dictionary. Doesn’t have to be The Oxford English Dictionary (drool) or even a leather bound Webster, just a solid kids dictionary or even a more advanced synonym finder!


6) Dixit Storyteller Game

7) Tall Tales Storytelling Game

8) Story Cubes

9) Check out The Literary Gift Company. Its a dream.


Coming up next: Wild Explorers & Mad Scientists!

Farmhouse Schoolhouse Christmas Guide: Bookworms & Bird Nerds


Kicking off our annual Gift Guide this year with some of my favorites! Books & Birds!

In the coming week we’ll also be featuring: Entrepreneurs, Handicrafters & Storytellers; Wild Explorers & Mad Scientists, Artists & Chefs; and Babes, Tots & Homegrown Preschoolers; along with a Homeschool Mama Gift Guide! I’ll be linking on each post as we progress.

This year’s book list is comprised of my children’s ABSOLUTE FAVORITES from this year, the ones they asked for over and over and over again that are still in print! (note: I will have some toddler and baby board book recommendations in the other guide and plan on doing an out of print editions list at some point in the future).

Bookworms Guide:


Favorite Stories~
St. George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges
The Kitchen Knight by Margaret Hodges
The Biggest Bear by Lynn Wardpeetsmall2_grande.jpg
Chester the Worldly Pig by Bill Peet (or Cyrus the Unsinkable Serpent or How Droofus Lost His Head or Cock-a-doodle Dudley, or ok…just lots and lots of BILL PEET BOOKS!)
Andy and the Lion by James Daugherty
Billy and Blaze by CW Anderson (Don’t forget … this one, that one, another oneoh this one too, the other one, this one here, one more and the last one)
The Knight and the Dragon by Tomie de Paola
Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain by Edward Ardizzone
Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran
Little Red Riding Hood by Trina Hyman 
One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey
Katy No Pocket by Emmy Payne
The Ox Cart Man by Donald Hall

Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
The Big Snow by Berta Hader
The Gardener by Sarah Stewart
The Children of Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren
My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Gannet
Book of Greek Myths by the D’Aulaires
Chanticleer and the Fox by Geoffrey Chaucer

When We Were Very Young by AA Milne
Now We are Six by AA Milne
A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson
Hailstones and Halibut Bones
The Complete Brambley Hedge by Jill Barkley
Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Patterson
James Herriot Treasury for Children
Just So Stories– Rudyard Kipling
Aesop’s Fables
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
Hans Christian Anderson Fairy Tales
Family Read Alouds~
The Green EmberEmber Falls and The Black Star of Kingston )
Five Children and It by E Nesbit
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
Carry on Mr Bowditch by Jean Latham
100 Cupboards by ND Wilson
The Hobbit by Tolkien
The Princess and the Goblin (Princess and the Curdie) by George MacDonald
Homer Price by Robert Mccloskey
Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis
The Magician’s Nephew by CS Lewis
Prince Caspian by CS Lewis
The King of the Golden River by John Ruskin

Henty TheDragon and the Raven Album Art_zpsgmx7xdnz.jpg
Hank the Cowdog (We belly laugh when this is on!)
Mystery! Mystery!  read by Jim Weiss
Sherlock Holmes for Children read by Jim Weiss
The Hound of the Baskerville read by Jim Weiss
Ten Thousand Stars read by Jim Weiss
Heroes, Horses and Harvest Moons read by Jim Weiss
First Stories to Last a Lifetime read by Jim Weiss
Courage and a Clear Mind read by Jim Weiss
The Dragon and the Raven
The Cat of Bubastes
Little House in the Big Woods read by Lynn Cherry
The Green Ember read by Joel Clarkson

LED Reading Light
Reading Strips (For Dyslexic or struggling readers)

Bird Nerds

Birds of North America Poster


The Identiflyer



Children’s Birding Journal


Bird Masks and Wings

Bird Puzzle

Bird Call

Sibley Backyard Birding Flash Cards


Bird Bingo


Bird Memory Game 



Bird Dominoes


Listen to the Birds: Classical Music


Monthly Bird Box from Tanglewood Hollow

Bimonthly Bird Zine


Stay tuned for our next guide: Entrepreneurs, Handicrafters & Storytellers!