4 Resources for Literature Based Learning

So much of our homeschooling is based on literature.  Boiled down, it is the written, oral, or practiced word that instructs. I’m not always able to sit by my children and verbally instruct them… this is where good literature comes in handy. I can find incredible resources in many places some of which are so much fun!

1) The local library – of course! This is an amazing resource for the homeschooler. We love using the library – as long as we keep track of which books we have taken out. There is also a wealth of information on the Galileo system. If you library uses this, you can get free access with a passcode they provide.

2) Invest in good books – books can be expensive… but we can usually find good resources through Amazon.com or on half.com.

3) Online resources – you would be surprised at the amount of books that are available through the internet. Many of the classics that my girls have read during their high school years have come from internet sources – all for free.

Project Gutenburg – free ebooks

Classic Reader


4) Homeschool Literature is also a great place to find quality literature for homeschoolers. We love that site for many reasons but most of all because there is a whole section dedicated to literature written by homeschoolers!

Take a Break… read a book!

My life is usually the definition of busy. Even when I purposely try to slow things down, they still seem to whirl out of control. Yet, during the summer… we do slow down a bit… and in between visiting relatives… I like to take a little vacation at home. I sometimes call it my “book-cation.” I just gather all the books that I have been wanting to read all year… and take time off to read them!

This isn’t just for me though, I try to get the kids all into the reading mood as well. We try to gather their favorites and make sure they have a comfy place with no interruptions and just dive in. It’s a great way to encourage them to read and relax. It’s also a great alternative to the heat.

If there’s no room in your budget for a vacation… try this! A book is an awesome way to visit new places, participate in exciting adventures, and even visit other worlds. There is lots of great literature out there. In fact, there is a ton of great homeschool literature out there. You can join homeschool literature’s online book club and even access lists of great literature written by homeschoolers. A great place to jump start your little “book-cation!”

Homeschool Literature

Have you ever thought about doing a unit study just using books about homeschoolers or homeschool authors? I have been putting together one for my children using these types of books. I think that it would be pretty exciting and encouraging for my kids to see how other homeschoolers live as well as the literary accomplishments that others have made. Here are a few book suggestions for a unit study like mine…

1) I am a Homeschooler by Julie Voetberg

2) Freya and Heath are Home Educated by Kim Holding

3) Love Lessons (Homeshool Series #1) by Margaret Daley

4) Real Lives: Eleven Teenagers who Don’t go to School by Grace Llewellyn

5) Schoolroom in the Parlor by Rebecca Caudill

Literature Studies

If you are like me you try to get your children to read at every opportunity.  Since, we are directing their reading experience on our own, what should they read?  Have you ever wondered what books are considered “important” to read for your child’s age and grade level? I am listing books that are considered “classics.” Yes, I know there is a lot of good contemporary fiction, however, I feel that the classics are time tested, typically non-controversial, and proven to benefit. So, to be safe… we will stick with those. Also, an interesting new genre that has received its own website is Homeschool Literature.  This site is exceptionally interesting to those of us that homeschool.  There are book lists as well as books about homeschoolers listed on this site. Definitely a great resource.

4th grade  – many of these books are available at www.coreknowledge.org

More extensive lists are available at Seton home study.

  • King Arthur and the Round Table, by Malory, abridged by the Core Knowledge Foundation
  • Pollyanna, by Eleanor H. Porter, abridged by the Core Knowledge Foundation
  • Robin Hood and His Merry Outlaws, by J. W. McSpadden, abridged by the Core Knowledge Foundation
  • Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe, abridged by the Core Knowledge Foundation
  • The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving, abridged by the Core Knowledge Foundation
  • Treasure Island, by Robert Stevenson, abridged by the Core Knowledge Foundation
  • Hiawatha, by Henry W. Longfellow
  • John Henry, retold by Julius Lester, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
  • Johnny Appleseed, retold and illustrated by Steven Kellog
  • Paul Bunyan Swings His Axe, Dell J. McCormick
  • Paul Bunyan, retold and illustrated by Steven Kellog
  • Paul Revere’s Ride, by Henry W. Longfellow
  • 5th grade

  • The Secret Garden, Little Lord Fauntleroy, and The Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • The Story of Dr. Dolittle, by Hugh Lofting
  • The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame
  • The Black Stallion, by Walter Farley
  • The Chronicles of Narnia, (a series of 7 books) by C. S. Lewis
  • A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens (recommended edition: The Whole Story, ISBN: 0-670-88879-6)
  • Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
  • An Old-Fashioned Girl, by Louisa May Alcott
  • Anne of Green Gables, by L. M. Montgomery
  • Blue Willow; and Hercales, by Doris Gates
  • Caddie Woodlawn, by Carol Ryrie Brink
  • Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes, abridged by the Core Knowledge Foundation
  • Sherlock Holmes, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, abridged by the Core Knowledge Foundation
  • Gulliver’s Travels, by Jonathan Swift, abridged by the Core Knowledge Foundation
  • 6th grade

  • A Journey to the Center of the Earth, by Jules Verne
  • Around the World in Eighty Days, by Jules Verne
  • Adam of the Road, by Elizabeth Janet Gray
  • Alice in Wonderland, and Through the Looking-Glass, by Lewis Carroll
  • All Creatures Great and Small, by James Herriot
  • Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley – (Recommended edition: The Whole Story ISBN: 0-670-87801-4)
  • Call it Courage, Armstrong Sperry
  • Old Yeller; and Savage Sam by Fred Gipson
  • Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens
  • Swiss Family Robinson, by Johann Wyss
  • The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • The White Company, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • 7th grade

  • Kipling, R.; Captains Courageous – story of a boy who grows up in a few months
  • Lewis, C. S.; The Chronicles of Narnia – adventure stories, conflict of good and evil
  • Stevenson. R. L.; The Black Arrow – swift-paced adventure of soldier, War of the Roses
  • Stevenson, R. L.; Kidnapped – David, a cabin boy, fights off a villainous crew
  • Stevenson, R. L.; Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  • Wells, H. G.; The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, War of the Worlds – science fiction
  • A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens –
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel, Emmuska Baroness Orczy  – abridged versions for this age
  • Many different types of biographies would be excellent for this age group
  • 8th grade

  • Tanglewood Tales, by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Grandfather’s Chair, by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Otto of the Silver Hand, by Howard Pyle
  • Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • O’Hara, M.; Green Grass of Wyoming – adventure with horses on a ranch
  • White, T. H.; The Sword in the Stone – boy must be made worthy to become king
  • Wibberley, L.; John Treegate’s Musket – boy involved in the American Revolution

  • O’Hara, M.; Thunderhead
  • O’Hara, M.; My Friend Flicka
  • Poe, Edgar Allan; The Tell-Tale Heart
  • Richter, C.; Light in the Forest – boy raised by Indians is reunited with his family
  • Steinbeck, J.; The Pearl – the consequences of finding a pearl for a man and his wife
  • more lists to come…

    Literature Strategies


    Smart boards, computers, netbooks, technology… and gadgets all arounds us… all that aside… Literature is probably the most powerful teaching tool known to man. Learning has taken place around the written word for centuries.  It is the core of knowledge, and every homeschool needs to take reading and literature studies seriously.

    What do you do to meet your homeschool literature needs? Many homeschooling families take advantage of our public library system and supplement their reading needs from exhaustive public library resources. Libraries almost always have the classics… which is a great place to start any literature study. Not to mention that the library is a great alternative to purchasing expensive books.

    Other families use the internet extensively for research, and for augmenting their reading with literature based resources.  These resources can take many different forms such as: literature unit studies, literature based word lists, color pages,  literature connected recipes, and on and on the list could go. Whichever method you use, the importance of literature in a solid education is fundamental. Research has proven time and again that the more we read the more we learn.

     I have recently discovered a new website that has compiled a FREE book list containing stories about homeschooling or homeschoolers. Isn’t that cool?  I have seen booklists about everything you can imagine, but never one that completely covers the homeschool culture like this one. For inspiration in finding some new and interesting literature for your fall studies… check it out… you’ll be hooked!

    Full many a gem of purest ray serene The dark unfathom’d caves of ocean bear; Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, And waste its sweetness on the desert air.   ~Thomas Gray