Book Recommendations From Great Homeschool Convention

One of my favorite things to gather are book recommendations.  Last week, at the Great Homeschool Convention, I sat and listened to many great thinkers who always inspire me to read more.  Here's the list I came up with from the speakers I heard from.  I can't wait to dig into some of these great books!

Classical Education Books

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Martin Cothran Recommendations:

Martin Cothran, the editor of Memoria Press's The Classical Teacher, spoke first on "What is a Christian Worldview." He outlined some of the fundamental questions that shape a worldview, and what makes a worldview specifically Christian.  He is a prolific book recommender. I also heard him talk about reawakening the imagination. Here are some of the books he mentioned that I'm eager to read:

Why Johnny Can't tell Right from Wrong

Why Johnny Can't Tell Right From Wrong and What We Can Do About It -

This was recommended as a great controversial read about how the modern educational system has stopped teaching virtue, and the effects of this void has left.

Technopoly by Neil Postman

Technopoly - The Surrender of Culture to Technology

We are assaulted by information, but we don't know how to order it.  Instead of using technology to support our lives, we are shaped by it.


Amusing Ourselves to Death

I've read this one by Neil Postman, and I'm encouraged to read it again. It's so easy to get swept away with the culture of entertainment and ignore the impact of television on our lives.


Dante's Inferno

If you're looking for a great work on "ordered thinking", Dante's Inferno is a great illustration of expressing metaphysical ideas in concrete ways. I need to read this!


An Index to G.K. Chesterton

So much of Cothran's thinking has been impacted by the writings of Chesterton. He recommended this index as a great way to locate the ideas among all of Chesterton's writings. I'm interested to get my hands on this one!

The Man Who Was Thursday

The Man Who Was Thursday -

I've read this one, but it was a few years ago, so I'm eager to read it again and savor it again.  Maybe I'll understand more of it this time!

Essays Presented to Charles Willims

Essays Presented to Charles Williams

This is a collection of essays written by the Inklings (C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Dorothy Sayers)...this looks like an amazing collection of writings.  Tolkein gives his argument for the importance of fairy stories. It also ties in with this great article about how Christianity is a Myth that Really Happened by C.S. Lewis.

I also went to hear Martin Cothran talk about G.K. Chesterton (do you see a theme here) and the Metaphysics of Amazement.  His idea is that the modern world requires everything to be proven by science, there can be nothing not explainable like God. Cultivating imagination is a great way to cultivate faith. He is a prolific book recommender, so here comes a great list of books I'm going to work to add to my collection.

The Everlasting Man

The Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton


Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton

Chance or the Dance

Chance or the Dance by Thomas Howard

The Reenchantment of the World

The Reenchantment of the World by Morris Berman

The Restitution of Man and a Case against Scientism

Restitution of Man by Michael Aeschliman

Time of Need

Time of Need: Forms of Imagination in the Twentieth Century by William Barrett


Heidi by Johanna Spyri - This is a great example of what happens when a soul is surrounded by artificial things.  Our souls become alienated, and we are orphans to nature.

The Natural History of Make-Believe

The Natural History of Make Believe by John Goldthwaite - Mother Goose wakes up our soul and helps us see the world.

The Complete Nonsense of Edward Lear

The Complete Nonsense of Edward Lear

The Golden Key

The Golden Key by George MacDonald

The Princess and the Goblin

The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald

Christian Classical Education Recommendations:

three great classics

If you want to learn the values of the Greeks, read the Iliad and the Odyssey.

The Iliad

The Odyssey

For learning Roman values, read Virgil's Aeneid.

The Aeneid

The Divine Comedy

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

For learning Christian values, read:

Dante's Divine Comedy

Shakespeare's Writings

The King James Bible


Christopher Perrin's Recommendations

Christopher Perrin of Classical Academic Press spoke on the Art of Teaching. I can't wait to read this one:

The Art of Teaching

The Art of Teaching

Dr. Carol Reynolds' Recommendations

If you've never sat under Dr. Carol Reynolds, you are missing out.  She is an amazing wealth of information, and she can help you redeem your own education with her online courses. There is a great subscription plan that you can access all of her classes for a small monthly fee.  I'll be signing up this summer to feed my soul. I can't wait.


Totto-Chan: The Little Girl at the Window - I've just started reading this one and it is fascinating. It is a true story following the education of a little Japanese girl who is curious and attends a school that fosters a love of truth, goodness, and beauty.

Beauty - a Very Short Introduction

Beauty: A Very Short Introduction by Roger Scraton

The Queen of Spades

The Queen of Spades by Alexander Pushkin - Pushkin is the essence of Russian cultural history. Carol Reynolds loves Russian history, so if you're looking for a new author to delve into, check out Pushkin.

The Captain's Daughter

The Captain's Daughter by Pushkin

Eugene Onegin

Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin

Janice Campbell's Recommendations

This was the first time I heard Janice Campbell speak at the Great Homeschool Convention. She was on the Classical Panel, and she seemed like a seasoned homeschool mom who has cultivated so many wonderful resources for Classical homeschoolers.  While I didn't need another writing curiculum, when I stopped by her booth, I found a treasure for my husband and several other book recommendations that I can't wait to check out.

Working it Out: Growing Spiritually with the Poetry of George Herbert

Working it Out: Growing Spiritually with the Poetry of George Herbert - I purchased this one, thinking that my husband would enjoy including it in our morning time. However, it came at just the right time to bless our souls in working out the grieving of the loss of my sister.  My husband won't share his copy anymore, so I've ordered myself my own copy.  This is a book every family needs.  Beautiful work.

The Living Page

The Living Page: Keeping Notebooks with Charlotte Mason

Chenier's Practical Math Dictionary

Chenier's Practical Math Dictionary

So there's 36 books that I'll be looking out for to add to my library. I love learning from those who have gone before me. Andrew Kern would say to read a few books well, and Martin Cothran would say to read widely. I'm more of a wide reader, but I would love to have a couple that I sit with for a long time, and get to know really well.


  1. Lisa Nehring on March 28, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    I have learned so much from Martin Cothran’s writing in the Classical Teacher and got to meet him in person last summer at Circe! Neil Postman is always paradigm shifting : ). I’ll be adding several of these to my list, Betsy. Thanks for the list! I’ll go to a couple of conventions this year- I think I’ll make book lists at each one.

    • Betsy on March 28, 2016 at 9:59 pm

      I just love Martin Cothran’s spirit, and his heart to encourage homeschool moms. He really takes deep ideas and makes them approachable. I love writing down books they recommend…as many as I have read, it’s always fun to find new authors to learn from! I’d love to see your book lists 🙂

  2. Sarah on March 28, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    Interesting list. I’m in the process of reading GK Chestertons Orthodoxy and I just got Amusing ourselves to death a couple of weeks ago! I’m saving your list for future choices!❤️

  3. Vixie on March 29, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Wonderful list and I’m saving it. I have read many of these books and understand completely why they are on your list but I also see some new books and new authors that I am now “itching” to read. I wish I had another lifetime that I could just spend reading.

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