50+ Inspiring Books From the 2018 Great Homeschool Convention

The Great Homeschool Convention is by far my favorite educational event of the year. For me it is a place where all of my mentors come together to help me continue to fine tune my educational philosophy, reset my focus, and remember why I started this crazy adventure in the first place. This year my husband was able to attend with me for all three days, and that was such a blessing! We love to read together, so we had fun gathering all of the reading recommendations from the talks we attended. I've shared book lists from GHC in the past, so I thought it would be fun to do again.

Book Recommendations from Jan Bloom

Books Bloom is one of my favorite vendors to browse at the Great Homeschool Convention primarily because we share a love of books. We started off the conference hearing her speak about books that help teach business principles through stories. Her main point was that if you keep your eye out for business principles, any book can teach your children to be better workers either for themselves, or for someone else. Here are some of her recommendations:

Start with business basics:

Read some biographies:

Business principles in stories:

One other really interesting tidbit I picked up from her was to look for books published before 1960. At that time, our culture valued strong work ethics, so it's bound to show up in the stories told. With a couple of young entrepreneurs in my home, I'm excited to dig in to some of these books with them!

One Year Adventure Novel

My son has recently been thinking about writing a novel. He has a story floating around in his head, but he needs help getting it out. Therefore, many of the talks we attended centered around writing and story telling. Andy ended up purchasing the One Year Adventure Novel curriculum to dig into this summer. He can't wait to get started. We loved hearing some of the principles of a good story from Daniel Schwabauer. Here were some books he referenced in his talk:

 The Hero with a Thousand Faces is a book that mixes modern philosophy with all of the worlds mythic traditions. According to Mr. Schwabaur, this book is what inspired Luke Skywalker from the Star Wars saga. That sounded pretty compelling to read!

We also purchased his book series:

Faith and Thinking with Andrew Kern

I always love hearing what Andrew Kern, president of the Circe Institute, is contemplating. His thoughts on harmony carried me through a particularly difficult season of my life. He has always recommended G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy and I'm excited to say that I've finally been brave enough to test the waters of my abilities to read hard things to crack it open. It is amazing. My husband and I have decided to read it through quickly for an overview, and then read slowly through it and discuss. There is an incredible amount of insight just in the first chapter.

Martin Cothran on What is Classical Education?

Even though I've heard people speak on this topic many times, and even spoken on the topic myself, it is always good to hear again and from another source. My husband had never heard Martin Cothran, Memoria Press author of the Logic curriculum we use in Classical Conversations and editor of The Classical Teacher (a free magazine you'll love), so we went together.

Simply, his definition of Classical Education consists of the Seven Liberal Arts and the Great books. It's the inculcation of wisdom and virtue.

He is typically a prolific book recommend-er, so I always love hearing his thoughts. Here were a few he mentioned:

 His book list didn't disappoint!

Socratic Tradition with Christopher Perrin

I really love the Great Homeschool Convention because it brings all of my favorite Classical Educators together. They are all so unique and bring incredible depth to this great tradition we're all a part of bringing back into practice. Christopher Perrin, founder and CEO of Classical Academic Press, always draws out a calm contemplative side of my thinking. You can check out the slides to some of his talks including this one at his Classical U site, which offers incredible resources for Classical teachers to become better at their craft.

He really encouraged parents that to become excellent at leading Socratic discussions, you really need to have a well furnished mind. There is no way around having something to add to a conversation —you have to read. Here are some of his recommendations:

Cultivating Wonder with N.D. Wilson

Hearing N.D. Wison, author of the 100 Cupboards series, speak was probably the highlight of the conference for me this year. After walking through brain surgery last year, his humble philosophy comes with a grounding from his deep walk with the Lord. It was truly inspiring.

Here are some of our favorites that he's written:

N. D. Wilson was there with his family's publishing company, Canon Press. We found some other great resources from their booth, like their Worldview Guides:

My husband and I have already read through this little treasure written by N. D. Wilson's sister, Rebekah Merkle. It is a great read for Classical students and parents!

One other recommendation from N.D. Wilson was The Grammar of Poetry. He recommended this one in his talk: Raising Young Writers. I was fascinated at thinking about the craft of writing. It's not enough to just be able to come up with a good story to tell, you also need mastery of word craft in order to tell it well. We purchased this for a fun family endeavor over the summer...or the next couple of summers. I'll be updating you on our opinion of the curriculum soon!

Classical Panel Unhinged

I love seeing all of the leaders of the Classical Education movement all together enjoying themselves. It's a beautiful picture of communing together to seek truth, goodness, and beauty. A highlight for me this year was the addition of Leigh Bortins, founder of Classical Conversations.

They definitely had some excellent recommendations, starting with books for a well-furnished mind:

I loved that they shared their favorite novels. Here they are:

Martin Cothran's:

Andrew Pudewa's:

Andrew Kern's - confession...I ordered this one already and finished it in a couple of days. It is such a great read:

Carol Reynold's (of Professor Carol):

Christopher Perrin's (which my husband was excited about because it's one he's currently reading):

It was interesting that they loved so many Russian titles!

Other Books We Purchased At the GHC

There were so many excellent speakers and really not enough time to enjoy them all. Here are some other books we purchased at the convention that I think you'll love:

Happy Reading!


  1. Dee Dee on March 25, 2018 at 8:05 am

    Love, love this list!

    On behalf of those of us who are unable to attend such an inspiring convention, thank you for compiling your thoughts and these fabulous resources.

    What a blessing you are, Betsy. You keep inspiring me!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.