Being a mom is a pretty big job. And being a homeschool mom? It’s tough too. There are days when you have nothing more to give but still must give more. On those days, there’s nothing sweeter than to carve out a few moments to curl up with a life-giving book.
A book written by someone who has been there.
A book that breathes hope.
These five books? They do that. They offer practical tips on motherhood, homeschooling and/or homemaking without being preachy—just gentle words of encouragement from moms who get it.
1. Mere Motherhood by Cindy Rollins
“For me, the years did roll by, and they are rolling by for you, too. You are never going to have a lot of time, but you do have a little time here and a little time there, and those little times all add up to a life.” ~Cindy Rollins, Mere Motherhood
The memoir of a homeschool veteran, Mere Motherhood is packed with humour, honesty and wisdom. In sharing her own homeschooling journey, Cindy Rollins encourages other moms in theirs. This is not written as a how-to, yet it is filled with beautiful things to emulate. It’s one of those books that won’t sit forgotten on a shelf for long. It will be read again and again.
2. Pocketful of Pinecones by Karen Andreola
“I have designed this book to be useful for Mother Culture, to be nourishing, and to be influential in keeping up a mother’s enthusiasm. It is my prayer that she who reads it will be encouraged in her task while she gathers practical ideas for teaching her own precious children by way of the gentle art of learning.” ~Karen Andreola, “Introduction”, Pocketful of Pinecones
Pocketful of Pinecones is the fictional diary of a homeschool mom in the 1930s. It’s such a sweet way to introduce the Charlotte Mason method of nature study. More than that, however, Karen Andreola encourages those who are discouraged and uplifts those who are weary. This book is gentle, sweet and good. It’s a must-read for every homeschooling mother, no matter their educational philosophy.
3. Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe by Sally Mae and Sally Clarkson
““You are exactly the mom your children need. He created you for these good works from before the foundation of the world, and as you walk this great call of motherhood with Him holding your hand, you will be amazed at how He weaves the beautiful thread of redemption through the pattern of your life.” ~Sally Clarkson, Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe
Desperate is an incredibly raw and truthful books about motherhood. As such, it is also incredibly encouraging. Sarah Mae was an overwhelmed, depressed, young mother. Sally Clarkson was an older, wiser mentor. Together, they offer hope for many of the issues that mothers face: exhaustion, inadequacy, condemnation and more.
4. The Life-Giving Home by Sally and Sarah Clarkson
“Love is enfleshed in the meals we make, the rooms we fill, the spaces in which we live and breathe and have our being.” ~Sally Clarkson, The Life-Giving Home
Sally Clarkson is, quite simply, amazing. An author, speaker and mother who has homeschooled four children (now adults), she overflows with wisdom. She writes The Life-Giving Home with her daughter, and it is full of ways to make your home a space that breathes Jesus’ love, even in the imperfect mess.
5. Teaching from Rest by Sarah MacKenzie
“It’s important to remember that rest is not ease. […] Rest is trusting that God’s got this, even if I’m a mess, even if I’m not enough, even if I mess up every day. Because I do.” ~Sarah Mackenzie, Teaching from Rest
When I ask fellow homeschooling moms what books have impacted them the most, almost all of them mention Teaching From Rest. Sarah MacKenzie is a breath of fresh air, and her book does not disappoint. In it, she discusses how to simplify your curriculum and your schedule, but mostly, how to find the unshakeable peace that can only be found in God. This book is a treasure.
And one more thing?
If you’re giving one of these books to someone this Christmas, may I humbly suggest that you also give her the gift of time? Perhaps offer to watch the kids so she can slip away for a little bit and enjoy these hope-breathing words? A couple of uninterrupted hours will do wonders for a mother whose heart is in need of refreshment.