I have noticed that the louder life gets, the more directions I get pulled in, or the more demands that are made on my time, the stronger my urge to curl into a comfy corner and read. I find refuge in words, solace in other people’s stories, and inspiration in the narratives of those who have committed their pens to paper.
(This article contains affiliate links to products. I may receive a small commission for purchases made through these links.)
My husband jokes about the huge stack of books by my bedside. I usually have three or four on the go, plus my bible. I thought I might be alone in my pick and mix approach to reading. So I was hugely encouraged to stumble across this quote by Karen Andreola in her wonderful book “The Charlotte Mason Companion“:
“A wise woman…when asked how, with her weak physical health and many demands upon her time, she managed to read so much said, “Besides my Bible, I always keep three books going (my emphasis) that are just for me – a stiff book, a moderately easy book and a novel, and I always take up the one I feel fit for.” That is the secret: always having something “going” to grow by”.Karen Andreola, The Charlotte Mason Companion
She goes on to write that, “An easy book may be biographical. It lets us into the life of another struggling person, a person with integrity, determination, and the ability to surrender to God, perhaps.” It struck me that these are the ones I am most drawn to.
In case any mamas out there are looking for a so called “easy” book or two to add to their own bedside table, here is my Top 12 list that I have most enjoyed or found most helpful. Some are more geared towards home educating mothers, and some speak more generally to creating an enriching, nurturing, intentional family environment. Some of these books are more autobiographical, some are more prescriptive in their step by step approaches. All are hugely inspirational and life-giving, and ones that I wish I had read when I was struggling to find my feet as a first time mum.
I jumped onto IGTV to talk about some of the ways five of these 12 books have helped shape our family culture, so you do check out that clip if you enjoy a story or three!
ON INTENTIONAL MOTHERHOOD
I’ve heard it said that to be successful, you need to “know your why”. These reads were instrumental in helping me identify the priorities and values I want to weave into our family life, and were full of ideas that I was able to trial and put in place at home.
- For The Children’s Sake (Susan Macaulay Schaeffer)
- The Mission of Motherhood: Touching your Child’s Heart For Eternity (Sally Clarkson)
- Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakeable Peace (Sarah Mackenzie)
- The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place (Andy Crouch)
- The Life Giving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming (Sally Clarkson)
- The Life Giving Table: Nurturing Faith through Feasting (Sally Clarkson)
ON HOW TO EDUCATE YOUR CHILD
If you have decided that home-schooling is for you, or if you suddenly find yourself at home with your children because of recent school closures, it helps to learn from the brave mums who have boldly gone before us. These are the “how to do it” books that helped me take my “why I want to do it” principles and put them into practice. The longer I persevere with homeschooling my girls, the more I notice the line blurring between parenting and educating them. So please do not discount these reads if you have no intention of continuing to homeschool your kids once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted- there are some serious parenting gems to be found in each of these!
- The Call of the Wild and Free: Reclaiming Wonder in Your Child’s Education (Ainsley Arment)
- The Read-Aloud Family (Sarah Mackenzie)
- Mere Motherhood: Morning Times, Nursery Rhymes, & My Journey Toward Sanctification (Cindy Rollins)
- A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning (Karen Andreola)
- Educating the Wholehearted Child (Clay and Sally Clarkson)
- The Brave Learner (Julie Bogart)
PS: If you are prone to struggling to make time for yourself, might I recommend Jessica Turner’s hugely practical “The Fringe Hours- Making Time for You“? It really helped me find time for the activities that are important to me. I tend to read first thing before the kids wake, after lunch during our quiet reading hour, and in bed before I sleep. Little and often does add up, and I find myself able to read so many books by prioritising paper over scrolling during these three times of day.
What books have inspired you? Do let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!
If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy: