This post includes a video of part of our homeschool book stash for teens along with a detailed list of the titles showcased.
A lot of you have asked me just what to do with teens. I totally understand that question! I mean, if you have kids who read and write pretty well, then what do you do with them? What if they don’t desire to go on to college, what then?
Really, high school homeschooling may seem like a fuzzy mystery at first, but once you decide to dive into it, you may find that it is really one of the best parts of homeschooling.
Here are some reasons why:
- Teens are usually competent readers and writers, so you have the chance to branch out and enjoy learning on a higher level.
- Teens can turn from your “students” to your friends with whom you can discuss deeper topics. This is when “education” not only helps your kids, but stimulates and helps you, too.
- Teens can be given assignments and turned loose, so they can learn self-government, and you can have a break from chasing them around and getting them to do their work.
- Teens at home have time to develop the parts of their lives that most young people skip; such as learning a work ethic, or giving to others.
- Teens can spend time concentrating on skills or interests that could develop into careers or entrepreneurial pursuits.
And here is the best reason:
- Instead of depending on a school counselor, a staff of teachers, and a curriculum that is anti-Christ, you can make sure every single thing you assign bends your teen’s heart and mind towards the Kingdom of God!
Having said all that, here is the video I put on YouTube which focuses on a few of the books I am hoping my teen girls will enjoy this year:
And, as promised in the video, I have compiled a list of the books I showed in my video.
Please note that I rarely purchase books new. If I can, I find them in public domain and print them out, either from Google Books, from The Gutenberg Project, or another source (Internet Archive makes it easier to find them).
As for Gutenberg texts, there are ways to reformat them so they print more like a book. To find out how, here are some directions from Rosegate Harbor:
I also scour used book stores, garage sales, and online places, such as the “used” part of Amazon and Ebay.
However, in order to give you a place to start in your own search, I have linked the book titles to some I could find on Amazon, and they are affiliate links, so I do receive a bit if you purchase when you click on the link.
(I have also published a post with a free printout of loads more books, which you can find here.)
Finally, Here is the list:
Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss
This is a book about the life of a young woman, from her teen years to her life as a wife and mother, and gives us a look at life’s struggles through the eyes of one who wants to be pleasing to God.
There are so many titles, they are too numerous to list here. They are below a high school reading level, but they are interesting enough for adults to read. Since each one can be read quickly, a number can be read in a short amount of time, allowing for knowledge of a broad spectrum of ideas, history, etc. to be ingested quickly and painlessly.
Remember, I am compiling these books for teen girls. If I were making a compilation for boys, I probably would have included some G.A. Henty or R.M. Ballantyne. Isabella Alden, GLH’s aunt, also has some great novels and series that are great for young women.
A Heart Set Free: The Life of Charles Wesley by Arnold A. Dallimore
This is a biography of the Wesley’s written from a different perspective, and it is also written for adults, not children.
Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster
This is a book that was given to my husband by his mentor when he was a young man, and it is a book young people can glean a lot from. Although I do not necessarily agree with everything in it, it is worth exploring with some good discussion on the topics covered.
The Joyful Christian by C.S. Lewis
A young person who has enjoyed C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia will easily appreciate this book, which deals directly with a lot of questions Lewis and others have had about Christianity, especially since Lewis himself began as a skeptic and then found salvation in Christ at a later age in life (the YWAM biography helps explain a lot of the reasons for Lewis’ skepticism).
The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson
This is an impacting book, one which I thoroughly enjoyed as a teen myself. It is about how a pastor from a rural area into one of the hardest neighborhoods of New York city. The testimony of the power of Christ to change lives inspires and enthuses.
God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew
In case you needed more reasons to reject communism, this book will give you plenty! I was taught the Czech language by people who risked their lives to escape from the “workers’ paradise” of the Soviet bloc countries during the Cold War, so it is amazing to me that young people in the United States are so much in favor of the same system being implemented here.
This book also tells the story of how God shelters and provides for us when we obey Him and put His Kingdom above our comfort. Challenging and informing.
The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas
This is the novel on which the movie by the same name was based. The novel is much more detailed and gives a great overview of the Roman world, especially the life of a soldier in the Roman army.
It is also more true to the Biblical idea of Christ and salvation. Actually, this book helped me to understand the Gospels better–great read for young and old alike!
Foxe’s Book of Martyrs by John Foxe
This is a history book that recounts the martyrdom of Christians from the first century until the time of the book’s publishing in the 16th century. I read it when I was 18 and found it comforting. My teachers had used the European inquisitions as a smear on the entire Christian movement. Foxe helped me to see that true Christianity did not die out during the medieval times, but it was attacked and persecuted by those who were Christian in name only.
In His Steps by Charles M. Sheldon
This book is about a comfortable, image-centered church that rediscovers what it means to be the hands and feet of Christ to a lost and dying world. It is the same novel that inspired the WWJD movement, although it was a classic long before that.
Christy by Catherine Marshall
This is a novel based on the life of Catherine Marshall’s mother. She was a missionary to the Appalachians. At first, she is repulsed by the people there, but she soon learns to love them and the struggles she faces mature her in multiple ways. There is a movie and television series based on this book.
Whatever Happened to Penny Candy by Richard J. Maybury
This is an explanation of basic economic topics from a conservative, pro free-market perspective. It does a great job of explaining things such as money and inflation. It is one in a series of books by the same author, another being Whatever Happened to Justice, which we also own (this one is from a marked Libertarian perspective, so we tackled each facet together with lively conversation).
700 Years of Music Reader’s Digest
I found this years ago at Sam’s Club, of all places! It is a good treatment of the subject of music history, and the CD’s included to a good job of giving a taste of music during the different eras. One thing I would suggest is that your teen (and you) either read or go through Francis Schaeffer’s video series, How Should We Then Live. This will give you a Christian analysis of the subject.
10 Books That Screwed Up the World and Five that Didn’t Help by Benjamin Wiker
I highly recommend this book for any teen, but especially those headed for college. Here is the description from Amazon:
From Machiavelli’s The Prince to Alfred Kinsey’s Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, from Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto to Margaret Mead’s Coming of Age in Samoa, these “influential” books have led to war, genocide, totalitarian oppression, the breakdown of the family, and disastrous social experiments.
And yet the toxic ideas peddled in these books are more popular and pervasive than ever. In fact, they might influence your own thinking without your realizing it.
Fortunately, Professor Benjamin Wiker is ready with an antidote, exposing the beguiling errors in each of these evil books.
These books are everything you ever needed to know about the United States and liberty (give or take a few more details which can be supplied by William Federer, Peter Marshall, and David and Tim Barton). It is interesting, thorough, sequential, and gets your blood boiling at times!
From Sea to Shining Sea by Peter Marshall
This is actually the second in an American history series by the same author. The first book in the series is entitled, The Light and the Glory. In these books Marshall recounts the Christian parts of our history that our history books conveniently leave out. I am having my girls read this one after they have read the Coffin books.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
This is a pretty thick book, so it’s best for an older child. Abraham Lincoln considered it the book that started the Civil War. It details the plight of African Americans during the years they were slaves in America, but this is not all it is. It is also filled with examples of good triumphing over evil, simple ignorance, and inspirational Christianity. Besides this, it also includes some great humor.
The Space Trilogy C. S. Lewis
This is not as well known as The Chronicles of Narnia, but it is well-written and uses science fiction to illustrate Christian principles.
Evidence Not Seen: A Woman’s Miraculous Faith in the Jungles of World War II by Darlene Deibler Rose
This is the first-hand account of a young Christian missionary who was captured by the Japanese and put into a concentration camp during World War II. It is inspiring and hard to put down.
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
The ten Boom family risked their lives to save Jewish individuals from Nazi death camps by using their house as a half-way house to wait while secure hiding places were found for them all over Holland. A traitor eventually reported the ten Booms and they were sent to concentration camps, which left Corrie ten Boom as the only survivor. This book is their story, and it is riveting. I have read it at least eight times, and I gain some new strength and inspiration each time I go through it.
Tramp for the Lord by Corrie ten Boom
This is a sort of sequel to The Hiding Place and recounts the travels of Corrie ten Boom as she went around the world with the message, “There is not pit so deep that God is not deeper still.” My favorite part is how she lived entirely by the leading of the Spirit and faith, and how God continually met her needs in miraculous ways.
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
This is the book that inspired numerous movies and musicals by the same title. While Dickens is an excellent writer, and his descriptions are genius, some of them do drag on a bit, which is why I authorize the children to skip over the tedious parts…
Endurance Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing
If you’ve never heard of Shackleton and how he and his crew survived winter in the Antarctic, then you are in for a page turner! This is an amazing story that will boggle your mind when you read how Shackleton’s crew survived in the most cruel, harsh conditions, and yet not one of them were lost!
The 4:8 Principle–The Secret to a Joy-Filled Life by Tommy Newberry
While I do not approve of everything taught by what I call “Christian guru” types, I really like this book. It relates some solid, Biblical principles that ring true because, well, they’re based on God’s Word! Self pity is rampant in our world, and it is one of the most destructive pits we can fall into. Mr. Newberry gives practical steps to keep oneself from being overrun by this type of self-centeredness (and ingratitude to God). TERRIFIC for teens!
We Had Everything But Money by Deb Mulvey (editor)
My grandparents lived through the Great Depression and told me numerous stories about how people not only survived, but thrived when everything was turned upside-down in the world. Hearing those stories, and then reading this book, gives one great comfort in knowing how people can take the lemons in life and make lemonade (all by the grace of God, whether people recognize it or not). This is one way we can help our children to learn to cope with whatever is around the corner in our own time.
Struggle for a Continent: The French and Indian Wars: 1689-1763 by Betty Maestro
This book is not at a high reading level, but the information is presented in an interesting, visual way and is simply fun to read. It is not as dumbed-down as most picture books, yet gives a good overview of the years addressed. I also enjoy the other books in this series.
Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving, illustrated by N.C. Wyeth.
This is a classic story by Irving that is made even sweeter by Wyeth’s illustrations. We have this one, not only for the story, but also as a study of the illustrator, since we are an artistic family and greatly appreciate the Wyeth’s as well as Howard Pyle.
Archimedes and the Door of Science by Jeanne Bendick
This is what Charlotte Mason would have called a “living science book.” It is not dumbed-down, nor is it “twaddle.” It is important, even technical, scientific information presented in a more narrative form that makes it engaging and interesting.
Remember, this stash of books was compiled for girls, so we just had to include some Jane Austen! These are only two of her titles, but we own all of them, some of them in multiple copies. We also own the movies in numerous renditions, and have watched them over and over (my husband watches them with us–I know, I know, I have a special man!).
The Story of King Arthur and His Knights, written and illustrated by Howard Pyle
It’s a good idea for every child to know about the King Arthur myth. There are loads of different versions, but a lot of them get spooky and often dark. This one is mostly light and airy, with an emphasis on chivalry and the struggle between good and evil. Besides, Howard Pyle is the illustrator!
The Mystery of the Periodic Table by Benjamin Wiker
This book is filled with chapters which explain the formulation of the periodic table of elements. It is written by the same author as that of 10 Books That Screwed Up the World, and it is another book that is informative but in narrative form that works both the technical and personable parts of your brain.
The Winged Watchman by Hilda Van Stockum
This book is set in Holland during WWII and is a great read, both for the era and the country. It includes a brief encounter with the Dutch version of Santa Claus, which will enthuse our 12 year old daughter.
The Hawk and the Dove by Penelope Wilcock
This is a great story about human nature in the light of living for Christ. There are some interesting twists and turns, making it a very interesting read.
With Daring Faith by Rebecca Henry Davis
This is a biography of Amy Charmichael, missionary to India. I have owned this book for years, but never read it myself. It comes highly recommended, however, and I am told it is hard to put down.
Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates
Our 12-year-old has been impressed with the life of George Washington Carver, so I thought this book would be another that she would enjoy. It is truly amazing to think of a man who was willing to fight all odds and live in freedom, while maintaining a godly life.
Laddie by Gene Stratton Porter
This book is a family favorite. We actually enjoy almost anything by Porter, with Freckles getting my personal vote.
In My Father’s House by Corrie ten Boom
After reading The Hiding Place about four or five times, I was introduced to this book via the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, as it was offered during one of his televised crusades (yes, I am really old). It is a description of Corrie’s life as a member of a lively Christian family in the middle of Haarlem, Netherlands. It helped solidify some of my convictions as a follower of Christ as a teen.
And so the list is pretty complete from the video, although I know I could go on, and on. But then, this post would never be finished, and you wouldn’t be able to read it or watch the video! So, I’ll just have to stop here.
It may be fun to hear how one of the above books impacted your life–so make sure and share!