The Happy Hive Homeschool Book List

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Reading and being read to give warm fuzzies all around. A key part of our Homeschool life was reading. Both family reading time, and independent reading time. I get asked over and over in my Homeschool Consulting business about book recommendations, so this page is just that, the Happy Hive’s Homeschool Book List.

Books can be deeply personal. What works for one family, may not work for another. As an example, my children learned to read using a set of books about Clifford the Big Red Dog. He was very popular in the early 2000s. Not so much any longer. Other books we used are considered timeless classics. I have shared them all, regardless of popularity.

May the Homeschool Book List be a blessing to you and help give you a STARTING POINT.

Reading is one of the MAIN elements of the Decompression Phase of homeschooling. Decompressing before homeschooling involves 7 key steps so both kids and parents can have a clear mind and focus before beginning to homeschool. If you think your family needs a decompression phase, or you are looking to do a homeschool reset, Check out THIS POST. This homeschool book list can help you select books for your decompression phase as well as for your general homeschooling needs.

Exactly why wasn’t schoolwork finished????

One of my favorite stories as a working homeschool mom occurred when I came home from work one day… I asked each of my three bugs how school had gone (they had independent work to do while I was teaching at a private school). All three looked at me like a deer in the headlights…. sorry mom, we didn’t finish school today.

I was about to lose my mind, this had never happened. How on earth could all three of them have gotten into so much mischief that they didn’t finish school and how on earth didn’t Mr. McNutty (their Uncle that lives with us) discover they were so far off task????

I took a deep breath and told them to explain what had gone wrong…

“We were reading,” they said in unison.


Yes, all three had spent the ENTIRE day in their pajamas, reading books….

That’s when I realized my *mistake*. The day before I had brought home the “Scholastic book order” items they each ordered from my classroom fliers!

How could I get upset with that!?!

Using the Happy Hive Homeschool Book List

Remember, this homeschool book list is compiled from 20 years of homeschooling. I have listed the books in general age/grade level  – but many are appropriate across ages, especially as Family Read aloud books! Children should never be pressured to read at any certain age, those are labels and conditions I’ll leave to society. In the Happy Hive, we simply enjoy reading and let it come naturally when children are ready.

If you feel you have a struggling reader, you can read EASY THINGS TO DO FOR STRUGGLING READERS

Each homeschool family has their take on the “Perfect” homeschool book list. I’d love to give you some other viewpoints as well:

PreSchool/ Kindergarten Homeschool Book List

At this age, picture books with repetition are important. Readers emerge as they memorize the story, and that’s ok. You don’t have to point out that they are not “reading”. To a young child, using the pictures and what they remember from hearing the same story each week IS reading!

When you feel your little one is READY for more formal lessons, go ahead and purchase a program. It does not have to be complicated or expensive. We used Clifford’s Phonics Fun. There are 5 boxes in the set. Unfortunately, these are out of print or very expensive!

mom and boy with glasses reading book together
All three of my bugs learned to read using the Clifford Phonics Fun books. There are 6 sets in the series. They can be a bit tricky to find, but worth it!

A wonderful solution is the side-by-side readers in the READING BETTER TOGETHER Program. Everything you need to teach your child to read using a proven system that’s backed by science, so your kids read easier and faster- with less work for you, and more fun for them.

Click the Image to join the VIP waitlist

You can also take advantage of the tips, free webinars, encouragement, and support for homeschooling a child who is learning to read that take place in Reading Better Together’s FREE facebook Group: HOMESCHOOL READING COMMUNITY

Pre-reader book recommendations

Other picture books appropriate for Pre-readers are: Goodnight Moon, Corduroy, Brown Bear- Brown Bear, Pat the Bunny, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, If you give a Mouse (any from the series), Where the Wild Things Are, The Giving Tree, Clifford The Big Red Dog.

Bernstein Bears were always a great choice for teaching life lessons. These books make the old-school values that I want my children to know “cool”. They address everything from a Messy Room to the Golden Rule. These are a few of our favorites:

Want a list of free curriculum you can use with your preschooler? Check out this list of free preschool curriculum for homeschool.

First – Second Grade Homeschool Book List

As your children become emergent readers, books with repeating patterns that they can read to you are always a hit. Some of our favorites were:

Put Me in the Zoo, Harry the Dirty Dog, Danny and the Dinosaur, Sammy the Seal, Amelia Bedelia (lots to choose from). Mrs. Nelson is Missing, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Ferdinand., and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

little girl reading in chair
A cozy chair and a good book. My daughter didn’t even get out of her pajamas.

Third – Fifth Grade Homeschool Book List

These “chapter books” can be used as Family reading anytime. Even kindergarten-age children can enjoy and comprehend the stories. You are homeschooling a family, not individuals. Don’t let age be a boundary in your book choices. Certainly, as your children become more independent with their reading, chapter books are the answer. However, you do not have to wait for that time to expose them to the classics. Reading, listening, and re-reading are all part of a good homeschool book list!

Third grade and above will enjoy Charlotte’s Web, The Tales (or Adventures) of Winnie the Pooh, The Wonderful Wizard of OZ, Black Beauty, Aesop’s Fables, The Narnia series, The Little Prince, and The Little House Series (boys too!)

Another wonderful read for this age range is a book published by iCare Press in 2021 (after both my homeschool years and my time in the classroom)

I had the pleasure of reading: Hacking the Code: the Ziggety Zaggety Road of a D- Kid. (The D is short for Dyslexic.) by Gea Meijering. The e-book and audio version was #gifted to me in exchange for my honest review. You can see the full review in THIS POST.

I feel the Thorton Burgess Collection deserves a recommendation of its own. These stories are TREASURES beyond measure. They make the perfect Nature Studies, Family Reading Stories, Sick day stories… I can not recommend a book higher than these. We were blessed to receive many of them in the mail from a dear friend, then hunted used book stores for as many as we could find to help add to our collection. It was not long before every squirrel we came across was affectionately named “Chatterer” and Blacky the crow was chased away from the yard. If you make one purchase this should be it!

Sixth – Eight Grade Homeschool Book List

Character development is key in the chapter books at this level. How characters treat each other, their studies, their role in a family, etc. There is so much to LEARN from literature in a way a school textbook cannot teach in a short excerpt. I recommend avoiding the “children’s” version or abridged classics if you can. Trust your reader, and purchase audiobooks so they can listen and read to some of the more advanced stories, or those written with higher-level or old English vocabulary.

Treasure Island, Carry On Mr. Bowditch, Johnny Tremain, Where the Red Fern Grows, Bridge to Terabithia (This one has a Santa Spoiler in it, use caution if you have believers), The Anne of Green Gables Series, Little Women, Little Men, To Kill a Mockingbird, and the Inheritance Cycle Series.

boy reading while eating waffles
Reading took place everywhere- even during breakfast.

I believe the Harry Potter Series also deserves its own highlight. All of my children have read the books multiple times. Megan, my middle child and the *latest* reader in the group, read them 5 times. In fact, she began reading because her older sister finally refused to read them TO HER at night any longer. A well-written series can turn a non-reader into a reader overnight.

Pre-teen reading in the car after book purchased at midnight relese
Megan did not wait. She began reading right away – in the car on the way home after getting the new book at a midnight release.

High School Homeschool Book List

When you are choosing curriculum, do not forget that books play an important part in supplementing every subject! They can be the basis for your curriculum in a topic-based curriculum, or they can be the backbone to the literature component in a subject-by-subject curriculum.

Read how to choose the perfect homeschool curriculum HERE

High School aged readers are ready to take book analysis to a whole new level digging deep into the classics. The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings Series, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Ender’s Game, Lord of the Flies, The Diary of Anne Frank, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, Frankenstein, and The Picture of Dorian Grey, are excellent choices for your advanced readers or Family reads.

Thanks for stopping by Happy Hive Homeschooling for our homeschool book list!

I really could go on and on about books, and reading… but this list of books is tried and true, read over and over, classified as our FAVORITES. I hope they become favorites for your happy hive as well.

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I can’t wait to share my homeschool expertise and mindset-shifting superpowers with you each edition of THE BUZZ. We’ll also chat about the methods I used to organize, schedule, and lesson plan in my homeschool with the hopes it will help you have a happy hive too. In the meantime, “Bee” sure to check out the different methods of homeschooling as well as our 3 easy strategies for burnout.

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