Parenting and Educating Inspiration for the Fall

Written by Contributing Writer, Jenn @ A Simple Haven

For me, August feels a bit like January. It’s a time to evaluate routines, dream about the (school) year to come, set some new goals, and get inspired.

My kids aren’t even school-aged yet, but having been a teacher for so long and with my husband in school, I naturally break the calendar into semesters.

So I look forward to the fall semester with anticipation, knowing that I have just one more year with my big girl before she starts formal schooling, that my little guy will be a preschooler by Christmas, and that I only have a few more months before baby #3 makes his appearance.

I get much inspiration from books, so this month, I am turning to old favorites to refresh me for the months ahead. I’ve also picked up some new ones that I have a feeling I’ll be referencing for years to come.

My plan for now is to homeschool, so several of the books listed have a homeschool-y bent. However, having been a high school teacher for six years, I can confidently say that the principles in any of them can be applied no matter what schooling choice you make.

Quality parenting/educating books abound, but to keep the list manageable, I picked only the ones I find most inspiring, encouraging, or grace-filled.

On Parenting

The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson

Mission of Motherhood

Simply put: this book made me excited to be a mom. I was pregnant with my first when I first picked it up and I remember thinking, man, this motherhood thing is more important that I realized.

But rather than leaving me overwhelmed by a list of to-dos, Sally simply inspires me to love my children well, nourish their souls, and rest in grace.

Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic

Loving the Little Years

Blessed be the brief book on parenting. Not only do I feel like I lose brain cells with each pregnancy, my attention span in non-fiction has never been awesome.

Full of personal anecdotes, practical wisdom, and encouragement from another mom “in the trenches” (read: at the time of publication, she had five kids five and under, with one set of twins), this short reads is one of my favs.

Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne

Simplicity Parenting

I’ve not finished this one yet, but I find myself recommending it to friends already. As a recovering over-committer and one prone to sensory overload (toys with lots of noise and lights do me in), I naturally tend toward an uncluttered schedule and environment for my kids.

But through scientific studies and his many years teaching and counseling families, Payne makes the case that the simple, slower, uncluttered childhood is vital for our kids’ well-being. And he makes such a childhood seem do-able for any family.

On Educating

The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer

The Well Trained Mind

The classical education Bible. I was years away from having school aged kids when I picked this up, but as a former teacher, I was amazed at the logic of the classical approach to learning. (Or rather, at the illogic of many of our public school ways).

But even if you’re not homeschooling or following the classical method, this book is an excellent resource for supplementing your child’s education. It’s full of annotated resource lists and includes practical guides to approaching each subject at all grade levels.

For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macauley

For the Children's Sake

A inspirational guide to making education rich, joy-filled, and soul-nourishing. McCauley draws a lot on Charlotte Mason’s teachings and the result is a book that makes me excited about hours of outdoor play, nature journals, and reading quality books with my kids.

On Finding Quality Books for Kids

Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt

Honey for a Child's Heart

An annotated list of books for kids of all ages, organized by genre. It’s such a fantastic resource and I find myself returning to it year after year.

Read for the Heart by Sarah Clarkson

Read for the Heart

Another fantastic resource for children’s book recommendations, written by Sally Clarkson’s oldest daughter. Bonus: Sarah just launched an online literary resource/publishing house called Storyformed. It’s pretty great.

What are your favorite sources of inspiration for parenting and education?

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About Jenn

Jenn is the mommy of two children and two obese cats and wife to the Hubs. She loves finding beauty and grace in the midst of daily life, gets excited about natural remedies, and thinks her home isn't complete without guests. Moving 11 times in 8 years has prompted her to embrace and find joy wherever she lays her head.
Jenn blogs at A Simple Haven.


  1. Jenn it was fun to find this book list today!

    • Thanks Jeremy! Would love to hear any homeschooling book recs you may have :). I think you and Jenn would enjoy Educating the Whole-Hearted Child by Sally and Clay Clarkson.