Here is a list of the books I use most often in our homeschool. These books are in no particular order, but each is pulled from my bookshelf at least once a week. I have included quick reviews of each book. Happy browsing!
Keeping a Nature Journal by Clare Walker Leslie and Charles Roth What makes this book so great? It is partially a nature journal itself, yet it is full of *real* ideas for your notebooks. I love the authors' drawings and comments, and how they help you draw well with small exercises. I was amazed at how well I could draw a bird after doing the bird sketches they recommend. They include sidebars with anecdotes of teaching approaches. They suggest ways to make a note book your own, to make it more interesting, and to make it more scientific, too.
Edible and Medicinal Plants by Steve Brill; In 1986, a man was arrested for eating the weeds in Central Park, NYC. That man is Steve Brill, naturalist and wild edible expert. Now a park employee, Steve has put his considerable knowledge into one great book. You'll be eating your lawn in no time.
Glues Brews and Goos By Sharon Marks; Everyone needs to know how to make non-Newtonian fluids, right? How about salt dough for maps? Or maybe translucent window paint? Doughs that dry, goos that ooze, edible clays and more are all in here. This is the best craft book I own, and it shows--it's falling apart!
The Field and Forest Handy Guide This book picks up where the American Boy's Handy Book leaves off. More great ideas for the outdoors, from the days of our great grandparents' childhood. Especially useful are the plans for making a herbarium, instructions for packing a dog (putting a pack on a dog), ice carving, hut building, and more. Read it and dream with your kids, or dive right in and build that log cabin!
Turn Left at Orion by Brother Guy Consolmagno (Vatican Astronomer). 100 hundred objects to check for in the night sky. Directions are simple, but precise. Using a small telescope or binoculars, you'll easily find these objects.
National Geographic World Atlas for Young Explorers While this is a simple atlas for kids, it is not dumbed-down. The cartography is first-rate, and the large format helps kids see the "big picture" that is Earth.
Mrs. Sharp's Traditions: Reviving Victorian Family Celebrations Of Comfort & Joy Does this book need any introduction? Now back in print, this is a collection of Victorian traditions--the good ones. It is a book of holiday traditions and of bed-time rituals. It includes some simple crafts and recipes for enhancing special days, or for making normal days seem special. Some crafts we have enjoyed: Martinmas Lanterns; preserved leaves; plum pudding; ice cream socials; literary games; and more (check out more in the index at Amazon.com).
Honey for a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt. A book-lover's book list, just for children's books. Good choices, with brief synopses.
Math-a-Day by Theonni Pappas; Keep this in your bathroom. There is a date for every day of the year (good for any year), with a quote, an historical note, and a puzzle, mathematically speaking. Each month uses a different number system (Mayan in January, Hebrew in August, etc.). Just try to limit the kids to one page a day!
English Grammar and Composition by Warriner; This is a course and a reference book for good grammar. Need to know how to conjugate an irregular verb? Want to check on the subjunctive? This is your book.