πŸ«–What Mom & Pop Read in 2022πŸ“š Plus a GUEST WRITER on the blog!

What a lot of books there have been on the blog this month! If you’re just joining us and want to know what we read in 2022 with our kids, you can take a peek at these posts:

Today, however, we’re laying out everything the ADULTS in ~Our Holistic Homeschool~ read this past year, you know, *after hours*.

If you’re on the hunt for your 2023 Book-It List, brew yourself a cup of tea and join us in the library!


~Everything I Read In 2022~

Thank you to the friends who have chatted books with me this past year! Thriftbooks is grateful to you all. And to everyone reading this, I’m so glad you’re here.

The only thing better than a good book or a good friend is chatting about a good book with a good friend! The only thing better than that is adding a pot of tea.

To help navigate this year’s reviews, I’ve given each book a rating in teacups, or steeps πŸ˜† ! What did you expect? I don’t give teacups away easily, so bear in mind that I see four teacups as generous indeed.

~Holistic Homeschooling~

The Unhurried Homeschooler, by Durenda Wilson

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If you are a homeschool mom, do not close your internet browser before ordering yourself a copy of this book!

Shakespeare said, “brevity is the soul of wit.” This book delivered on both.

At a solid five unchipped teacups, The Unhurried Homeschooler was my best read in education this year, and ironically, it was also the shortest. I devoured it over two sunny, soulful afternoons. Wilson skips the pomp and circumstance and gets right to the point of unhurrying the homeschool family. Her case is a compelling and comforting one β€”a call to ease up and trust the slow unfolding of our children and their education. Impressively, Wilson does not attempt this merely in personal experience and anecdotes but supports her opinions with a wide range of research as well the testimonials of many homeschool students and families who have gone before.

My favorite thing about this book, aside from the refreshing spa-like experience of reading it, is that Durenda Wilson does all her readers a favor by assuming us to be intelligent, competent mothers and educators. Imagine that! Treat yourself to this petite plate of wisdom and beauty. It will not disappoint.

Free to Learn, by Peter Gray

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This title was extremely well researched and thorough. Gray makes a rock solid case for the importance of play in childhood. Unfortunately, however, I just didn’t quite see the point to so much effort, at least not for my purposes.

For me, reading this book was something like being nudged repeatedly in the ribs by a giant, intellectual carrot who keeps muttering in your ear “I’m good for you! I’m good for you! Eat me, you dummy! Eat me!”

While I respect the writing of this book and the mountains of research that went into it, I think most of us know a bit instinctually that play is crucial to the development of children just like we know carrots are good for our bodies. What most of us parents need anyway, in my opinion, are more creative solutions and ideas for how to provide or protect children’s right to free play. Of course, an easy way to do this is to homeschool or choose a Waldorf/Montessori school for our children, but I digress.

I hoped I would get more out of this book having imagined that it would be a practical approach to weaving additional or unique play into our children’s days, the way a plant-based cookbook might present creative ways to squeeze more superfoods into one’s diet. And yet, I applaud Peter Gray’s efforts to appeal to the public-school sector which most surely is desperate to hear a case for play. In the end, I think I was just the wrong audience for this book.

If you are looking for a body of compelling research to champion free play within the school system, then this is the book for you. If you are a homeschooling parent, maybe just protect (or keep protecting) your child’s access to plenty of unstructured time!

Awaking Wonder, by Sally Clarkson

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Let me begin by saying that I’d really like to have teatime with Sally Clarkson. I truly admire her outlook, her work, and the legacy she has lived out for the Christian homeschool community in raising up an incredible brood of children! I particularly enjoy her drive to learn and grow alongside her children even into adulthood. I only wish I had read this book earlier in my homeschool mom life. For me, I did not find as much challenge as I was hoping for having already explored a lot of what is laid out in the book. That being said, there were still enough great takeaways and nuggets of wisdom in Awaking Wonder to make reading it worthwhile.

Not every beachcomb fills the basket. Yet it only takes the palm of your hand to carry home a perfect sand dollar or pearl.

If you are a brand new homeschool parent or just becoming familiar with non-traditional teaching methods, I expect you should find a treasure trove of value in Sally Clarkson’s Awaking Wonder. If you are a few years into homeschooling and education literature, you can expect to come away with a handful of gems and an encouraged heart. As for me, I derived enough value and wisdom from this read to induce me to select another Sally Clarkson book in the future.

Think Outside the Classroom by Kelly Crawford

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This book was refreshing in size and content. Crawford established a sound defense for teaching by unconventional methods and a strong case for homeschooling. She even managed to do so succinctly. My only complaint with this book is that it seemed to lack some editing. Perhaps I received an earlier edition and the issues have since been resolved. Regardless, I recommend this book anyway on the basis of its content. It is an encouraging and empowering read for the homeschool mom looking to gain confidence with creative education methods.


~Homesteading~

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver

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It doesn’t matter how many stars (or steeps) a book gets on Amazon, or how many raving reviews I read on one of the hosts of book review sites, a personal recommendation from a friend is still the best way I know of to find my next great read. So, when a friend of mine (shout out to one of my Florida girls!) suggested I read this book, I ordered it that same day. I’m happy to say it did not disappoint.

From the start, I was transfixed by Barbara Kingsolver’s almost scandalous love affair with food. Who knew the growing, harvesting, cooking, storing, and devouring of food could tell such a romantic, breathtaking tale?

The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It, by John Seymour

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This book is a fabulous handbook to have on the homestead. We reference this delightful textbook whenever we embark on a new project or pursuit on the property. My favorite thing about this book is how visual and vibrant the pages are. Instead of drowning you in text, Seymour’s knowledge and expertise is complimented by a generous supply of beautiful illustrations.

The Rooted Life, by Justin Rhodes

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My hubby and I listened to roughly half of this audiobook together. We were genuinely enjoying the book but simply weren’t getting enough out of it for our experience level. Although we are new homestead owners, we are fairly seasoned gardeners having both grown up on small family farms. If, however, you are a brand-new gardener or homesteader, we definitely recommend this book. Rhodes’ friendly drawl makes for a fun listen, and he breaks things down so that they are easy to understand and not intimidating in the slightest. Plus, he gets bonus points for being chill and funny. We also recommend his YouTube channel.


~Apologetics~

Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.” -Proverbs 28:26

*I did not make it to Stealing from God this year, so I’ve shifted it over to my 2023 Book-It List!

Mama Bear Apologetics, by Hillary Morgan Ferrer

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Don’t be fooled by the friendly, cuddly title. Mama Bear Apologetics is no joke . . . except for when the authors break from their fabulous and provoking content to tell you to “roar like a mother.” In their defense, the content of the book is heavy, dense, even grizzly at times, so to help us all bear it they added a dose of empowerment to the conclusions of each chapter. In the end I said if you can’t lick ’em, roar with ’em!

I couldn’t resist.

My only real criticism for Mama Bear Apologetics is its title being exclusive to mothers because this book should also be read immediately by all Christian fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, uncles, pastors, youth group leaders, teachers, Sunday School teachers, etc. It’s that good.

From where I sit alongside the gray-green culture slough that is 2023, my assessment is that we Christian parents and advocates for truth need Mama Bear Apologetics right NOW.

This book is bold, brave, and does not beat around the BS, although the authors certainly refrained from calling it that πŸ˜† . I found this read fabulously educational, deliciously truthful, delightfully controversial, and all around essential for the modern Christian. If you haven’t read it yet, don’t wait!

A Flood of Evidence, by Ken Ham and Bodie Hodge

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This title is not hyperbolic. Yes, it is about the flood and yes, there really is a deluge of scientific evidence for it, regardless of the millions that say otherwise. My entire childhood I was churched, Sunday Schooled, youth grouped, and Bible studied, yet I am only now encountering apologetics as an adult who is actively seeking out this literature. Why is that?

Why in the world do we teach children so much about the Bible without also equipping them with a defense for it? Why do we fail to give them the mountains of evidence that corroborate Biblical truth before sending them off to schools where they will be inundated, infiltrated, and indoctrinated by the religion of evolution?

Yes, I did say religion β€”Ken Ham and Bodie Hodge explain that well in A Flood of Evidence. If you are curious about Christianity, want to defend your Christianity, are a Christian parent, or a Sunday School teacher, I highly recommend this book. Also, if you are new to apologetics, this book may be a good place to start, especially if you are teaching the Bible to kids. It’s amazing how just a few tidbits from Ken Ham can enhance a good old flannelgraph lesson about Noah’s Ark, Adam and Eve (don’t forget the fig leaves), or the Tower of Babel, to mention a few. Our children (collectively) are smart, and they deserve to know WHY and HOW and by WHAT EVIDENCE.


~Everything Hubby Read In 2022~ notice a theme here?

This past year, my poor hubby ingested the monster medical textbook in the stack pictured above for an additional, elective boards test he decided he wanted to torture himself with for some reason. As the Captain put it, “Whoah! That book is fatter than the Bible!” Yes, yes, it is. In light of the fact that the giant doorstop wouldn’t read itself, Papa had to cap off his free reading titles at three. In case you can’t tell what a fun-gi my hubby is, here’s a closer look at his reading list (pictured to the right). Such varied content, I know! Oh, and by the way, that is NOT a jar of mold at the top of the stack in the first picture. It’s fungus! And those things that look like maggots are actually sterilized rye grain with flecks of coffee grounds. Yes, it’s quite the process and thankfully smells incredible. Stay tuned for a tour of our Mush Room, coming soon!

Spoilers: It’s ALL GOOD.

My hubby gave each mushroom book below the thumbs up! Read his reviews below as my hubby makes his writing debut on the blog because “shitake too much.”

How to Forage for Mushrooms without Dying, by Frank Hyman

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This was the first mushroom book I read this year. My wife bought it for me after I surprised her with a sudden interest in foraging for mushrooms on our property, even bringing a few samples back to the house that somehow went straight into the trash can each time. My strong-willed wife was adamant that she loved me too much to watch me die from eating the wrong fungus and prescribed me this foraging field guide.

As you can see, the pictures in this book are vibrant and true to life, which is important when you are trying (and hopefully succeeding) to match the pictures to the real thing in the wild. The author does a great job of focusing on the meat and potatoes of what you need to know to stalk the right prey. Even better, all these facts are presented in a fun and playful way that makes the read enjoyable as well as informative. We will definitely be referencing this guide often and I’m hoping this spring to have some of my foraged goods actually make it to the table instead of the trash.

Mushrooms: How to Identify and Gather Wild Mushrooms and Other Fungi, by DK

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Informative is the word to describe this book. We have all had those classes in high school where we had to identify the origin, genus, species, etc. Well, this book is along those lines. This isn’t really the type of book you sit down and read chapter by chapter. Rather, it is an extensive and thorough reference guide. Just about any mushroom you may hope to find is sure to be in this book, with multiple pictures and a thorough description noting ALL its characteristics. I did not read this book in its entirety, but focused on the species that are native to the great northwest. Overall, it’s an impressive guide with not mush room for improvement.

DIY Mushroom Cultivation, by Willoughby Arevalo

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After terrifying my wife throughout the summer months with my novice attempts at mushroom foraging, I began to seek out alternative, wife-friendly methods for enjoying mushrooms. My search first led to a lot of YouTube videos and a lot of recommendations for this book. I am nearly finished reading it and am excited about the knowledge I’ve gained. Arevalo focuses on various DIY methods of home mushroom cultivation, laying out plenty of creative ideas that he has utilized in his own mushroom cultivation journey. I am currently putting to practice many of the techniques from this with our own “Mush Room” setup and so far, things are moving along swimmingly. If you want to grow mushrooms at home, I highly recommend this guide!


Thanks for taking a peek in our library today! What were your great reads this year? Comment below! πŸ˜€

Love, ~Our Holistic Homeschool~

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