13 Book Suggestions for the Homeschooling Christian Mama

Hello friends,

Last year, I read a total of 23 books and while not all of them were worth the time nor worth even mentioning now, I wanted to share the ones that I would recommend or reread myself. All book links take you to Goodreads, a fantastic tool for finding and tracking books for the avid reader. If you’re interested in reading them, I’d suggest checking your local library or an online used books site before using Amazon.

  1. Uniquiely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism by Barry M. Prizant

“Autism is usually portrayed as a checklist of deficits, including difficulties interacting socially, problems in communicating, sensory challenges, and repetitive behavior patterns. This perspective leads to therapies focused on ridding individuals of autistic symptoms. In Uniquely Human, Dr. Barry M. Prizant suggests a major shift in understanding autism: Instead of classifying “autistic” behaviors as signs of pathology, he sees them as strategies to cope with a world that feels chaotic and overwhelming. Rather than curb these behaviors, it’s better to enhance abilities, build on strengths, and offer supports that will naturally lead to more desirable behavior and a better quality of life. In fact, argues Dr. Prizant, attempts to eliminate autistic behaviors may actually interfere with important developmental processes. Including inspiring stories and practical advice drawn from Dr. Prizant’s four-decade career working in universities, schools, hospitals, and in private practice, Uniquely Human offers a compassionate and insightful perspective that parents, professionals, and family members will find uplifting and hopeful.”

2. The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

“At one time Corrie ten Boom would have laughed at the idea that there would ever be a story to tell. For the first fifty years of her life nothing at all out of the ordinary had ever happened to her. She was an old-maid watchmaker living contentedly with her spinster sister and their elderly father in the tiny Dutch house over their shop. Their uneventful days, as regulated as their own watches, revolved around their abiding love for one another. However, with the Nazi invasion and occupation of Holland, a story did ensue. Corrie ten Boom and her family became leaders in the Dutch Underground, hiding Jewish people in their home in a specially built room and aiding their escape from the Nazis. For their help, all but Corrie found death in a concentration camp. The Hiding Place is their story.”

3. Mama Bear Apologetics: Empowering Your Kids to Challenge Cultural Lies

“…the book you’ve been looking for. This mom-to-mom guide will equip you to teach your kids how to form their own biblical beliefs about what is true and what is false. Through transparent life stories and clear, practical applications—including prayer strategies—this band of Mama Bears offers you tools to train yourself, so you can turn around and train your kids.

Are you ready to answer the rallying cry, “Mess with our kids and we will demolish your arguments”?  Join the Mama Bears and raise your voice to protect your kids—by teaching them how to think through and address the issues head-on, yet with gentleness and respect.”

4. Discipline: The Glad Surrender by Elisabeth Elliot

“In our age of instant gratification and if-it-feels-good-do-it attitudes, self-discipline is hardly a popular notion. Former missionary and beloved author Elisabeth Elliot offers her understanding of discipline and its value for modern people.

Now repackaged for the next generation of Christians, Discipline: The Glad Surrender shows readers how to

-discipline the mind, body, possessions, time, and feelings

-overcome anxiety

-change poor habits and attitudes

-trust God in times of trial and hardship

-let Christ have control in all areas of life

Elliot masterfully and gently takes readers through Scripture, personal stories, and lovely observations of the world around her in order to help them discover the understanding that our fulfillment as human beings depends on our answer to God’s call to obedience.”

5. Honey for a Child’s Heart: The Imaginative Use of Books in Family Life

“Since its publication in 1969, this has been an essential guide for parents wanting to find the best books for their children. Now in its fourth edition, Honey for a Child’s Heart discusses everything from the ways reading affects both children’s view of the world and their imagination to how to choose good books. Illustrated with drawings from dozens of favorites, it includes an indexed and updated list of the best new books on the market and the classics that you want your children to enjoy. Author Gladys Hunt’s tastes are broad, her advice is rooted in experience, and her suggestions will enrich the cultural and spiritual life of any home.”

6. The Excellent Wife: A Biblical Perspective

“Martha Peace, a nouthetic councelor of women, has written an Excellent Volume. Not only does it explain what God “requires” of a Christian wife, but it explaines clearly how to obey God’s commandments in order to become that wife. Get it, read it and profit from it.””The Excellent Wife” is an absolute must for women today. This book is a welcomed first because it is a Scripturally based, systematic and practical work for today’s women. Within its pages is a detailed portrait of a godly wife. Not only is the standard high and godly, but Martha demonstrates that by God’s grace, it is attainable…”

7. Ashamed of the Gospel: When the Church Becomes Like the World

“In this book, John MacArthur laments the drift of American Christianity towards compromise with culture and issues a call for the church to recover its prophetic, unadulterated voice in order to have a renewed impact on society.”

8. Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate

“Have Christians become so preoccupied with “major” sins that we have lost sight of our need to deal with more subtle sins?

Navigator author Jerry Bridges addresses the “acceptable” sins that we tend to tolerate in ourselves, including pride and anger. He goes to the heart of the matter, exploring our feelings of shame and grief and opening a new door to God’s forgiveness and grace.

Travel down the road of spiritual formation with Jerry and discover your true identity as a loved child of God.”

9. Mother Culture

““If mothers could learn to do for themselves, what they do for their children . . . we would have happier households.”—Charlotte Mason

Mother Culture® is the skillful art of how a mother looks after the ways of her household. With a “thinking love” she creates a culture in the home all her own.

A mother does a lot of taking care, so she needs to take care of herself too. As a mother is feeding and cultivating the souls of her children, she is nourishing her own soul with ideas, while taking a little time for her own play and creativity. Nourished and refreshed, she keeps growing closer to God and into the Christian woman God is designing her to be.”

10. Awaking Wonder: Opening Your Child’s Heart to the Beauty of Learning

“As a parent, you want to send your children into the world with healthy minds and vibrant faith. You want to develop a strong foundation for them. But in our fast-paced, outcome-based, technologically driven society, it’s easy to lose sight of the innocence, potential, and uniqueness of each child. Childlike wonder can become lost in the fog of formulas that view children through the distorting lens of social expectations. 

Awaking Wonder helps parents unearth the hidden potential of their child’s imagination, learning capacity, and ability to engage authentically with the world. “

11. Twelve Extraordinary Women: How God Shaped Women of the Bible, and What He Wants to Do with You

“Readers will be challenged and motivated by Twelve Extraordinary Women, a poignant and personal look into the lives of some of the Bible’s most faithful women. Their struggles and temptations are the same trials faced by all believers at all ages. Inside this book, best-selling author and Bible teacher John MacArthur shows that the God to whom they were so committed is the same God who continues to mold and use ordinary people today.”

12. The Pursuit of God – You can actually read the entire book for FREE

““As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.” This thirst for an intimate relationship with God, claims A.W. Tozer, is not for a select few, but should be the experience of every follower of Christ. 

Here is a masterly study of the inner life by a heart thirsting after God. Here is a book for every child of God, pastor, missionary, and Christian. It deals with the deep things of God and the riches of His grace. 

In The Pursuit of God, Tozer sheds light on the path to a closer walk with God.”

13. Knowing God by J..I Packer

Knowing God brings together two important facets of the Christian faith– knowing about God and also knowing God through the context of a close relationship with the person of Jesus Christ. Written in an engaging and practical tone, this thought-provoking work seeks to transform and enrich the Christian understanding of God.

Explaining both who God is and how we can relate to him, Packer divides his book into three sections: The first directs our attention to how and why we know God, the second to the attributes of God and the third to the benefits enjoyed by a those who know him intimately. This guide leads readers into a greater understanding of God while providing advice to gaining a closer relationship with him as a result.”

I look forward to sharing my 2022 book recommendations & I’d love to take your requests.

An Honest Review of the Redeeming Love Movie

Like many female Christians, I recently got sucked into Francine Rivers best-selling novel, Redeeming Love. Redeeming Love. The book made me teary eyed and gave my sister the chills, we were excited about seeing this film!

Here is the Goodreads Summary of our treasured Redeeming Love book: “California’s gold country, 1850. A time when men sold their souls for a bag of gold and women sold their bodies for a place to sleep. Angel expects nothing from men but betrayal. Sold into prostitution as a child, she survives by keeping her hatred alive. And what she hates most are the men who use her, leaving her empty and dead inside. Then she meets Michael Hosea. A man who seeks his Father’s heart in everything, Michael Hosea obeys God’s call to marry Angel and to love her unconditionally. Slowly, day by day, he defies Angel’s every bitter expectation until, despite her resistance her frozen heart begins to thaw. But with her unexpected softening come overwhelming feelings of unworthiness and fear. And so Angel runs. Back to the darkness, away from her husband’s pursuing love, terrified of the truth she can no longer deny: Her final healing must come from the One who loves her even more than Michael Hosea does…the One who will never let her go.  A life-changing story of God’s unconditional, redemptive, all-consuming love.

Spoiler Warning – My review WILL reveal the plot of the book and movie, exit now if you want to remain surprised. Many thanks to Universal for providing a sample of the product for this review. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.
I have added a parental guide at the bottom if you want to quickly scroll down.

The storyline of the book is for mature audiences, as the main character was sold into being a prostitute and there are very heavy themes to build a background of our main character. Through her early life, we understand why she distrusts men, why she’s so bitter, why her view of sex is skewed, and why her heart is hardened to the Lord. The author introduces us to a man named Michael, and unlike a typical romance story, Michael may have been able to rescue her from her environment, but he’s not her savior. On her own, Angel eventually accepts Christ into her life, and finds her way back to Michael.

Moving away from explaining the book, the film adaption is directed by DJ Caruso and supporting cast includes Eric Dane, Nina Dobrev, and Famke Janssen and describes the film as a “love story”, with the main character having “survived through hatred and self-loathing until she meets Michael Hosea and discovers there is no brokenness that love can’t heal”. I thought it was curious how they worded the summary compared to the book’s description, but nonetheless was so excited to watch the trailer when it first came out!

In all honestly, there were two things I was nervous about before screening this film. The first reason being that in the book, there is a lot of internal dialogue…a lot of internal wrestling with inner struggles, conversations with God, etc. I was afraid that the book intent would be lost. I was also afraid that this movie would end up being too racy for a Christian movie. On both accounts, I realized I was right after thirty minutes of watching.

  1. The author, Francine Rivers, made claims that the themes of the book are in this movie…which is technically accurate. What should be noted is that the theme of Christianity, which made the book what it was, ended up being minimized. A lot. I think it could be characterized as “spiritual, not religious” (further explained in points below).
  2. The character growth of all the characters was reduced, albeit they have major time constraints. They removed many of Angel’s early bitter behaviors toward Michael, offering only a montage scene of her softening heart. There are also some key characters that are not there or very briefly shown, including key scenes in the book…a lot is glossed over.
  3. The first time we see Michael Hosea, he’s working in his field and ends up praying in church asking God about being given a wife. Aside from one or two more times, these are the only times we see Michael really praying.
  4. Because they do a poor job showing internal dialogue and the relationship Michael has with God, the movie ended up making him come off more creepy. If you don’t read the book, I imagine it would be harder to understand Michael’s viewpoint and purpose for bringing Angel home.
  5. There is two sex scenes in this movie. I understand the argument around how sensual scenes in movies help you connect with the characters and bring them to life…and I understand that this particular director probably wanted us to really understand how Angel was softening up to Michael, and viewing sex in a healthier view…but I don’t feel intimate scenes have a place in a Christian movie. Michael’s reasoning for waiting wasn’t firmly explained as well.
  6. There was an occasional mention of God, and about two visual shots of a Bible. Other than that, there was hardly any mention of it. Just hints. The most important part of the book was Angel clearly warming up to the idea that God loves her and eventually accepting Him into her life. There is a defining moment in the book, while Angel is on stage, and that was greatly reduced and a lot was left up to viewer’s interpretation. And another key character whose role was greatly reduced, and after that stage scene…we go straight to Angel in the House of Magdalena. More key parts gone, and the key reason why I don’t think this movie is considered a Christian film.

What I Wish They Did Differently

I wish there was a stronger theme of Christianity. I wish they weren’t scared to create a stronger theme of Christianity, after all, that is the true romance story of all time…God blessing us with His only Son to die for our sins so we may experience eternal life. There was no opportunity to reach out to viewers who were unbelievers and clearly show them through film the restorative healing power of God and how no matter your past, you are called and wanted by Him. The book was able to do that, but the moviegoers will probably walk away from is thinking, “Wow, I need a Michael Hosea who’s dedicated and will wait for me like he waited for Angel” and “I’m so glad Duke is dead”. When you read the book, you close it thinking about God.

Personally, I also wish they made this into a tv mini series, so there was more time for character building and storytelling. I also wish they would have been mindful of not using language or strong sexual scenes in a Christian movie.

My Final Thoughts

This was produced by the same company that developed God’s Not Dead, and it’s promoted by a Christian radio station. I expected it to be on par with the wholesome movies that these companies usually promote. However, I do understand the stronger mature themes that the book has and how some is necessary to share this story…but the movie never redeemed itself as it skipped the main theme…Angel overcoming her sins and trauma by the grace, mercy, and love of God. This is not a movie I’d be able to play at a church bible study. I give it 1/5 stars as a Christian movie.

This movie was no different than Nicholas Sparks movies, like Dear John and The Notebook. I give it 2/5 stars as a secular romance movie.

I do admit, I could be a bit harsh in my review but I have high standards for book adaptions and media that claims to be Christian. I do still recommend the book despite my opinion on the movie.

Make your own opinion and go see Redeeming Love yourself, in theaters, starting January 21st. Buy tickets here.

Parental Guide

In the first 10 minutes, the movie checks a few select swear words that include a few b*****, one a**, and derogatory word relating to prostitution. There is some minor physical assault toward Angel and a short bar fight scene. A woman’s body lays dead on the street. A man is strangled to death and a child is forced to watch. A man holds a gun to his head and shoots, nothing is seen. There is a case of incest, nothing is shown or heard. Angel is also topless frequently in the first half of the movie, breasts mostly covered by her long hair. Michael is shirtless in a scene. There are two intimate scenes with Michael and Angel. While they are mostly clothed, it’s clearly viewed that the begin to have sex (kissing, embracing, heavy breathing, Michael cupping Angel’s breast, pants unbuckled, clear acts of…insertion…though the camera does pan away so we don’t see the entirety of the scenes. A forced abortion and sterilization is also implied. There is drinking and mentions of drunkenness and adultery.