I have compiled here a list of books that feature homeschooled characters. My daughter enjoys reading books about kids who are homeschooled, like her!
I have NOT necessarily read all of these books. Listing them does NOT necessarily mean I am recommending them. Some feature more mature themes than others. Some are about characters who are explicitly homeschooled, others are about school-aged characters who are in extended or extenuating life-learning situations with no mention of school. Some portray homeschooling in a favorable light, others are more stereotypical.
I will try to include a description of what the book is about, its age/grade level, the age of the character in case you're looking for books about kids around your kids' ages, and I will try to note whether a book is religious in nature.
Jack and Jill
by Louisa May Alcott
"This charming, old-fashioned children's story begins by mirroring the nursery rhyme. Two friends, Jack and Jill, go up a hill to go sledding. They come tumbling down, and Jack breaks his leg while Jill injures her back more seriously. The book tells the tale of their recuperation and also of their and their friends' journey into young adulthood. The book is slightly moralistic, in the way that Little Women is; the young people earnestly want to become "good" and to help their friends become "good". Although this style is not in fashion now, it still makes for a sweet, hope-filled story. Very enjoyable."
(I've been told that although the kids in this book start off in school, in the end their moms switch to homeschooling).
Jacob Have I Loved
by Katherine Paterson
"Esau have I hated . . . Sara Louise Bradshaw is sick and tired of her beautiful twin Caroline. Ever since they were born, Caroline has been the pretty one, the talented one, the better sister. Even now, Caroline seems to take everything: Louise's friends, their parents' love, her dreams for the future. For once in her life, Louise wants to be the special one. But in order to do that, she must first figure out who she is . . . and find a way to make a place for herself outside her sister's shadow. "
(Ages 9-12; the heroine has been described as having "homeschooled herself.")
by Mary Casanova
(an American Girl Today book)
"Meet Jess McConnell. With her first step off the airplane and into bright tropical sunlight, Jess begins an adventure. She and her parents are spending five months at an archeological dig of ancient Maya ruins in the Central American country of Belize. It's Jess's first time out of the United States. It's her first time being home-schooled. And it's her first trip without her older brother and sister to keep her company. But Jess is excited to explore a new place all on her own. She's ready for adventure and anxious to discover just who Jess is. When Jess meets a new friend and goes on an eco-adventure, she makes some real discoveries- about the dangers of the Belizean jungle, about the people who lived there long ago, and about herself."
(8+; main character is a ten year old girl)
by Jack Gantos
In one of the later books in this series, Joey ends up being homeschooled. He is not homeschooled in the first book in the series, which is called Joey Pigza Swallowed The Key:
"Joey Pigza can't sit still. He can't pay attention, he can't follow the rules, and he can't help it- especially when his meds aren't working. Joey's had problems ever since he was born, problems just like his dad and grandma have. And whether he's wreaking havoc on a class trip or swallowing his house key, Joey's problems are getting worse. In fact, his behavior is so off the wall that his teachers are threatening to send him to the special-ed center downtown. Joey knows he's really a good kid, but no matter how hard he tries to do the right thing, something always seems to go wrong. Will he ever get anything right?"
(Ages 10 and up)
Kandoo Kangaroo Hops Into Homeschool
by Susan Ratner
"When a young kangaroo asks a lot of questions, her parents know it's time to homeschool. The little 'roo thinks there's too much to learn, but her doubt turns into delight when she uses her driveway for a blackboard and learns she "Kandoo" all things through Christ who gives her strength."
(Christian/Religious; Ages 4-8)
by Mary Evelyn Notgrass
"Katy Porter likes to climb trees, play with her sister, and ride bikes with her brother. The Porters are a close family. They are brought even closer through a family vacation, a surprise in the middle of the night, and an important decision that will affect them all. Katy is enjoying her summer break from school when her parents tell her that they are thinking about homeschooling in the fall. Katy likes being an average girl and is afraid that being homeschooled will make her too different from everyone else. Katy's parents will have to decide soon. This summer could bring a big change for the Porter family. Whatever they decide, it has already brought a big change in Katy's heart, for she is learning that being different is okay after all. Katy is a pure story of strong character, simple faith, and a loving family."
(Sounds like it may have some religious tones, but I'm not sure. Does not mention an age group. Available for kindle on Amazon; not sure where or whether you can find it in paperback).
by Michael Morpurgo
"Washed up on an island in the Pacific with his dog, Stella, Michael struggles to survive on his own. He can't find food. He can't find water. But just when things are at their worst, Michael realizes that he and Stella are not alone. His fellow castaway, Kensuke, keeps his distance at first, but slowly, he lets the boy into his world. The two teach and learn from each other until, inevitably, they must talk about escape."
Laddie, A True Blue Story
by Gene Stratton-Porter
A homeschooling forum friend summed this one up as being "about a little girl who is very bright and is pulled out of school after she starts for the first time and the new teacher slaps her in the face. The parents allow her to study at home and enjoy nature."
(On Amazon it says "Young Adult" but going by the reviews, at least one person mentioned reading it with their 10 and 11 year olds, and other reviewers mentioned how they had loved this book "as a child.")
Lexie's Homeschool Diary
by Cheryl and MacKenzie Moeller
"This E-Book is one of the first to feature modern-day homeschooled characters as the central figures. It’s an 85 page heart warming account of Lexi and her homeschool family told through the perspective of her colorful and imaginative diary entries. Lexi is a young girl that finds joy, adventure, and even mystery in each new day. This new approach to homeschool fiction offers parents a valuable bonus: chapter by chapter curriculum sheets including vocabulary and comprehension questions. Lexi’s Homseschool Diary is filled with fun, faith, and friends, and an ideal book to read with your homeschool child and use as part of your daily curriculum."
(Lexie is a 6 year old girl; NOTE: This is an E-Book)
Libby on Wednesday
by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
"It's no wonder that Libby McCall has trouble adjusting to Morrison Middle School. She is smaller, younger and brighter than most of the other seventh graders, and she has received the majority of her education at home from the eccentric adults at her grandfather's mansion. From the first day of school, Libby feels like an outcast. After winning first prize in a literary contest, she joins a writers' workshop and finally finds her niche. In the intimate setting of a small class, she gains confidence, develops friendships and eventually helps a boy who has been physically abused."
(Ages 9-12. Okay, this one doesn't seem like it will depict homeschoolers very well but may still be an entertaining book).
Linnets and Valerians
by Elizabeth Goudge
"What do the four Linnet children do when they are sent to live with Grandmama, a woman who hates dogs and thinks that children should be seen and not heard? They run away, of course. Then their adventures begin! The Linnets meet a bevy of peculiar characters as they journey through the English countryside, charming the gruff but lovable Uncle Ambrose and his jovial gardener, Ezra. When they stumble upon the eccentric Lady Alicia, who seems to have lost her family, the real fun begins, and the Linnets start their search for the missing Valerians. But will the search be thwarted by the witch Emma Cobley and her magic cat?
Little House in the Big Woods
by Laura Ingalls Wilder
(Little House on the Prairie series)
"Laura Ingalls's story begins in 1871 in a little log cabin on the edge of the Big Woods of Wisconsin. Four-year-old Laura lives in the little house with her Pa, her Ma, her sisters Mary and Carrie, and their trusty dog, Jack. Pioneer life is sometimes hard, since the family must grow or catch all their own food as they get ready for the cold winter. But it is also exciting as Laura and her folks celebrate Christmas with homemade toys and treats, do the spring planting, bring in the harvest, and make their first trip into town. And every night they are safe and warm in their little house, with the happy sound of Pa's fiddle sending Laura and her sisters off to sleep."
(Ages 9-12. In the first few books of this series, the kids do not go to school).
by John Peterson
"What's better than a cat to scare away mice? "Why don't we try taming the cat?" said Tom Little. Uncle Pete looked from Mrs. Little to Mr. Little. "Do you hear what the boy is saying? He's gone soft in the head. A cat has never been a friend to a Little. I can tell you that.""
(Ages 4-8. The Littles are little people with tails who live in the walls of the home of The Biggs.)
Little White Horse, The
by Elizbeth Goudge
"When orphaned young Maria Merryweather arrives at Moonacre Manor, she feels as if she's entered Paradise. Her new guardian, her uncle Sir Benjamin, is kind and funny; the Manor itself feels like home right away; and every person and animal she meets is like an old friend. But there is something incredibly sad beneath all of this beauty and comfort- a tragedy that happened years ago, shadowing Moonacre Manor and the town around it- and Maria is determined to learn about it, change it, and give her own life story a happy ending. But what can one solitary girl do?"
by Louisa May Alcott
"In picturesque nineteenth-century New England, tomboyish Jo, beautiful Meg, fragile Beth, and romantic Amy come of age while their father is off to war. "
Lost Da Vincis, The
by Don and Aneladee Milne
"In Home School Adventurers: The Lost Da Vincis, four resourceful home school siblings discover their parents and youngest brother have disappeared. Was it caused by their scientist father's new invention going terribly wrong? Will the children be able to find their parents before it's too late? Will they be able to keep it a secret? Will their father's chief rival ruin everything? Children of all ages will enjoy reading the adventures of 14-year old Sophie, 13-year old twins Frankie and I.T., and 11-year old Eddie. Will they find The Lost Da Vincis? Mom and Dad! This is a great read-aloud book for your home schooled children.
(Written by homeschooling parents).
by Margaret Daley
(Helping Hands Homeschooling Series)
"Homeschooling his daughter is new to devoted single father Ian Ferguson. To ensure his child gets a good education, the busy CPA hires a temporary tutor. Twenty-three-year-old college student Alexa Michaels is too young--and too pretty--to be right for the job. Yet his daughter is coming out of her shell and learning. Still, Ian is traditional, and sweet Alexa--who graduated from the school of hard knocks--is challenging some of his old-school ways. Can this dad learn some valuable lessons about love, family and faith from the least likely teacher?"
(Not geared toward children)
Magic Tree House, The
by Mary Pope Osborne
The main characters of these stories, Jack and Annie, found a magic tree house in the woods which takes them to different places and times where they have many a historical adventure. These chapter books are geared toward younger children, and while the main characters DO go to school, school is rarely (if ever) mentioned. The kids are always off on their own having amazing adventures and making discoveries.
by Jerry Spinelli
"They say Maniac Magee was born in a dump. They say his stomach was a cereal box and his heart a sofa spring. What's truth, what's myth? When Jeffrey Lionel Magee wanders into Two Mills, Pennsylvania, a legend is born. Jeffrey's just a scruffy twelve-year-old kid. But before long, the stories begin to curciulate: about how fast and how far he can run. About how he hits the world's first-ever "frogball" for an inside-the-park home-run bunt. About how he scores forty-nine touchdowns when he plays football with the high school team, and about how he performs other feats so incredible that he's soon being called "Maniac." All that is nothing compared to the bravest, craziest thing Jeffrey ever does at Two Mills- for the kids from the East End and from the West End. This is his story. It's a story that is very careful not to get the facts mixed up with the truth."
(Ages 8-12. For most of the story, Maniac doesn't have a home of his own after his parents die and he runs away from the aunt and uncle who are constantly fighting. He meets and temporarily stays with various characters- a lovely black family he leaves when others feel he doesn't belong there, an old man who he teaches to read and who he stays with until the old man dies, a racist white family who he tries to encourage to change their ways, and so on. He's an endearing character who doesn't go to school but who devours books he gets from the library in order to continue teaching himself and who learns from living life. My 11 y/o daughter and I really enjoyed this book).
by Susan Juby
"In spite of the premature publication of my 'zine and resulting renewed social ostracism, things are happening for me! I've been stood up by the coolest girl in school, I have a Jesus bracelet, I ate dinner at a steak restaurant and lived to tell, I may be a virgin until I marry, I'm a Miss Smithers candidate, and I HAVE LEATHER PANTS! I even feel ready for the first official event of the pageant, the Etiquette Workshop. No longer homeschooled and socially isolated, Alice McLeod has: 1. a female friend, George; 2. a male friend, Goose; 3. a $400 clothing allowance to dress herself for the Miss Smithers pageant. Following on the debut of Alice, I Think, Susan Juby's delightful second novel is about finding the perfect outfit and finding oneself, about winning a pageant and winning at love."
(Grades 7 and up)
by Michael Ende
Momo is orphaned, but living in a lively community with lots of friends - until the time thieves come and steal the adults' time. The adults start working overtime and creating schools for the kids in order to get more time for their work. Momo is able to resist the time thieves and starts to fight for her friends' freedom.
Monster of the Month Club
by Dian Curtis Regan
Book 1: Monster of the Month Club
"When the first package arrived, Rilla thought it was a joke. But then the box started moving. And when it opened, the thing that came out was definitely not a joke. It was a real, live monster- with an attitude! Now Rilla has a problem: She's got a seven-eyed monster, named Icicle, who will only eat frozen yogurt and iced lemonade. And that's the good news. The bad news is that she's supposed to receive a new monster on the first of every month- for twelve months! How do you stop monsters from arriving in the mail? Do they eat weird stuff? And who gave Rilla a free membership to such a strange club anyway? Rilla's got to find the answers to these questions- fast- or her bedroom will become the very first monster motel!"
(RL4, 8-12. Rilla is a 12 year old homeschooled girl who lives in a bed and breakfast her mother and aunt run).
by Tove Jansson
"Moomin's stories begin simply (he needs to rid his home of freeloaders, or goes on a family vacation) and snowball into a series of amusing, whimsical misadventures, which can involve elements of the fantastic, like magic, monsters and ghosts. Although Moomin, his parents and his girlfriend, Snorkmaiden, are trolls, they look like friendly hippopotamuses."
(unschoolish comic strip type books)
My Family and Other Animals
by Gerald Durrell
"When the Durrell family can no longer endure the damp, grey English climate, they do what any sensible family would do: sell their house and relocate to the sun-soaked Greek island of Corfu. Through glorious silver and green olive groves and across brilliant tusk white beaches, ten year old Gerry, the youngest of the four Durrell children, pursues his interest in natural history with a joyful passion, revealing the engrossing hidden world of the islands fauna. Many hilarious mishaps ensue as each of Gerry's new animal friends is installed in the family villa. Watersnakes recuperate from heatstroke in the bathtub, matchboxes are filled with scorpions, and a pair of rowdy magpies makes short order of everything from elaborate dinner spreads to Gerald's brother Lawrence's prized manuscript to the patience of the family's puppies, Widdle and Puke. Toads and tortoises, bats and butterflies, scorpions and geckos, ladybugs, praying mantises, octopuses, pigeons and gulls are only some of the animals lovingly described in Durrell's classic tale of his childhood island home."
My Mommy, My Teacher
by Johannah Bluedorn
"A delightful children's picturebook which tells the story of a young girl and her family as they learn and work together on their farm. Her mother teaches her at home along with her three brothers and her baby sister. The story is illustrated with beautiful watercolor paintings. Every page is in full color."
My Name Is Mina
by David Almond
"Mina loves the night. While everyone else is in a deep slumber, she gazes out the window, witness to the moon's silvery light. In the stillness, she can even hear her own heart beating. This is when Mina feels that anything is possible and her imagination is set free. A blank notebook lies on the table. It has been there for what seems like forever. Mina has proclaimed in the past that she will use it as a journal, and one night, at last, she begins to do just that. As she writes, Mina makes discoveries both trivial and profound about herself and her world, her thoughts and her dreams. Award-winning author David Almond reintroduces readers to the perceptive, sensitive Mina before the events of Skellig in this lyrical and fantastical work. My Name is Mina is not only a pleasure to read, it is an intimate and enlightening look at a character whose open mind and heart have much to teach us about life, love, and the mysteries that surround us."
(Mina is the homeschooled friend next door to the main character in Skellig. Ages 10 and up).
My Side of the Mountain
by Jean Craighead George
"Sam Gribley is terribly unhappy living in New York City with his family, so he runs away to the Catskill Mountains to live by himself. With only a penknife, a ball of cord, forty dollars, and some flint and steel, he intends to survive on his own. Sam learns about courage, danger, and independence during his year in the wilderness, a year that changes his life forever."
Neverending Story, The
by Michael Ende
"Bastian embarks on a wild adventure when he enters the magical world of Fantastica, a doomed land filled with dragons, giants, and monsters, and risks his life to save Fantastica by going on a very dangerous quest."
(Ages 9-12. Bastian DOES go to school, but after being badly bullied there, he escapes and hides in a book store where a magical book takes him to a fantasy world where he has amazing adventures, and where there are no schools).
by Wendy Orr
"Nim lives on the most beautiful island in the world (its location is a closely guarded secret) with a marine iguana, a sea lion, and her scientist dad, Jack. When he goes off to explore the world of plankton, the child occupies herself with typical Swiss Family Robinson-like chores and keeping her dad's batteries charged so she can check his e-mail on the laptop computer. When his boat becomes disabled, Nim's link to humanity becomes Alex Rover, the author of the novel she's reading, who has e-mailed Jack with some scientific questions. They correspond frequently, Nim giving Alex advice on building a raft out of coconuts, and Alex uncannily picturing spots on the island in her current book. A violent storm and volcanic eruption toward the end result in Nim saving the day, and the three characters set up life together on their paradise. And all of this occurs amid a clever plan to divert evil tourists from ever finding the island."
(Ages 9-12. There is a second book, "Nim At Sea.")
No More School
by Meg Harper
"An adventure of a young girl which also revolves around her dislike of school and the possibilities of home schooling. Flora lives with her mother on a boat, near to her best friend Joss. When newcomers arrive to live in a big house nearby, Joss soon makes friends with Tan, who is schooled at home by his father. Flora's new friendship causes problems between herself and Joss, but it seems that Joss has far greater problems that she can't discuss. There is something more sinister going on."
by Teagan Bentley
"When two homeschooling best friends team up to enter a novel writing contest, things get busy fast! Through planning for birthdays and getting ready for Halloween, Monica and Julie's writing adventure becomes one novel concept!"
(This author is a ten year old homeschooler - a radical unschooler to be exact!)
by Christianna Brand
The "Nanny McPhee" movie was based on these books. The naughty Brown children are homeschooled.
One and Only Miss Violet Remy, The
by Angie Renich
"Nine-year-old Violet Remy and her group of homeschool friends discover a mysterious package while on a field trip to the wetlands."
Operation Red Jericho
by Joshua Mowll
"Excerpts from 15-year-old Becca's diary interspersed with third-person narrative combine to produce a tale of high adventure, intrigue, and science fiction along the China coast in 1920. Following their parents' mysterious disappearance in the remote Sinkiang region, Becca and her younger brother, Doug, are sent from their home in India to live with their sea-captain uncle, whose research vessel they board in Shanghai. Through their inquisitiveness and spying, they learn of a secret society that may have had something to do with their parents' fate and of a very volatile substance called zoridium that their uncle is trying to retrieve from an evil warlord. Their curiosity leads to their capture and captivity on his island fortress–the site of a rousing showdown that sets the stage for the second volume in this trilogy."
(This is the first in the Other series; the second in the series, BloodBorn, does not feature a homeschooled protagonist).
by Karen Kincy
"Feathers unfurl from my skin. My plummet curves into a swoop, and I tuck my talons beneath my body. From girl to great horned owl in about a second. Pretty good, huh? Gwen Williams is like any other modern teenager with one exception: she's a shapeshifter. Never having known her Pooka-spirit father, Gwen must struggle with the wild, wonderful magic inside of her alone—and in secret. While society may tolerate vampires, centaurs, and "Others" like Gwen, there are plenty of folks in Klikamuks, Washington, who don't care for her kind. Now there's a new werewolf pack in town, and Others are getting killed, including Gwen's dryad friend. The police are doing zilch. In the midst of terrible loss and danger, Gwen meets a cute Japanese fox spirit who's refreshingly comfortable with his Otherness. Can Gwen find the courage to embrace her true self and find the killer-before she becomes the next victim?"
(Gwen is homeschooled. This is a Young Adult book. One review mentions Gwen's boyfriend being a from an ultra-Christian family who believes Others are an abomination and that he doesn't know Gwen is one until after they lose their virginity to each other).
People in Pineapple Place, The
by Anne Lindberg
"Feeling alone and friendless in a new town, August Brown discovers a wondrous fantasy street and experiences thrilling adventures with his new playmates."
(Ages 8-12. This is a street that magically travels around the world, and everyone who lives on it stays the same age eternally. All of the children are taught by one of the kid's mothers in her cottage. There is also a second book called "The Prisoner of Pineapple Place").
by J.M. Barrie
"All children except one grow up. In 1904, Peter Pan first flew across a London stage and into the bedroom of Wendy, John, and Michael Darling. Ever since, this perpetual youth has continued to delight children of all ages. Young readers will happily soar with him and his friends to enchanted Neverland, where they’ll meet Tinkerbell, the Lost Boys, and the “dark and sinister” Captain Hook."
by Astrid Lindgren
"Tommy and his sister Annika have a new neighbor, and her name is Pippi Longstocking. She has crazy red pigtails, no parents to tell her what to do, a horse that lives on her porch, and a flair for the outrageous that always seems to lead to one adventure after another!"
Railway Children, The
by Edith Nesbit
"When Father goes away unexpectedly, Roberta, Peter, Phyllis and their mother have to leave their happy life in London to go and live in a small cottage in the country. The children seek solace in the nearby railway station, and make friends with Perks the Porter and the Station Master himself. But the mystery remains: where is Father, and will he ever return?"
Real Lives: Eleven Teenagers Who Don't Go to School
by Grace Llewellyn
"In 1993, eleven homeschooled teenagers described their lives in rich detail, and Real Lives quickly became a homeschooling classic. Erin’s favorite teacher was her horse Nick, blind in one eye. Kyla flew to South America in September of what would have been her senior year—alone, except for her mountain bike. Jeremiah and his sister Serena published a newsletter on peace issues. Patrick, who hoped someday to design video games, had spent the past few years compiling portfolios of his writing and artwork. Rebecca worked at homeless shelters and, through Habitat for Humanity, built houses for people in need. Anne tended honeybees and plucked a bluegrass banjo. Ayanna kept pace with 50 pen-pals—mostly in Africa—while Kevin talked with people all over the world on his ham radio. Amanda performed with a violin quintet and worked through the mail with her writing mentor. Vallie answered questions at a marine science center; Tabitha answered the phone at a crisis line, and helped midwives at births…. ….Now those eleven homeschoolers have grown up and engaged the territory of adulthood, college, and career—and the new edition of Real Lives includes updates from all of them. From gaining admission to an Ivy League institution without taking the SAT to crafting a simple life centered on writing and gardening, they tell where life has taken them and where they have taken life, and offer hindsight and advice for others choosing to learn outside of school."
Red Pyramid, The
by Rick Riordan
(Book 1 of the Kane Chronicles series)
"Since their mother's death, six years ago, 12-year-old Sadie Kane has lived in London with her maternal grandparents while her older brother, 14-year-old Carter, has traveled the world with their father, a renowned African American Egyptologist. In London on Christmas Eve for a rare evening together, Carter and Sadie accompany their dad to the British Museum, where he blows up the Rosetta Stone in summoning an Egyptian god. Unleashed, the vengeful god overpowers and entombs him, but Sadie and Carter escape. Initially determined to rescue their father, their mission expands to include understanding their hidden magical powers as the descendants of the pharaohs and taking on the ancient forces bent on destroying mankind. The first-person narrative shifts between Carter and Sadie, giving the novel an intriguing dual perspective made more complex by their biracial heritage and the tension between the siblings, who barely know each other at the story's beginning."
Reluctant Dragon, The
by Kenneth Grahame
"When a dragon is discovered up on the Downs, the Boy is not in the least surprised. He's always known the cave there was a dragon cave, so it seems only right for a dragon to be living in it. The Boy decides to pay a visit to the cave, and he thinks he knows just what to expect. But this particular dragon is not a bit like the ones in fairy tales!"
(Ages 7-11; the boy in the book appears to be unschooled)
Ronia, The Robber's Daughter
by Astrid Lindgren
"Ronia, who lives with her father and his band of robbers in a castle in the woods, causes trouble when she befriends the son of a rival robber chieftain. "
Ruby Slippers School
by Stacy Towle Morgan
"Eight-year-old Hope Brown and her little sister, Annie, love to travel, and because of their dad's job, the two home-schooled girls have lots of opportunities. Join the fun as they visit exciting countries and meet inspiring Christians from all over the world!"
(Christian/Religious, ages 9-12)
PROCEED TO PART 3, TITLES S-Z: