Books That Every High Schooler Should Read

Becky Aniol

assorted books on wooden table

I am often asked how I homeschool high school. What books do I use in these last few years of home education? Parents often start to get nervous and insecure in the high school years because, all of a sudden, not only are subjects more difficult, but they feel the pressure of the government and the colleges. It’s understandable! I feel it too. Another time I’ll talk about subjects and transcripts and why we shouldn’t stress about it all. Today I simply want to remind myself and you that, despite what graduation credit hours and college transcripts try to tell us, science and math and history and literature aren’t actually the most important things for our children to learn before they leave home.

Above all, we should want our children to be young adults who are living in Christ. That means that at the top of our list of high school texts, we should put books that will help our children to think biblically, love biblically, and live biblically in a world that hates God. These books may never appear on a transcript, but we answer to a higher authority who wants us to know him first and foremost. This list isn’t intended to be a burden—just another thing to add to your homeschool list. I hope instead that it is a help as you seek to educate your children in the ways of the Lord.

The Bible—all the way through

If your high school student is too busy with schoolwork to read the Bible, something’s upside down.

Something by a Puritan

I rarely see books by Puritans scheduled in homeschool or Christian school curricula, but the Puritans offer so much Scriptural clarity and practical wisdom for godly Christian life, not to mention they’re an important part of church history. Pick at least one Puritan Paperback for your high schooler to read.

A few very accessible ones I heartily recommend for high schoolers:

The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs

The Godly Man’s Picture by Thomas Watson (for girls too; it’s “man” as in human, and it’s about sanctification)

The Mystery of Divine Providence by John Flavel

Books on Six Issues that Young People Will Have to Grapple with as They Make Life Decisions in the 21st Century

Strange New World by Carl Trueman
Just released, this is a simplified version of Trueman’s The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self. There’s also a study guide and apparently a video course forthcoming.

God’s Design for Man and Woman by Andreas and Margaret Kostenberger

When People are Big and God is Small by Ed Welch or another book in the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) high school list (I have not looked into or used their actual curriculum.)

Biblical Foundations for Corporate Worship by Scott Aniol

The Abolition of Man by C. S. Lewis (on education and humanity)

Christianity and Wokeness by Owen Strachan

Books on Christian Growth

Changed Into His Image by Jim Berg

Knowing God by J. I. Packer

Profiting from the Word by A. W. Pink

A few Christian Biographies and/or Memoirs

Here are some I recommend for high schoolers:

Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret by Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom (This new illustrated edition is beautiful.)

Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot

To the Golden Shore by Courtney Anderson

Apologetics/Philosophy

The God Who Is There by Francis Schaeffer

If you break that down, it’s an extra 3-4 books a year. A high schooler could easily read 1 of these books per semester and 1 or 2 each summer. You could even read along with your high schooler and discuss the books together. In fact, I highly recommend doing that! As your young adults prepare for independence in a world hostile to God, give them books that will help shape their thoughts and desires to live like Christ wherever they go.

Author assorted books on wooden table

Becky Aniol

Becky Aniol is a wife, keeper of the home, and mother of four children aged 3–15, whom she homeschools. She has a PhD in Christian education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Becky writes and speaks at conferences on education, discipleship, and the Christian imagination and leads expository women's Bible studies in her local church. Her desire is to equip women with tools for discipleship-parenting and personal growth in Christlikeness.

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