Evolution Resources for Secular Homeschooling

Welcome to Favorite Homeschool Resources—a series sharing our best-loved secular books and workbooks. You can view all the posts in the series so far here.

What seems like a lifetime ago {actually autumn 2014} some much younger Agents and I visited the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. for the first time. The exhibits and displays in the Hall of Human Origins became a surprise hit, especially for {then} third-grade Agent E. 

Ever since we have spent at least part of each school year reading books focused specifically on evolution, including the big bang, early earth, Charles Darwin, and animal/human evolution.

Following are several evolution resources for secular homeschooling we have enjoyed throughout the years. We have used most of them as read-alouds, so in my opinion they would work for early elementary through middle school.

Even the ones in a more “picture book” style contain tons of great information and can provide excellent discussion starting points. Likewise, the more complex texts can be easily modified as well.

A row of colorful books on a bookshelf at the top and bottom. Text reads: Favorite homeschool resources, evolution.

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Evolution Book Series We Love

Born With a Bang: The Universe Tells Our Cosmic Story 
From Lava to Life: The Universe Tells Our Earth Story 
Mammals Who Morph: The Universe Tells Our Evolution Story 

This series by Jennifer Morgan tells the story of the big bang, the formation of the earth, and mammal evolution from the perspective of the universe itself.

The first time we read these books I was not quite sold on the anthropomorphic characteristics angle. However, it is very well written and includes significant detail. {Not to mention the amazing pictures.}

The author also addresses her own faith {spoiler alert: she has a degree in theology} and the intentional decision to leave “god” terminology out of her work.

When Bugs Were Big, Plants Were Strange, and Tetrapods Stalked the Earth
When Dinos Dawned, Mammals Got Munched, and Pterosaurs Took Flight 
When Fish Got Feet, Sharks Got Teeth, and Bugs Began to Swarm 
They also appear in a single volume:
When Fish Got Feet, When Bugs Were Big, and When Dinos Dawned

These “cartoon prehistory” books by Hannah Bonner {published by National Geographic} have been a hit with the Agents for years. 

Two young primates sitting on a tree branch. Text reads: Evolution resources your students will love.

More Evolution Books We Love

Evolution Revolution
Life As We Know It

Quality resources that we have come to expect from DK. Neatly organized and colorful with just the right amount of detail. 

Evolution: The Human Story

This book is a bit advanced; it is definitely not written with a late elementary/middle school audience in mind. However, we take it slow and enjoy the stunning drawings along the way. Works great as a coffee table book as well.

Lucy Long Ago: Uncovering the Mystery of Where We Came From

A book about Donald Johanson’s discovery of Lucy, arguably the most well-known early hominid.

Have you incorporated any of these books into your evolution studies? Any other evolution resources for secular homeschooling you recommend? Click To Tweet

On the Origin of Species: Young Readers Edition adapted by Rebecca Stefoff

This edition of Darwin’s most famous work is also beautifully illustrated. We will likely use it as one of our primary texts for the next homeschool year.

{Side note: You may recognize Stefoff’s name from her work on Howard Zinn’s A Young People’s History of the United States.}

Who Was Charles Darwin?
Where Are the Galapagos Islands? 

The Who Was? book on the infamous naturalist as well as a separate book devoted to the area of the world he spent significant time during his adventures.

{Full disclosure: We have not actually read the Galapagos one, but we have read so many others from the who was, what was, and where is series of books I feel comfortable recommending it.}

Darkened night sky with dots of stars and galaxies. Text reads: Evolution resources for your homeschool.

Even More Evolution Books We Love

Animals Charles Darwin Saw: An Around-the-World Adventure
Bang! How We Came To Be
Big Bang! The Tongue-Tickling Tale of Speck That Became Spectacular
Charles Darwin’s Around-the-World Adventure
Older Than the Stars
One Beetle Too Many: The Extraordinary Adventures of Charles Darwin
Our Family Tree: An Evolution Story {We especially love this one! Our favorite evolution book to re-read every Darwin day.}
The Story of Life: A First Book About Evolution
What Darwin Saw: The Journey That Changed the World
What Mr. Darwin Saw

These are mostly picture books and simple biographies, but include lots of great information and can easily be adapted for older students. Face it, evolution is a complex topic to tackle, and everyone needs to start somewhere.

They are the kind of books you could read to a second grader or a seventh grader and they would both get something out of them. Many include extensive appendixes and/or book lists for further reading. 

Have you incorporated any of these books into your evolution studies? Any other evolution resources for secular homeschooling you recommend? Let me know in the comments! And don’t forget to check out the other posts in our favorite homeschool resources series.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Nilakshi at merakimusings

    I remember reading origin of its species! Love this post and the book list.

    1. Valerie

      I am loving the adapted/illustrated version we are reading. The editor really did a great job of making it accessible to all readers. ❤️

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