Over the years, I have often been asked, “How can you homeschool your children,” usually quickly followed by, “I just don’t think I’m smart enough to do that!” Inevitably, I respond by assuring them that I don’t believe that I have all of the answers to my children’s educational needs, or that I’m even required to, but I can find the answers. After early elementary school, academically, my job is one of teaching study skills, application and discipline, providing large doses of encouragement and support, and supplying necessary resources. I am better equipped and empowered when I utilize resources for parents, too.
A recent conversation with my friend, we’ll call her Heidi, went like this:
ME: “I have a TOS crew review to write on a huge book! It’s 8 1/2″ X 11″ and more than 350 pages! If I could own only one book for homeschooling (counting curriculum, but excluding The Bible, of course) it would be this one.”
[Her face looked a bit shocked. I’ve been homeschooling for more than 25 years; so, I definitely had her attention.]
HEIDI: “What! What is it? Above curriculum? How? Why?”
ME: “Ultimately, I can pull teaching material from anywhere, but this book reminds me of why I homeschool. Why I do it now, why I did it then and why I would do it all, again, but do it better! The authors say that those reading it usually fall into 1 of 3 categories:
- Those that are already using a wholehearted approach to teaching and have followed their leadership for years. This book was actually first published in 1994 and revised in 1996. It is now (2011) in it’s third printing, with more than 100 new pages added and a large portion of the original pages rewritten. Content and resources needed to be updated and they, like most of us, have learned a thing or two in fifteen years. These readers will discover a new or forgotten morsel of truth in this edition.
- Those, like me, who have been homeschooling for cen-tu-ries (intended hyperbole) and are in need of affirmation, inspiration or even a little coaxing to continue on this path. When I started reading this book, I wondered why I didn’t have it in 1994 or 1996. I was homeschooling then, why now? Because now is when I need to be reminded of my desire and my right to raise our children “in the fear and admonition of The Lord;” to emulate and teach an I’m-all-in-(body, mind, heart, soul and strength)-devotion to God, consistently and constantly. This book has been a transfusion to my life-battered being. I remember why.
- Those who are fresh to the idea of homeschooling their children. The young explorers that appreciate having good navigational tools at hand. A compass, a map and a light for the way ahead. This is a guide, written by those that scouted and traveled the road before you. This book is a vision shared, one of “Wholehearted Learning – a Biblical, commonsense, discipleship-based lifestyle of home education using real books, real life, and real relationships.”
It gives you a layout, a design, a plan…to make your home “a heart-filling, rich, and lively learning environment where your children will love to learn as naturally as they love to play.”
HEIDI: “Are you a speed reader? Did you read the whole thing? Can I read it when you’re finished with it?”
ME: “You know that I can read quickly, but you won’t believe it, I’ve actually written in the margins of this book.”
[Her brow furrowed and comprehension was a bit slow. We do not write in books unless they are consumable workbooks. It is a firmly established momma-law, taught from the time my children are knee-high to a grasshopper.]
HEIDI: “YOU wrote in the book?”
ME: “I did. I’m an adult and it is my book! It is a high gloss paperback, but it is clearly non-consumable. I’ve found myself wanting to savor it and digest it. I’ve highlighted sentences and paragraphs! I haven’t read the whole book, yet. I’ve never lost sight of the destination, but this book has renewed my joy in the journey of homeschooling! I’m not in a rush to read it, just for the sake of reading it, I want to sort of meander along and absorb my surroundings. At the moment, my youngest child is only 7 years old, so I don’t foresee being finished with this book any time soon. You’ll want your own clean copy, anyway. Put it on your Christmas list and I’ll see what I can do.”
HEIDI: “That’s a nice thought, but I don’t know if I want to wait until Christmas, that’s 60 days away. How much is it?”
ME: “Sixty days, are you kidding me? (Between the heart palpitations I’m thinking, where has the year gone!) It’s going to be here in no time! (Think peace, I think. Don’t freak out! Enjoy Thanksgiving, first, my brain tries to reassure me.) Educating the WholeAHearted Child is $22.00. It would be the best gift to get if you’re even considering homeschooling.
It has chapters pertaining to: HOME, LEARNING, METHODS for Discipleship Studies, Disciplined Studies, The Study of Ideas, Discovery Studies and The Study of Living with an eye on your child’s Divine design and natural bent, and LIVING.
You can look up *https://apologia.securesites.net/pdfs/TOC/297.pdf to see the Table of Contents in detail, and if you go to *https://apologia.secutesites.net/pdfs/sample/297.pdf you can view a sample of the entire 1st chapter. You’ll notice there is additional information along the margins of the main text, Scripture references and notable quotes. There’s even more in other chapters, throughout the book. You’ll find answers to questions, like What about Socialization? Information and statistics. “…nearly 4 percent of the school-age population are homeschoolers.” That’s more than 2 million K-12 children in the U.S. that are homeschooled, which is considerably more than the estimated 30,000 when I began to homeschool. There are recommended resources and suggested math tools, lists of good books and field trip tips and rules.
Starting in chapter two there are italicized notes, under the heading of IN OUR HOME. Located at the bottom of a page, these snippets offer a glimpse into the Clarkson’s own home. This is what you’ll read on page 217, “With all the baskets lying around our house, someone might think we like to shop at the local Farmers’ Market. Except for one thing – they are all filled with books! Next to just about every comfortable couch or overstuffed chair, there is a big can or wicker basket of fruits and vegetables for the mind. The baskets were originally filled with random or topical selections of books (holiday, illustrated stories, heroes, preschool, etc.). Later we turned them into personal reading – one for each child and one for library books. We change the selection periodically with input from the children. It’s so fulfilling to see our children grab books to read alone or together stretched out on the couch or stuffed into the overstuffed chair. Now if we can just find a good Farmers’ Market for books.” With all of their years of personal education, experience and accomplishments, Clay and Sally Clarkson seem very humble. I didn’t find judgment or absolutes in this book. I encountered an undeniable love of Christ, family, life and learning, and the desire to pass that on to anyone and everyone that will listen.
Oh, I almost forgot, there are also more than 15 essential, time-saving, record-keeping, organizational forms at the end of the book. One of my favorites is the “My 24 Family ‘Ways to Be” – Godly Character” form. The “Ways to Be” are from Our 24 Family Ways: A Family Devotional Guide by Clay Clarkson from Whole Heart Press. 24 Character traits and their descriptions are listed and memorized. They are all simply and clearly written, but we’ve been concentrating on three for the past few weeks. #8 Forgiveness – Treating someone who has offended me as though I had never been hurt. #18 Peacemaker – Finding a way to avoid or end a disagreement rather than to begin or win it. #21 Integrity – Knowing what is right and living that way.”
HEIDI: “I don’t think you have to convince me. I think it’s more of a decision of when, not if; so, if I decide that I can’t wait until Christmas for this book, or if I decide to give it to myself for Christmas, but at an earlier date, where can I find it?”
ME: “Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc. has a website at *https://apologia.securesites.net/ and you can find it there under apologia Press, Resources for Parents, along with Read for the Heart, another apologia book, by the Clarkson’s daughter, Sarah, that I reviewed this past May.”
Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc.
1106 Meridian Plaza Suite 220
Anderson, IN 46016 US
telephone – 888.524.4724
Questions or Comments for the Clarkson’s can be addressed to:
Whole Heart Ministries
P.O. Box 3445
Monument, CO 80132
email – www.wholeheart.org
telephone – 888.488.4466
ME: “I’ll let you know, Heidi, when I get my review posted and you can read my final thoughts about it then. But, honestly, I suspect it’ll sound a lot like this conversation, shared straight from the heart. I’ll attach a link to my crew mates reviews, too; so, you can read some other opinions.”
And so it is…
There’s little more to write for this review. I think Educating the WholeHearted Child is a treasure chest full of God’s goodness, and every time I dip my hand into it, turn the page, I pull out another priceless gem. I find it remarkable that this book has made such a defining impact on my life. I trust God that His timing is perfect and this is the exact place of weariness that I needed it’s restorative power. I am ever in awe of Him and His great love for me and the family that I adore.
This product was given to me, free of charge, in exchange, for my honest review, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew. I receive no other compensation for my reviews on this blog. The opinions expressed are my own.
Your comments are most welcome. Thanks.
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