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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

TOS Review Educating the Wholehearted Child

Ever since we started homeschooling I have had people ask me for books to read about it.  They were interested in homeschooling their children and wanted to get more information.  There have been a few books that I would recommend but never one that I could say with any firm conviction of being "the one to read."  Some were too lofty and intellectual, some were too touchy feely.  None were just right.

Until now.  I have found a book that I would recommend with complete confidence.  This book is that good.

Educating the WholeHearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson is a book I wish I would have had when we started on this journey.  It would have relieved some burdens and bi-passed a whole slew of other problems that have arisen from not completely understanding the mission of homeschooling.

"A home-centered, wholehearted approach to learning is a biblical lifestyle, not an institutional experiment in education.  It is a renewed expression of living and learning within the trusted biblical institution of the home."

This book is about so much more than how to educate your child at home.  It is about following God's path in your family's life and in your child's education.  The first section of the book talks about the Home.  In this section they cover the Three Priorities of a Christian Home.  Those priorities are: Home Nurture, Home Discipleship, and Home Education.  Each of these topics is covered in depth and with great care to consult the Scriptures.  There were so many moments of a revealing of something in our lives that needed to be brought to light that I can't even list them all.  I have highlighted so many things that I could make a book of just those items!

"A Christian home is one in which the parents purposefully keep Jesus Christ in the center of every area of family life."

Section 2 talks about Learning, The WholeHearted Learning Method.  In the first chapter of this section the authors list the different types of schooling and what they entail and how they are accomplished.  It is an exhaustive list and well worth the read.  I really thought I knew what each of the "styles" were but was surprised at how much I didn't know.  Or understand about them.  It has really made me re-think our chosen method not because I think we are wrong but because I am seeing that we haven't fully understood the path we are on.  Does that make sense?  I think we can become so focused the academics that we lose sight of the heart of our children and what God has planned for their lives.

"In God's economy, to be educated is not a matter of something you know or have achieved.  Rather, to be educated is something you become.  A truly educated child is one who has the desire and the ability to learn and to grow as a whole person.  The desire to learn(will) is from the hear; the ability to learn(skill) is in the mind."

"Your child is not just a soulless brain that needs to be filled up with facts by a teacher but a person in relationship with you and God who has eternal value, dignity, and purpose because they are made in the image and likeness of their Creator."

That puts a whole new perspective on things, doesn't it?  It sure did for me.  The rest of Section 2 focuses on the different aspects of WholeHearted Learning all the way up through 14 years of age.  There is a great chapter called Beyond the WholeHearted Child that talks about the teen years and preparing your child for God's call on their lives and their future careers.  I know this is one section that will be well read in our house!

Section 3 is all about Methods.  This is the section that most homeschooling books focus on so much so that everything else is lost and the mom feels so overwhelmed and under qualified that she is tempted to give up.  I know that there have been several homeschooling books that I quit reading because I didn't feel smart enough to even be reading them let alone educating my child.  It is quite depressing when that happens.  I have not felt that with this book.  At all.  I have been encouraged, exhorted,  convicted, and had so much revealed to me about our home life and our home education.  But I have never felt like it was too much.

Section 4 is all about Family Life.  In this section there are some wonderful descriptions of the mother and father and what their responsibilities are within the family and homeschool.  I was, again, encouraged and convicted by what I read.  One thing that really stuck out to me because of where we are at right now is the acronym FIRST.  It stands for:

F=Managing Family
I=Managing Information
R=Managing Rest
S=Managing Stuff
T=Managing Time

Each "managing" is defined and then later talked about in-depth to give you a complete picture of what they mean and ideas to help your family in each section.

"...on a practical level, there really are few other things in your homeschooling life that will challenge your attitudes and spirit more than the daily duties of domesticity and the tasks of homemaking.  They never go away, at least not completely, and will be a constant and demanding drain on your already limited time and energy if you don't find some way to contain them.  You must find some way to make managing your family manageable."

That completely spoke to me.  That is where I am at and I am going crazy with trying to figure it out.  In this section there are some very simple yet practical ways to help with each of the "FIRSTS."  This is another section that will be read many times over the years.

There is just so much in this book that I could not possibly tell you about it all.  I highly recommend this book and will tell all my friends about it.  This is my new "go-to" book for new homeschoolers or moms that are in the midst of homeschooling and needing some rejuvenation.  I am in love with this book.  I have been taking it everywhere and reading things to my husband as I highlight them!

I almost forgot the Resources Section!  In this section there is a list of favorite books and forms, forms, forms.  There are quite a few of these forms that I will be printing off in the very near future.  ;-)

Educating the WholeHearted Child is not a book to breeze through it must be digested slowly, in small bites, with much prayer and careful study.  But when you do start reading this book I highly recommend having a pen and highlighter to mark the things that speak to you.  But a word of warning-there will be a lot of highlighting when you are done!

Educating the WholeHearted Child is available from the Apologia website for $22.  It is an over-sized paperback book that contains 376 pages of incredible information.  The side of every page is filled with Scripture, quotes, and more information on the subjects covered in the pages.  The side notes are amazing in and of themselves. 

If you are looking for a book that can refresh your vision for homeschooling and encourage your heart, this is the book for you.

If you want to see what other Crew Members thought of this book, head over to The Crew Blog and read their reviews. 


**I received Educating the WholeHearted Child through The TOS Crew in exchange for my honest review.

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