Oct 232011
 

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that I enjoy reviewing homeschool curriculum. I love comparing and contrasting different resources. Most of all, I love finding products that really work for my children. In addition to curriculum, I’m also a bit obsessed with researching methods of home education. I don’t think that this obsession is a reflection of a lack of satisfaction in my own teaching methods. I am just fascinated by all the different ways that children learn and how different people have implemented different learning strategies. Plus, I am always eager to see if there’s something else I should be doing to help my children learn.

When I was given the opportunity to review Educating the WholeHearted Child (3rd edition) by Clay Clarkson (with Sally Clarkson), I was very interested because it was a book that I had heard of, but never read. I thought I knew a little bit about the book, but I was mistaken! I thought the book was a “standard” size paperback book (maybe 250 pages max) that contained ideas to help you and your children enjoy learning together. What I found was much more!

This book is huge! It is has 376 (8-1/2 X 11 sized) pages full of information. In addition to the main text, each page has a sidebar filled with extra information such as supporting scriptures, quotes, and historical details. It is impossible for me to thoroughly cover this book in this single review, both because the book is so lengthy that a thorough review would be too long, and I honestly have not had time to digest all the ideas discussed.

My very abbreviated version of the Clarkson’s basic premise is this.

The Christian home should be the center of learning for the Christian family. Learning should be a natural part of family life, and the primary goal of any Christian family should be to raise children who love and serve Christ.

The subtitle of the book is A Handbook for Christian Home Education. This is an excellent title for what you’ll find in this volume. The book is divided into 4 large sections.

  1. Home
  2. Learning
  3. Methods
  4. Living

Within these sections are details of everything from how to train your children, how to be discerning about what you allow into your home, descriptions of different homeschool methods, various personality types, and a thorough explanation of their own method of home educating.

In their home, they divided all the various “subjects” into 5 different categories. These 5 D’s  are:

  • Discipleship Studies
  • Disciplined Studies
  • Discussion Studies
  • Discovery Studies
  • Discretionary Studies

Discipleship studies are the most important and include Bible knowledge, reading, devotions, and study.

Disciplined studies are the foundation of other study and are essentially the traditional 3R’s.

Discussion studies are history, geography, and fine arts. Included in this section are various methods like narration, reading aloud, and memorization.

Discovery studies include science, nature study, and foreign language.

Discretionary studies are all the extras. They discuss leaving time for private lessons, field trips, and really knowing your children’s strengths and weaknesses.

This only scratches the surface of what all you’ll find in Educating the WholeHearted Child. It’s really the compilation of the 20+ years of experience the Clarksons have in home educating their own family and ministering to other home educators.

I really appreciate their sharing all their knowledge and experience. But I must confess that certain parts of the book left me feeling more guilty than encouraged. I in no way think that this was their intent. Actually, I believe this is the complete the opposite of their intent. I am sure that they did not do all of the things listed, all the time, with all their children. But seeing them all in black and white, I began to think I was failing my children. They did say that all families were different and that every home would not look the same, but I still left feeling that somehow we weren’t measuring up to their standard of a Christian homeschool.

I do intend to spend more time reading this book. I want to read it slowly and allow more time to think and pray about what I’ve read. I wish I had read this years ago. I think I would have felt more encouraged reading it at the start of the journey than I do now, 8 years into it.

 

Educating the WholeHearted Child (3rd edition) is published by Apologia Educational Ministries. You can purchase a copy of the book from their website for $22.

 

Disclosure: I received a free copy of Educating the WholeHearted Child from Apologia to review. I was not compensated for this review and all opinions expressed are my own. This post contains an affiliate link.

 

 

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Sep 182011
 

Yesterday I posted about my insanely busy week. One of the things that I didn’t mention in that post was the weather turned cool on Friday. Thankfully, I knew the weather forecast ahead of time. But I had a problem.

Remember how I mentioned that my son had no fall clothes? We had a field trip scheduled for Friday. An outdoor one.

So, I found myself in a time crunch last week. In addition to everything else, I had to find jeans, a jacket, and sweats for my son before Friday.

So I decided that I would take my other son to his testing appointment and stop into one of the shopping centers nearby. The testing is in a different (unfamiliar) city, so I don’t know my way around very well. So I went driving through the nearby shopping centers only to discover there were no clothing stores!

But guess what I did find?

Goodwill.

I was able to find a pair of jeans in my son’s size, and a jacket and pants set for his cross country meet. They happen to be dark blue too! (I also found myself a pair of jeans.) All for $18.75!

So after just last week sharing my worries about finding affordable clothes for my oldest son, God provided in a real and tangible way.

Obviously I need to buy more clothes, but I love how God gives us these little encouraging things. He is going to provide what we need! I knew it before, but He has increased my faith.

(Just a little side note. I accidentally published last week’s article before I meant to. I really didn’t want to give the impression that this was a serious financial problem for us. I feel that maybe I sounded like we are desperate. We’re certainly not and didn’t want to imply that at all. I just wanted to talk about God’s provision and how we need to be careful about trying to figure out how God is going to provide for us.)

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Aug 312011
 

Academics are an important part of our homeschool. We have high standards and I make no apologies for that. But as we work hard, we try to remember 1 Corinthians 10:31:

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

God’s glory and serving God have always been the #1 priority of our homeschool and our lives.

At least that is our highest priority on paper.

I confess that it hasn’t always been my highest priority in practice. And there is a word for saying one thing and acting in a different way. It’s called hypocrite.

It’s not hard for kids to recognize. They can see it much easier than I could see it in myself.  And it’s so very dangerous.

But I am thankful that God is so gracious and merciful to me. He nudges me gently. (And sometimes not so gently.)

There were several things that I was “required” to read in the last month that God used mightily in showing me what my true priorities are.

One of them is this little book: How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids by Rachael Carman. Rachael begins the book with her own story of how she began homeschooling, and shares very openly the mistakes she made in trying to homeschool in her own power. She then begins to share 5 simple steps that will change your thinking about how your homeschool. She uses the acronym H.E.A.R.T.

H- Have a heart for the things of God
E- Enrich your marriage
A- Accept your kids
R-Release them to God
T-Teach them the Truth

I learned so much from this book. Well, learned is maybe not the right word. I have heard much of this before. I just wasn’t doing it. I was failing at the very first priority. I have to have a heart for the things of God! No wonder my kids weren’t having a heart for the things of God. I have to be a living, breathing example to them. I have to be more transparent with them. I have to demonstrate walking with God to them in a real way. I have to be faithful to Him. If I preach that to my children and fail to do it myself, I am a hypocrite!

I do not mean I have to be perfect. I also do not need to make my kids think I’m perfect. (That would be an impossible task anyway.) But I need to let them see my heart. And my heart needs to be focused on the things of God.

I have read the whole book and the other letters are just as powerful as the H. But H really spoke to me as I read the book the first time. I will be reading this again! (And in case you can’t tell, I highly recommend it to all homeschool moms.)

You can purchase this book from Apologia for $13.00.(Rachael and her husband Davis are the owners of Apologia Educational Ministries.) There is also a sample chapter available for free on the website.

 

You can read more reviews of How To Have a H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids on the Homeschool Crew blog.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book as a member of TOS Homeschool Crew. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

 

 

 

 

 

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