Sunday, October 23, 2011

Review: Educating the WholeHearted Child

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How do I tell you about the best homeschool book that I've read in ages? How can I even start to describe the way I was touched and encouraged? How do I convey the way that this book didn't meet my expectations in one way but far exceeded anything I hoped for in so many other ways?

Educating the WholeHearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson truly is all that and more.

PhotobucketConfession time: When I found out that I would get to review this book, I didn't fully check out the product information page here. If I had, I would have known that the book is nearly 380 pages long. I could've even read the sample chapter and known that this was not a typical education book. This book isn't about teaching your child the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic as I first assumed. It's not about how to stay sane while teaching one child algebra and keeping another child from coloring over her big brother's geography map either.

Instead, Educating the WholeHearted Child is about creating a Christian home and teaching your child to serve God "with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind." (Taken from 1 Chronicles 28:9, the words David spoke to his son Solomon near the end of his life)

Perhaps the best way to let you, the reader, know if this book would touch you the way it touches me is to share a few of the many passages that I've underlined in my now dog-eared copy.

p. 42 "You will never be able to live up to either the real or imagined expectations you place on yourself and your children. Don't even try! Make it your goal to please God in your homeschool, not other people. If you are truly seeking to please God in all that you do at home, that is the reputation that matters to Him and the one that should matter most to you."

p. 75 "The true test of a child's education is not what they know at any one time relative to what other children know (or don't know). It is whether or not the child is growing stronger in all of the most important learning skills -- the skills that enable them to acquire knowledge, insight, and ability and to educate themselves independently."

p. 213 "Reading is much more than simply an academic discipline. It is the doorway between a life of dependence on other people on one side and a life of spiritual and personal freedom on the other."

p. 285 "No one has to remind you that your home domain can quickly get out of control and need to be subdued. That's why you need some principles, priorities, and convictions that will help you bring order and structure to your lifestyle. It's like laying out a garden so you'll know what goes where, when, how much, and what will be needed to keep it all healthy."

p. 310 "Motherhood is not a sentimental journey but a challenging marathon characterized by acts of giving -- giving to, giving over, giving away, giving in, giving out, and occasionally, when not enough is taken in, giving up. And that last one is the real challenge of the homeschooling lifestyle -- how to stay refreshed and replenished as a mother so you can keep giving out, without giving up."

I could share hundreds of other quotes. This definitely isn't a book that I read through quickly. I read a section, went back to underline a few things I wanted to refer back to, thought about it, then thought about it some more, and then read on a bit father. I know that I will be reading through this book many, many times as we continue homeschooling our children. If ever there was a book that was in danger of being read so much that it falls apart, this book is it.

Educating the WholeHearted Child is available from Apologia and can be ordered for only $22. I have also truly enjoyed reviewing a few other books offered by Apologia,  including Read for the Heart by Sarah Clarkson (see my review here) and How to Have a H.E.A.R.T for Your Kids by Rachel Carman (my review here).

If you'd like to hear what the other members of the review crew thought about Educating the WholeHearted Child, please visit The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew blog here.

I received a copy of Educating the WholeHearted Child as a member of the 2011 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, and I received no other compensation. In return, I agreed to give an honest review of the materials and how they worked for my homeschool family.


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