Monday, October 24, 2011

Educating the WholeHearted Child, from Apologia

~ Grace ~ ORIGIN Middle English : via Old French from Latin gratia, from gratus ‘pleasing, thankful’; related to grateful

This may not be a word that you automatically think of when considering homeschooling and all that it entails. However, it is the word that I feel best sums up Sally and Clay Clarkson's book "Educating the Wholehearted Child", now published by Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc. Clay and Sally Clarkson are determined to allow God to be the ruler of their children's home, heart, and education, while it is their job to draw (not push, pull, shove or yank) their children to God. That's Grace-filled parenting and educating in my opinion. :)

PhotobucketThis 376 page book is covered with Grace, and a genuine love, respect, and care for those who embark on this journey of learning at home. Side-bar scriptures and quotes from the likes of Charlotte Mason and H. Clay Trumbull (Author of Hints on Child Training, written in 1890), as well as more recent authors and writers are what I consider little "Grace-notes", perfect for a quick "Pick-me-up" for mom or dad. These are one of my favorite aspects of this book, but more about the specifics of the book in a minute.

I have owned the 2nd printing of this book for oh... about 7 years or so. It was gifted to me by a sweet homeschooling friend, and has been one of my most recommended books ever since. There is so much good material in this book, and with the latest revision(3rd printing), close to 130 more pages of insight and inspiration to invigorate the parent who feels inadequate or incompetent. This is a manual that give genuine, concrete advice to the new homeschooling parent, and is inspirational as a read for the veteran homeschool parent as well. As a matter of fact, I try to read, or at least browse through "Educating the Wholehearted Child" at least once per year, preferably before the new school year starts. ;)

I assume that most people reading this review, and eventually the book, most likely either currently are, or are considering, homeschooling. I also assume that those who would be most interested in this book are hoping to provide a Christian education for their children. These are important and foundational viewpoints. I understand, as do the Clarksons, that homeschooling isn't an option for every family, or even for every child within every family, but that it is a choice that will most likely change your family forever. The first few chapters of "Educating the Wholehearted Child" give parents some great scriptures to consider as well as some excellent "comparison charts" that may be useful if you are in the process of deciding whether homeschooling is the best path for someone in your family. 

Now a few more specifics about the book~
"Educating the Wholehearted Child" is organized into 4 main sections ~
Home, Learning, Methods, and Living, with each section split into 4-5 chapters.

Home deals mainly with Heart Issues
  • The first 2 chapters are "Learning to BE at HOME with Christ" and 
  • "Learning at HOME to BE with Christ". Subtle differences there! 
  • The following 3 chapters include "Shepherding Your Child's Spirit to Long for God"
  • "Shaping your Child's Heart to Live for God" and
  • "Strengthening Your Child's Mind to Learn for God".
I would do well to re-read these chapters on a biannual basis at the least, and monthly wouldn't be a bad idea! I tend towards a more "Just" method of parenting/homeschooling than a "Gracious" method of parenting/homeschooling, but I truly prefer the latter. :) (It's what I Wanna Be!) I must also add that there are some excellent visuals and acronyms to help remember the concepts covered. I like those!
Learning is more of a Concrete section, very useful for those just beginning their homeschool journey, but I enjoy re-reading this section on a semi-regular basis, just as a reminder...
  • Helps in discovering different methods and philosophies in Chapter 6
  • How to evaluate, manage and maintain your home and resources in Chapter 7
  • Assistance in discovering and understanding your child's learning style in Chapter 8 
  • Chapter 9 speaks to teaching the youth (aka teenager). 
Methods further breaks down the 5 main areas of study contained in the Clarkson's philosophy of Educating the Wholehearted Child. 
  • Discipleship~ Study of the Bible
  • Disciplined Studies ~ Study of the Basics~ The Three R's as well as Thinking Skills
  • Discussion Studies ~ The Study of Ideas~ from reading aloud, unit studies, history, art, etc... this is the "heart of the Wholehearted philosophy~ 
  • Discovery Studies~ The Study of Learning~ Creative Arts, Science, Nature Study, Computer Science and more~ Exciting!
  • Discretionary Studies~ The Study of Living~ Those subjects that are specific to each child based on their interests and abilities.
Living~ The final section is another one that I feel is inspirational and refreshing in nature~ it answers in some concrete as well as philosophical ways the question "How then shall we live?"  covering
  • Family~ Keeping the Vision Alive (covering family roles in a very grace-based manner)
  • Structure~ Keeping the Homeschooling Together (how to "Structure" your day~ very helpful for the newer homeschooling family)
  • Order~ Keeping the Home Together (Home management~ yep... I should read this section more often!)
  • Support~ Keeping the Spirit Strong (Where do you find yours? Local Group, internet group, moms's day out group, playdates, etc....) 
The final portion of the book includes a number of resources~ Book lists and a number of forms.

I hope that gave you a quick overview of the book, with some of my personal thoughts. Just to give you a "Taste", here's one of those side-bar notes I mentioned:

Love should be the silver thread
that runs through all your conduct. 
Kindness, gentleness, long-suffering, 
forbearance, patience, sympathy,
a willingness to enter into childish
troubles, a readiness to take part in
childish joys,~ these are the cords by
which a child may be led most easily, ~ 
these are the clues you must follow
if you would find the way to his heart. 
J.C. Ryle, The Upper Room, 1888

"Educating the Wholehearted Child" is a pleasing book, and I am thankful for the the information and inspiration it contains. Yes.... Grace is what it is about, in my mind.
Educating the Wholehearted Child ($22) can be purchased directly from Apologia Education Ministries    as well as other booksellers. Other parent resource books include The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling (My review) and How to Have a H.E.A.R.T For Your Kids (Link to Crew Blog).

For more opinions and reviews of "Educating the Wholehearted Child", please visit the Crew Blog. You'll find links to the table of contents and a sample chapter. I also recommend checking out Sally Clarkson's blog I Take Joy. It is a pleasant read with a "cuppa" tea when you have a few minutes for mom in the middle of the day. 

As always, I hope that this review helps you to determine where best to spend that precious homeschool budget.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this/these item(s)/service for free as part of the TOS Crew Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


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