"How to use real books and real life to make your home a vibrant center of living and learning for you and your child." That's what this book promises, via authors Clay and Sally Clarkson, and that's what it delivers!
This book could easily be the bible (lower case) of homeschooling with everything from legal requirements to reproducible pages to knowing if it's God's will for you to homeschool in the first place, including going through a perhaps not-so-obvious heart evaluation: Be Sure You Have Counted the Cost, Be Sure It Is God's Will for Your Family, Be Confident as a Home-Educating Parent, and Be Ready to Live by Faith.
Besides a recommended reading and homeschool resource list, Educating the WholeHearted Child additionally cites Scriptures, personal reflections, and educational quotes that will inspire you to do your best for your children as unto the Lord. I personally liked Martin Luther's quote used on page 14: "I am much afraid that the schools will prove the very gates of hell, unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures, and engraving them in the hearts of youth. I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount. Every institution in which means are not unceasingly occupied with the Word of God must be corrupt."
Over and over, Clay Clarkson (who Sally said did most of the work on this wonderful book) reiterates his family's theory on home education. Here's one example: "Home education is a ministry of discipleship with much the same concerns as Jesus addressed. You are building your child into a disciple -- you must be committed to finishing what you start. You are heading into a battle that will require all your resources to fight -- you must be prepared to face that battle wisely. Whether building or battling, you are taking up the cross for the sake of your children, and the cross always has a cost."
Words like that require chewing and, believe me, the entire book will take careful mastication. As you digest bit by bit, the book will change the way you think about homeschooling and the way you see your children. Whether the paragraph deals with discipline - "...you cannot disciple your children without discipline. ... Discipline, or training, is not an option for Christian parents - it is a command." - or with obedience - "Your children's obedience is the way they will show their love for God (John 14:15. Your job is to help them love God better." - or habits - "...it is not the child who forms habits; rather, it is the parents who form habits in the child." - I believe this book will reshape many adults into the parents He wants us to be so that we can shape His children into the adults He wants them to be.
The book is thorough, convicting, helpful, encouraging, nourishing, and insightful. I believe every homeschooler should have a thoroughly highlighted copy in his/her bookshelf. (It's easily the most highlighted book in my library!) Need help on a daughter whose orderliness leaves something to be desired? See page 45. You know that television isn't the best thing for your children, but you lack the backbone to turn it off? See page 49. Need help deciphering learning methods? See page 87. Want to know how the fine arts fit into your home study? Start reading on page 112. Want to understand what makes your child tick? Turn immediately to chapter six. Want a close up look at a schedule? Check page 181. Want to know the right way to get started, or to get restarted? Do not pass go; simply go to page 194.
Frankly, I have "lifted" several of their ideas from the "In Our Home..." section of the chapters. These give real-life ideas and examples of test taking, hands-on science, art and classical music appreciation, bedtime stories, setting up a learning atmosphere, and more. Educating the WholeHearted Child is like a peek inside a homeschool that works and has the fruit to prove it. The Clarksons obviously have taken pains to help us help our children. They want us to cause our children to make a mark on eternity.
In her workshops at the August, 2001 homeschool conference in Conroe (Houston-area), Texas, Sally Clarkson encouraged parents to fill their homes with good things.
"If God didn't create it to look like that, we don't want it," she told her family's theory.
Clarkson told the standing-room-only crowd that "children naturally want to learn. Cooperate with what God has put in them. Not everyone is a good speller and not all children have to learn the same things, and not all learn the same way. They'll be excellent in different ways." You could nearly hear the collective sigh of relief!
"The whole future generation is at stake because most parents don't know that children matter," she said, a pleading in her voice. "I need to be committed to my children's destiny."
Educating the WholeHearted Child will help you guide your children to their destiny because you will be convinced that not only the children matter, but you matter and are important to rearing them for the Lord.
This is the best $20.95 you could spend on your homeschooling endeavors.