Where to begin?! I find myself cycling these words in my mind as I’ve contemplated this review. Suddenly I realize the irony in them. These were the words echoing through my thoughts as I even considered stepping out into what seemed like the vast unknown of homeschooling. And it was this book, in an earlier form, that helped me find answers, draw encouragement, discover resources and know in my heart that this gargantuan leap of faith wouldn’t find my family alone on the opposite side of a gorge. Educating the WholeHearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson remains the essential resource I cite unequivocally to new and veteran homeschoolers alike.
The WholeHearted Learning model is a discipleship-based, home-centered, whole-book approach to Christian home education that integrates real books, real life, and real relationships in a life-giving expression of God’s biblical design for the family. Educating the WholeHearted Child ~ p. 115
My thoroughly dog-eared second edition copy is unquestionably a meaty book. However, the third edition just being released by Apologia is so much more than a beautiful new cover and interspersed editorial tweaks so often found in revised book editions. I was giddy to find a full fifty percent increase in information, insight, and inspiration! It is one of those true resource books you return to again and again like a worn familiar path from which to forge new trails, or reorient yourself when a bump throws you off course or find momentum when ruts leave you stymied. And while it is so welcomingly conversational, Educating the WholeHearted Child isn’t a book you’ll inhale in a sitting, or even two or three… but something you will digest and deliberate and apply over time… like a piece of fine art… or the sage wisdom of knowing friends.
Whatever goals we set for our children, we must also set for ourselves. Whatever we want to be on our children’s hearts must first be on ours. Their sharpness will be determined by the quality of the whetting stone that puts an edge of truth on their hearts. We are that whetting stone. Educating the WholeHearted Child ~p. 54
Like having children, the choice to home educate will change your life… your home… your daily focus… in ways you can’t fully comprehend until you’ve already jumped into the deep water. Clay and Sally provide you with a solid basis of home education theory, their own personal experiences, thought-provoking Scripture and insightful gems from other home education leaders. The sidebars alone are a book unto themselves! Educating the WholeHearted Child will lead you to consider (in advance and along the way):
- The foundation of your decision from a biblical perspective
- How home education will look in your home
- Discipling your children (It gave me pause that my spell checker does not recognize this word.)
- The father’s unique role and the mother’s unique role
- How to shape learners with solid habits, an appetite for learning, creativity, curiosity, well-developed language skills, reasoning and wisdom
- Honing positive learning attitudes and positive teaching attitudes
- Home education methods (nearly 200 pages!)
- Identifying your children’s contrasting learning styles
- Approaching the WholeHearted Youth years
- Finding support
These highlights are by no means exhaustive! You will also find especially practical resource forms ready to be put to use, literature ideas, and mailing lists for quality home education resource providers. Foremost, you will find that you are not alone. You can do this… and do it well.
Clay… Sally… from the bottom of my heart, and those of so many others around the globe, thank you for helping to shape a generation of WholeHearted families, one home… one heart… at a time.
Are you ready to establish or renew your vision of home educating WholeHearted Children? Comment below for a chance to win a copy of Educating the WholeHearted Child. If you are eager to begin now, you can find a sample chapter here!
To learn more about Clay and Sally’s work at WholeHeart Ministries please visit their website or stay updated on Facebook. For more information about Educating the WholeHearted Child or other outstanding resources from Apologia, please visit their website or Facebook page as well!
Following are thoughts from our Co-Founder, Stef, and two members of our review team as they previewed Educating the WholeHearted Child:
“This is not a homeschool book – it is a homeschool manual. Clay and Sally Clarkson do a beautiful job transforming the homeschool idea into a heart to heart experience for the entire family. Unlike many other homeschool books – the main focus is not curriculum choices or teaching styles – it is Christ. And each page is heavily loaded with useful guidance. I am pleased it is more than simple hopeful words but rather a step by step, hand holding direction to best nurture, discipline, and instruct my children. Highly recommend for all homeschool families! After homeschooling for three years I am greatly encouraged (and now equipped) for the journey ahead.” ~ Stef, Educating Layton
“This is a book I wish I’d had before I started homeschooling 13 years ago – yet I recognize God’s perfect timing in bringing it to me now. If I had to pick two words that describe the spirit of the book to me, they would be nurture and discipleship. Clay and Sally Clarkson do an excellent and thorough job of presenting a real-life approach to home education, starting with a firm belief that God’s ways are best – and that they should be lived out in every area of life. Personally, this book came at a very good time for our family, as we are making some changes in how we homeschool our 9 children (who are now ages 4-16). We’ve always desired a realistic, “whole life” approach to home education, but have recently challenged ourselves to take it even further. The concepts presented in this book are fleshing out our thoughts and desires, and I have already begun putting many ideas into practice. I was calmed, encouraged, and motivated. Strongly and highly recommended!” ~ Kimarie, The Cardamom’s Pod
“Instead of looking at the small picture, (curriculum choices, academic achievements, and the like) Educating the WholeHearted Child is a reminder to look at the big picture. What is the big picture? Discipleship, family relationships, and the blessing of learning together. Those are the reasons most of us started this journey, and they’re what we need to focus on.” ~ Lisa, Cheerios Underfoot