I am so excited to share with you one of my very favorite homeschooling books ever – Educating the WholeHearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson. This book was one of the first homeschooling books I read nearly 6 years ago and it has been one that I have read, re-read and referred to often over these last 6 years. You can imagine how thrilled I was to be able to review the new updated 3rd edition of Educating the WholeHearted Child($22)! The 3rd edition has been significantly updated and expanded and has the added benefit of an additional 14+ years experience and wisdom that Clay and Sally can share. They have now graduated 3 (wait..maybe their youngest has graduated, now, too) of 4 children. So, they know what they are talking about when it comes to educating and raising children – wholehearted children.
When I first read this book, it gave me the confirmation that Mr. D and I were indeed doing as the Lord had called us to do. That we were doing right by our children and our family and the decision we made would have long term benefits. I have seen that manifested in our family over the last years of learning together – through the crazy, busy, trials, joys, laughter and tears. Educating the WholeHearted Child isn’t just a how-to homeschool manual, but a how-to build strong, faith filled home, families and children manual.
I’ll give you a run-down of what you’ll find and then share a few more of my personal thoughts!
First, this is a *big* book. Over 350 pages big. That’s a good 100+ pages over the last edition. This isn’t a pick up and read in a day book, either. It is one to be savored and studied and referred back to often. The new cover states that it is a learning manual for ages 4-14, but honestly, this is a book that has nuggets of wisdom for *all* ages – parents behavior included! I had to snap a pic of my well-loved, tattered 2nd edition comparing it to my new 3rd edition – it won’t be long before the new one looks as tattered, I’m afraid!
There are 4 main sections – each 4-5 chapters long
- Home – This discusses what a Christian home looks like, the Christian homeschool, discipleship and education.
- Learning – This lays out the details of the WholeHearted Learning Model, creating a learning environment, understanding your child and a new chapter on older students. This section also has a brief explanation of the different homeschooling methods and compares them to the WholeHearted Learning Model.
- Methods – This fleshes out each of the 5 pillars of the “WholeHearted Learning Model” – Discipleship Studies, Disciplined Studies, Discussion Studies and Discretionary Studies
- Living – This section gives insight on how to keep it all together – the house, the kids, the spirit, the schooling and the vision!
Next is a resource section that shares Clay and Sally’s favorite books for family and homeschooling as well as several forms such as a learning agenda, chores, calendar, reading records and so on. You can find a Sample Chapter and the Table of Contents on Apologia’s website.
The WholeHearted Learning Model uses 5 areas of study and is structured much like a house with each forming an integral part to building a whole, strong house.
- Discipleship Studies – The solid foundation of the house, the study of the bible, this area shapes your children’s hearts to love and serve God and to know His word.
- Disciplined Studies – The study of the basics (structured learning) – reading, writing, math and thinking to shape your child’s foundational skills.
- Discussion Studies – The study of ideas and ideals (relational learning) – literature, history, fine arts to feed your child’s mind by giving them the best in living books and fine arts.
- Discovery Studies – The study of learning to know (self-directed learning) -nature, science, creative arts and all interests to stimulate your child’s love of learning by creating opportunities for curiosity, creativity and discovery
- Discretionary Studies – The study of living – life skills, church family, community life to give your child the opportunity to develop a range of skills and abilities for their adult life.
I have loved this book, both old and new editions. Even before I had received the review copy, I had planned on purchasing the newer edition so I could benefit from the wisdom of experience that I knew would be included in the new edition. I haven’t been disappointed! There are tips on how to create a learning atmosphere in your home, how to pick good books, how to stay the course when life gets overwhelming – all grounded in scripture. The only danger with reading a book that shares so much truth, at least for me, is that I want to change things *yesterday* and make them “perfect”! What we need to remember, is that building strong families and wholehearted children is a journey with much learning to be done by parents and children. God has created the family as the perfect learning environment because it gives us so many opportunities to practice all of those skills that are necessary to grow in Him. Patience, Perseverance, Love, Peace, Understanding, Kindness and Joy….Educating the WholeHearted Child is a wonderful “how-to” manual to guide us as parents in cultivating those virtues in both our children and ourselves. I highly recommend this book for both new homeschooling parents, veteran homeschoolers and anyone wanting to build strong families. Oh…the new edition will now claim its predecessors spot on my nightstand. The older version…well, I think it is time to pass it on to our local homeschooling lending library so it can go on encouraging others!
**Any products reviewed by me as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.