Thursday, October 20, 2011

The WholeHearted Child by Clay & Sally Clarkson

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In my sixteen years of homeschooling I have read a lot of homeschool how to and encouragement books.  Educating the WholeHearted Child is one I have seen throughout the years but never picked up. The day this new edition came up for review, I was feeling rather discouraged. I'd followed the supposed formula and I wasn't seeing the promised results. I needed encouragement to continue despite disappointment, disillusionment, and fear. Unfortunately, that is far from what I found.

When the book arrived, I began reading with anticipation...and felt like it was something I could have written eons ago when I first began homeschooling. You see, I became a Christian, graduated from Bible college, and began homeschooling all within a few years.  I was so excited about everything and wanted to do it all "right". It was oh so easy to slip into legalism in all areas of my life.  Following the crowd was much more simple than following the Spirit.

Soon I found myself deciding there was a "right" way to dress, a "right" way to church, a "right" way to educate my children (homeschooling), and a "right" way to homeschool.  If you disagreed, you were wrong. Simple as that.  Of course, this didn't last too long with me.  God has created me to be a somewhat free spirit.  I'm naturally independent and I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve. I couldn't live within the box for too long and thankfully found freedom to follow His Spirit rather than someone else's version of what God wanted.

I'm not going to place these motives on the authors of this book at all. I do not know their hearts.  What I do know is that the tone of the book brought me back to my legalism of old. The idea that homeschooling is the Biblical way, that if we follow these suggestions our children will turn out a certain way...I've been there, done that, and found it doesn't work.  Sheltering, Courtship, and any other X,Y, and Z doesn't always accomplish what you think it will.  My parenting is much different now than it was with my older kids and I now rest in knowing that I follow His guiding the best I can and my kids are in His hands.  They will make their own choices.  They must have their own faith.  I can't give it to them by homeschooling or sheltering or getting rid of my TV or whatever. I can teach and live and love God and pray they see Him in me, but there are no guarantees in the end.  There are no formulas.

I love much in the methods presented in this book.  I'm a huge proponent of literature based studies and reading whole books and real life learning. These ideas are wonderful.  But for me, the overshadowing of a "right" way was too much. The tone seemed to be one of spiritual arrogance (again, I would not presume to place that on the authors, this is simply my take away as I read) and therefore I cannot recommend it.

The WholeHearted Child is available for $22 from Apologia Education.


*Disclosure: I received this book at no cost for review purposes. A positive review was not required, merely an honest one. For more reviews on this book and more, please see the TOS Crew.*



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