Educating the Wholehearted Child


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I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Educating the Wholehearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson was my number one Homeschool How-to resource. I read it every summer, and have upgraded my copy each time a new edition has come out. I am currently on the third edition. If you have either of the first two editions and enjoy them, the third edition is a hefty upgrade and I ‘wholeheartedly’ endorse it. Smile

I’ve read several helpful homeschool books, so why is Educating the Wholehearted Child my favorite? Two reasons pop into my mind immediately. First of all, it is so practical. And, secondly, the advice within brings a sense of peace and calm. Many a homeschooling book has brought a sense of pressure, condemnation, and not doing enough, however unintentional. But Educating the Wholehearted Child makes me feel like homeschooling is a doable venture. And I appreciate that.


Educating the Wholehearted Child is written from a Christian perspective. One of my favorite parts of the book is their model for learning, called the wholehearted learning model. Shown as a picture of a house, the base is biblical, discipleship studies, upon which the rest of learning is built. Disciplined, Discussion, and Discovery studies make up the bulk of the house and include basic skills, literature, fine arts, history, and science. Discretionary studies form the roof, and include electives.

The first part of Educating the Wholehearted Child gives an introduction to homeschooling, including Scripture supporting it and comparisons with regular education models. In the sections on learning and methods, schools of homeschooling are explained, such as the Charlotte Mason and unit study methods. The wholehearted learning model is presented in detail, including learning objectives, suggestion methods, and materials for each type of study. Helpful sidebars and “in our home” sections offer practical advice and show that the authors are not just giving the reader theory, but has actually practiced the principles in their own home.

The final section provides resources on making homeschooling work for your family. It includes several articles written from one homeschooling dad to another. The rest discusses planning, keeping the home under control while homeschooling, and keeping mom from getting burnt out. The appendix lists helpful books and includes forms that can be used for planning purposes and for managing the home.

If you are just beginning your homeschooling journey, this is the one book I would recommend you read before you start. And if you have been homeschooling awhile, you can still glean excellent advice from Educating the Wholehearted Child. I am just about ready to read it again-for the 8th time-as I head into another year of homeschooling. I know by the time I am done that I will be pepped up, recommitted to our education choice, and ready to go!


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