Educating the Wholehearted Child, by Clay and Sally Clarkson, is a fabulous book. It lays out a model of education that starts out with the firm foundation of a Christian home and then focuses a lot on living books.
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
I wish I had had Educating the Wholehearted Child to read two years ago, when we first started our homeschooling journey. It is so full of information and advice that I don’t even know where to begin in writing this review. One important aspect of the book is that it doesn’t just focus on the academic aspect of school, but addresses raising children as a whole. It has helped me be more visionary with regards to the children, looking to the future, as opposed to just looking ahead for the current year.
It was a bit overwhelming to dive into the book when I first received it. The layout was distracting to me – the sidebars are as full of information and great quotes and scriptures as the main text. To help myself focus, I started off by reading all the little boxes labeled “In Our Home” that are scattered throughout the book. These are blurbs in which the Clarksons give us a bit of insight into how homeschooling worked in their home and they were very inspiring. Being inspired, and having gained focus, I proceeded to start at the beginning and started reading.
One of my desires as a homeschooler is for my children to love God and to seek a relationship with Him. The base of the Clarksons’ Wholehearted educational model is discipleship studies and this is well explained in the book. I loved the chapter on “shepherding your child’s spirit to long for God.”
Educating the Wholehearted Child also emphasizes nurturing the love of reading good books, which resonates with my family’s favorite activity of snuggling on the couch with a pile of books toppling over at our side. The Clarksons reassure that a curriculum is not necessary for an effective education. They offer a plethora of ideas on how to get around not using curriculum. It helped me tremendously to read this advice as I sometimes struggle with wanting a curriculum to solve all my homeschool problems. My entire book is peppered with post-its and miscellaneous wrappers – whatever I could get my hand on – to hold the page of some interesting idea, piece of wisdom, heartfelt conviction, etc.
In fact, I loved this book so much that I went ahead and puchased their daughter’s book, Read for the Heart, a companion book that consists of hundreds of reviews of living books. You can read the TOS reviews from last year of this book here.
Educating the Wholehearted Child is a book that deserves a place on the bookshelf of all Christian homeschooling families. I am so thankful to have discovered it. It is now my go-to book and the number one (non-Montessori) book I will recommend to anyone just starting their journey in homeschooling.