Some years ago when I was still navigating my way through all the various approaches to homeschooling, a book was given to me to read which, to this day remains my ‘mainstay’ in how we stay on course on our homeschooling journey.
‘Educating the Wholehearted Child’ by Clay and Sally Clarkson is comprehensive resource for home educating families, providing all the necessary insight and guidance for “educating and nurturing your children’s hearts, minds, and souls”. At the heart of our children’s education, we want a home and family life that supports and equips them to grow into wholehearted adults – isn’t that the desire so many of us have?
I was excited to get the new edition into my hands recently, which reflects an additional 15 years of wisdom and experience from the Clarksons, and it far surpassed my (unrealistically high) expectations! It is still quite simply the best homeschooling resource ever written. Inside the 376pp of this latest edition are 4 sections – Home, Methods, Learning, and Living – which are further subdivided into 18 chapters.
I love how this isn’t a book to tell you exactly what to do, but it is full of principles and insight so you can create your own vision and plan for your family’s journey.
What is ‘Wholehearted Learning’?
According to the Clarksons: “The WholeHearted Learning model is a natural, home-centred way to nurture, disciple and educate your children to raise each on to be a wholehearted child”. (p xi)
Wholehearted learning is not a program or a curriculum, and in fact the book even states: “How we express wholehearted learning in our home will be, and in fact should be, different from how you express it in yours” (p15).
For us, a wholehearted approach to our children’s education is about setting an environment in our home where our children:
- Know their value and purpose;
- Know and experience God’s love;
- Have opportunity to develop a living and vibrant relationship with Him, out of which they encounter His love, and love others extravagantly;
- Enjoy the adventure of learning and discovering their gifts and talents;
- Enjoy rich and satisfying relationships with each other and with us, their parents.
We partner with the Holy Spirit in tailoring our children’s education to co-operate with the purpose he has for their lives. At a practical level, we can also consider each of our children’s learning styles, and their unique personality, giftedness and creativity in designing a plan for an education that is rich and alive, and that equips them to live their lives in fullness and abundance.
With Christ at the foundation of our lives, and home at the centre of nurturing, discipleship and education, we then set up a structure and environment that will incorporate our methods and programs. We seek to bring in worthy thoughts and ideas, cultivate healthy relationships with others, and to raise well-rounded whole hearts that are ready to live purposeful lives.
The WholeHearted Learning Model – Four Essentials Of Our Family’s Homeschool
In “Educating the WholeHearted Child”, the four key components that define the “WholeHearted Learning homeschool approach” are: home, learning, methods, and living. (p16)
Over the next four days, I’m going to write on how each of these are expressed in our family, and how we have/are tailoring our homeschool (and essentially our family life) to journey in this direction. For the purpose of this series, I am calling them the ‘four essentials’.
We are still growing into this and far from perfect in how we live this out. But without a vision, we would be walking aimlessly, without direction and clear purpose, and our homeschooling would be ‘built on the sand’ as such. The Clarkson’s book has given us a basis for understanding how we are to build our family life, so we can raise those whole hearts I mentioned above. I pray God will grace us to live out the vision we have for our family.
Whether you’re new to homeschooling, a veteran, or somewhere in between, it’s my hope that this series re-energises and renews your purpose and vision for homeschooling.
- Purchase “Educating the WholeHearted Child” from Amazon
- Purchase “Educating the WholeHearted Child” from Book Depository
- Visit WholeHeart Ministries (the website of Clay and Sally Clarkson)
NB. These essentials are not laid out in this manner in Clay and Sally’s most excellent book, ‘Educating the WholeHearted Child’ nor are they a summary of the books content. But rather this is what I’ve understood from reading their approach, and have used their words of wisdom and insight to develop our family’s own ‘wholehearted’ approach to our homeschooling.
You might also be interested in the other posts in this series:
- Day 1: The Essentials Of Our ‘WholeHearted’ Homeschool
- Day 2: Our ‘WholeHearted’ Homeschool: Home
- Day 3: Our ‘WholeHearted’ Homeschool: Learning
- Day 4: Our ‘WholeHearted’ Homeschool: Methods
- Day 5: Our ‘WholeHearted’ Homeschool: Living