I like to tell people I’m an accidental homeschooler. It was never in our game plans. Yet, when we started homeschooling I jumped in with both feet into deep, deep waters! We chose this path about 2 months into Rose’s 1st grade year. She was attending a Christian school which we loved and had a teacher who she adored. Our decision to make this change came after a lot of prayer over how to handle some bumps Rose was facing in school which presented themselves in very emotional ways. While we hated to leave this school we felt I could address some of the challenges she faced better one-on-one at home. While there were numerous resources available, I didn’t really research online or read any books because it happened rather fast. I look back and wonder how I may have done things differently early on if I had read books from experienced homeschool families like God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn from Julie Polanco.
Julie Polanco is a veteran homeschool mom who is seeking the Lord as she goes along. It is important to me to know the sources of my information use the Bible as a starting point. While there can be some good information gleaned from sources not grounded in Scripture, I feel more at ease diving into a book I know is. I encourage you to read her testimony found here. I think you will find it to be both interesting and encouraging!
In her newest book the author seeks to help parents navigate the twists and turns which come while homeschooling from a biblical perspective. I truly appreciate the author’s desire to put the Lord first in every chapter. It is a wonderful reminder to keep Him in the forefront of our schooling when it is very easy to put ourselves or our children in that place. The author’s personal stories and experiences provide an excellent first-hand account from someone who has really been there in the trenches. There will be many voices in your life as you homeschool your young children who will offer advice on everything from scheduling to curriculum choice. While well-meaning and supportive, it is harder to accept this advice unless they are personally experienced homeschooling.
My favorite aspect were the thoughtful questions provided at the end of each chapter. This would make a great group read for homeschooling moms! I also liked the opportunity to really think through my own philosophy as a part of reading this book.
My favorite chapter in the book was Giving Teens the Wings to Fly. This is probably because my oldest is now 13 and my younger two are fast approaching! I truly appreciated the insights offered here on expectations and responsibility (both at home and work), looking ahead to post-graduation (college or no college?), and allowing teens to find their identity. The only issue I did not fully agree with was to what extent to allow them to find their identity through style. I felt the author recommended giving too much choice and freedom to do whatever the child wanted as soon as they turned 13. While I do feel it is important to allow more choices to be made, in our home there will still be guidelines and permissions given when it comes to dress and style.
Much of the author’s advice is from personal experience with her own children. Some have learning challenges and others do not. I appreciate her insights into natural learning methods, but I am cautious anytime someone declares a particular style of learning God’s way of learning. My personal opinion is that the Lord can use a variety of styles and approaches to learning as we are all uniquely created. Where some students need more freedom to explore, others thrive with a more structured style. I do think it is important to consider a variety of learning styles and structures for homeschooling one must consider their children’s temperament as well as their own teaching style when choosing how to guide their children through homeschooling.
Overall I think this would be a helpful book to read when first starting out on your homeschooling journey, but as with all homeschool books the best way to approach it is to glean what works for your family for implementation without feeling obligated to implement the rest.