Many view homeschooling as an alternative option of education, but I believe it was the first form of education and still is the most natural. In her book, God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn, Julie Polanco gives us a fresh insight on non-traditional education. As a mom of four and graduating her oldest, she speaks and writes from experience.
This 160+ page book is not exactly a ‘how-to’ book and not exactly a ‘how-not-to’ book. It’s more a conversation from one part to another, sharing information and encouragement about how best to navigate this parenting/homeschooling journey we are on.
Right off the bat I could relate to the author. Ms. Polanco shares from her personal experience about how she had an idealized dream of obedient, respectful children who loved books and loved learning, who were crafty and creative. If she followed the most popular trends in homeschooling that’s what she’d get, right? That’s what she thought, that’s what I thought, but that isn’t what how things turned out.
Instead, she found she was becoming a slave to her curriculum choices and school plans. Have you ever been frustrated by a child who didn’t get excited about the plans you had for their schooling? What if my kids give me sub-par work on their assignments? What if they don’t want to learn from me? As a parent do I say “This is what I decided, so do it, no matter what.” or is there a better way?
Some call it un-schooling, some call it natural education, but whatever you call it, connecting with our kids and giving them the best possible environment and opportunity to learn, grow and develop is what this book addresses. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1 NIV) Do not become a slave to your curriculum. Do not let your academics become your religion. Instead, consider how amazing it is the God leads children themselves to discover His truths. These are the things the author discusses in the pages of her book.
God Schooling is divided into two parts:
Part One – Dispelling Myths in which we read about ideas for natural learning and education rather than a forced method and gives us a healthy definition of ‘homeschooling.’
Part Two – Practice in which we read about how this philosophy is put into practice at different development levels in our child’s life.
Each chapter is written in an easy, conversational tone but sprinkled with mentions of homeschooling and education experts, science and child psychology studies. Raymond & Dorothy Moore, Charlotte Mason, John Holt, Mary Hood are just a few she mentions.
There is a list of Study Questions at the end of every chapter as well, which can help you take the topics even deeper. It’s easy for us to just take the word or recommendation of those around us as we plan out our homeschooling journey without considering how God is calling us to this task or what might work best with each of our children. The chapters and ideas in this book encourage us to take a step back and consider for ourselves, even if it goes against mainstream ideas.
In the last chapters, Ms. Polanco also addresses practical things like how to get started, record-keeping as well as giving us a Q&A section. These are all helpful and easy to sift through, applying as it best suits our family and situation. Pray, Play, Love Life and Do Stuff are a sort of simplistic summary I have made for myself on how to implement what I’ve learned reading through this book.
Julie Polanco is an author, homeschool mom to four. Besides her books, she has written for The Old Schoolhouse magazine and is the instructor for Botany, a course offered by SchoolhouseTeachers.com.
Here’s some great news – the e-book version of God Schooling is half price sale until August 22! That’s a great way to grab a copy of this book. You can read what others thought about this book by visiting my fellow Review Crew Mates – just click on the image below.