It’s interesting, and encouraging, to read a book about homeschooling occasionally. I found God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn, by Julie Polanco, quite interesting, as well as convicting. I’m still not sure what I’m doing with what I read here, though!
God Schooling is focused on natural learning, or unschooling. In the author’s experience, using a curriculum destroyed her children’s love of learning and her relationship with them—or at least caused damage in those areas. She admits that there is a place for using a curriculum—but cautions against allowing it to become a religion. Mainly, she encourages parents to seek God about their children’s education and to let the children decide how and what they will learn. All the way through this book, parents are encouraged to share their passions with their children. Involve your children in your life, and let them learn by doing things with you.
One quote, on page 14, that really stood out to me was, “We need to guard our relationships against losing our children to the enemy because of our zealous attitudes about academics.” This was in the context of not offending our children. She also points out here that character development is much, much more important than academic learning.
One chapter that I am still mulling over is the one about motivation. Julie believes that we should neither reward nor punish children for either doing or not doing their lessons. She points out that if we want to learn something we will learn it easily and quickly.
Several chapters are devoted to ideas for teaching various age groups of children. She talks about children under eight and their needs, as well as how their brains develop through those years. The next chapter discusses ages eight through twelve. She encourages having your children do things to serve others, and do meaningful work, either for the family or developing their own business. Then, there is a chapter about teens. One fact I found fascinating, although it wasn’t altogether new, was that, until the 1920s, there was no such thing as today’s teenager—young people of this age were working productively, not hanging around getting in trouble as so many do since child labor was banned in America in 1938. This chapter shares a lot of tips for getting into college from an unschooling childhood. There are many creative ways to put together a high school transcript! Julie shares many examples, in each of these three chapters, from her experiences with her children, to illustrate how God has worked in their lives in the matter of education.
I’ve never totally subscribed to this method of homeschooling; we’ve always used at least a math curriculum and some level of structure for the other subjects as well. However, I have seen my children teach themselves things they wanted to know so I know that what Julie is talking about will work for a lot of things. Esther decided once that she wanted to learn to write. She studied everything she could get her hands on about writing. Recently, Mr. Intellectual, who incidentally loves working through curriculum, was assigned a research report in the writing course he is using. He chose a subject he is passionate about, and has thoroughly enjoyed studying it and writing about his conclusions.
I was definitely challenged by this book, and have realized again that I need to spend much time in prayer for my children and their learning. If you are interesting in homeschooling, God Schooling:How God Intended Children to Learn would be a good book to read. It is encouraging for any parent concerned for his or her children’s future.
Please check out some other reviews of this book by clicking on the image below. Eighty people are reviewing it, so you’ll get quite a range of opinions and viewpoints!