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Love the Journey: Homeschooling Principles to Practices
About once a year I read a new homeschooling book. Even after homeschooling for 10 years, there is always something new to learn. This summer I read the wonderful book by Marcia Somerville called Love the Journey: Homeschooling Principles to Practices. Marcia is the author of the homeschool curriculum we use called Tapestry of Grace.
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The 370-page book is divided into 5 sections and 31 chapters. It’s jammed packed full of answers to almost any question a new homeschooler might have. In fact if you use the curriculum for kindergarten/1st graders called Tapestry Primer, you are encouraged to read through it as you teach your child during their first year of school.
The first things you’ll be encouraged to think through are discovering why you are homeschooling, identifying who or what is guiding you, making sure you have the end in mind, and developing your pedagogy.
Since God created all families unique, there is no one right way to homeschool, but with the bewildering array of choices that a new homeschooler faces, it can be really helpful to know which direction your headed.”
Marcia gives you some specific assignments to answer some questions, write some things down, and discuss with your husband in order to discover your unique direction.
I received so much perspective from Love the Journey, which is why I would encourage all homeschool moms, not just beginning homeschoolers, to read it. Here is one of my favorite quotes from the second section, called Mountaintop Views:
What I see, both from looking back and by asking them directly, is that my children remember so little of the day to day, nitty-gritty of what we did in our homeschool. . . .my conscious and disciplined efforts to teach my kids were just a few of the factors that shaped my children and –in hindsight, seeing with 20/20 vision–they were much more of a minor factor than they seemed to me to be at the time!”
Love the Journey is definitely a Christian book. Marcia guides and encourages homeschool moms to be reading and following God’s word and to pray about everything.
The point of this chapter is to encourage you to tend the flame of your own passion for Christ. As moms, we have so many things tugging on us. This would be true even if we didn’t homeschool.”
There are many specific concepts that Marcia teaches moms in the book. I found the chapter on “training in liberty” to be quite interesting. It’s a technique in teaching kids to be able to handle more liberty in a way that will be safe for them.
Along with many parenting techniques, we also learn some practical guidelines for homemaking, planning, how to set up a homeschool classroom, dealing with preschoolers, chores, etc.
By a “quiet home,” I mean a home that has a peaceful, orderly environment, in both its spiritual and physical aspects. . . . a quiet home is a home that is lived in, loved in, and worked in. It is a place of safety for small children, and also an outpost of the Kingdom of God.”
Here are a few of her practical homemaking tips: Her admonition to take the time to plan, both in the summer and weekly, was very helpful for me. Also, she encourages us to have the youngest child who is able to do a task to do it. I know I tend to have my older kids do most of the chores because they are more capable and have already been trained in how to do it. But it’s time for me to focus more training on my younger crew. You will love some of the practical ideas of how to homeschool your older kids with little ones in the home.
I also received some practical parenting advice, which is always helpful to hear again, even after 15 years of being a parent. Marcia talks about having “face time” with your little ones throughout the day–giving them frequent, small doses of one-on-one attention. I also loved learning about to ask the question “What’s really bugging you?” when someone in your home is acting angry or frustrated.
Then, she gets into some helpful advice to help you homeschool better. We learn about the differences in genders, and how that will play out even in something as simple as a drawing that a young girl will do versus one by a young boy. I needed the reminder that getting out the math flash cards for a couple of weeks to make sure a child knows his addition or multiplication facts down cold will make for less frustration later.”
The last part of the book brings us back to the big picture and encourages us with Scripture.
So, beginning homeschool moms, do you worry about the truant officer, the prom, chemistry course, the work load of teaching a houseful of kids, your own inadequacies in education, or the college admissions officer? Have you lost sight of eternal goals because temporal tasks fill your horizon? . . . God is faithful, and He alone bears ultimate responsibility for your homeschooling success.”
And this phrase brings it all home, a quote from Marcia’s friend Yvonne:
I wish someone had told me, back when we were slogging along, that God’s main purpose for me in homeschooling was to learn to love.”
If you are a new homeschooling mom, a lady who is just investigating homeschooling, or a mom who has homeschooled for a while, I encourage you to read Love the Journey. It’s available in both paperback and digital formats from Tapestry of Grace and Amazon.
I pray you will love the journey just as I do!
(Disclosure: I received a copy of Love the Journey and monetary compensation in order to write this completely honest review.)