Friday, August 17, 2018

God Schooling BOOK REVIEW

God Schooling book
Homeschooling has its challenges but I feel the benefits far outweigh the negatives.  When given the opportunity to review the book God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn by Julie Polanco I was definitely intrigued.  I am always open to ideas and opinions on different methods of homeschooling and had dabbled in a little of the "unschooling" method mixed with Charlotte Mason myself.  I received a softcover version of this book to review.

This book was a simple read at 163 pages.  The book is organized in 2 parts.  Part 1 is "Dispelling the Myths," and Part 2 is "Practice."
Part 1 Chapters
1 - Biblical Support for Natural Learning
2 - Motivation & Excellence

Part 2 Chapters
3 - Thoughts on Teaching Children Under Age Eight
4 - Thoughts on Teaching Children Aged Eight to Twelve
5 - Giving Teens the Wings to Fly
6 - Spreading the Banquet
7 - Getting Started
8 - Some Q & A
9 - Record-Keeping and Structure
Concluding Remarks

Julie is mom to 4 blessings whom she names Tiger (oldest daughter), Hawk (oldest son), Butterfly (daughter) and Mouse (son).  She provides wonderful real-life experiences and examples with each of them as they journeyed on their unschooling adventure.  Yes, this book is basically a real-life, practical guide to the idea of Christian unschooling.  She provides a plethora of scripture and book resources for you to explore on your own. She talks about the freedom to homeschool and how freeing it really is.  I like when she says: 
Walking with God is freeing. In II Corinthians 3:17, Paul says, "Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  He didn't set us free to do whatever we want.  He set us free so that we would be unencumbered by our past; by the mistakes of our parents, teachers, and community; and by our current hang-ups, fears and sinful nature so that we could follow Him and become like Him. He set us free from all that would keep us from discovering and doing His Will, and that includes setting us free from teh world's standards of what education looks like. (pp. 10-11)
I think that pretty much sums it up.  We have such preconceived notions of what school should be and so many of us feel like we must match what is going on in our public schools.  If that model is so great why are there still so many kids that either drop out of school or end up feeling like complete failures?  I must admit that as a public schooler myself when I started my homeschool journey with my kids I definitely tried to mimic that model.  That is until I learned that my struggling learner son just didn't learn that way.  It has been a long journey for me as well, and I am still learning.

I myself have not embraced the full method of unschooling and after reading this book I am not sure I can completely school that way, but then again, that is why we homeschool right?  We each have our own personal ways of doing things that work for our kids and get them to the ultimate goal of education and hopefully, a love for learning that will continue for them throughout their lifetime.  Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of unschooling, just not sure I could pull it off totally.

I love all the examples that Julie gives throughout the book and her research is absolutely wonderful.  There are so many wonderful references that she gives throughout the book. She sites studies and facts from doctors to back up her methodology.  Her two youngest children have Aspbergers and her oldest son Hawk reminds me of my son a lot in their learning challenges.  In chapter 1 she goes into detail about how God created us with natural abilities and yearnings to learn.  If we, as parents, would open our spirits to what God would have us do with our kids things would go much smoother.  She gives examples of the successes when she listened to His still small voice about what paths she should take with her children.  When we introduce formal learning too early it is a proven fact that it can cause more learning challenges in the future. Each child is different and individual. That is one reason a lot of us homeschool is so that our children can be taught in the best way that they learn.

I also found chapter 2 about what motivates children to be very interesting.  She explains why rewards and punishments are just not effective in motivating our children.  Rewards can actually teach our children to be manipulative into getting things they want in the future.  Instead, she suggests intrinsic motivation.  Motivation that comes from within a child that they get from personal satisfaction from doing something well.  She sites Mary Hood's book The Relaxed Home School and the three ways to tap into a child's intrinsic motivation.

  • child is internally motivated to learn (wants to know about the subject)
  • person has an intense love of the subject and transfers that to the child
  • when goals are set and the child is willing to do things to attain that goal
In Part 2 of the book, she breaks down the different categories of learners.  Basically, the idea is that most kids are just not ready for formal learning until age 8.  It has to do with their brain development and what they are capable of.  The next level is age 8 to age 12 where another break is found.  After age 13 most children are able to grasp abstract learning better and can move forward into more difficult subjects.  I cannot stress how well Julie lays things out.  She really has done her research and gives you all the tools you need to do your own.  She has scientific facts to back up her methodology and gives you the resources you need to follow up on it.  The later parts of the book give yet more ideas of how you can implement the unschooling method into your household and what it looks like when preparing for high school and college.  She talks about high school requirements and some ideas for college prep and affordability.  Chapter 9 even discusses record keeping and how you would do that for unschooling.  She gives several examples to choose from depending on how you prefer to do it.

Julie Polanco Books

I really liked this book and wish I had had access to it many years ago.  It is a true breath of fresh air and if you find yourself burning out or struggling through you homeschool days I highly suggest you give it a read.  God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn is a definite double thumbs up for me!  She currently has a half price e-book sale going on right now through August 22, 2018 and you can get the Kindle version for only $4.99 right now!

Julie Polanco Books

You can connect with Julie Polanco on FACEBOOK and PINTEREST.  Please be sure to check out the other review on this book by selecting the graphic below.

God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn {Julie Polanco Reviews}
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