Monday February 12, 2007

“Heading off to the Promised Land of Abundant Homeschooling may seem a little daunting at first. You will, as did every other traveler before you, encounter some difficulties on the journey.”
“After crossing through the Desert of Not-Knowing-How and climbing over the Mountain Ranges of Resistance, Failure and Weariness, you will find yourself in a land “flowing with milk and honey.”
From the Epilogue of Beyond Survival – A Guide to Abundant-Life Homeschooling by Diana Waring

     I always enjoy reading a book authored by someone I’ve heard speak.  Whether I’ve heard the author on a recording or in person, it’s nice to be able to “hear” the author’s voice as I read their written words.  That enjoyment is always heightened when the author is someone as entertaining as Diana Waring!  I had the pleasure of attending a workshop presented by Mrs. Waring last summer at a homeschool conference.  Even though it was late on a Friday evening, Mrs. Waring had a roomful of homeschooling parents on the edge of their seats as she took us on a whirlwind tour of world history and as she explained how to make history come alive for our children.  We laughed.  We sat in amazement.  We, her audience, could almost be heard to say, “More! More!”, when the hour long session came to a close.

     Her captivating style carries over into her book, Beyond Survival – A Guide to Abundant-Life Homeschooling. If you are new to homeschooling and have not quite settled on the method you will use to educate your children, I would suggest that you add this book to your must-read list before deciding.  If you are thinking about homeschooling using a unit study approach, this book is also a must-read.  However, if you do not fall into either category,  this book is still a great read and will inspire you in your homeschooling, regardless of the methods you use, or how many years you have been educating your children at home.  Mrs. Waring’s faith and love for her Lord are clearly evident throughout her book; and I found her Scripture references especially applicable.

     Beyond Survival is written in three parts:  Part One: The Preparation assists new homeschooling parents in understanding homeschooling, lays out the various methods with a brief discussion of the most common, and even walks you through attending your first homeschool convention.  Part Two:  The Journey contains chapters such as, Different Strokes for Different Folks; Mom is My Teacher;  If I Can’t Draw a Stick Man, How do I Teach Art?, a chapter on evaluations and testing, and more.

     Part Three:  The Abundance was my favorite part of this book, however.  In these final four chapters, Mrs. Waring explains how homeschooling can be more than just the everyday drudgery of chores, homeschooling, housework, etc . Her ideas for serving the Lord as a family and for enjoying the camaraderie of your own family are wonderful!

     Part Three includes a chapter on how the atmosphere, aesthetically, in our homes can affect our families as well.  Mrs. Waring was greatly influenced by Edith Schaeffer’s books in this regard; but her friendly, folksy style gives Mrs. Schaeffer’s ideas a more practical, everyday feel.  This chapter also includes some great advice for nurturing a spirit of creativity in your children, something I really needed to hear.  The author says, “Children need a safe atmosphere for experimenting with creativity and beauty in the same way that they need freedom for developing humor.  Our homes need to become a safe haven for the imperfect attempts at trying something new…….It takes time, practice and encouragement to develop skill in creativity, so we need to allow for mistakes and bloopers and blobs of paint on the kitchen table.”

     The final chapter, Forever Family Friendships, was beautifully written and discusses sibling rivalry and helping your children to understand that their brothers and sisters are theirs for life!  Lovely!  Mrs. Waring is also careful to remind us that our marriages must be very carefully tended and nurtured, before our relationships with our children.  Some wonderful tips are included on enhancing your relationship with your God-given best friend.

     One thing that I’m afraid I am often guilty of is not stopping what I am doing when one of my children begins talking to me.  From here on out, I will follow advice from the book and I will teach my children to ask permission before interrupting me when I am reading, writing, sewing, etc.  That said, however, I will also remember that “listening is an art, as we all know, but making time to listen is a discipline, and it takes effort. We must make a choice whether or not to stop what we’re doing, look at our child, and focus our concentration on what is being said.” Amen!

     I never tire of reading books about homeschooling.   I love to read what others are doing and how they do it.  It is possible to glean practical bits and pieces and apply them to your family while still continuing on the homeschooling path you are already on.  After almost two decades of homeschooling, I can honestly say that I still do this from time to time.  Diana Waring’s Beyond Survival – A Guide to Abundant-Life Homeschooling gave me several little tidbits that I will begin to incorporate into our days.

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.