Friday, April 11, 2008

The Homeschooling Trail - Diary of a Christian Unschooling Family

Always Learning Books is pleased to announce that we have new copies in stock of Michele Hasting's popular Christian Unschooling book, The Homeschooling Trail - A Journey of Faith.

When I first read Michele's manuscript so much resonated with my personal experiences of educating my three children at home: the nagging doubts that I wasn't giving my children the best education I could, that I was harming their future, that they'd never forgive me for experimenting with their education. It didn't help that few people understood the idea of home education, and even fewer understood the principles behind unschooling or natural learning.

The Homeschooling Trail - A Journey of Faith is a frank and honest 'fly-on-the-wall' account of a year in the life of this Christian unschooling family. Some unschoolers find Michele's approach too much like school in places, but her story definitely shows that homeschooling is forever a work in progress. We find new resources and ideas, try them out, our children grow and their needs change, life throws things at us which send our plans awry. Michele's intimate account of her family's homeschooling life tells it like it really is and I found this immensely reassuring.

This is one of my favourite passages from Michele's book:

"Since becoming a Christian, and later a parent, I’ve come to the conclusion that God creates each of us with a specific design in mind. Before my lungs tasted air, God had a plan for my life. He built within me unique traits, talents, likes and dislikes, significant strengths and obvious weaknesses. Add to this the effect of environment and birth order, which also influence the type of person we become. As our boys grew I had to determine whether they were empty vessels waiting to be filled, or uniquely designed individuals, needing time, space, and freedom to blossom and develop, protected and unhindered as much as possible. We chose to believe the latter. That’s why, day to day and year to year, we look for progress and growth, instead of expecting our children to live up to expectations established by experts who deem it necessary to know certain things according to a specific time-frame. We trust that our boys will learn in their own way, for their own reasons, and according to their own timetable.

I admit we don’t do this perfectly. As a parent who loves her children and desires the best for them, I struggle with what I believe to be essential for our boys to grasp by the time they leave home. I’m as concerned about their spiritual beliefs, character traits, attitudes, and life skills, as I am about academic knowledge. Through constant prayer, the encouragement of others, and continual self-education, I control my impulses to make my kids into who I think they should be. Homeschooling is as much about allowing our children to discover their identities as it is about education. And through embracing this style of learning, I’ve stumbled upon my own authenticity in the process."

The Homeschooling Trail - A Journey of Faith
is available from Always Learning Books for $19.50 (includes free postage within Australia).