As a homeschool mom we all need encouragement from time to time so, for this review, I was excited to read God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn written by Julie Polanco.
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[ctt template=”4″ link=”9fdhz” via=”yes” ]In this book review of God Schooling, a guide for homeschool parents, I like that many of the chapters are organized by age.[/ctt]
Book Review of God Schooling by Julie Polanco
About the Book
This is a physical softcover book that I reviewed for the Homeschool Review Crew. It is written by Julie Polanco, a homeschooling mom, writer and blogger from the Chicago, IL area. It is a guide for homeschool parents. I like that many of the chapters are organized by age as I am usually in a hurry when I want information and I want information for the age of the child I am concerned with.
Julie gives nicknames for her children as she refers to them throughout the book. Her wording is excellent as she paints the picture of what her and her children might be doing or thinking. I can just see me and my children in that very same situation. She gives some verses from the Bible to help encourage us in this journey and advises us to not be legalistic with it. Throughout the book, I noticed a basic theme of practicing what we preach, or teach, and for us to be living examples of how we want our children to be. At the end of each chapter are study questions for you to think over, although this may not be necessary because she asks many deep, thought provoking questions within the text itself, such as, “Some people like to criticize unschooling by saying that it is unbiblical. Are the public school and its methods more biblical?”
I myself had a hard time reading the “motivation and excellence” chapter. Julie says, “Rewards are experienced as controlling, and people like to retain control over their own destinies.” I have a few problems with this because I have been homeschooling for 14 years (so maybe a little set in my ways) and have a child that graduated homeschool and I do offer five rewards throughout each school year for getting schoolwork done, which is the same for each child and I personally love my system because it gives me additional quality one-on-one time with each child as I am rewarding them for their perseverance and hard work. I have seven children with one on the way and it is nice to have more one on one time. My own personal belief is that we all do “work for something”. In a job, it is money, in college, it is the degree, in parenting, it may be to raise adults we like to be around, there is always something. She instead suggests that we try and relate things as to how these skills will be helpful in our daily lives in the future and that's why we want to learn it. My second grader is truly more concerned with today's troubles than whether she needs to get the correct change at the store when she is grown up, but she can see how “learning money” today will get her a sticker on her chart to have ice cream at a restaurant with mom.
I do agree with a lot of what she says in the “under age eight” section. I like that she talks about not putting too much in a child's day so that have downtime and how they may develop trust issues if sent away for a large part of the day at this age and I agree with her thoughts on early reading. She says that even though we are training children to read early in public schools, “the percentage of adults with below-basic literacy remained at 14 percent, and those with the highest levels of literacy also remained stable at 13 percent.” She says, “overall statistics show no advantage.”
In the aged eight to twelve section of the book she again mentions how important it is that “children this age are very intolerant of double standards. You must practice what you preach.” I agree with her on that, for sure. In this section, she does mention each type of subject and helpful examples in how to teach it to this age. In writing, she mentions this idea, “It is very important to accept their efforts without judgement. Too much pickiness about grammar, spelling, and punctuation is discouraging.” I am a very creative person myself and I agree with this. I don't want to stifle creativity with all those details and I struggle because I need to teach it, but I want their creativity to flow. I basically keep the teaching of all that detail separated from the judgement of their writing. My oldest child ended up getting a Merit Award (even higher than a blue ribbon) for her writing at the county fair, so it's okay to keep these topics separate.
In the teens section, I agree with her statement, “Instead of expecting teens to become increasingly responsible and more like adults, many people expect teens to be irresponsible and childish.” I also like that she said, “A teenager should be doing everything you do, including cooking, mowing the lawn, fixing things, and going on errands alone. If you expect responsible behavior and set teens up for success, they are more likely to meet your expectations.”
Another section I want to mention is in the Record-Keeping and Structure chapter under Planning and Predictable Routine. I have noticed with some of my children it is important for them to know what to expect the next day or hours and that gives them comfort. The author says, “it helps children develop flexible thinking”. “Children need predictability in order to feel safe and that their needs will be met.” I agree with these statements and have noticed that my children can handle occassional variations better when they typically have a routine.
This author does a lot of unschooling with her children and I would say I am about half that and half textbook type of a homeschooling teacher so I relate with a lot of what she is doing. There are some things I disagree with, as I would with any homeschooling mom I meet, because we are all different, but I do feel it was worth reading her book to see what she had to say on all these matters. I don't feel that I learned much that I can apply, but I think this book would be useful for a newer homeschooling parent or one who hasn't gone through all the ages and stages as each of the age sections can be very helpful and encouraging.
How To Find It (Also: the ebook version is half price until 8/22/18):
- Website: http://www.juliepolancobooks.com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/juliepolancobooks/
- Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jpolancobooks/
The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew has a great team of homeschool parents that also reviewed this book, God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn, by Julie Polanco, so click the banner below to see all the reviews:
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