Skip to main content

TOS Homeschool Crew Product Review ~ "Read For the Heart" by Sarah Clarkson (Apologia/WholeHeart Ministries)

Many of you have heard of Whole Heart Ministries, the homeschool ministry founded by Clay and Sally Clarkson. Whole Heart Ministries has joined with Apologia Ministries, and the book "Read For the Heart" by Sarah Clarkson (the daughter of Clay and Sally Clarkson) is a product of the combination of these two wonderful ministries.

For a book lover like me, it doesn't get much better than reading a book all about books. It's even better than a list-maker's dream (which would be a book of lists)! It is a delight to review Sally's wonderful compilation of recommended reading - and this is an exceptional first book from this young author. I look forward to her future work (Sarah is working on a children's novel and a collection of essays).

"Read For the Heart" contains 12 chapters and a whopping 6 appendices! Chapter 1 is filled with examples of "memories" and character traits established by reading large volumes of quality literature. Chapter 2 focuses on literacy in America today. According to a 2004 report, less than half of the adult population now reads literature. Wow! What a tragic statistic! Sarah includes a fascinating description of what occurs in the brain while we are reading (page 36). Chapter 3 explains how to develop a more "reader-friendly" home. Chapter 4 lays out how to use the book "Read For the Heart" ~ how the book is organized, etc. Different types of books are discussed in this chapter,too (audio books, living books, textbooks, books of literary excellence, out of print books, etc). he next few chapters divide books into categories, such as Poetry, Classics, and Biography. Each chapter opens with a lovely quote regarding books. Overall, this is a very inspiring book!

Here are some ideas of how to use this resource in your family's homeschool:

~ In Chapter 4, the History & Biography section divides the reading lists by time period beginning with Creation. You can find the era you are currently studying and choose books that suit your family's needs from the lists provided in Sarah's book. Add them to your daily schedule or, better yet, make those books a part of your family read-aloud time!

~ Consider assigning a chapter of this book to one of your older children. Have that child study the chapter and research a few of the suggested titles. After checking in with mom and dad to ensure the chosen books meet their approval, the older child could start a family book club with one or more younger siblings. Pick up a few copies of the book or books (try for affordable used books). Have the older child choose set the pace for reading and pick the dates and times for the "book club" to meet and discuss the book. Viola! You have a family book club :)

~ Take advantage of anniversaries! On April 12th of this year our country remembered that 150 years ago the Civil War began. What better time to read about the Civil War? Sarah's book provides ample ideas for books you can read as a part of your homeschool. For Civil War books, grab a copy of "Across Five Aprils" by Irene Hunt or "Go Free or Die" by Jeri Ferris. (Our family has read books relating to the Lewis & Clark Expedition, the Wright Brothers first flight, Kansas State history, and more)

To see a sample chapter, or to purchase this 384 page book for $17, visit
I cannot encourage families enough to read, read, and read some more! Mom, make sure you are reading (first your Bible, and then other quality works of fiction and non-fiction). Let your children SEE you reading. Take them to the library. Read aloud to them. Have them read aloud to you. Buy them books for birthday and Christmas gifts. And read aloud as a family. Our family just finished the book "True Grit" aloud, and have started on "The Scarlett Pimpernel". When we travel, we typically have a book or two that we read while we drive (one of our favorites is "Holes"). My husband and I almost always have a book that we read together in the evenings; we are currently reading "The Retreat", a World War II book which delves into the German Army's retreat from Russia (specifically their attempt to take Moscow). It compares their defeat to that of Napoleon Bonaparte so many years before. Reading ought to be a way of life for homeschool families, and not just during the school day.

The book "Read For the Heart" by Sarah Clarkson will become a treasured resource in the home of any book-loving family and I am so pleased to finish my product reviews for the 2010-11 academic year with such a fantastic book!

Lord bless you and your family as your read for your hearts!

Day 98 done :)

Jan L. Burt


Popular Posts

A Homeschool Mom's Devotional (# 1)

Colossians 4:17 tells the reader to "be sure to carry out the work the Lord gave you".

How can this be applied to the enormously busy lifestyle of a homeschool mom?

First of all, we must always remember that the Word of God has the answer for our every need and we can trust fully in God to use His Word to lead us, guide us, correct us, and bless us.

Keeping that in mind, let's consider what this verse is saying. We are told to carry out, or complete, the work the Lord has given us. We are wives, mothers, homeschoolers. Those three BIG job descriptions come immediately to mind when I think of homeschooling mothers. Applying God's Word to our life means carrying out our work as wives, as mothers, and as homeschoolers.

When I am exhausted from another long day (or long week, long month, long year, etc.) I still must honor the Lord by blessing my husband. Maybe that means having a hot meal on the table when he arrives home from work. Perhaps your husband would prefer a…

My Preferred Bible Reading Plan

We all know that reading our Bibles is a key part of living a healthy life as a follower of Jesus. But busy homeschool moms may, at times, struggle to know what part of the Bible to read on any given day.

Some people read the Bible through, Genesis to Revelation, and when they finish simply start over. Others have reading plans that follow along with the sermons their pastor is currently preaching. And yet others find themselves "stuck in the Psalms", since they're not quite sure what to read.

I'm not going to tell you how many chapters a day you should read, or that you need to do exactly what I do. I'm just going to share what has worked for me, and hopefully encourage you to get into the Word using some type of plan ~ because every homeschool mom knows what happens to our plans when we fail to create a plan, right?!

I use a prayer and Bible reading guide called "Prayer Point", published by Samaritan's Purse. About every 8 weeks, I receive a new i…

Do You Homeschool? Then You Need to Read This Article!

Whether you have been homeschooling for a month, a year, or a decade, you've inevitably faced the "questions". Questions about socialization, college, athletics, driver's ed, high-school biology, etc. etc. etc. and so on.....

It seems as if homeschoolers are ripe for questions from day one; but the flip side seems to be that there really is no flip side. We are expected to patiently answer any and all questions, smiling politely and pretending we've never heard this line of questioning before. But when we try to ask a few questions about, say, public schools as a whole or the issue of private schools being used as a last-ditch landing spot for students expelled from public school, well...ahem...we're pretty much told to keep quiet. No one wants to hear our questions, and often times no one really wants to hear our answers to their questions. They just kind of want us to....go....away.

I'm not planning on going away any time soon. And neither are my five …

Everything by Mary DeMuth

The book Everything by Mary DeMuth became a "keeper" for me almost as soon as I began reading. Mary sugarcoats nothing in her attempt to make Jesus' gospel what it rightly is ~ and as you probably guessed from the title of her book, it rightly is about everything.

Eighteen chapters, three sections, one-hundred and ninety-eight pages...if you take the time to delve into them you will grow exponentially in your walk with the Lord. In Everything Mary calls us out, calls us higher, and admonishes us with honesty and openness. Sharing from her heart and relying heavily on the truth that is God's Word, she sets things straight. There aren't just one or two things about this book that I have taken to heart; and there aren't just a couple of quotes I could share here. The book in it's entirety is a game-changer!

Please buy this book, read this book, apply the truths in this book to your life, and let the Lord become your everything!

HERE is a direct link to Every…

TOS Crew Product Review ~ Reading Eggs

Reading Eggs is an online learning program for pre, early and emergent readers (ages 3 to 7 primarily, with a unique online area for readers ages 7 to 12).

As my children are all older, this is primarily an informational review, kind of like "looking back" to consider how this program might have worked for our family several years ago. However, we did spend quite a bit of time using the online are for older readers, called "Reading Eggspress" - I will mention both throughout the review.

The Reading Eggs website is divided into three categories: First Steps for 3-4 years; Ready for School for 5-year-olds; Fun Practice Makes Perfect for 6-7 years. The ages are really more like guidelines, so your child could easily move through all the levels at their own pace. And when ready, they could move on to the lessons available at Reading Eggspress.

I feel this would have been a fun, easy to use resource for my children in their early years as readers. There are loads of option…