This is my first product review for this year's TOS Crew, and I cannot think of a better way to start the year off than with a fabulous little book by Rachael Carman entitled, "How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids" (published by Apologia Press, copyright 2011).
I began reading this book the day I received it and I have been gleaning powerful nuggets of truth and encouragement from it ever since. It very quickly joined the ranks of my "must-read" homeschool books and is one that I will keep close at hand throughout the rest of my days as a homeschooling mother. I don't say that lightly - the book really is that good.
The author, Rachael Carman, is a seasoned homeschool mother of seven, and she openly shares about her struggles even as she pours out great wisdom. The book is written with such a sense of genuineness that it's hard not to feel as if you know her personally. And while she relates so well on a personal level, she also spurs her readers on in their walk with the Lord in ways that challenge but don't intimidate.
The book itself is a 205 page hardcover and consists of an introduction, five chapters, an epilogue, and acknowledgements. Rachael turned the word "HEART" into an acronym for a talk she gave before a homeschool group several years ago, and that talk formed the basis for this book. The acronym is:
H ~ Have a heart for the things of God.
E ~ Enrich your marriage.
A ~ Accept your kids.
R ~ Release them to God.
T ~ Teach them the truth.
Without giving away any of the treasures you will discover for yourself upon reading "How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids", I'd like to share a little about this book. Rachael opens with the "true story" of her family, and her honesty is refreshing - it allows any mom reading the book to see that ups and downs, failures and successes, are as much a part of life as breathing oxygen. She shares about her journey to becoming a homeschooling mother, and her frankness is rare withing the homeschool community. The bread-baking, dress-sewing, I-knew_I-was-going-to-homeschool-before-my-kids-were-born stories are much easier to find, and while there isn't a thing in the world wrong with baking your own bread or knowing you would homeschool the day you first experienced morning sickness, the reality is that homeschooling is hard work. And anything that is just plain hard work can be just plain hard to commit to. Many homeschooling moms need to know they aren't failures because God had to do some convincing and convicting as He drew them toward homeschooling. On page 22, Rachael bravely shares her reaction to her husband's suggestion to homeschool. What a relief it is to see her in all her "realness" I just have to say, "Thank you, Rachael!" for opening wide the door for those of us who, ahem, do not have it all together. I see Jesus in her words - His power made perfect in her weakness.
I could not choose which chapter touched me the most, as they all made an impact on my heart as a mom. But the specific focus of Chapter 2 (E. for Enrich Your Marriage) reminds me that before I was my children's mother, I was their father's wife. And once they leave home and have families of their own, I will still be his wife. It was my calling first and it will be my calling until death separates my husband and myself. Enriching my marriage blesses every aspect of our home life, including our homeschool. It is far too easy for us to allow homeschooling, and thereby our children, to become our priority. But we cannot let our kids, our homes, our schooling to push our husbands out of the way. Rachael's words are wise and women who hope to grow in God's grace as wives and as mothers will heed what she has to share.
If you only buy one book for you as the "mom" in your homeschool this year, make it this book. "How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids" by Rachael Carman will change the way you think about your kids, your homeschool, and possibly even yourself. You can purchase it for $13 at www.Apologia.com (this is a direct link to the product page).
While at the website, you can learn more about their excellent college prep science curriculum, sign up for their free newsletter, see their event schedule, enjoy free webinars to seminars, and much more. (www.Apologia.com - this links to their home page)
Thanks for taking the time to read my first TOS Crew product review for the 2011-2012 cruise & may the Lord bless you and your family today in a multitude of ways!
To see more TOS Crew reviews, visit www.HomeschoolCrew.com
Day 111 done :)
Jan L. Burt