Skip to main content

TOS Crew Product Review ~ "How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. for Your Kids" by Rachael Carman (Apologia Press)

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 (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. ( - 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

Day 111 done :)

Jan L. Burt


  1. Funny thing-my Mother's maiden name is Burt. So I guess that we are probably related-we are obviously sisters in Christ! Thanks for the review! Grace-Rachael

  2. This book sounds awesome -- and one that even the non-homeschooling mom could benefit from!!

  3. This is a great review for starting the year. Cool that your blog is about encouraging Moms.


Post a Comment

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…