I was recently given the book God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn by Julie Polanco to review. I had a lot of different reactions to this book that I’ll do my best to share with you in this review.
Julie Polanco is long time mother of four who has tried various methods of and philosophies of homeschooling throughout the years. As time wore on nothing ever seemed to be exactly right for her family. That is when she turned it all over to God and what he lead her to is what she calls “God Schooling.” She’s so pleased with it all that this book is the result of her experiences.
If you’ve spent a lot of time and frustration trying to figure out exactly what will and will not work for your family, then this book might be exactly the piece of encouragement you need.
This book is a nice succinct 163 pages long and a relatively quick read. You’ll find nine chapters and a bibliography. The book is divided into two parts: Dispelling Myths and Practice. The first part dives into the Bible and makes a case for natural, self-motivated learning. In the second part of the book, you’ll find answers to the question “what does this look like” and information about what God Schooling meant to this author and her family. Every chapter ends with study questions to help you think through the ideas presented.
In a nutshell this a book about unschooling. Unschooling is a style of education that doesn’t use any sort of curriculum but instead uses a very child lead approach. Her goal is to help us as parents get out God’s way as He leads our children in their education as He prepares him for His calling on their life.
The author does a fantastic job of providing quite a bit of information to support her ideas. She includes research statistics, quotes from various sources, and scripture references.
So many parts of this book completely spoke to me. The most significant gift this book gave me was the reminder to listen to that still small voice of God inside of my heart. To be open to His plan for our family, and be willing to make changes in direction I may not understand or have been expecting.
As a strong advocate for unschooling, the author drives home the concept that all schooling should be wholly child-led and a child should never be forced to learn anything they aren’t completely interested in. This is a concept I haven’t ever been able to embrace wholeheartedly. Over the years I’ve given my children the tremendous freedom to pursue their interests and study whatever their heart’s desire. I have a 12-year-old son that know so much about the Revolutionary War that he’ll make your head spin if ever try to engage him in a discussion about it. He lives and breaths it almost 24/7. I’ve given him a lot of room to explore that including steering him toward valuable resources I know will feed that interest. However, I don’t leave him there. I do believe curricula has a time and place and we use what we need to when we need to.
At one point the author makes a case for throwing away all of the curriculum catalogs and homeschooling magazines. I see her point here. I do know homeschool mom’s who are so driven to make their children’s days line up to some preconceived ideal. Or they see the happy articles in magazines and judge themselves far too harshly. If these resources are causing stress, then it may be very wise for these moms to step away from them for a season. I think even the author would admit that these resources have their value since she does write for homeschooling magazines, as she details in her biography.
These best section of this book is the section on teens. As my oldest son is on the cusp of his teen years, I’m eating up the advice of anyone who has gone before me and can give me some sage advice. There is an excellent chapter titled Giving Your Teenager Wings to Fly. There is practical information here about preparing for college, transcripts, what can you count for high school credits, etc.
Overall, I recommend this book. Reading books that push up against my ideas about how things should be, causes me to grow as a person, a mom, a Christian, and in how I conduct our homeschooling. And if you feel God is leading you toward unschooling the yes, this book will indeed bless you.
You can find more God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn on the website here. You can find author Julie Polanco, on her website, Facebook, and Pinterest. Oh, and good news, the ebook version of the book is currently half price until August 22, 2018!