I love books about homeschooling (ok, I just love good books, lol), so when I was given the opportunity to review author Julie Polanco and her book "God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn" I was super excited! I had never read any of Julie's books before so I was very interested to find out what the homeschooling mom of 4 had to say :)
First of all, the title definitely intrigued me. Did God really have an "opinion" on how children should learn? Ok, God actually doesn't have opinions so maybe design would be a better word. This notion kind of pushes back against popular thought on what God is involved in and what he's not. Julie would say he definitely did design a way for children to learn.
This book really challenged me and how I think about even homeschooling. Yes, I'm a huge advocate of homeschooling and I love all the wonderful products people have come up with to help in our endeavor. But Julie really gets down to the nitty gritty and pushed me to see if I'm relying way too much on "educational" standards (who makes them anyway?) and encouraged me to incorporate joyful learning in everyday life.
When our kids are tiny (our Lilly is 1 1/2) we don't push them to learn a complicated set of instructions to learn to walk, talk, eat with a fork and spoon ect. They just learn naturally as they are physically, emotionally and intellectually ready. She maintains its the same for all areas of our learning. Trying to teach a child to read before they are ready to is very frustrating to both the child and parent (experience talking here!) But when they are motivated to they tend to learn extremely quickly and with much more ease! (And enjoy it while they're doing it!)
She is an advocate for child-led (parent supervised) learning where the child picks what interests him or her and your job is to spread a banquet of options for them to choose from. Just like some children will pick the chicken or potatoes from supper and another one may eat 3 helpings of salad your child may fall in love with reading to the exclusion of other subjects or be a whiz in math but struggle with reading. Help them with their weaker points while recognizing the individuality of each child and their interests and strengths. She says God will equip them for the work he intends them to do.
I actually tried this learning approach out with the boys. Whereas any kind of bookwork seems to make Jakob go cross-eyed when I pulled out the book on snakes and started reading to them they couldn't get enough. They were asking questions, getting super excited and didn't want me to stop (even when my voice was giving out, lol). Then when Daddy got home they had to show him that book and explain about the snakes and their features to him. That is real learning, I had to concede.
Now, I'm not getting rid of our awesome resources from different homeschooling companies but I have to admit this is a much more effective method of learning. I want to also mention that she stresses that academics learned in young childhood may be quickly forgotten but character built in childhood will last a lifetime.
In her book she goes through each stage of development and gives appropriate learning techniques according to her own experience and other's research. I learned a lot from this book and will definitely be incorporating it in my homeschooling for the kids! I think we will all be much wiser and happier for it :)
I hope you'll check out Julie Polanco regardless of whether you homeschool or not and see how you can light a spark in your child that will continue the rest of their life!
Read the rest of our reviews at the link below.