Homeschooling is something I have been researching and contemplating for years now, especially since becoming a mother. Raising my children to be healthy is important to me, but bringing them up to love and adore their Catholic faith is even more important to me! I am excited to share with you my review of Homeschooling With Gentleness by Suzie Andres. This particular book is an unschooling book.
What Is Unschooling? Homeschooling With Gentleness
My basic understanding of unschooling is that it is a form of homeschooling where the child leads their learning. In typical homeschooling, the parent chooses the curriculum, guides and teaches the child according to the curriculum. The child is not typically leading any decisions in a regular homeschooling situation.
When hearing this, my initial reaction is concern that the child will not learn enough because they will lack the discipline needed to choose subjects that will benefit them and form the habits needed to learn. There are certainly people on the extreme end who completely leave it up to their child to learn everything without any guidance. However, I know that not every unschooling situation lacks guidance and encouragement. I am inspired by Homeschooling With Gentleness to see that unschooling can look very similar to a regular homeschooling scenario.
Homeschooling With Gentleness: For the Love of Learning
The biggest takeaway I have from this book is that one of the best things you can do to prepare your children for higher education is to instill in them the love of learning. Over the past few years, I have read a number of homeschooling books. The main argument a lot of homeschoolers and authors of homeschooling books make against regular modern day schooling is the only purpose of the learning there is to prepare for testing. I remember this when I was in school. We would center our learning all around testing. It would take the fun out of learning and I would end up forgetting much of what I learned after taking tests.
Avoid Forcing Knowledge
Homeschooling With Gentleness gives examples why forcing learning can be detrimental to a child. As an adult, we are thinking that we must teach x subject to our child right at this moment or our child will not succeed! From the examples given, it appears that forcing learning backfires. The child may not be ready to learn that and it is okay to back off for that moment or even for a while, if needed.
Ease Up on Learning at Appropriate Times
I have heard this from other parents about forcing a child to learn to read before they are ready. In my own experience (even with little children), it is best to not force learning and to take a break. I have tried to read books to my daughters before that they do not have interest in (because I checked them out at the library and I just HAVE to read it to them) and they end up getting frustrated. With my own small experiences and those of others, I think it is wise to heed this advice.
Bringing Our Children Up in the Catholic Faith
As parents, we are constantly worried that our child will not learn enough, the author relates in the book. She reminds Catholics that the most important responsibility we have as parents to our children is to get them to heaven. It is our job to bring up our children in the Catholic faith. We should not rely on the world or others to do it for us. Our children were given to us as gifts from God and we need to help guide their souls to love Him. That takes precedence over our children getting into the best college.
Great Book Lists
You should be aware that Homeschooling With Gentleness has great reference guides at the end. There are comprehensive book lists for adults (related to homeschooling) and children. I am definitely referencing the end to expand our reading list at home!
I have also given a review on my YouTube channel. Please check it out below!