29 August 2011
TOS Review - How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids
I was recently asked to review a new book put out by Apologia (which I had only known of as a company that produced Christian base science curriculums previous to receiving this material). Written by Rachael Carman, the book is called How to Have a H.E.A.R.T for Your Kids, it retails for $13 and is found under Apologia Press's Resources for Parents.... which I definitely think is appropriate placement! I am not one to shy away from any resource that will help me, and in most cases at least remind me, of the things that I need to be doing to ensure a strong relationship with my spouse and children. This book is no exception and I'm grateful for the opportunity that I had to read it and add to my "resources"!
I'll admit that I was a bit thrown off by the title of this book once I started reading the core of it, but I appreciate how the material is presented. It's no mistake that the word H.E.A.R.T is printed as such... it's an acronym that stands for Have a heart for the things of God, Enrich your marriage, Accept your kids, Release them to God, and Teach them the truth.
The introduction to this book is wonderful because you really get a feel for Rachael and her journey towards homeschooling. She's very relatable and candid as she describes how she went from dreaming of the time she would have to herself while her children were at school, to a knowledge that she was the teacher that their family had been praying for their children. From here she hops right into breaking apart the word H.E.A.R.T.
It's absolutely fitting that a book on having a heart for your children starts with addressing OUR personal relationship with God. However, I have to admit, I feel like the writing style and feel that I had when reading the introduction dropped off a bit here. Don't get me wrong, things did pick back up for me afterwards, I just didn't care for how this chapter was presented, despite the conviction that I feel that we absolutely DO need to assess and access our relationship with God before we can really be the parents that we need to be. Rachael states several times in this work how these children are God's and placed here for His purposes... so they're really more on loan to us and we need to be in touch with Him so we know how to help our children. I couldn't agree more! ... I'm just funny about how messages are put to me and for some reason this chapter was hard for me to get through.
Moving on! I could have ran up and hugged Rachael when I saw a chapter on Enriching the relationship with your spouse! I think this point often gets missed by people. However, children need to see a loving relationship between their parents and to feel safety and love. I love the attention that is given to the lessons that children learn from how parents treat each other, and how parents can show love for one another. I'm a pretty big proponent of treating your husband like a real man and Rachael reminds women of this need with way more tack then I'm sure I've ever come across with! You really need to read this chapter, it made me smile :-).
The last three chapters really rolled into one for me and were delightful to read. I'm a human and while I have 500 things on my mind, I can in no way keep the millions of things I've learned constantly on my mind... (I'm pretty sure that's why the scriptures remind us so often to remember things and that they're so repetitive... this stuff is that important!)... so it was really wonderful for me to be reminded that "Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Caleb, Gideon, Elijah, Samuel, David, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Daniel", and other Old Testament prophets were all sent at just the right time to help lead God's people. (Yep, enter a huge DUH moment for me right here!) Rachael really makes you think about the things that you're praying for or what others are praying for i.e. righteous fathers, mothers and leaders, cures for illnesses, etc.... and then to remember that the answers to those prayers could very well be living under your roof. How's that for perspective?! Again, these children are not ours but are placed here for His purposes. I love the depth that she reaches into this subject through A.R.T and would highly recommend this book even if you only read these chapters.
On a personal level, my husband who hadn't read this book and didn't have any idea of what I was specifically reading in this book, made a comment to me one day a couple of weeks ago that really caused me to stop. He was taking note about how we try to raise our children with a strong base in the gospel and relate all things back to our Heavenly Father, and how we strive to have our children grow up different from "the norm." While that is the mission of many of you reading this I'm sure, he reminded me that when we were trying to have children that we made a promise in our prayers that we would raise them up to Him and how wonderful it was that we have received so much help from Him in doing so. Hello??? How could I have forgotten so easily!! I do remember the prayers we prayed and the sadness we felt when we weren't blessed with children in our time. We did pray earnestly that we would raise them up to Him and we meant it with everything that we had! How blessed and grateful I was to be reminded of this and to see His hand in these things, and then to turn around in How to Have a H.E.A.R.T for Your Kids and read the words that our children are God's and that we need to accept them, teach them truth and release them to God? We promise to raise these children up and release them to Him! Oh my, I was hit with full force on this topic!
Minus my little hiccup at the beginning of this book, I wouldn't have wanted to miss this read! The "ah ha" and "oh yah" moments that I had in response to reading this material have really helped me through a time where I was so tired I was starting to forget why I was doing the things I was doing. It's cliche, but I really am looking forward to tomorrow and the days ahead with increase vigor thanks to the reminders I got from this book (surely I'm not the only one who has moments that require this kind of kick in the right direction?) The world needs people to stand up for truth and right and we're absolutely responsible for raising children fit for the tasks at hand! We need them and God needs them! So, while we are learning to have a heart for our kids, we also learn that it isn't about us! Weird huh? :-D.
I promote truth and this book speaks truth. I hope you'll go to the Apologia website and read a sample chapter from How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. for Your Kids.
**As a member of the 2011 TOS Homeschool Crew I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review of its content. I have not received any other compensation for the opinions stated here.**