I opened How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids with a teeny bit of hesitation.***(see background, below)
There was no need for my hesitation.
I was relieved and pleasantly surprised to have been given a book that is encouraging, written by a mom who is authentic and not at all holier-than-thou, whose words do not make me feel criticized for not homeschooling all of my children, who offers rich wisdom and advice not about changing them, but about changing ME, about using myself differently, better, with the goal to grow not only my own, but also my children's character, and more importantly, spiritually, in Christ.
H.E.A.R.T. in the title stands for the topics of the five main chapters of the book:
H - Have a heart for the things of GodHow to Have a H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids is a huge encouragement to me. Carman reminds me to establish and keep a regular Bible study time (so challenging some years; autism sucked away a lot of focus); she reminds me that my marriage is important; the chapter on accepting my kids is an especially good one for me, as each of my children are very different from one another, and sometimes they compare themselves to one another. I want to make sure I don't compare them and that I spotlight their differences in a positive way for each of them. Carman reminds me that my kids aren't mine; they're on loan from God. The "T" chapter reminds me of the most important thing: truth.
E - Enrich your marriage
A - Accept your kids
R - Release them to God
T - Teach them the truth
Parents - homeschoolers or not - of children with or without special needs - this is a wonderful book for reminding us how we use ourselves with our children is important, that how we use ourselves in good times, in times of stress, in times that require discipline - how we use ourselves as parents is important as we teach and guide, because we are always models.
How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids is a 205 page hardback, small in size (slightly larger than my hand), priced at $13. It would be a wonderful gift for a new mother, for church libraries, for women's ministries, for a book club.
There is a section in the "T" chapter that sums up the "why bother" for me: "Somewhere, as a young woman, I had adopted the notion that we all grow up and mature to a certain point --somewhere in our thirties and forties--and then we coast the rest of the way....Then they got to set the auto-pilot and coast in....Boy, was I wrong. There's no coasting this side of heaven."
I will be working on me for the rest of my life.
I'm blessed to have been given a copy to review. The timing is good for me as we are beginning to settle after our spring move across the country, and I need the gentle
I highly recommend this book.
A sample chapter is here. The table of contents is here. Sometimes, Carman blogs here and here.
To read my Crewmates' reviews of this book, go here.
I was given a copy of How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids to review. I get to keep the book. I was not financially compensated for the review. I am not obligated to provide positive comments.
***BACKGROUND (a ): I began reading How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids and wondered if it was for me, the mother of one homeschooler with autism and a list of special learning needs and two public schoolers. Author Rachael Carman begins the book by sharing her journey into homeschooling (we have something in common; she is an accidental homeschooler, too).
I wondered if Rachael Carman's message is for me, the mom of a child w/ autism and all the baggage that comes with autism, when Carman has seven children who (from what I can gather from their story) are neurotypically developing.
Sometimes, I feel the most judged by Christians. A lot of "do this" and "how to" books about parenting or homeschooling a) have zero understanding or perspective of how challenging having a child w/ autism is and assumes that parents of kids w/ the behaviors we tend to see in autism are all bad parents and b) come across holier-than-thou.
I'm much better now (than I used to be) about setting down a book that comes across holier-than-thou knowing the author has not walked in my shoes and that the author doesn't understand all the compensations we make to make our family function with a child w/ special needs. We are doing the best we can; homeschooling one of my children is a challenge and I don't know how I could meet academic needs of the other two amidst all the therapies and remediation for all-things-autism. (I would love to have homeschooled all of my kids from the beginning, but during the sleepless, poop-smearing years, that was simply not something I could have done.)
I think that sometimes, homeschoolers think that if you public-school, that you are completely removed from teaching and guiding your children, that you are uninvolved and aloof and unengaged, and that simply is not true. (On the flip side, there are a lot of misconceptions, assumptions, stereotypes and generalization about homeschoolers that are simply not true as well.) I think that homeschooling and homeschooling conferences have heightened my awareness of what I want to focus on at home with all of my children, while we utilize a school-building school for the academics for some of them, and I deeply appreciate the guidance Carman gives me in this book, reminding me to make the important thing the important thing.