26 October 2012

Books that Influenced my Life (Part 1)

I absolutely love reading!

When I was still a little farm girl, my Dad built me a treehouse and I would spend hours in there reading one book after the other.  Both my parents loved reading. Since we lived on a farm, my mother would drive into town every Friday afternoon to get supplies for the next week, and we would not head home before we stopped at the local library!  It was the highlight of my week. The library was a double storage building, the adult books on the ground level and children books on the first floor.  I almost ran up the stairs to see what books I could find.  As I grew up, I loved to read “Ou Kaapse Verhale” (Stories on the early days of the Cape of Good Hope), always fiction, as my mother was always reading fiction. 

After I got married, Christo challenged me to read non-fiction. I wasn’t keen at all, I loved my fiction, and after all I read for the enjoyment and because I’m a dreamer. It took Christo 8 years, about the time when we started homeschooling, before I realized how I could empower myself by reading non-fiction books. Since then I read mostly non-fiction and only allow myself two Christian Fiction books a year. One in June and one in December. Mainly because I get so involved in the story, I easily loose track of time and are irritated when I’m interrupted. During the June and December holidays I can pace myself better in the more relaxed holiday atmosphere.

I often find myself not being able to read for a week or two, due to life’s happenings and hanging around on facebook or blogs. During these times, I become more easily irritated and rushed.  I need my time-out sessions of reading and filling my mind with wisdom, but I’ve realized if I don’t make time to read, the time to read will just run out like an hour glass. Since establishing habits in my life is often my life saver, my goal is to read at night, half an hour before we go to bed.

Not only do I benefit from challenging and encouraging books, my children also benefit when they see my love for books. 

It is interesting to observe families, when the parents love reading, the children will often follow in their footsteps and love books and reading too. I cannot think of a better gift I can bestow on my children than to spark in them a love for reading.

About two weeks ago, we painted our bedroom and had to move our book shelf from one wall to the other. While I was at it, I reorganized my books. 

What a joy!  I cherished the memories I recalled as I picked up each book and put it back on the book shelf with respect. I value each one as a very precious treasure, which guides me on my journey to maturity and making responsible choices in life.

I thought it good to share with you some of the books I’ve read over the years and which changed my life.  Since there are quite a number of books I’ve read, I will cover the books in a mini-series. It is my prayer that you will be blessed by reading about these treasures. 

I would like to start this mini-series with one of my two biggest passions in life: 


When I started Homeschooling my children 12 years ago, a good friend (new at that stage) recommended I read The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook by Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore.  

This book is a true treasure! It eased my concerns of ‘am I able and equipped to homeschool my own children’ in the chapter, “Of Course You Can Do It!”.  It also answered my question, “When Are They Ready for Formal Learning?” as well as the almost constant question by friends and family. “How Can They Possibly Be Socialized?”  This book truly laid a foundation for truthful thinking around home educating my children.

The same friend who recommended the Moore’s book, gave me a very powerful book:  50 Veteran Homeschoolers share Things We Wish We’d Known, compiled and edited by Bill and Diana Waring.  

Wow, what a fun reading book filled with truths that opened my mind to think out of the box and sparked in me a passion to homeschool my children. (Homeschooling the children was my husband’s vision, not mine at that stage. I only acted in obedience.)

Following on the chapter in the Moore’s book on “When Are They Ready for Formal Learning?” I got hold of the bright yellow, precious little book, Better Late Than Early, by Raymond and Dorothy Moore

This book nailed it for me and since then I was sold out to only start formal educating my children at the age of 10. Before that age I allow them to play and let them guide me in what they want to learn about, which by the way is more than I can fit in, in the few years before they are 10!  The interesting part was how each of our children after the age of 10, just flourished in their home educating and catch up with much ease on the years they played and received little formal education.  Especially in reading, writing and maths.

In the mean time Christo and I was involved with Walk through the Bible ministries and received a teaching, The Seven Laws of the Learner, by Dr. Bruce Wilkinson.  

The #1 truth I got from this teaching was, I as the Teacher are solely responsible to make my students (children) learn.  When my children don’t understand a concept or enjoy their learning, I have to be creative in making them understand or initiate change so they have a positive learning experience.  For example if my child doesn’t get the aha of understanding a math concept, it isn’t his/her fault, it is mine and I have to keep explaining until he/she understands. (By the way this is exactly what Steve Demme from Math-U-See promote with every lesson - look out for the aha moment, that is when a child’s brain ‘switches on‘ to the explanation of a maths concept, grabs it and ‘sees’ the answer.)

A book that benefit me big time in practical homeschooling, teaching models, teaching methods and learning styles was “Educating the Wholehearted Child” by Clay and Sally Clarkson

I became aware of the importance of  first reaching the heart of my child, before I try to fill his/her mind with information. This book benefitted me as it pointed out to me the difference between my education (Public education), how I was used to be educated and the education I’m going to give my children (Home education). If I was not aware of the huge difference between these two methods of education, it would greatly have handicapped our home education. It also eased me even more on “Yes, of course I can do it!”  The Clarkson’s visual presentation of the Home-Centered Learning Model, became our education model, incorporating Discipleship studies, Disciplined studies, Discussion studies, Discovery studies and Discretionary studies and making it our learning lifestyle.
I strongly recommend this amazing book.

As I implemented the Home-Centered Learning Model introduced by the Clarkson’s I recognized the value of Lapbooks as part of discovery studies.  The books that helped me tremendously in the art of lapbooking was The Ultimate LAP BOOK handbook, by Tammy Duby and Cyndy Regeling 

Dinah Zike’s Big Book Of Projects, by Dinah Zike 

Big Book of Books and Activities by Dinah Zike

Two more books that complemented my library on the How to Homeschool books were “Life Skills for Kids”, by Christine M. Field

Drawing with children, by Mona Brookes

As this journey of homeschooling prolonged, I realised it is a lonely, exhausting journey, which could leave me depleted from creativity, energy and joy, unless I have a bottomless Source from which I can withdraw in all the season’s I face in a year. Fortunately, over the years the Lord called amazing women to step forward and share and encourage us Homeschooling Mothers from their experience. One such lady is Sally Clarkson from Wholehearted Ministries, read more on her blog I Take Joy. Sally wrote a few books which not only empowered mothers in their high calling as a Mother, raising the next generation who will change the world, but especially homeschooling mothers.  Three books stood out for me: “The Ministry of Motherhood”, “The Mission of Motherhood” and “Season’s of a Mother’s Heart.” More on these books in the session on Motherhood/Parenting.

I also draw much encouragement from the little book, One Hundred and One, More Devotions for Homeschool Moms, by Jackie Wellwood

And a book that stood out in my journey as a homeschooling mother according to God’s heart is “Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit” by Teri Maxwell from Titus 2 ministries. 

Read more on DAD'S AND MOM'S CORNERS.  In this book Teri (mother of 8) identified the three main robbers of a meek and quiet spirit: Fear and Worry; Disorganization and Anger. This book spoke into my heart loud and clear.

In the next session I will share with you the books that spoke to me on Motherhood. How some laid the foundation and other built on my understanding of the high and noble calling on my life - Being a mother who love and nurture my children.

With much love

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thankyou Linnie for writing about these books...there is one I have that keeps popping up in my path so may have to read it ;) God Bless you and your lovely family, Dori xo

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