Take Heart: 26 Steps to a Healthy Home School – A Review
A review by Janice Campbell
When I began homeschooling in the late 1980s, there weren’t many curriculum resources available. Many homeschoolers made do with discarded public school textbooks or struggled to persuade textbook publishers to sell directly to home educators (very few people had ever heard of Charlotte Mason and living books, unfortunately). I would describe this as the Wild West period of the homeschool movement.
Finding curriculum was a minor challenge, though, compared with finding encouragement and sound advice from veteran homeschool parents. I remember haunting the library stacks and hunting through the card catalog in search of anything written about non-traditional education. Through interlibrary loans, I was able to read books by John Holt and Raymond and Dorothy Moore (you can see a few of them in the box below), but they didn’t offer what I was really looking for– simple mom-to-mom tips and advice.
Times have changed, and over the course of this convention season, I saw thousands of resources at the homeschool conferences I attended. They’re a testimony to the energy, creativity, and love that’s been poured into the homeschooling movement by countless parents who couldn’t find what they needed. Whatever you want to teach, and however you want to teach it, you can probably find a great resource (and if you can’t, you can create it!).
The slowest category to build has been the mom-to-mom books of wise counsel and encouragement. That is changing, though, and Take Heart: 26 Steps to a Healthy Home School
by Mari Fitz-Wynn is one of the most helpful and approachable little books I’ve encountered this season. Mari and her late husband Edward homeschooled their six children, and as they did, they encouraged others. Through Heart for Home School Ministries, Mari has spent many years bringing together new and veteran homeschoolers for advice, encouragement, and mentoring.
She has finally paused long enough to write a book brimming with gentle encouragement and sound counsel. Understanding that homeschooling moms are busy, Mari designed the book in 26 brief chapters corresponding to the letters of the alphabet. This makes it easy to find a topic you may be seeking, and the brevity makes it possible to snatch a moment of encouragement during the small moments of the day. The only downside of the brevity is the fact that it’s over so quickly– I tend to like big fat books, but I realize that’s not always practical for busy moms.
Topics in Take Heart include anxiety, burnout, character, disillusion, expectations, inspiration, juggling, legacy, no (love this chapter!), organizing, quitting, volunteering, and more. Mari’s wide experience and loving heart are reflected in each page, and her comfort and counsel are sound. I’ve known Mari for several years through Heart for Home School’s annual conference, and am delighted that she’s finally written a book. I know it will bless you or someone you love.
Take Heart: 26 Steps to a Healthy Home School
by Mari Fitz-Wynn
Paperback: 116 pages
Publisher: Torchflame Books (June 11, 2014)
Full disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher, but the honest opinions in the review are my own. I receive quite a few review books (and buy a lot more). If I like them, I review them. If I feel they aren’t a good fit for my readers, I pass them on. So if you see a review on my site, you can know that I only recommend things I love, whether free or purchased. And of course, any links that go to Amazon are affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I receive a small amount (it doesn’t change what you pay). It helps to offset my book budget, so thank you!