Whole Heart School

Mar 18, 2010 | Homeschooling, On Motherhood | 32 comments

I’ve got a lot I want to say about homeschooling, but I know it’s going to offend some, and I am willing to risk that but I do want to say it “just so.” It’s probably going to be a huge post and I don’t want to ramble. I want to write about Christian teens leaving the faith, the treatment of boys in our society, good teachers and crappy textbooks…

Now that Aidan is 3 months shy of 5, we have begun to do a little schooling and I find my convictions growing stronger than ever. The entire thing is amazing and for now, I will share our most recent experiences… opinions to follow in a subsequent post…

Yesterday was incredible.

Watching these children learn is out of this world.
Yesterday I suppose you could say the lessons were: phonics, time tellings, French, Bible, American history, science and theology.

We are learning the alphabet, focusing on phonics. Aidan is DESPERATE to learn to read. At first I was so daunted… how in the world can you teach someone to read?  Can it really happen?  But, we are taking it slow and he AND Amélie are starting to remember the sounds the letters make.  Honestly, the process is fascinating.
He loves to try to tell time and I think he will grasp that completely pretty soon too. We have two little time telling books with clocks and hands that move: Thomas the Train Engine and Peter Rabbit. They love to move those hands and of course they are learning their numbers at the same time. In English and au francais.  (My French is so poor, but I have to teach them what I can!)

Aidan is very interested in just about everything and since the poor kid listens to Laura Ingraham every day he has an awareness of American History and inquires about what he hears, such as the Presidents so at Target the other week I bought a pack of president flash cards.  Yesterday we talked about George Washington.  They were gobbling it up. This morning when I told Amélie that we would do some schooling after Momma worked out she said,
“George Washington?”


I am of course focusing on Aidan and she is learning thru osmosis.

We read a Bible story and “unpacked” it. (The story of Samuel being called by God), we listen to Mark Driscoll and Aidan has a precious, four year old understanding of Christian Theology. It’s amazing.
I spoke some French to them at breakfast and they watched a couple YouTube French lesson… really, children are ravenous to learn. I can’t get over how amazing it is to teach them. What a privilege.

A friend brought over a stack of books in the afternoon… reptiles, planets, technology… I know they don’t understand it, they can’t even read but you can see their little brains just absorbing what they are looking at. They sat for 45 minutes on our front porch “reading” these books at lunch time… they were splitting a hamburger as a treat and the only time they spoke was to ask for more ketchup! Otherwise, there they sat, in the fresh air…

I truly believe some of this attention span is because their brains aren’t jumbled with Blue Clues and Dora.

After naps, we went to my Mom’s. We are on our SECOND round of reading the Little House on the Prairie series. Aidan is obsessed with Laura Ingalls and all things pioneer. Well digging, hunting, making butter, Indians, Indians and more Indians… on the way to Mom’s we were talking about prairie fires, I told Aidan our friends at Na-da Farm burn their prairie… we were chatting away when I saw smoke a mile down the road. Turns out they were burning the prairie here in town so we pulled over, killed the engine and smelled the smells and listened to the smoke and hiss of the fire. Imagining the terror of Ma and Pa with a wall of fire racing towards their homestead. I had my camera in my bag!

Aidan loves schooling. When people ask them if he is in preschool is looks at them says with pride, “We do homeschooling!” It’s hilarious.

We call our school “Whole Heart School” because of something Aidan said last year about my Gramma’s farm and wanting to live their, “It is my Whole Heart Farm” he said with tears in his eyes (he and his Momma want to live on a farm so bad we can cry at the drop of a hat… post on that is coming)… I thought, what a lovely name for a school after all,
the Bible says “love the Lord your God with your whole heart” and “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

This “homeschooling thing” is going to be such an adventure! I’ll share more about my convictions on the subject soon but I just had to share with you about our day.


  1. 1 Funky Woman

    Beautiful! Kids are like sponges they just soak everything up. Its amazing how much they do want to learn at that age. Good job mom for feeding it to them. Love the ketchup on the face!

  2. Mel

    Very precious. Thanks Angela… My baby is now thirteen and I could just kiss the ketchup off those little cheeks.
    Nicely done.

  3. Deanna

    Dear One,
    I have been following your sweet blog for awhile and wanted to say hello!
    Cheering you on as a homemaker, wife and momma…Christian at that!
    God bless you and may you have a great week.
    d from homehaven

  4. Sophia Mnemosyne

    Awesome… on our recent vacation to the Dominican – we meant a family from Canada, who also home school their children. As I said to the children “how lucky and blessed they are to have a mother who will make the time to ensure they are learning”. Your children are truly blessed to have you as a mother.

  5. Belle de Ville

    I admire you for taking on home schooling. I is a big committment. It is lovely though to watch how quickly they learn at that age.

  6. *The Beautiful Life*

    As a former homeschooling mom (she’s in college now) I LOVE this post!

    I couldn’t agree with you more. My Olivia was much like your son — loved learning! She ended up graduating high school a year early and is now on such a fast track in college that she is now scheduled to graduate from there an entire year early… so, I’m guessing homeschooling didn’t “hurt” her. 😉

    She is on a mission trip to Ethiopia as we speak — I couldn’t be more thrilled with the beautiful young person she is growing into being.

    Continue the path you are on — it will yield fabulous little citizens and a heart full of memories.


  7. cityfarmer

    there could be no other way than this for these precious “hearts”…
    I’ll help any way I can

    …as far as presidents and a woman for VP …bring on A. and A… 2045

  8. Jenny

    THank you, thank you, thank you….Angela…the Whole Heart School is amazing. THough just a fledgling thing it is so honoring to the Lord and your little ones hearts that I pray for so much growth, and fertile hearts receiving Him and truth in a Lord loving environment. I right now have been toiling with the questions of homeschooling my one 3 year old and this post today hits home so dearly to me. The Lord most definitely led me to read your decisions and those precious pics most decidedly are worth a thousand words (Amelie with the ketchup face and the reptile book…oh, my goodness). Again thank you and thank the Lord.

  9. Old Centennial Farmhouse

    I home schooled my son up until the sixth grade…and I wish I’d never stopped sometimes because I think he might be getting “dumbed down” in school…so keep on going PAST the point where it gets super hard because they’re doing geometry and you are lost: order satellite school or do math on the computer, whatever you have to do!
    (And I think you meant to say your kids minds AREN’T jumbled up with Dora and Blue’s Clues…and you are RIGHT!)

    I’ll be cheering you on from Michigan, my friend!

  10. Catherine Anne

    I love all the photos and the words you use here. Little Man is now 9 my oldest. He was in ps in a small town for two years and has been at home with me homeschooling for two years now as well. I also hs our 6 and 2 year old. If its right for your family. Its wonderful!!! Your children are blessed to have you. Cant wait to hear your hs updates.

  11. Carolyne

    You are such a Wonderful Mom!
    (As a former remedial reading specialist, I cannot stress enough…..phonics, phonics, phonics).
    Your children *will* be a Blessing to the wide World because they were taught by a Mama who loved them with her Whole Heart.

  12. Cathy

    Great post! We homeschooled our daughter 8th-10th and loved every moment. She went to private christian school her 11th and 12th grade year.

    Enjoy every moment!

  13. Parisienne Farmgirl

    Old Centennial, HOW FUNNY! You are right – I meant “AREN’T” about Blues Clues…that is to funny – what is MY brain jumbled up with???
    Thanks – I made the change!

  14. Julee Ann

    Go ahead and write your post about your convictions, I’ll read it and will probably agree with most of it, except the part that may or may not say your kids CAN go to public school and not only keep their faith and personality but thrive in both.


    The first rule of good writing is to show not tell.

    This post speaks volumns as to your convictions. You may have won more Homeshcooling converts here than a whole book on why you believe in it so strongly.

    I was sitting right there with you in the warm afternoon sun. I could see the wonder in their eyes when you pulled up to watch the prairie fire. I could feel your heart beating faster as you went to fetch your camera and capture middle one’s peanut butter and jelly smeared face. I sat around your dining room table that evening and listened to you describe your wild adventures to big daddy.

    You captured my whole heart with this post.

    Aunt Julee

  15. Bonjour Madame

    I think this is fantastic that you are home schooling. It’s interesting to hear how eager the kids are to learn and how they embrace it. It’s fascinating really. I wish you the best as you educate your children. They are so lucky to have you as a teacher! Nobody is going to care more about their education than you and isn’t that what it’s all about? Bravo!

  16. Joannah

    I have become more enthusiastic about home schooling since getting to know a few families who are doing it “whole heartedly” like you. As a public school teacher, I have seen some parents abuse it as a way to keep their kids out of school and free to travel. Then when the fun is over, they reenroll their children in public school and it’s painfully obvious that learning was not part of their home school experience at all. That has been frustrating for me.

    Public education has become so screwed up that if I were in your shoes, I’d chose to home school as well. Have fun learning together!

  17. The Norwegian

    I am FAST becoming a HUGE fan. The learning process is indeed fascinating. How wonderful for your children that they have YOU for a mother. That consciousness you hsve of their learning means you will ever be presenting them with material WORTH their learning.
    Scripture first – a privilege, then all the wonders available for thirsty minds.

  18. Anne Marie

    i’d hug you if i could right now….

    all I can say, is that YOU are what the homeschooling ‘world’ needs….YOU are the type of woman that NEEDS to speak out…..

    I am SO tired of hearing women complain about their decision to home school……

    and do you want to know when we burn the prairie? bring the marshmallows and we’ll have a blast! (pun intended)

  19. Tamra

    Angela, I home schooled my oldest daughter and then my younger two from 5th grade on. They are now 23, 19 and 17. I wouldn’t have it ANY other way!

    You are on the right track and you will so enjoy the benefits. Your children will learn soooo much more at home with you then in public school any day.

    The best advice I can give you is, keep them busy!! Home school got a bad rap in the 70’s and 80’s because so many kids were “home schooled” but the parents let them sit around and do nothing. What a shame. Home school done right is a wonderful thing for the whole family. They not only learn everyday life skills that are not taught in school anymore but they spend time with those who truly have their best interest at heart, their family!

    I loved your post and the picture of that sweet little one reading a book with ketchup all over the mouth… too adorable.

    I am cheering you on and am here for moral support if needed.

  20. Maryjane - The Beehive Cottage

    What a beautiful, delightful and uplifting blog you have! Sweetness throughout. Your children are priceless! You are truly blessed!


  21. Molly @ Star Cottage

    Funny you should post on this subject today 😉 Yay! I wasn’t sure, but I thought you would decide to homeschool as well. I posted about making a list of homeschool mommas for ideas inspiration and encouragement for us mommas that are just starting out. I will add you to the list in my sidebar. I love teaching and learning right aong with my girls. It is so much fun. Plus I get to be with them all the time 😉
    Many Blessings,

  22. Mrs. G

    What a precious picture. Hope all is well with you and yours.

  23. Jen Chandler

    Hi Angela!
    I was just thinking about you and your wonderful blog when I saw you’d posted over at the Manor. How funny!

    I love this post! I was homeschooled for three years and, though I did go back for my last three years of high school, I enjoyed it. Homeschooling then wasn’t as amazing as it is now. There are groups and extra cirricular activities now that weren’t available when I was in jr. high. I think it’s wonderful that you are doing this. I have my own convictions about home schooling. To each their own, but the more I learn about what kids DON’T learn in school, how teaching methods are (or rather aren’t) employed I’m leaning more and more to the home schooling vein if we ever have kids of our own.

    And this is coming from someone who went to public, private AND home school. I’ve seen them all!

    Best of luck to you in this new, exciting adventure! I do hope all is well.


  24. Amy

    lucky kids!
    oh how I wish I would have had the courage to do it with my littlest who will be 13 in may, even thought of unschooling at one time, but doubted what I could do it, I doubted myself. luckily she is thriving where she is at. good for you! cute kids on the porch! I love a prairie fire or burn back awesome way to learn!

  25. Ann at eightacresofeden

    You are going to make one awesome homeschool mom and your children are going to love this adventure because you understand how they learn – you know what captivates them even though they are still so young. Can I encourage you Angela to keep on captivating your children in this way and keep on going! You will inspire many but what it will reap for your family life is going to be amazing. Such a harvest to come! And not just in learning! I know so many who started and didn’t stay long for the journey. It tended to be the moms who struggled and soon gave up because they had tried to replicate school at home and relied on textbook style learning rather than having the confidence to let their child spend an hour or two in the backyard observing insects. My own homeschool support group folded because so many put their children back into school as the high school years approached leaving me pretty much on my own to continue the journey – it’s why I started a blog, to find support and meet others who shared the same convictions (I think I share the same ones as you going by your opening comments!) and to let others know – it works! It is so worth every moment, every challenge, every struggle, every doubt – ‘can I do this?’ – sorry to sound like your president but yes you can! With God’s help of course and lots of encouragement from others cheering you on!
    I’m 12 years on in this journey and determined to finish the race. I loved teaching my children to read btw – I have taught four so far, three to go!

  26. FrenchGardenHouse

    What a great, encouraging post! There is nothing like the time and love and knowledge you are giving your little ones. I homeschooled one of my girls for a time, and was sad when she insisted on going to public high school. {she did great}

    Nothing you do is more important. Praying you on. You won’t believe the things YOU will learn.:) xo

  27. myletterstoemily

    you are such an inspiration!

    is there anything you can’t do?

    we homeschooled all five of our
    children until fifth grade.

    now they will tell you that they
    learned more and had more fun
    than in any formal school setting.

    but more importantly, we have th
    most loving, respectful relationship
    with each of them now that they
    are adults.

    you will never regret this.


    ps. we are taking our girls to paris
    in two weeks. 🙂

  28. Joy

    Oh, this is wonderful. It is so true about the little one’s eagerness to learn–parents must take advantage of that. My 5 year old and 3 year old gkids are subject to TV/Dora/Etc. all waking hours and no spiritual teaching. I just mailed off 3 books to them about Easter–no, not about chicks, rabbits, and candy, but about Easter–Jesus–the REAL ‘reason for the season’. I get riled just thinking about it. Kids are like sponges–gotta give ’em the right ‘stuff’ to soak up. I am praying for all involved… Oh, and I LOL at the little one seriously studying reptiles with the food on her face. So precious! You are doing your job well, Mother.

  29. mary

    Nicely done and the photo’s are so sweet. I’ve always homeschooled my youngest, who’s now 13 years old. It was very satisfying to teach her to read. After teaching her phonics, I also got her every “Dick and Jane” book I could find. These books help teach sight reading because of the repetitiveness of the words used. This helps them to read quickly, so it isn’t such a frustrating process. When they’re able to speed read, they retain the information better. It’s wonderful that your lil chickens love to learn. And teaching them about our wise, christian Founding Father’s will help them to have a Biblical worldview. My oldest is earning his Doctorate in Theology, something I would have never thought he’d be remotely interested in, but God got ahold of his heart… (now, if he could just see the importance of Godly men in politics: I’ll keep praying for that!) Seeing these photos of your little ones gives me hope for our country, so much more than any of Obama’s campaign posters or lame, uh, overdone, uh, overhyped, uh, speeches could! With Obama: Got hope? NOPE! With the future of our country learning theology and learning about statesmen like Washington? Yep. You bet!

  30. Hans-Georg Lundahl

    This might not help you, since they already got started, but my start with reading myself – I already knew what reading meant – was asking gramp “what does this say”?

    MYGGEN FLYGER (the midge flie=the mosquitoes are soaring)

    He pronounced the phrase, then taught me each letter.

    When I got to kindergarden I was already a confirmed reader.


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