Spring has officially sprung, and for homeschoolers that often means it’s planning season. People are out and about at conventions, looking at new curriculum, making choices for the coming year. What if I suggested that a key ingredient to a successful school year wasn’t only the right curriculum? What if I suggested that the atmosphere in your home was as important as the book list? I’d be in good company! After all, Charlotte Mason said that “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.”
Sally and Sarah Clarkson have written an inspiring book to help you create an atmosphere of love and learning in your home. The Lifegiving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming takes readers through a year of celebrations. We get to peek into the Clarkson home and see how they celebrate birthdays and holidays. The point isn’t to copy or replicate what happened there–though I’d love to try my hand at Sally’s braided herb bread! Rather, Sally and Sarah want us to catch a vision for what home can be.
One of the sweetest parts of the book for me is that it’s written by a mother and her daughter. It’s a picture of the fruit of the hard work of homeschooling. It’s often hard to imagine the adults my little ones will be when we are up to our knees in spilled juice and Lego. But hearing from Sarah about her experience both as a child and as an adult was utterly encouraging. Sarah was asked to tell about how she came to know the love of God in her home. She answered, It was french toast on Saturday mornings. It was love made visible by the thoughtful work of her mother to bring sustenance, beauty, and connection to her family.
The companion book moves from inspiration to action and gives the vision legs to stand on. Each chapter includes Biblical counsel and study and a list of suggested movies, books, and other resources to add to your celebration. But the best part is the time to reflect on the coming month–space to think about the areas of greatest challenge, the family events, and where you will intentionally put your focus. This year long study would be an excellent book for a mom’s group or to use personally as a part of a monthly review and planning time.
As if this weren’t enough, there is also a website dedicated to the resources mentioned in the book. Extensive listings are offered for lifegiving things to read, watch, listen to, memorize, and make as you craft the traditions that will make your house a home. The Lifegiving Home is worth your time and attention as you start to think about the next year of homeschooling and the ways that you can offer true hospitality to your children.