Unschooler Karen M. Gibson reviews the book Christian Unschooling: Growing your Children in the Freedom of Christ. This book successfully answers critics that suggest it impossible for unschooling and Christianity to coexist.

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Growing your Children in the Freedom of Christ (Book Review)

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We have just enough religion to make us hate,
but not enough to make us love one another.
~ Jonathan Swift

    Christian Unschooling: Growing your Children in the Freedom of Christ
    (Book Review)

    Karen M. Gibson & Donna De Poalo

    Christian Unschooling: Growing Your Children in the Freedom of Christ
    Teri J. Brown, with Elissa M. Wahl
    Champion Press, Ltd.
    Vancouver, Washington
    ISBN: 1891400223

    The introduction to Christian Unschooling ends with this statement, "It is our hope that this book and their stories will uplift and encourage you in your efforts.” As you read the thoughts of Ms. Brown, Ms. Wahl, and the contributions from numerous Christian unschoolers across the country, you will soon discover this goal has been accomplished. Christian unschoolers often face criticism for choosing this style of learning because seemingly the methodology of unschooling (on the surface) appears to contradict Christian beliefs. The authors have addressed this by sharing their philosophy regarding this apparent contradiction and assert that, in fact, there is no conflict between the two.

    Early on in Chapter 1 there is a section titled "What Unschooling Doesn't Mean." For any Christian parent who has ever felt unsure or ambivalent about the concept of unschooling and how it can be used in harmony with one's faith, this section is one that should be read and reread. In fact, copy it, laminate it and refer to it for inspiration when you need it.

    Throughout Part One, which details suggestions about how to actually unschool, the authors continue to build upon this idea that Christianity and unschooling are not necessarily in conflict with one another. Some additional topics included in Part One are: What is Unschooling?, Why Unschooling?, Getting Started, Children and Choices, The Worth of a Day, A Round-up of Ideas, Teaching Versus Facilitating, Learning to Lean on Spirit, Records and Record Keeping. These sections are helpful to the novice unschooler and reaffirming to the long-time unschooler.

    Part Two contains the real soul of the book, "The Essays." Eighteen contributors wrote essays covering such topics as Why We Unschool?, A Day in Our Life, Lessons and Learning, and Guided By The Lord. As you read the experiences and thoughts in the essays you can't help but feel encouraged and indeed, uplifted! The contributors share a part of their lives with the reader in such a way that you may feel a desire to hop in the car and spend a day with them.

    Finally, the book offers information about support groups, Internet resources, and books that may be useful to the reader.

    It is clear that the book’s focus is on both Christianity and unschooling; however for those readers who may be interested in only one of these topics, there is still much to be gleaned from the authors and the various essays. Christian Unschooling: Growing Your Children in the Freedom of Christ has successfully answered any critic that would suggest it impossible for unschooling and Christianity to coexist without one sacrificing one or the other.

    Copyright August 2001
    Originally published in the September/October 2001 issue of HELM (Home Education Learning Magazine)

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Christian Unschooling
Growing Your Children in the Freedom of Christ

by Teri J. Brown, Elissa M. Wahl
Utilizes the essays of Christian, unschooling parents from across the United States and Canada to reveal a new way of homeschooling-one that is respectful of the child, the parents and the way God created children to be.

The Teenage Liberation Handbook
How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education
by Grace Llewellyn
For everyone who has ever gone to school or is interested in the current national debate over educational reforms, but it is especially relevant for teenagers and the parents or caregivers of teens.

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