Compiled and Edited by Patti Maguire Armstrong and Theresa A. Thomas
Waterford, MI: Bezalel Books, 2010
As the title suggests, “Stories for the Homeschool Heart: Heavenly Stories of Inspiration, Hope and Joy” is a compilation of stories by homeschoolers and friends of homeschoolers intended to bring support and encouragement to others traveling the homeschooling journey. Patti Maguire Armstrong and Theresa A. Thomas have done a commendable job putting together this treasure-trove of stories. Some of the featured writers include Armstrong and Thomas themselves as well as pro-life blogger and speaker Leticia Velasquez, Catholic Exchange editor Mary Kochan, author Nancy Carpentier Brown, creator of the Little Flower’s Girls Club Rachel Watkins, and author Elizabeth Foss. Divided by topic, the stories discuss things such as being called to homeschool (for most of us it comes as a surprise. God really had to hit me over the head with a 2 x 4 to get me to do it), lessons learned, faith, prayers answered, and the fact that learning never ends.
The section that spoke to me most was “It’s Not Always Easy.” I think sometimes homeschoolers try so hard to put a positive spin on homeschooling (and there are many positive things) that we hesitate to acknowledge all the hard days that can come along with the territory. It can be comforting to know that others struggle and yet manage to keep going. In particular, the section “A Word from your Father” featuring encouraging Bible verses is so helpful it should be taped onto every homeschoolers wall or refrigerator for a pick-me-up on tough days.
The writers of these stories are all incredibly faith-filled people whose life journeys have led them to homeschooling, some for a season, some for many years. The only caveat I would offer to readers of this book is that the vast majority of stories are from people with large families. As a Catholic homeschooling mother of two, I feel it is important to acknowledge that Catholic homeschooling families can come in all shapes and sizes. Overall, however, “Stories for the Homeschool Heart” is a great gift to the Catholic homeschooling community and I thank Armstrong and Thomas for bringing it to fruition.