Today it is our great joy to welcome Sally Clarkson to the Homeschool Compass. For over three decades, Sally has been pouring her heart into helping parents disciple their children for Christ with grace and love. Her wisdom can be found in numerous books including Own Your Life, The Life-Giving Home, and many others. Sally writes from the wisdom of a life well-lived as she draws on her experience in parenting and home educating her own four children. Her latest book, Awaking Wonder: Opening Your Child’s Heart to the Wonder of Learning, releases on August 18, 2020. In this post, Sally shares the heart behind this book, pointing a way for those of us who wish to draw our children into lives of wonder and flourishing.
What Is Wonder?
Living at 7200 feet high, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains provided our family endless evenings of spectacular views and front row seats to shooting stars, gently blowing pine trees, vast vistas of galaxies, the Milky Way, and evenings to ponder as we camped out on our deck. These adventures led to reading about galaxies, creation, Galileo, Copernicus, light years, and more. My children produced endless original art pieces that would cover our refrigerator with impressions of our wonder-filled world.
Wonder is the engine that drives curiosity and shapes a robust intellect. Wonder is the vehicle that nurtures spiritual formation by engaging in the miraculous, the sacred, the intricacy of the world around us. We ponder the personality, inspiration, and breadth of the One who crafted all the sublime natural art we behold. We respond in awe and worship.
A child fashioned by a wonder-filled life will cultivate inner strength, a confidence in his own ability to think, evaluate, know. But those who influence children must fight to make time for the imagination to have space to work, to have time to engage.
How Does Wonder Impact Learning?
To give a child the gift of time to imagine, to dream, to create, to engage, and to wonder is to allow time and space for his heart to be touched by the surrounding beauty, for his mind to have room to grow strong with a feast for imagination, and for his emotions to bathe in the tranquility of a peaceful life in an unhurried rhythm. Then we offer a feast of theology, math, story, literature, virtue, faith, science, nature, art, music, and culture, upon which to apply their wondering and wonderful minds. It is to give them beauty and strength of imagination and the strong pleasure of learning and acquiring knowledge over a lifetime. Wonder is the catalyst in shaping a powerful, engaged intellect.
Is Awaking Wonder a Memoir, a Parenting Guide or Your Philosophy of Education?
Awaking Wonder is my story, my memory of how our vision worked itself out in and through the lives of our four children. Perhaps it might be considered a parenting book, as we certainly employed lots of vision and ways of seeing children that guided the way we treated and nurtured them. Some will consider this a book of a philosophy of education and the ways to inspire children to a fulfilling life of a wonder-filled intellect. I am not seeking so much to give a formula or to give advice. I tell our story as an encouragement to all, especially parents and educators, who want to create wonder-filled environments.
Clay and I believed that children raised in a wonder-filled environment could flourish in all areas of life and move into adulthood with a sense of well-being, a sense of purpose, a sense of centeredness, a well of deep faith. We are the parents of four very different children who grew up within the idealism of our philosophy and are flourishing as adults
I wrote Awaking Wonder to help parents understand how to nurture children in a humane, authentic way that prepares them to flourish in life. But mostly this book shows the way we did it, the story of our family’s faith and risk.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into Sally’s heart for home education. If you’ve been inspired by Sally’s words here, be sure to order your copy of Awaking Wonder and follow Sally on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.