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Marilyn Howshall's
challenge to homeschooling

When I was first introduced to Wisdom’s Way of Learning (WWOL), something inside me resonated with the title. Yes, of course I want to follow Wisdom’s way….especially God’s Wisdom available to us as His Spirit guides and teach us, (1Joh2:27) What I also enjoyed was reading her numerous articles on a variety of topics. Below find an attempt to capture what WWOL said to be encouraged to buy the book yourself for your own personal library. This is not a book one reads only once, in fact the more you homeschool the better you understand what she means.

Wisdom’s Way of Learning(set of books)

The Howshalls has developed not a curriculum but an approach or philosophy called the Lifestyle of Learning described in the set of 4 books called Wisdom’s Way of Learning. The book titles are as follows :

· The Science, Art and Tools of Learning

· The Unit of life learning model

· The life message learning model

· Seasons : God’s time-design

2 other books which can be read together with the above to make even more sense of the approach are :

· Develop vision for your family

· Develop a lifestyle routine

In the Note from the authors, Marilyn states clearly how we all need “to turn to the Lord for wisdom, guidance and understanding for how to proceed with homeschooling.” It was a “season of solitude and study” in seeking the Lord’s wisdom which led her to these concepts. Without relationship with the God Who created heaven and earth, one may still end up understanding enough to apply principles, but with the risk of still bearing fruit without life. She believes that “the homeschool movement is the turning of parents’ hearts toward God, allowing Him to mature us in a deeper grace and pervasive faith in our daily lives.” She also states in another article that the message is not about how to homeschool but about being a believer.

Wisdom’s way’s primary focus is on having your child discovering his/her own interest eventually resulting in a life message to share with the world. So many children today are growing up bored, not knowing who or what they are and not even understanding that they have a life message ! People have been deceived into thinking that “content = education”. The better way is learning how to learn rather than what to learn. Learning is a process to be learned, not content. A sad fact she highlights is that “most children will be kept busy with attaining literacy only and never really do any learning for themselves.” “We must always remember that we are educating our children’s hearts first and then their minds” Oh how many of us even understand what she is saying here? Are we really busy doing that with our children ? Or are we also doing the only thing we know to do and that is filling their minds ?

The dullness of the soul creeps in when “artificial learning (meaning irrelevant, premature, forced, simulated or false) from external sources entertains and stimulate the senses but do not promote real thinking.” Children in our world today is so used to this passive kind of learning where everything is done for him, and they “develop an appetite for these passive entertainment activity and media with BOREDOM as the sad result. Compare this with the seven natural vital signs of learning to perceive the difference in what learning can and should be….

These 7 signs is a unique concept one will not read about anywhere else in books and can be used as a measuring tool for real learning. Learning that is individual, delight-directed, life-related, valuable active, productive, self-motivated and focused will stimulate a sense of worth and vision in the child. Isn’t it time to seriously consider what we are doing with our children ? Are we guiding them to a life of boredom and without purpose or rather a life of delights with an individual focused purpose ?

In the 4 books she guides you into making lifestyle changes with the main purpose being to provide children with enough time to play, explore, collect, read and think to develop their own life message. A reminder that “a love of learning does not begin at a desk but with child’s play” helps us to realize that we need to provide enough time (long, quiet days) for children to play….

A framework of 4 learning phases are modeled with guidance on what to focus on each phase and how one will move from informal to more formal learning activities over time. The research process with reading, recording, reasoning and relating is explained as the tools of learning needed. Notebooks are suggested as the core means of capturing learning, notebooks of any kind and as the interest leads. Areas of interest may provide ‘subject projects’, but the lifestyle of learning is specifically not about subjects or curriculum. As an interest develops into reading about, collection of and doing stuff related to the interest, the final ‘product’ will also develop naturally without being forced. The child will want to capture what (s)he has learnt.

Overall the Wisdom’s way of learning has caused me to think and continue to think again what is it really that I want to accomplish with homeschooling. What is the fruit that I desire for my children to have and what fruit not to have ? The books will however not help you to decide on a curriculum or what to buy or not to buy, it is not a quick read. It will discourage hasty decisions, busyness and trying to do too much too soon. It is a pearl of wisdom to serve as a reminder to focus on the right things in the right seasons.

Marilyn has also written numerous articles – all of which will be thought provoking and sometimes even unsettling as it challenges one’s traditional paradigms.

All of Marilyn's books are now newly available as ebooks on their website Lifestyle of Learning A friend of Marilyn, Barb Shelton (homeschool author and also a very experienced homeschool mom) also stock some of Marilyn's books. Her website is Homeschool Oasis.


Visit Lifestyle of Learning for more articles and Marilyn's personal writings


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Dankie Willemien, dat jy met soveel oorgawe leef, en byna refleksief soveel gee, en ook so wyd.

I just wanted to say that I went onto your website and I have found that this is "THE" best one that I have seen, we have just started homeschooling and you have helped me a lot!! Thank you so much for all the emails and info and support.

I popped over to view your website and was blessed by your heart and depth of content.