September 7, 2018

Luke's Lists: A Framework for Any Child's Complete, Holistic Education

Because even we who eschew it have been (sadly) indoctrinated by the system of mass institutionalized schooling, home-educating parents regularly ask about resources for checking to see if a child is "on track" with learning. I actually use that opportunity to share a gentle reminder about how every child has an individual rate of learning/mastery - i.e., there is no age (or, heaven forbid, "grade level"!) by which anything "must" be mastered by every child - and about different kids having different overall interests and abilities. But I also know that having a trustworthy resource that provides a general overview can be helpful and reassuring.

Unfortunately, most of the resources I've seen are secular, promoting what is taught in government schools as "the standard." And now - even more unfortunately - even some of the few Christian resources I had sometimes recommended have a connection to common core in one way or another. So, because the philosophy inherent within institutionalized schooling - including but not limited to common core - ought never be our model or measure as home educators, I cannot in good conscience recommend them.

But a few years ago I happened upon information about Joyce Herzog's LUKE'S LIST BOOKS, which offer a biblical perspective (i.e., based on Luke 2.52) for what children might know and be able to do in all areas of life - academically/intellectually, yes, but also in terms of their "moral, spiritual, cultural, emotional and...physical development" - from BIRTH through at least AGE 14. The books do not recommend any particular curricula or suggest that there's a certain age by which anything "must" be mastered "or else." As Mrs. Herzog says, they simply provide "a framework to assist [a parent] in setting the direction of [his or her] child's [holistic] education." They "provide direction without confining." In fact, I believe parents of other-than-Christian faith perspectives could also greatly benefit from the books and would simply have to skip a handful of the pages.

The books are best used as a companion set. Luke's Life List focuses on a "cradle through adolescence checklist of skills" in terms of spiritual, physical, social, and emotional development, as well as important life skills and knowledge of civics and economics. Luke's School List details the academic/intellectual in terms of all areas of language arts (reading, penmanship, spelling, composition, elocution), math, history, science, geography, music, art, and literature. Each book is organized around a series of detailed, rubric-style checklists with space to add notes or comments so that they might serve as a complete summary of everything a child has learned and is able to do from birth on.

In fact, though Mrs. Herzog suggests that the books are for use from birth through about Age 14, I feel that - with the exception of most "higher level" math, which she does not address, and, perhaps, some higher-level science - they're appropriate for continued use with high schoolers. Indeed, any teen who could demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the majority of what Mrs. Herzog details would be far and away more highly and holistically educated than the vast majority of adults.

I sincerely wish I'd known about these books when my children were young. If I had, I'd have used them as the foundation of their education from the beginning. In fact, I now recommend them to parents of young children and those beginning to homeschool regardless of a child's age, and I'm using them with my own (high school-aged) children for the next few years.

Over the years, I've come to see the futility of using school-style methods, including even the "package programs" of (well-meaning but misguided) homeschool-oriented curriculum companies. More and more homeschooling parents are seeing the same reality and want desperately to stop bringing dysfunctional schoolish practices into their homes, yet hesitate to get rid of dry, boring textbooks and rigid, "grade level" scope and sequence charts for fear of failing to provide a "complete" education for their kids. The Luke's List books can help such families make the transition from school-style to true, holistic education by providing a type of "safety net" for reference. Likewise, "relaxed," "eclectic," and even "unschooling" home educators would benefit from the flexible guidance offered in the Luke's List books as they use a wide variety of resources to educate their kids. A parent with just these lists, access to reliable research tools and quality literature, as well as  - in due time if necessary for a particular child - "higher level" math books can easily provide for every child's complete education and happy, healthy, holistic development from birth on.

NOTE: This endorsement is not written for affiliate purposes. I have no connection to Ability Based Learning and, though Joyce Herzog is a friend via social media, I am receiving no benefit or perk of any kind; I even purchased my own copy of the books. I share simply because I believe the books are an excellent parenting tool.

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