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5 Stars Out Of 5
January 31, 2011
In her book Pajama School, Natalie vividly describes her homeschooling experiences, struggles, and victories. As a homeschool graduate myself, her book encouraged me in the principles which I have been raised on: that a parent is responsible to give his child a solid, biblical worldview, and education is one route to this end. Natalie's parents made the commitment to do just that, and Natalie's testimony proves the success of their investment!
Once upon a time, a blonde and blue-eyed family of girls (three, to be exact, all with names starting with N) left old ways behind and lined up at the foot of the stairs for their first school picture as a homeschooling family. They had desks, organized bookshelves, maps and pictures on the walls, and a placard proclaiming School Room.Well, most of us homeschoolers know how that goes. The Wickham family soon gave up trying to be like a school and got more focused on being a home that teaches, and Pajama School Natalie Wickhams memoir of homeschooling, getting to know God, and learning to lead was born.I came away from Pajama School feeling like Id gotten to know Natalie, who is just a little older than I am and has had a journey in some ways like mine and in other ways very different. The book is steeped in the perspective not just of a homeschooler, but of a homeschooler who grew up connected to ATI (Bill Gothards Advanced Training Institute), which is a subculture all its own and where Natalie found places of service as a young adult.In fact, Pajama School focuses far more on those experiences of service as a young adult with ATI in Childrens Institutes and at the beginning stages of the Character First! program, in politics, in running a tea shop, and in teaching than it does on the childhood experiences I expected from the title. This is less a homeschooling book and more the record of one homeschoolers spiritual journey. More than anything, Pajama School is a memoir of Natalies walk with God a memoir that is honest, humorous, and insightful.For homeschool grads and older teens, parents who want to see how homeschooling can play out in their students life, and anyone who enjoys good, clean, thought-provoking memoir, Pajama School is well worth reading.- Rachel Starr Thomson, author of "Tales of the Heartily Homeschooled"
As a homeschool graduate, I identified with Natalie's account of her first day of school-at-home: the carefully arranged desks in the meticulously prepared homeschool-room; the carefully-chosen wall-charts, assignment notebooks, and workbooks; and the nervous excitement while saying the pledges to the flags. I also relished Natalies honesty regarding the natural emotions homeschoolers face when the newness wears off: the anxiety about leaving friends from the former church-school and feeling like an outsider at times during church activities; the struggle with family relationships in the first year while siblings adjust to being home all day together; the periods of adjustment every time Mom re-evaluates her teaching styles; and the strain of trials on the entire family as they deal with tragedy while learning together. Pajama School is not merely an account of homeschool success, though you will certainly come away encouraged in your teaching by reading Natalies story. And it is not merely an amusing tale of growing up at home, though the irrepressible homeschool humor shines through on many occasions. It is not even a treatment of biblical principles, although Natalie does discuss her wrestlings with peer-dependency, feminism, courtship, politics, entrepreneurship, bitterness, institutionalization, higher learning, and pride. More than these, Pajama School is a transparent look at how the Lord can use family discipleship to begin a life-long relationship with Himself. Natalie is honest regarding how God used her unconventional education, her committed parents, and her own sinful yet broken heart to accomplish His will in her life. As she says, The Lord has a way of using the right people at the right time to teach me, counsel me, and help me understand different areas of life from His perspective. Thats an education far above and beyond what I could have ever learned from a textbook!"