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Seven Tools for Cultivating Your Child's Potential Review by Christine Field and Marla G. Nowak

By Zan Tyler
Broadman & Holman
127 Ninth Avenue North, MSN 114
Nashville, TN. 37234

Passionate, purposeful and powerful - these words describe Zan Tyler and her new book, Seven Tools for Cultivating Your Child's Potential. She gives us a peek into "graduate school" of home education. Having graduated her three children, she has the wisdom and perspective to help us to see the broader picture of our efforts.

When you feel like you will scream if you have to explain a concept one more time, or when you are agonizing over curriculum choices, Zan reminds us that these principles are far more important than our temporary struggles: establishing identity, cultivating intimacy, discovering purpose, developing worldview, building character, providing stimulating academics and fostering leadership and communication skills. She has walked through each of these challenges with her children. At the end of this book, they each give their perspective on their experience and they have indeed risen up and called her "blessed." They were blessed by her efforts and her intentionality.

Lots of books tell us "how" to do something. This books helps us to discern and clarify "why" we homeschool. This is the big picture we all need to inspire us to persevere.

How important is our work? Zan ends her part of the book with this: "I firmly believe that revival can begin in your home and in my home - in our lives and the lives of our children - if we are willing to hear and heed His call to lay down our lives for those He has put in our care. Eternity hangs in the balance."

If you can only read one homeschooling book this year, make it this one. You will never look at your task the same again.

-Product review by Christine Field, Senior Contributing Correspondent, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, June, 2006

And another reviewer's perspective:

Find a quiet place. Grab a highlighter. You won't be sorry you read this one. Zan Tyler takes you on a wisdom-filled journey that might just remind you why you chose homeschooling in the first place. Best of all, she never separates education from Christ. Instead, she delivers a call that reminds us who our children belong to. Comparing our youth to Daniel, she challenges us, "We might argue that we can't do for our children what Daniel's parents did for him-after all, we are not royalty. In a very real sense, we need to consider our children are in fact royalty: they are sons and daughters of the King of the universe, and we need to raise them accordingly."

Mrs. Tyler identifies the danger and widespread tendency toward random living. Because lack of purpose undermines families, she provides insights to help grow strong homes. New and seasoned parents alike will benefit from the encouragement to do good threaded throughout this book. While espousing "Fold 'em the way they're bent," Mrs. Tyler also directs parents to intervene, reminding us, "The home is the child's first dictionary-it gives definition to much of his life." This is a message that bears repeating to our hearts, minds, and souls. We are challenged to demonstrate a loving, sacrificial model with the hope our children will be "God focused and other-oriented."

Steps and formulas can be a turn-off. Instead, Mrs. Tyler, using her own children for example after example, gives us some practical how-tos. We find illustrations and ideas well-defined in the "Seven Tools": Establishing Identity, Cultivating Intimacy, Discovering Purpose, Developing Worldview, Building Character, Providing Stimulating Academics, and Fostering Leadership and Communications Skills. These practical chapters break down ideas into doable application.

This is a retrospective look, from a mother basking in the final golden days of homeschooling. It's credible, not just because her children appear to have turned out well but because she followed Biblical principles. Her look back challenged me to look forward and consider the legacy I'm leaving today, day by day, for my children. I appreciate Mrs. Tyler's candor and optimism. Her children have tasted some degree of success and achievement, which are in a sense her accomplishments too. Yet she writes in a style that makes you appreciate that children like hers are out there. This is not a guilt-based, do-more book that produces the desire for a teacher walkout. At the same time, some may feel tempted to consider this family a bit idealistic in the degree of support and opportunity afforded them. No, not all of our children will be pages at the United States Senate. However, all of our children are capable of doing all God has equipped them to do. We are reminded our job is to lead our children in this truth. Thank you, Mrs. Tyler, for this reminder.

Product review by Marla G. Nowak, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, June 2006