The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

With so many products available we often need a little help in making our curriculum choices. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine family understands because we are in the same boat! Do you need more information on a product before you buy? With over 5,500 products listed in 52 easy-to-use categories, much of the information you need to know is only a click away! Let our reviewer-families help yours.
Do you want to get the word out about your product or service to the homeschool community? Email Jenny Higgins and share a little about what you´d like showcased, and we can help with that!

The Life Giving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming Review by Wendy Robertson

Sally and Sarah Clarkson
The Life Giving Home Experience: A 12 Month Guided Journey
Sally Clarkson with Joel Clarkson
Tyndale Publishing
351 Executive Drive
Carol Stream, IL 60188

The Life Giving Home by mother and daughter team Sally and Sarah Clarkson is a book designed to guide parents in creating a welcoming home environment for their families and friends. It is a wonderfully written book full of tips for making your home the most comforting place you can make it.

This 250-page paperback makes you feel cozy and “at home” right from the very first impression: its cover. There’s a wonderful rustic image there, featuring artisan bread, a cup of tea, and a sprig of wildflowers all laid out on a wood table. And then you get to open this book and join the authors for a wonderful trip through making your home someplace you - and your guests - want to be.

The book is set up in two parts. The first part consists of four chapters (two written by each author), and these chapters give the background of why the authors wanted to write this book as well as addressing topics such as

  • What makes a home?
  • Music in the home
  • Living an “unplugged” life
  • A Holy desire (to be at home in the arms of Christ)
  • Choosing the rhythm of your own life

The rest of the book is written in a month-by-month format. Each month of the year is given a chapter, and each chapter is full of ideas to implement during that specific time of year. This section works in harmony with the companion book The Life Giving Home Experience. Each of these chapters follows a theme, and within that theme one of the authors writes about how that aspect of “home” worked in their family. There are also tips for making it work with your own family. For example, June’s focus is “play.” There are stories about the Clarkson family that show both how they played together and why play is important in a family dynamic. Then there’s a host of ideas of how to make playtime a priority in your family.

The same chapter in Experience focuses on the same aspect of home life, but it tells another story. This one is set up more as a devotional than simply a story. Following the story are several scripture references and questions that tie the theme of the month to the scripture quoted. These are wonderful things to think about. After this section is a place to record your biggest challenges of the month. By thinking about what you struggle with in a particular month, you can think through ways to make the struggles less and the comfort more. Each chapter closes with lines for you to write in your family’s events for the month, a list of the Clarksons’ favorite books to read and movies to watch for that particular season, and a section for keeping track of people and things that you want to prioritize for the month.

These two books work in perfect harmony with one another, and both are very good at what they were written for. I wanted to review this book because my husband and I are struggling to create our own family traditions (even after 15 years of marriage, we’re “trapped” by our own parents’ family traditions still). As we move through the year, I plan to reread the chapters each month and incorporate some of the ideas presented by members of the Clarkson family in conjunction with things we decide are important to us. It will be a wonderful resource for years to come.

-Product review by Wendy Robertson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2016