There Was Always Laughter In Our House by Sarah Holman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Relatable, fun, mildly humorous throughout, packed with nuggets of wisdom and truth, and overflowing with the enjoyable and meaningful experiences of twenty-some years of growing up in a large homeschooled family, easy to read and difficult to put down – this book was a treat. I read large portions of it aloud in order to share the enjoyment – chuckling over the one-liners and discussing the deeper sentences with my family contributed to some memory-making of our own.
– The introduction with the backstory behind how the book came to be
– The humorous anecdotes about the little things in life – the funny mistakes that could be embarrassing but Sarah Holman and her family choose to laugh about instead – and the way they turn into inside jokes, memories to be shared and chuckled over repeatedly throughout a lifetime
– The homeschooling Q&A chapter and the “why do you have so many siblings” chapter – both how Sarah shares the humorous answers she wishes she could give to common questions, and how she also shares the kind, gentle, and wise answers she does give. So many times I’ve thought of a few of those same answers! Even though Sarah’s perspective wasn’t new to me, I appreciated having her beliefs on these issues laid out in a logical form – the simple yet clear format resonated with me and enabled me to more clearly articulate my own beliefs.
– The chapters about each of the Holman children – I enjoyed getting a little glimpse into each varied personality and the little tidbits that make each sibling unique. Sarah did an excellent job of presenting their quirks and yet entirely honoring each one as a beloved person and friend. Her relationship with each one shone through the pages and it was uplifting.
– The chapters describing unit studies – Sarah’s mother was a very creative teacher, and Sarah’s vivid and fun descriptions of some of their schooling adventures inspired me for possibilities in teaching my own children
– The reminder to challenge the know-it-all. I was one of those, and being challenged both by myself and by others around me was excellent in forming my character. This is something I need to remember and practice even now to combat boredom – there’s so much to learn that we haven’t even touched on yet!
– Sarah’s analysis of and response to homeschooling trends. What’s perfect for one family may not be the right fit for another, and she explains why and how in such clear, yet gracious, terms.
– The skirt chapter – when Sarah creates a t-shirt answering the skirt questions, I want one. Read the book to see what’s included on that shirt. 🙂 I related to every word in this chapter, and I’ll be referring back to it in future. Sarah has a gentle yet profound way of expressing exactly my own thoughts on this issue in an even clearer way than I can express them.
– Country kids and city parents – so relatable and hilarious, especially the city life elements Sarah points out that are new to her. I can relate. Country life is wonderful!
– The way the Holman parents dealt with and related to their children. So much love, gentleness, understanding, compassion, and graciousness shines through the pages of this book. Sarah’s parents truly sought to understand and empathize with each of their children, never downplaying any feeling or emotion, and treating the petty concerns of a child as real issues (because they are truly real issues to the child). This manner of child rearing is one of my own personal goals.
– The modesty chapter – again, I was reading my own thoughts transcribed in a clear and logical manner. The emphasis on the message stuck out to me. The tone is so light, so kind, so matter-of-fact, so utterly free of any traces of judgment upon others or on differing personal choices, so abhorrent of the idea of shaming anyone for any reason, and so filled with beautiful truth.
– The Rubber Duck War – the importance of communication in relationships can’t be over-emphasized, and I was happy to see this topic included and covered in such a memorable way.
– A Christmas Tree in March – reading the Holmans’ Easter traditions inspired me to begin similar traditions in our own family. Truly the resurrection is the pinnacle of our faith, and I love how Sarah’s parents chose to emphasize that by their celebrations.
– Sarah’s journey towards learning the Biblical response to tough issues and not just her political or social answer. I had a similar journey of learning how Christ in me responds to people and to issues instead of simply giving the logical answer, and it’s so encouraging to read the journeys of others in this area. Yes, a “debate-perfect” answer has its place, but the Person and Kingdom of Christ must motivate all we do and say. That’s most important.
– The matching outfit stories! I too love matching outfits and found Sarah’s stories hilarious!
– The Holman quirks mentioned in the chapter on I Know How to Play the Radio.
– The writing chapter. It inspired and encouraged me in my own writing career, as well as offered practical insight into how Sarah manages to publish three books each year. I loved her beautiful analysis of why she is a writer. Amen!
– The chapter detailing what the siblings do when the parents are gone! Read it; it’s hilarious and sounds like so much fun. 🙂
– The “Twenty Years from Now” chapter – another sweet and funny glimpse into the siblings’ interactions and personalities and an excellent way to wrap up the book.
I highly recommend this book for truth, laughs, and refreshing insight into the lives of a large homeschooled country family with quirks and a multitude of happy personalities.
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