A Timeless, Heart-Centred Teaching Guide for Parents and Teachers

A review of The Heart of Learning by Lawrence Williams, EdD
A girl smiling while sitting on a log on a beach
Photo Courtesy of Oak Meadow

In the shifting landscape of children’s education, a truly holistic and heart-centred learning resource isn’t always easy to find. When Oak Meadow founder, Lawrence Williams, EdD, began compiling articles he’d written over years of curriculum development, Waldorf teaching, and parenting into a single book, he envisioned helping parents like himself–homeschoolers–gain a better understanding of the learning process to enrich their children’s lives. What he created was a compassionate and practical guide that anyone shaping the lives of children can use to help them reach their fullest potential: The Heart of Learning.


The Heart of Learning book cover


Divided into four sections, The Heart of Learning reads like a roadmap to the educational journey, celebrating all the bumps and detours we encounter along the way. With helpful tools like charts and checklists to case studies and thought-provoking anecdotes from Oak Meadow educators, each section is organized to offer a refreshing mix of inspirational storytelling and practical nuggets of teaching wisdom. 


"The great paradox of parenting is that the only way we can help our children mature is by appreciating them exactly as they are."


While unique aspects may resonate for individual parents and educators, some highlights include Section I’s consideration for different learning styles (including an evaluation for the Multiple Intelligences); guidance for building a positive learning environment filled with “creative tension” in Section II; a how-to for fostering healthy classroom boundaries, communication, and self-care in Section III; and Section IV’s solution-oriented look at unique challenges homeschoolers face, such as healthy socialization and tackling good ol’ boredom.


"The heart expresses itself through compassion and caring, but also through art, music, rhythm, stories, and social interaction.”


This updated 40th Anniversary Edition strikes a strong balance between upholding the most timeless pillars of education and considering modern realities, as it weaves in more recent scientific findings and doesn’t shy away from addressing the influence of technology in our classrooms. Notably, Williams’ work puts in the effort to meet readers where they’re at, including nods to learning differences and urban settings where access to green spaces is limited.


A girl smiling with a butterfly on her face; two children running across a log; a girl smiling while petting a goat
Photos courtesy of Oak Meadow


For over four decades, this resource has been a go-to for educators, serving as the foundation of Oak Meadow's K-3 homeschool curriculum and earning accolades from families worldwide–and it’s easy to see why. At its core, The Heart of Learning embodies a beautiful message of acceptance. Williams' heart-centred and non-judgmental tone breathes life into every page, inspiring readers to embrace imperfection and learn to trust their instincts. It's not just a manual for teaching; it's a gentle reminder to nurture patience and compassion in our relationship with young learners, and with ourselves too.


"The best education is transformative and encourages both teacher and student to unfold to their greatest potential."


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Founded in 1975, Oak Meadow provides a flexible, progressive education for independent learners in kindergarten to grade 12. Oak Meadow offers both a complete, creative, and well-rounded curriculum designed for homeschooling families and a distance learning school with teacher support and full academic credit.

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