Right before school started this year, I discovered this little gem of a book called Teaching From Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to UNSHAKEABLE PEACE by Sarah Mackenzie. It was a quick read, but wonderful! I also used the Companion Guide to go along with it.
I LOVE Homeschooling! I do! Even though I’ve been at it for 12 years, I still occasionally feel like I need a renewed spirit, a renewed focus, a change-up of some kind. I am very confident in my curriculum choices, my methods, and in the way I like to teach and the way my children learn. But, sometimes I feel like there’s still something more that I’m missing; things have become dull, or I am no longer looking forward to the year. So, often times, I do more research. I think maybe I need to change up curriculum, or make a different kind of schedule. Those things may be needed, but I think deep down, what I’ve really been looking for is REST. A state of rest. Over this past summer, I was feeling those feelings again….that need for something different, a renewed focus or goal, a change-up of some sort, when I came across this little book called Teaching From Rest. It peaked my interest, so I picked it up. I didn’t read it for some time, though….that happens sometimes when I get a new book. Finally, at the end of the summer, I decided to take some time and read this little gem. On the first few pages, I realized that there was also an optional study guide that I could purchase and download. So, I did that, and printed it out. I love being able to take a book and make it more into a book study, with notes, and truly feel like I’m growing and changing, so this option seemed like a great plan!
The book is written in three parts. Part One is: Whose “Well Done” Are You Working For? Part Two is: Curriculum Is Not Something You Buy. And, Part Three is: Be Who You Are! Each of the parts are broken down even further so that you can read in sections, which is nice (especially if you are frequently interrupted). If you get the Companion Guide, it has a place for you to take notes throughout the chapters, then some application questions following that with ample space to record answers and notes.
Part 2 was very applicable. Sarah gave clear steps on how to teach from rest and obtain unshakeable peace. Also in Part 2, she shows you how to break down your busy schedules to see how much time you have, and how much time you need, to homeschool. We often plan our time around our homeschooling, but she suggests we plan our homeschooling around our lives, around the time we have left. Sounds like a strange concept, huh? It makes complete sense to me now, and I am grateful to have read her tips on this! I did follow her advice, and did simplify our days somewhat, but I think this type of schedule will be a work in process for a while. In fact, now that we are mid-year, I am going to go back to this book and re-evaluate our schedule, and this time I’m hoping to add in a tea time and a time for rest and reading mid-day (she explains this further in part 2).
The book goes right along with my Charlotte Mason style of homeschooling, too! But, I do believe that whether you use Charlotte Mason’s methods or not, you will still glean a lot of great information from this little book.
After we had been in our school year for a good chunk of time, I realized things weren’t going as smoothly as I’d hoped. So, partway through our year, I had to make some changes to curriculum and our schedule. With just a few tweaks, things did improve, and now that we are at the beginning of a new semester I’m changing a few more things, and I believe things will improve immensely!
One of the things that I haven’t implemented that was suggested in this book was a Quiet Reading Hour. (I briefly mentioned this above). I really want to include a time for this beginning with the New Year! I wish I had added it at the beginning of our school year. We do read, we read a lot. However, I don’t get that time to read for me. And, implementing a Quiet Reading Hour would be great because then we’d all get to enjoy some free reading. Just a time of reading for fun! I think we could all use that! I do have one that is not yet reading, so this could prove a bit difficult, but maybe I could give her some audio books to look through. And, as long as each of us are in separate spaces and being quiet, it should work out just fine.
This book is truly a little gem that I will have to pick up each year, possibly several times a year, to reevaluate, to get inspired, to refocus. It brings me back to my goals in homeschooling, a simpler way, a restful and joyful way, full of peace. I would highly recommend it! And, I would also recommend the Companion Journal. Check them out here.
Wishing you a blessed and happy New Year!