I love books! I read to my kids often. We just finished The Fellowship of the Ring and are now reading through the third book of the Green Ember series. Why is it so hard for me to get through a book by myself, when we seem to keep a good pace through books when we’re reading together? Why do I keep getting distracted after only get through the first chapter of a book even when the story really piqued my interest?
I realized that I am a social reader. I totally enjoy the community aspect of sharing in a story!
So, this summer I decided that I needed to start reading my books.
The question was, with my ever growing stack of books on my night stand (that I always start yet rarely finish), which books do I start with?
I was thinking and praying about it. And as I was standing in my office, the book I had sitting with a stack of papers stood out to me, Teaching From Rest. Of course! What better book to spend time with than one that was written for this homeschooling mom’s heart.
Have you read it? It’s only 3 chapters! A few of my friends and I got together on some Fridays in July to read through this gem.
Teaching from Rest – A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace is written by Sarah Mackenzie, a homeschooling mama that started Read Aloud Revival.
I’m just going to pick a few key points that totally spoke to my heart.
I’m not going to give it all away because if you’re a mama who spends the greater portion of your day with your children, then you should order it and I encourage you to underline and write notes in your book. Seriously, I used to keep notebooks with all those notes and key points I had written. But then I would lose my notebook. It is so much easier to keep everything (notes in my book) all in the same place.
The first chapter talks about how God placed our children within our view for the very purpose of slowing us down. Mackenzie quotes Van Zeller saying,
When a person interrupts what you are doing, you [ought to] recognize a representative of Christ.
Then, Mackenzie goes on to quote C.S. Lewis:
The truth is of course that, what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life….
We follow a Charlotte Mason philosophy of educating our children. So I loved how Mackenzie broke down the motto:
You cannot make the plants grow or bear fruit. You can only plant the seeds. You can water them, and steward them. You can cultivate the soil (education is an atmosphere!), thin them (a discipline!) and water them (a life!). It is only by our cooperation with the grace of God and the laws of nature that the seeds become a plant and bears fruit. We don’t need to have anxiety about when the plant will grow, about how quickly it will come to fruition – our part is to steward it and do what we can to make sure it has the ability to grow rightly.
The second chapter is about curriculum and how it’s not something we buy; it’s something we teach.
This one was so reaffirming to me. Mackenzie really walks you through ways to simplify your own curriculum and what it looks like. The first steps are: lighten the load and think through your vision. Mackenzie includes a few tips to live that out:
Then, live your life. Do it in front of and with your kids. Plant a garden, keep house, learn to knit, cook, listen to audio books, visit new places, take factory tours, go to parks, sing, watch a play, go to museums, make music, care for pets, build things…. Remember that children will learn well what they see in us, what they will inevitably imitate.
Most importantly: focus on relationships, preserve wonder, perceive truth, and work diligently.
Chapter two can almost be two chapters on its own because there’s so many helpful steps in putting teaching from rest into practice. Towards the end of the chapter Mackenzie says,
If education is in part an atmosphere, then creating an atmosphere of peace should be of utmost importance.
Can I get an amen!
The third chapter talks about figuring out what type of homeschooling mama you are.
We as home educators know our responsibility is to figure out what type of learner our children are and then go from there in figuring out what type of approach they will learn the best with. A lot of times we don’t take into consideration our own teaching style and how we operate best as the educator. Our children will receive the benefit if we “…play to our strengths and provide for our weaknesses.”
Mackenzie went on to talk about habits that we want our children to have so we should practice those habits of deep thinking, contemplating big ideas, and relishing truth and beauty. Because our children will naturally want to imitate their mama so make sure our habits are worthy of imitation.
I also learned what the term Scholé means. It means restful learning; seeking truth, goodness and beauty first and foremost.
And then Mackenzie leaves us with this gem,
Rest, then, is not the absence of work or toil. It is the absence of anxiety or frenzy.
There it is! Now to figure out what the next book will be and ask some friends if they want to read it together.
Are you part of a Book Club or a Scholé Sister Group? I’d love to hear how you run it!