Tidbits of Wisdom, Practical Advice, and Well-Applied Scripture
Teaching From Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakeable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie may be the most recommended book for Christian homeschool moms. It is filled with glittering tidbits of wisdom, practical advice, and well-applied scripture. But, I venture that Teaching From Rest one of the best motherhood, even best life books, I have ever read.
Teaching From Rest is not only a well-written self-help book for the stressed out, overworked, and/or frazzled homeschooling mom, it is a book for ANYONE that is stressed out, overworked, and/or frazzled. In this review, I will share some of my favorite quotes and my thoughts about those quotes.
Before you read this book… or this post…
Now, before you read on, know this: Teaching From Rest is to be savored. Like salted caramel covered in dark chocolate or hot tea on a cold day: take your time with this book. Read it slowly with a notebook in hand. Write down the words that speak to you. Journal and meditate on your thoughts. Then, return, and re-read it often.
I wish that I could sit down with each of you, put the kettle on for a cup of my favorite herbal tea, and just talk. We could spend a couple of hours sharing our favorite passages from this book. I would love to connect, learn, and reminisce. But, for now, this blog post will have to do.
These are some of the quotes I would share with you…
The true aim of education is to order a child’s affections – to teach him to love what he ought and hate what he ought. Our greatest task, then, is to put living ideas in front of our children like a feast. We have been charged to cultivate the souls of our children, to nourish them in truth, goodness, and beauty, to raise them up in wisdom and eloquence. It is to those ends that we labor.
I have been asked so many times why I am starting A One-Room Schoolhouse. It is because of this: I want my children to have a REAL education. I don’t want hoops to jump through but a feast of learning for those things that are “pure, lovely, virtuous, and praiseworthy.”
But, this has been a terrifying process full of personal risk and fear of failure. If A One-Room Schoolhouse fails, I fail very publicly. I am sure I will mess up this process. But, I am trusting God to guide this path. Hopefully, I will follow this advice and REST.
Resting is trusting that God’s got this, even if I’m a mess, even if I’m not enough, even if I mess up every day. Because I do.
And I will mess up at A One-Room Schoolhouse. But I will trust God to guide my journey as I strive to form a community of families working together to educate our children in the best way we know how.
I am not doing this for worldly acclaim. Financially, I could make three times as much going back to being a full-time school psychologist. I have guided the board of directors to keep tuition as low as possible for those that attend A One-Room Schoolhouse and thus my salary is minimal. I blog in the hope that someday it will become a profitable endeavor and thus, tuition can be lowered even further.
Who am I trying to impress?
Who am I trying to impress, anyway? What ends up on my list of essentials may not look remarkable to the state or to anyone else, but I just have to keep reminding myself: That doesn’t matter. I cannot serve two masters, and neither can you. Whose “well done” are you working for?
Whose “well done” am I working for? My God, my children, your family, and your children. That’s it. I will show up every school day to A One-Room Schoolhouse with my children and you and your children to provide a rich, diverse, and beautiful education. To honor child development, spend time in nature, play, read, write, and explore.
We will do the work together
Faithfulness is showing up every day to do the work He has called us to. Whether or not things turn out in the end as I’m hoping they will is not actually within my span of control. It’s not my assigned task. He isn’t asking me to succeed on the world’s terms. He’s asking me to faithfully do the work.
And we will work: we will work together and succeed. We will work together to educate children to have faith, knowledge, and character. Remember the vision of A One-Room Schoolhouse is to create a flexible, rigorous, individualized, and comprehensive educational environment that reflects the counsel of Paul to learn and teach those things that are pure, lovely, virtuous, and praiseworthy. (Philippians 4:8) We aspire to be an edifying classroom environment with the expertise of professional teachers to support all families seeking after these educational values in their homeschool endeavors.
Every day I pray
- I pray that God will lead me on this journey to fulfill this mission.
- At A One-Room Schoolhouse, we will pray to live out this mission.
- This work of raising and educating children will be our Godly work.
Before we attempt to live a day well, teach our children, or tackle our to-dos, first we put the whole thing at His feet. We beg God to use us to fulfill His purpose, and then we see that every frustration in the day ahead is an answer to that very prayer.
And after we put our work at the feet of God, we will get up and get to work. As we read great books, study beautiful art, explore God’s world, think deeply, and contemplate important questions we will learn.
Don’t worry about the test
That learning may or may not be testable. A mentor of mine once told me to teach children in the best way you know how and don’t worry about the test. If you teach well, children will test well. But, if not, that’s okay too. Don’t worry about the test, worry about teaching the child.
And that is what we will do at A One-Room Schoolhouse. Our community will gather together to learn well and teach well.
Here’s a hard truth we might as well get used to: Much of the best learning cannot be proven, measured, or easily demonstrated. The kind of encournters that form our children’s hearts, minds, and souls occur as they come in contact with great books and learn to ask hard questions – and their minds are trained to think logically and well.
But, what if?
But what if we miss something? What if we get behind? The process is so overwhelming. I feel this way sometimes. I am so grateful that I read these words below before I chose the curriculum for A One-Room Schoolhouse and before I designed our school day. Our curriculum and schedule are simple. We read, we write, and we do math every day with consistency to build strength over time.
*Keep it simple. Don’t fall for gimmicky curricula that complicates what should be common sense.
* Read to your children everyday (yes, even older ones!). Set time asisde for them to read on their own as well.
*Have your children write everyday. It doesn’t need to be a book report or historial essays. It can be a letter, an e-mail, a grocery list, or a journal entry. Make writing itself a priority.
* Do some math every day. Don’t belabor it – do it every day and the consistency will do its work without long, drawn-out, arduous lessons.
Our schedule is simple with extra time built-in. It is not fast-paced or jam-packed. We have margin and downtime. A One-Room Schoolhouse has as much unstructured outside time as we do for language arts. We have an hour-and-a-half for history/science in the afternoon when the curriculum says it can be done in 40 to 60 minutes including read aloud-time.
This is how we slow down. We allow for duck walks and fresh air. Bring on the unexpected question! Yes, we will take the time to read just one more chapter.
How to Simplify the Schedule…
1. Start with a Time Budget
2. Insist on Margin
3. Break Out of the Mold
4. Begin a Habit of Morning Time
5. Remember Whose Time You’re On (Hint: It Isn’t Yours)
Every morning is started with a morning meeting (i.e. morning time). This is the time to do the most important things. It’s a time to communicate, to pray, to organize, and to focus our minds with a devotional.
Some days will be hard.
Some days at A One-Room Schoolhouse will be amazing, some hard, and some just average. But this is who I am: I am a mom, a teacher, an organizer, and a child of God.
Just be yourself. Embrace who you are. You are made in the image and likeness of God, and you have exactly what you need to be the mother that He wants you to be.
Just be yourself.
Join us and just be yourself. Do you say you could never teach your own children? Yes, you can! We can do this together. Are you not in my area? That’s okay, shoot me an email and I will help you start A One-Room Schoolhouse in your area.
I became a peaceful and happy homeschooling mom when I learned to be content with my own preferences and no longer strove to be like the women whose strengths are different from my own. I began working to overcome my weaknesses and growing in grace where I had been lacking. And then I learned that in the end, I’m just me. And that’s just the kind of homeschooling mom I want to be.
Have the courage to just be you. If that is something different from everyone else, go with it. Do you want to educate your children in a different kind of way? Great, let’s do it.
I’m just me. And I invite you to join me at A One-Room Schoolhouse to just be you. Because just us, is just enough of what He needs us to be.
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Thank you for sharing this book and your thoughts! I am trying to figure out how to do some restructuring in my home and with teaching my children and your posts have provided valuable insight.
I am so glad. I would love to know how your restructuring goes!