by Heather Bock
I’m the type of homeschooling mom who is afraid she’s going to miss teaching her kids something, leave a hole in their schooling, and therefore, in the lack of perfection, fail as a home teacher.
My son could not seem to understand how to tell time on a regular clock with hands (or maybe the digital clock is now the regular clock), so inwardly, I panicked. Never mind, as my father-in-law gently pointed out, that my son will probably rarely need to tell time that way, as he will most likely always have a cell phone on hand. Never mind that my son does know all the countries in Africa, that he can add, subtract, multiply, and divide with ease (as long as you don’t throw in those dreaded word problems), and that he can pick out and label all eight parts of speech in a sentence. In my mind, if he cannot distinguish the minute hand from the hour hand, he is not educated.
I need this book, Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie. In fact, I need it so much, I’m on my second reading within a year.
In her book, Mackenzie reminds me to let go of the anxiety I hold while I try to do homeschooling just right. She helps me realize I need to do in this area the same that I need to do in every other area of my life–surrender. She emphasizes that I’ll still have to work hard as a homeschooling mom; I won’t get rest that way. However, I can do that hard work with a peaceful mind, a mind at rest, knowing all I have to do is be faithful. God’s got this!
I am convicted as I read her reminder that my purpose isn’t just to get another subject done, but to teach my kids “to love what [they] ought and hate what [they] ought…to nourish them in truth, goodness, and beauty, to raise them up in wisdom and eloquence” (pg. xvii). How often do I rush through our school day, inadvertently teaching my kids that learning is just another task to check off so they can go have fun? This kind of attitude has to change.
What do I do then? She gives some good suggestions. I couldn’t take all of them at once, but I picked up a few from the first read, and I hope to pick up a few more the second time. Maybe I’ll need a third.
First, pray–begin the school day with prayer with my kids.
Second, don’t be a slave to a published book. This sounds obvious, but it took someone telling me it’s ok not to follow every printed word in an English curriculum to drop that part of the weekly test that I found time consuming and unhelpful for my kids.
Third, I don’t have to do the same subject or practice every single day of the school week. I can rotate (or loop, to use Mackenzie’s word) subjects. For example, the kids can work on their memory verse one day and their journal writing the next, instead of doing both every day. Doing this in several areas freed up a lot of time, and the kids still learned their verse and practiced their free writing regularly.
I found much more wisdom in this book than what I’ve written here, and I hope to apply more of what she said in the coming weeks as I read it again and discuss it with my friends. If you teach your children at home, I hope you’ll take the time to read this book too and find new ways to bring rest into your home.
How about you?
What have you done to bring rest into your homeschooling day? If you don’t homeschool, what do you do to bring rest into your home in general? Comment below if you have any ideas that would benefit the rest of us!