A *mini* Review of Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie

Teaching from Rest is a great big breath of fresh air.  There aren’t enough words to express how much I love this book. Honestly – I would love to give a copy to every homeschooler I meetSarah Mackenzie (the author of Teaching from Rest) is the kind of person who probably makes instant friends everywhere she goes.  Her blog and her book read as if you’re out for coffee with a friend you’ve known since 3rd grade.  She’s honest, humble, and incredibly relatable.  She speaks deep wisdom and truth with a warm smile and a tender touch – I love that about her.

We’ve been doing this thing for going on 8 years now and we homeschool using much from Charlotte Mason’s philosophies. Teaching from Rest is a wonderful source of encouragement for moms who are longing to embrace not only a more classical/Charlotte Mason approach to homeschooling but also embrace a home life brimming with life-giving atmosphere.
My copy of this book is so dog-eared and underlined that it is hard to pick only a few things to touch on, but I’ll try my best. Something I really appreciate about Sarah’s blog and this book is her focus on helping us find peace in the midst of a hurried world.  And homeschoolers are often guilty (I know, I’m right there with you!) of living a bit of a frenzied existence.  We can easily be trapped by the stress and chaos of not only everyday living but also the constant quest to offer our children ‘the best’ of everything.  We seek the ‘best’ books, the ‘best’ curriculum, the ‘best’ extra-curriculars.  And sometimes, we can get lost along the way – forgetting what truly is good, and noble, and ‘best.’  Sarah speaks truth and calms hearts by reminding us tosimplify. I love this:
“Much of the best learning cannot be proven, measured, or easily demonstrated.  The kind of encounters 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… Pacing doesn’t matter if you are sacrificing mastery and love for truth, goodness, and beauty.  Change the way you assess your success.  The quality of study matters far more than the mere quantity of learning.”
Sarah goes on to encourage Moms to lighten the load.  To breathe deep.  To do school intentionally.  Not frantically.  Not carelessly.  Not to ‘get through’ the curriculum.  But to study and learn intentionally – whole-heartedly, slowly, peacefully, purposefully.
One more thing I can’t possibly leave out is how Sarah Mackenzie (and Pam Barnhill) have inspired me to bring a focused, intentional Morning Time in our home. Sarah writes about how Morning Time (her family calls it Symposium) brings a focus on what is beautiful and lovely into the homeschool in a very special way.  We LOVE our Morning Time routine.  It truly has infused our days with wonderful gifts: scripture, memory verses, poetry read alouds and poetry memory work, art and picture study, composer study, folk tales, literature of all kinds, foreign languages, I could go on.  Morning Time is a huge part of what we do and what makes our little homeschool so rich and meaningful.
I absolutely love Sarah Mackenzie’s heart and absolutely love Teaching from Rest.
A must-read for homeschoolers, new and veteran alike.

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