Sarah Mackenzie.  Mother.  Writer.  Homeschooler.  Blogger.  Speaker.  Etc.

She’s like the homeschool mom I would want to be if I wasn’t already the homeschool mom I actually am.

(What I really mean by that is — I really like so much about Sarah Mackenzie and what I read and hear from her.  Our styles (and some of our weaknesses) align well and I find her inspiring and interesting.  I also want to be free from comparing myself to other women so in my effort to NOT compare, I want to say – I’m fine with me – but I really like Sarah Mackenzie’s words and writings and thoughts.)

My friend Kristie generously mailed a copy of Mackenzie’s small book Teaching From Rest to me sometime this winter.  (It was such a good mail day!)  I heard the author speak at the Wild & Free conference last fall but had never taken the opportunity to buy her book and sit down with it.  (She was one of my favorite speakers though.  A mom of six.  A lover of words and ideas and home.  I really liked what she had to say.)

This book.

It’s small enough to read in a day – but I just couldn’t seem to arrange my life to make that happen.  Besides, it had too much for me to digest – too much for me to want to immediately implement – that I couldn’t handle this in one day.

I was going to loan it to a friend but I wrote so much in it, turned down too many corners and love it too much to give it away.  I’m just going to buy her a copy for her own shelf and share the love.

If I could give this book away in handfuls, I would.  (But not my own copy.  As already stated.)

It’s just very practical and encouraging and helpful and real and regular and inspiring.

Who can toss all that in one book?

It’s a bit of a why guide and a how to guide and yes, you can with a small nudge of go ahead and try guide.

Other online reviewers suggest some of her material has been shared on her blog before, but until now I had never really read her blog.  (It’s probably a bad time to confess that I actually don’t read all that many blogs myself!  Uh-oh.)  But even if I had – I feel sure I’d appreciate the fact that all of this information is in one small handy source for me, whether I’d seen it anywhere before or not.

I really loved her idea and her use of block scheduling and loops to maintain a sense of flow in her school day, as well as to provide the assurance that multiple small topics are being covered routinely instead of being skipped routinely as various life and seasons dictate in the real world in which we all dwell.

That loop system was written down and started pretty much the day I read that chapter and I am very encouraged to have the idea in my back pocket for next school year.

One of the more encouraging concepts in the book is the reminder that relationship trumps – well – everything else.  If I am breaking my relationship with my daughter over a long division problem, we are actually both losing out on something so much bigger than math comprehension.  That idea of relationship being my priority has helped me on so many mornings as I make my choices in what I say and what I don’t say to my listening and learning children.

Mackenzie also emphasized the importance and the trust in consistency over a long period of time.  A little math daily.  A little reading practice daily.  The steady enduring work of mothering and teaching that brings lasting change, not the quick rush of new ideas and shiny curriculum tossed around in changing colors each week.

She is not condoning laziness or apathy and the idea of teaching from rest doesn’t hold to either of those flaws.

Rest is the virtue between negligence and anxiety.  
                                           - Sarah Mackenzie 

I love that idea.  I want to hold on to that.  To teach from a place of trust in what God has ordained me to do, what he has skilled me to do through leading me into this choice of home educating my children.  To teach diligently and faithfully, but not fitfully or haphazardly.  To teach with passion and belief but without fear and frenzy.  To do the task in front of me and and to lead my children in the training of doing the same.  With a hope and a knowledge that I am leading, not pushing.  That they are growing, not molding.   That the end product is not a degree or a piece of paper, but a human.

I think it’s a fabulous little piece of help and I am grateful it showed up in my mailbox.