Confession time. I truly disliked more than half of this book the first time I read it. Sorry, Sarah! Over time, however, my mother's heart was truly transformed by its spiritual and practical wisdom. And I now believe it should be required reading for every homeschooling mom.
When Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakeable Peace was first published in 2014, I was in a fog. My fourth child was just about a year old, I was struggling to keep a home business alive, and I sincerely thought it should not be taking me so long to bounce back to orderliness and productivity after another new baby. I was homeschooling a 5th grader and a 3rd grader and chasing a three year old amidst it all. Rest and peace were elusive.
The e-book originally came out on Sarah's blog as a PDF download and sounded like it would be a great help to my weariness. I had been reading and enjoying Sarah's perspective for a while, but reading a post here and there while nursing was hardly enough to cobble together a coherent thought to remember and apply tomorrow.
A First Reading
So I devoured her e-book. I printed it and put it in a binder and promptly read through it. I enjoyed her focus on trusting God and respecting who He created my children, and me, to be. But as she began to suggest practical ways to implement surrendering our homeschooling to the Lord, I fell back on my old perfectionist, worrying ways and let my emotions get the best of me. I began arguing in my head with Sarah's words on the pages. I even called a friend, one who had also read it, and complained profusely, declaring the impossibility of practically implementing such advice. It just did not make sense!
How could I allow my children not to finish their math book by the end of the year? How could I simplify my curriculum when we hadn't even started Latin!? And how on earth could I schedule our days to allow for seemingly idle time? 24 hours are just not enough! (If you are laughing with me now, you have been there!)
But when the Lord wants to heal you, He doesn't give up. Throughout the next school year, Sarah's words kept coming back to me. I began arguing with myself regarding my objections to her wisdom. Those were some awkward Parent/Teacher Conferences! One day, in Confession, Father told me to stop looking at prayer as something to check off of my to do list and just to "rest in the Lord."
So, little by little, stubborn me began to surrender more and more to Christ's model of teaching. I brought my "couple loaves of bread and a few fish" to God each day and sat still long enough to let Him work in our homeschool. The results were grace and peace beyond my imaginings.
A Second (3rd, 4th, 5th...) Reading
The following summer, I picked up the book again, in print form and remarkably edited to clarify its message, and I dove in with fresh eyes and an open heart. Now I read it at least once a year, often twice. Each time the Holy Spirit prompts me in new ways to realize that I am not "the be-all and end-all of whether the education [I am] offering [my] children is going to be as successful as [I] hope it is." God is.
I highly suggest every single homeschooling mother, whether you are enrolled in a hybrid or home-based program or you cobble together your own lessons, read this book. If you look to planning next year as an enormous chore that you are incapable of completing or have not fully finished your school year and are limping to the finish line, consider reading this book. (And it's good for those of you who school year round, too!)
In case you haven't guessed, I'm pretty stubborn, and I fall back on old, bad habits fairly easily. But rereading this book every year before I plan our next homeschool year leads me back to "unshakeable peace" over and over. And I'm so grateful that I came to see that the wisdom in Teaching from Rest, most of it based on Scripture, all of it based on having faith in God, is a treasure.
Have you read it? What did you really think?