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Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakable Peace will feel like a breath of fresh air to those of us dealing with stress, anxiety, and the everyday busyness of the homeschooling life! Encouraging moms to focus on relationships rather than checking items off the to-do list with frantic efficiency, author Sarah Mackenzie provides homeschoolers with a simple, centered pathway to restful teaching. Chapters provide gentle encouragement and advice on how to simplify your curriculum strategies, add margin to your day, focus on YOUR teaching style and strengths, and draw strength from the Lord's grace during the ins-and-outs of life. 88 pages, softcover.
Number of Pages: 112
Vendor: Classical Academic Press
|Publication Date: 2015|
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momofan5 Stars Out Of 5Teaching From Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakable PeaceNovember 23, 2016momofanQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0This book was strongly recommended to me by a friend and I only wish I had read it sooner! Ms. Mackenzie explained the importance of teaching with purpose and diligence, but also with the peace and rest of the Father. It was so encouraging! I highlighted parts I will surely read over and over again! A must read for homeschooling parents!
jhmom35 Stars Out Of 5Amazing bookSeptember 23, 2016jhmom3Quality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5This book is encouraging, real and just what I needed to hear. In fact, we will be using it as a resource in our homeschool group. Every homeschooler should read it. I plan to read it at least twice a yr. A must for every homeschooling parent!
Anne1 Stars Out Of 5For Charlotte Mason Approach in Elementary SchoolApril 13, 2016AnneQuality: 3Value: 2Meets Expectations: 1The premise of the book is that homeschooling parents need to find their rest in the Lord and thereby simplify their expectations for homeschooling and how they homeschool. My friend who lent me the book was very helpful in identifying that this book aligns well with a Charlotte Mason approach to homeschooling.
Ms. Mackenzie is very concerned with words. She begins by explaining that we should not want a "rigorous" education for our children, but rather that we should seek to be diligent. She was looking at the dictionary definition of rigorous, which when spelled out as it is in this book is obviously not what home educators want! But, Ms. Mackenzie must have been unaware that this word is used differently in an educational context. Educators mean something different. They are referring to an educational environment that is stimulating, engaging, and supportive. That is what educators mean. And I think we all want that for our children. The author's argument is a circular one which begins with dissection of the word rigorous and presenting diligence as what we truly want when it comes to our children's education.
The first section of the book tackles the topic of rest. The author beats around the bush and says the same thing multiple times. Basically, we need to remember that God is in control and that we can rest in Him. We need to be diligent and faithful with our time each day, loving our children and husbands. We do not need to be driven by the clock or a textbook when a child does not understand a particular concept. Instead, we homeschool so that we will have the time to pause, breathe, and really learn. I think she could have been more succinct. While the author says that resting in God is what we really need, I will say that we also need emotional and physical rest (which she does mention near the end of the book). Many words have multiple meanings and it is okay for rest to mean both physical rest and "resting in the Lord".
Then, Ms. Mackenzie discusses her ideas about curriculum. She refers to curriculum as the whole learning plan and not the specific books one uses. While this is true, the word truly does refer to both things. It is both the wholistic plan for a child's education and the actual books. Again, it is okay for a word to have multiple meanings.
At this point, she outlines how she believes parents should simplify their curriculum. And this is where our roads significantly diverge.
Her advice for simplifying curriculum is based on her goals, what she wants her children to learn--fewer things in greater depth in a looping manner (which she explains in her book). I was very honestly surprised and even shocked a little by her middle school schedule and the subjects studied. Middle School is preparing students for high school and the difficulty and work required in middle school needs to increase in order to help them gradually adjust and be ready for 9th grade. My husband and I want different things for our children than what is recommended in this book. Let me give one example. She explains that all subjects don't need to be studied every day or even all year (even Math!). She lumped all of the subjects together in her statement. I believe some subjects do need to be studied every day. Foreign language can be studied sporadically as a whole family if the goal is only awareness and exposure to a second language. But, if the goal is ultimately fluency and being able to communicate in that second language, then daily study (even if only 15-30 minutes) is very helpful and necessary.
Another thing that struck me was Ms. Mackenzie's misunderstanding of why schools give students a wide exposure to different subjects. It is based upon the educational theory of Schemas by Jean Piaget. This theory explains that our brains connect new learning to something that is old and already in our brains. By connecting new information to old, it is more likely to be remembered. Ms. Mackenzie feels that students would do better to study fewer subjects at greater depth. I fall in line with Piaget's theories and have seen this work well with my children as math concepts are developed to a greater complexity with each passing year in their math books. I don't think it's wise to start swimming out in the deep end of the pool if you don't know how to swim.
The last section of the book focuses on putting primacy in one's life on relationships, rather than the doing. This is the age old truth of Mary vs. Martha living from the Bible. Yes, relationships are important. Not being able to stop for a child who needs you to listen is something we can't get back after the moment has passed. I agree. But, as with most things in life, balance is needed. We have to be careful not to miss the blessings of homeschooling--being able to slow down and savor learning. But, we also have to be careful of the weaknesses of homeschooling, too. One weakness is that children can miss learning how to work within deadlines/due dates and manage their time and coping with this--which is a life skill that most public and private school children learn during their school years. When my oldest daughter heads off to college, I want her to be able to work within due dates, understand grades, and cope with the stress she encounters as she enters a new school environment.
This book is not my cup of tea. I prefer books that have anecdotes and stories in them--pictures of real life. This book is very wordy. I think she could have said the same things in fewer words. Ms. Mackenzie is surprisingly impersonal in her book and doesn't include stories from other moms. Also, I'm not a Charlotte Mason mom, which became significantly clearer to me as I read this book. I like textbooks because they help me know what needs to be covered and it keeps us on track. Outside of our schoolwork, I talk to my kids about everything from Kaitlyn Jenner to homelessness and how to make choices about spending money.
Teaching from a Place of Rest is good for:
- Charlotte Mason parents
- Parents who are intending to homeschool K-12 and never intending to put their children in public or private schools (they would have holes).
- Homeschooling parents who desire encouragement to slow down and savor the education process.
Who it isn't good for (in my opinion):
- Parents of middle and high school students (the middle section isn't applicable to parents who live in the state I live in, where specific subjects are required).
- Teachers who agree with Piaget's ideas and also want a "rigorous education" for their children
- Homeschoolers who don't follow Charlotte Mason's teachings in their philosophy of education
- Parents who are open to, or are considering placing their children in a formal school setting prior to college. Placing your child in school using Ms. Mackenzie's advice would be difficult because they would have holes (this is a weakness of unit studies) and would likely be behind in certain subjects that they have not had regular and thorough instruction in.
Joyful5 Stars Out Of 5Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakable PeaceFebruary 19, 2016JoyfulQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0Highly recommend this to all homeschool families!
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