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Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakable Peace Review by Brittney Rutherford

Sarah Mackenzie
Classical Academic Press
2151 Market Street
Camp Hill, PA 17011

I think there are times when every homeschooling parent becomes stressed or overwhelmed. We put a lot of weight on our shoulders when we start thinking of the long-term impact of homeschooling, the academic rigor we should (or shouldn’t place on our children) and how they’ll fare in college and beyond. I had heard great things about the book, Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace, by Sarah Mackenzie, and in fact had just started listening to her Read Aloud Revival podcasts when the opportunity to review the Teaching from Rest bundle was presented to me.

The bundle is comprised of the first print version of the popular ebook with a forward by Dr. Christopher Perrin, a PDF Companion Journal, and the MP3 Audio Companion. The audio portion consists of four different recordings of conversations with Mackenzie and different educators and mentors that have inspired her on her journey. 

The book is divided into three main parts:

Part One: Whose “Well Done” Are You Working For?

Part Two: Curriculum Is Not Something You Buy

Part Three:  Be Who You Are!

Part One spends quite a bit of time with the author discussing what feels like her personal testimony with God and homeschooling. It felt like it spoke to parenting in general just as much as to homeschooling, but in the homeschooling world, it is often all intertwined. It was about turning it over to God and finding rest and peace in Him. Part Two is a bit more tangible and applies more specifically to homeschooling, rather than your spiritual walk. There are a few ideas for changing your curriculum and schedule in order to simplify. It also reminds the reader to be in the moment and to do only one thing at a time. In homeschooling, multitasking leads to a lack of focus and clarity, which can cause just as much unrest in the day as other problems. Part Three is about nurturing and educating the parent, or filling your own pitcher, as she describes it. I had just realized this is what I was missing, and it was one of the reasons I wanted to read the book, so it was encouraging to see the gentle reminder. She offers suggestions like finding literary mentors, keeping a Commonplace Book, nurturing your hobbies and passions, and other practical ideas for the parent who sometimes forgets to take care of themselves in this way. 

The Journal and MP3 companions are excellent tools. The journal is meant to be used alongside the book as you read, giving you space to jot down notes and answer questions she poses. Afterwards you have a record of your thoughts so you can reflect and pray on the changes you may need to make. The audio companions are great listening material for when I’m doing mundane tasks like washing dishes or folding laundry. I can give my mind something to do, and get encouragement and inspiration from her conversations with respected educational mentors. 

I only had two small issues with the book. One was the actual book binding didn’t even hold up for one reading, which was a bit disappointing. The other thing took me awhile to pinpoint, but it was the tone of the book. In the preface, she acknowledges that the message in the book was meant for her, yet she often writes in second person, as if “we” are having a conversation, except it’s not quite a conversational tone. It’s often quite formal, particularly part one. I felt like the blogger in the author came out, because there were links right in the text to her blog and other websites, which is distracting in a book. I would prefer these left to the Resources section. I also found several of her passages were emphasized with differentiated font and layout placement, to make it eye-catching, as if I were being told which of her thoughts should speak to me. While the author’s intent is always important, I believe each reader will take something different from a book like this, based on their unique needs. 

Teaching From Rest is certainly an interesting and encouraging book. It is also a quick read, so if you’re looking for some inspiration for creating a more peaceful and restful environment, Teaching from Rest would be a good choice, particularly with its additional resources. 

-Product review by Brittney Rutherford, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August, 2016