You know that awkward moment when your best friend asks you what you thought of her book?
And you liked it, you really liked it, but the English teacher in you wants to ask, “Are you sure somebody didn’t help you with this?”
Because it’s just that good.
You talk to someone every single day — so much so that your husbands have their eye-rolling synchronized at your antics — and you just never really know what they are capable of do you?
That was me last summer when Sarah released the first edition of Teaching from Rest. My feelings were a combination of proud and awestruck, and I wasn’t the least bit surprised when Classical Academic Press contacted her to publish the print version (though I may have squealed like I was).
You can read or listen to this post.
That print version is on the shelves, and I am supposed to be writing a review. But now I’ve totally blown my objectivity and can’t gush without you rolling your eyes, so instead I’m going to tell you a little-known secret about this book.
You all know that TFR is the perfect book for the hand-wringing, anxious mama. What you may not be aware of is that it is also the perfect book for the “type-A, appears to have it all together mama” too. But it is.
Rest is not a state of inactivity
You see I really don’t have much problem trusting that God can do great things, because I am pretty sure He can. My problem lies in the fact that I can’t give over control to anyone other than me. Even to Him. I have built up the illusion in my brain that if something is going to be done right then I have to be the one to do it. I’m am fairly certain this is one of my main motivations for homeschooling, though I would never admit it.
I’m the one who has to stay up late planning the lessons. I’m the one who has to make sure the kids read by the end of first grade. I’m the one who has to ensure the third grader knows every multiplication fact backwards and forwards.
I’m the one causing my own hair to fall out in clumps. Not because I sit around, wringing my hands and anxiously worrying. Oh no, because I can’t sit — I have to do — because nobody else can do it better.
Which makes Teaching from Rest the perfect book for moms like me. Sarah assures you, “He’s got this,” but she never tells you to sit back and do nothing. Rest is an attitude — not a state of inactivity. The fastest way for her to lose me would have been the mantra that I should not do anything. Instead she encourages me to do the opposite.
Bring your basket
Sarah used the story of the feeding of the five thousand to illustrate God’s grace and majesty. See how He took those two fishes and five loaves and was able to feed that multitude of people? It is true; He can do anything — even be responsible for the education of our children.
And yet He didn’t start with an empty basket. He still wants me to do my part. He’s got the big stuff, but I get to contribute.
He knows me so well.
So as I read through TFR yet again (because you really should read it regularly) I ask myself, “What do I need to do this year to bring my basket?” Sarah gives some great ideas in the book, but I know me best — where I fall short, where I need the most grace — so I came up with three other ways I could do my part.
1. I will be consistent
This is huge. It’s huge because it’s an area where I need help, but also huge because it can make the biggest difference. If I am to be faithful, I have to demonstrate that faith by doing school every day.
It’s so easy to give in to the temptation of “well, they’re playing so well outside together” or its ugly cousin “you guys are driving me crazy just go upstairs and watch TV.”
That’s not what He’s calling me to do. He’s calling me to show up. Get everyone moving in the right direction. Provide instruction and attention. I don’t have to perfect it — He will do that — but I do have to make the effort every single day.
2. I won’t add unnecessary burdens
And I still felt the need to try and add more science and history at home. For a preschooler, second grader, and fourth grader. It didn’t take long for it to feel superfluous, unnecessary, and guilt-inducing.
Fortunately I am not so stubborn that I can’t see the writing on the wall. About halfway through the year I packed up the fancy science experiment kit I bought and sold it.
This year I resisted temptation. Our Morning Time is beautiful. Our skills work is consistent. Our Scholé Group work is more fruitful than ever. I will not make this harder than it needs to be by trying to do too much.
3. I will not put stumbling blocks in front of my children
The Bible admonishes us to not set our kids up to fail (well, you know, in so many words). Now, I wouldn’t do that purposefully, but I also have to keep a close watch on what messages I am sending subconsciously as we work.
- Am I requiring their best work and not letting them get away with being slipshod or rushing through?
- Am I sending the message that their education is important by being fully present during the school day?
- Is my attitude cheerful and joyous or do I make them learn from a grump no one would want to spend their day with?
A failure to heed any of these (I’m airing all my dirty laundry today, ya’ll) and I am sabotaging my children’s ability to be successful before we even begin.
Now it’s your turn
If you’re one of those mamas who scoffs and thinks, “I’ve got this.” I challenge you to take another look at Teaching From Rest. There might be more for you there than you anticipated. (Yeah, not fair, I know you can’t resist a challenge.)
If you’re the kind of mama who worries she doesn’t have this, then don’t worry, there is plenty in there for you too.
Disclaimer: Yes, I did receive a free copy of the book, because what kind of friend would Sarah be if I didn’t? My thoughts and opinions are totally my own. I don’t sugarcoat things — especially to friends.
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