What does being faithful look like?

Last week I ruffled a few feathers (93 people unsubscribed, y’all) with the idea that teaching from rest isn’t a passive activity. Today, despite the danger to my email list, I am tackling what being faithful looks like. How can we be sure that we are doing our part for restful teaching?

In Teaching from Rest, Sarah Mackenzie calls us to be faithful each day and put the remainder of our homeschool mom struggles and worries into God’s hand — He will take care of the rest.

I love the peace that thought brings.

But what does being faithful even look like? How can we be sure that we are doing our part?

Here are four ways that we can be faithful to our homeschools.

Faithfulness starts with listening

So often  homeschool moms tell me that their day doesn’t begin well if they do not start it with prayer. I have no argument with that. But what kind of prayer? Is it the kind that entreats only? Am I doing all the talking? Or am I taking time to listen to what God has to say to me in the practice.

Maybe He says it through Scripture study, maybe answers come in what  I am reading for homeschool mom professional development, maybe He speaks to me through a mentor or friend —  but making the time to do those things and really listen is where my faithfulness begins.

Faithfulness means planning

“But, Pam, nothing ever goes as planned. Things are always messing up my perfectly made homeschool plans.”

My response: let them. Let things mess up your plans. The purpose of planning is not to have perfect plans.

The purpose of planning is to have a vision of education to guide you, to reduce decision fatigue for you, to have materials at the ready for when you are called to act.

Because if you don’t plan, you have nothing — on the good days, on the bad days, any day. You have nothing to offer to be faithful.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “Plans are worthless, but planning is essential.” You never know what parts of your plans you will need or use on any given day, but there is a very good chance you will need some of them.

If you have nothing prepared, what do you have to offer?

Faithfulness is whole-hearted

This means faithfulness is not trying to do household chores, other work, or multi-tasking. This means not expecting a seven- or eight-year-old to be independent and self-starting. This means dying to self and honoring our school day.

This is hard because we have so many things pulling at our attention and often many of them are more immediate in need than educating our children. BUT if that goes on too long, we end up sacrificing the long-term good (an education for our kids) for the short term problem. While emergencies will regularly come up that cause us to temporarily change our focus, dirty floors, dog grooming, and the husband’s dry cleaning are not emergencies and should be handled accordingly.

Faithfulness shows up

If faithfulness had a mantra it would be “Here I am” or maybe “I am ready.” We can’t expect God to do the hard work of using us to educate our children well if we do not show up to get the job done.

Am I ready each morning? Have I called my children to the couch or table? Are we ready to begin?

Consistency is the lynchpin of faithfulness. There is no way to be faithful without it. And if consistency is where you struggle, then it is time to do something about it.

For more tools like this and help with consistency in your homeschool, check out Morning Momentum. We are opening it January 28, 2021 and you can click to get on the waiting list below.

I want to be consistent!



  • Wendy says:

    Very well said! You have helped me reach restful and peaceful teaching with PYY, TRULY!!
    Thank you Pam!

  • Jill says:

    Great Article! Thank you for the encouragement!

  • Bethany says:

    Like many others, I’ve read Teaching from Rest and I love it. That said, I think your observations and suggestions are entirely on point. Consistency is remarkably effective, and is one of the things that I think many homeschooling mamas (myself included) struggle with. Your recent post inspire me to strive for consistency and excellence, but not perfection. I’m currently working my way through your Autopilot course and am getting SO much out of it. Thanks!

  • BecTasmanian says:

    Thank you for this article and
    the last one. Can’t believe so many unsubscribed! Your words have inspired and uplifted me. So many days this week I felt like having a day off, or leaving an important task til I felt like doing it, but faithfulness and consistency pushed me forward, and I’m so pleased. I am resting in God’s strength by reading the Bible and calling on Him for patience and kindness amidst days that won’t look particularly peaceful from the outside.

  • Heather Gross says:

    I can’t believe people actually unsubscribed! Wow. I love what you’ve said here so much. That Eisenhower quote is a new favorite now! Saving it. Thank you for fleshing these thoughts out.

  • Abigail says:

    Thank you for your honesty. A little bit of the right kind of planning is actually quite freeing!

  • Deedee says:

    Pam, you are incredible. I know God has used you to better our homeschool and countless others as well. Somehow, whatever you’re writing is just what I need to read at that moment. Thank you.

  • Janice says:

    Appreciate so much this post and the previous one. It’s unfortunate that some felt compelled to unsubscribe because of your encouragement.
    Your admonition to be consistent and faithful boils down to discipline – being good disciples with our homeschooling time, resources, and blessings (aka children!) and trust that in the striving, Our Lord will sustain us. As St. Mother Theresa used to say: “God does not require us to be successful, only that we be faithful.”

    • Pam Barnhill says:

      “God does not require us to be successful, only that we be faithful.” YES!

  • Jodie says:

    So right! “Putting it in God’s hands” does not mean sitting back and having a rest. It means putting in the hard work and having faith in God that things will happen as He planned. Of course to be on the same page as God, you have to be listening to him…which is exactly what Sarah means by “Teaching from Rest”. An inspiring book and a great post. Thanks, Pam.

  • Sheryl says:

    I agree wholeheartedly and this made me feel better about my homeschool style.

  • Kris Kelley says:

    Love this and sharing it with others! Have been thinking through this very topic for an article of my own, and came across this in my inbox – What excellent encouragement for Home School Moms!

  • Jeana says:

    Very encouraging words! Thank you!

  • Autumn Clack says:

    Thank you for the encouragement and confirming that these struggles are real. There are days that remaining faithful to the call of HS is not restful however, I can rest in Him in the midst of the some what organized chaos.

  • Shilista says:

    Thank you for saying it like it is. I appreciate directness. I know these things but it is so good to be reminded again to keep it up! There are so many days I wanna go back to just letting everything go while I bury my head in a good novel but I know that I’ll regret it later. Consistency is hard but worth it! Thanks!

  • Joanna says:

    For the record, I went back and read the restful article you mentioned and I love how you called it out. I am building my own consistency (love how you said faithfulness is planning! Yes! This gets glossed over too much or made light of, but it’s key!) and true rest truly is knowing you’re bringing your best to the table every day. It’s work, it’s sacrifice, and we create space for those favorite restful (in another sense) activities like reading aloud — but that can’t be accomplished without consistency, planning, and showing up. Thanks for saying it!!!

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