This book. When it was first published as an ebook in 2014, I was in a fog. My youngest 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 and a 3rd grader and chasing a three year old amidst it all. Rest and peace were elusive.
Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakable Peace (affiliate link) came out on Sarah's blog 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.
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 then, I promptly called a friend, one who had also read it, and complained, declaring the impossibility of the ideas within it. 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. The following school year Sarah's words kept coming back to me. I argued with myself regarding my objections to her wisdom. Yet, even in Confession, Father was telling 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. I brought my "couple loaves of bread and a few fish" to God and sat still long enough to let Him work in our homeschool. The results were grace and peace beyond my imaginings.
The following summer, I picked up the book again, in print form and remarkably edited to clarify its message, and I devoured it with new eyes. Now I read it at least once a year, sometimes 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, and I endeavor to "seek Him first."
I highly suggest every homeschooling mother, whether you are enrolled in a hybrid or home-based program or you cobble together your own lessons, read this book. There is wisdom here that comes directly from Scripture and other wonderful books and from the daily experiences of many. 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!)
Would you like to join me to discuss this remarkable book over the next few weeks, as I study it again? I'm hoping that for the next several Mondays I can manage to get a post up here with my thoughts on each section of the book, and we can try to chat here. I know some of you are joining me to study the book in other ways, but a few friends requested a non-local, non-Facebook place. Let's try it! If you're in, please comment below, so I know to plan to chat with you next Monday about Part One!