Encouragement Homeschooling

Shouldn’t You Be Teaching from Rest?

Cassandra had this to say about Teaching from Rest

Teaching from Rest is a great big breath of fresh air.  There aren’t enough words to express how much I love this book. HonestlyI would love to give a copy to every homeschooler I meet.

HHM Teaching from Rest Book Image

NOTE: Would you like to enter for a chance to win Teaching from Rest? Or use our discount code to buy copy (or the bundle) for 20% off? If so, keep reading! At the end of this article, you’ll be able to enter our contest and grab the discount code!

Sarah Mackenzie (the author of Teaching from Rest) is the kind of person who probably makes instant friends everywhere she goes.  Her blog and her book read as if you’re out for coffee with a friend you’ve known since 3rd grade.  She’s honest, humble, and incredibly relatable.  She speaks deep wisdom and truth with a warm smile and a tender touch – I love that about her.

I’m a homeschooler (We’ve been doing this thing for going on 8 years now!) who draws much inspiration from Charlotte Mason’s philosophies. Teaching from Rest is a wonderful source of encouragement for moms who are longing to embrace not only a more classical/Charlotte Mason approach to homeschooling but also embrace a home life brimming with life-giving atmosphere.

My copy of this book is so dog-eared and underlined that it is hard to pick only a few things to touch on, but I’ll try my best. Something I really appreciate about Sarah’s blog and this book is her focus on helping us find peace in the midst of a hurried world.  And homeschoolers are often guilty (I know, I’m right there with you!) of living a bit of a frenzied existence.  We can easily be trapped by the stress and chaos of not only everyday living but also the constant quest to offer our children ‘the best’ of everything.  We seek the ‘best’ books, the ‘best’ curriculum, the ‘best’ extra-curriculars.  And sometimes, we can get lost along the way – forgetting what truly is good, and noble, and ‘best.’  Sarah speaks truth and calms hearts by reminding us to simplify. I love this:

“Much of the best learning cannot be proven, measured, or easily demonstrated.  The kind of encounters that form our children’s hearts, minds, and souls occur as they come in contact with great books and learn to ask hard questions – and their minds are trained to think logically and well… Pacing doesn’t matter if you are sacrificing mastery and love for truth, goodness, and beauty.  Change the way you assess your success.  The quality of study matters far more than the mere quantity of learning.”

Sarah goes on to encourage Moms to lighten the load.  To breathe deep.  To do school intentionally.  Not frantically.  Not carelessly.  Not to ‘get through’ the curriculum.  But to study and learn intentionally – whole-heartedly, slowly, peacefully, purposefully.

One more thing I can’t possibly leave out is how Sarah Mackenzie (and Pam Barnhill) have inspired me to bring a focused, intentional Morning Time into our home. Sarah writes about how Morning Time (her family calls it Symposium) brings a focus on what is beautiful and lovely into the homeschool in a very special way.  We LOVE our Morning Time routine.  It truly has infused our days with wonderful gifts: scripture, memory verses, poetry read alouds and poetry memory work, art and picture study, composer study, folk tales, literature of all kinds, foreign languages, I could go on.  Morning Time is a huge part of what we do and what makes our little homeschool so rich and meaningful.

I absolutely love Sarah Mackenzie’s heart and absolutely love Teaching from Rest.  A must-read for homeschoolers, new and veteran alike.

Heather’s views on Teaching from Rest:

When reading the title of this book, Teaching from Rest, one might assume the message within the pages is one that gives parents a step-by-step guide on how to successfully homeschool while lounging on the coach eating bon bons and spending the day on Facebook. Lazy, motionless homeschooling is most definitely not something that is advocated for in Sarah Mackenzie’s book. Instead, the message in Teaching from Rest is one which induces a deep foundational transformation in the way we approach our children and homeschool altogether with God and our mission as a center point.

I chose to review Teaching from Rest for Hip Homeschool Moms because I felt a great pull to the book’s title. What on earth could one possibly do to “teach from rest”? At first glance, it sounds absurd to be able to do this job at rest, but I knew there had to be more to it. Restful homeschooling is something I genuinely need, especially since I am a working homeschool mom (and in grad school) and I know many moms are in a similar position of daily chaos and anxiety. I will burn out if I continue on the path I am on.

Sarah is an experienced homeschooler who reports in the book that she too was once filled with anxiety about school. Just like so many of us, she would over think every possible part of school, every curriculum, every subject, every test score, every problem. Sound familiar? I can totally relate and will be the first to say that I completely obsess over what our curriculum will be and then change it at the drop of a hat with the slightest signs of distress or challenge. I have paid a small fortune to curriculum companies. Sarah brings attention to this nonproductive craziness, pointing out that this is not what God intends for our schools, our homes, or the relationships we have with our children.

“The heart of this book is about remembering what our true task really is, and then throwing ourselves in completely. Giving our all. The raising of children, the teaching of truth, the sharing of life, the nourishing of imagination, and the cultivating of wisdom – these are all His anyway; we are merely His servants.”

Sarah stresses that while we may put in our all for school and our home, we really need to let God carry the stress and worry for us. We are here to live out His will, not reinvent the wheel. We need to not be anxious over our homeschool choices or how our kids are doing. She suggests simplifying our ways and allowing God’s will to be…and trusting that God will follow through with helping us with the task that He has given us. Stop obsessing over SAT scores, check lists, and the challenge of the day. Instead, focus on training your kids to have a deeper, more satisfying education that includes mastery of a few things instead of a vast and shallow spread of many. Just as Jesus did not help every single situation that came across His path, we too are not expected to do every thing that comes our way nor are we supposed to do it perfectly.

“Our children are not projects. If, by the grace of God, we can manage to remember that our children are all made in His image – and more importantly, if we can treat them as such despite the mess and the chaos – then we will really be able to teach from rest.”

While Teaching from Rest is only 80 pages, it is an exceedingly meaty resource that I will read every year and again whenever I’m feeling anxious or losing my way. I greatly appreciate that this book is in print form as I love to hold and read a printed book if I can. I found so much peace after reading Sarah’s words, and I was recharged to continue the homeschool journey.

Within this book the reader will find many tips on how to conduct the day from a restful point of view as well as many many inspirational and motivational ideas and thoughts. I am so grateful I was introduced to this book and reminded that it is okay to teach from a rest-filled mindset. The advice in Teaching from Rest is invaluable and something that everyone should read.

Jennifer Shares Her Opinion of Teaching from Rest:

It is always nice when you spend time reading a book and it actually speaks to you. That is exactly what happened when I read Sarah Mackenzie’s book Teaching from Rest.
Her recounting of her earlier years of homeschooling where she “parked in an overly relaxed mode of teaching” that nurtured “laziness, carelessness, and a self-centered view of learning” in her children was just too familiar to me. Reflecting on my similar experience, I remembered how I often functioned in panic mode and lived in a state of anxiety. There was no happy medium as I attempted to recover. I created a rushed sense of reality where I became overly concerned with completing our studies than with the desired outcome. Achieving “the goal” rather than nurturing the people involved in the process was more important to me. Sarah reminded me to include God in our homeschool experience and to trust He is there every day. There is no need to panic, but instead trust where you are in your journey, because God is leading the way.
Sarah offers her readers several suggestions for creating an environment that is more in tune with God. She covers ways to simplify your curriculum and your schedule. She also notes the importance of knowing ourselves and nurturing the relationship we have with our children.
Don’t damage that relationship over something so trivial as an algebra problem. And when you do (because you will, and so will I), repent.


Sarah reminded me that my children are “little reflections of the Almighty.” My priority is to strengthen those relationships.

Teaching from Rest is not a long read, and I think that’s for a very good reason. It is a quick reminder of our purpose as educators of our children–academic as well as spiritual. Whenever I lose focus and forget my purpose, I am going to pick up the book and read it again to get back on track.

Discount code:

Use this discount code, HHMTFR20, to get 20% off any Teaching from Rest product. This includes the book, companion files, audio book, and even the already discounted bundle!

For a chance to win:

HHM Heather thumbnailHeather is a Christian gal who lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she married her high school sweetheart in 2001. She has 3 children ranging in ages from 4-12. Asperger’s and sensory processing issues are also in the mix. Heather juggles the responsibilities of being a part-time RN and police officer’s wife. She has a reputation of creating kitchen disasters, but loves collecting new recipes and learning about natural, holistic living. Also in the family is a bunch of animals like chickens, goats, a few dogs, and cats….

About the author


Cassandra is humbled daily by the love of Christ Jesus and her need for His grace and guidance. She has been married for ten years to her best friend, Wesley. They have been homeschooling their three {awesome} children since the start. Their family is passionate about the simple life - finding beauty in God's creation, embracing quiet afternoons in wide open spaces, and playing around with their funny pet chickens.

About the author


Jennifer now lives in Small Town, USA, but will always remain a California girl. She is a Christian, wife and homeschool mother of three children (a.k.a. the ‘Wild Bunch’). Jennifer is a writer, who enjoys reading, running, too much time on the computer, sewing and taking lots and lots of pictures (just ask her children). She is also a lover of food and can be found in her kitchen whipping up something delicious and vegetarian. Oh, she never forgets dessert. You may find her writing at her personal blog, Milk & Honey Mommy and for West Tennessee families at Kid Madison, a blog for kids, teens and families and at Homeschool Roster, a listing of events and news for homeschoolers.

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