Teaching From Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakeable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie. Having already watched the three-part video series where Sarah walked through this book, I kind of knew that I was going to enjoy it. So I ordered a paper copy of this book back when Amazon had a coupon code last month. The basic premise of this book is that teaching from a state of rest doesn’t mean that there is not work involved, but instead that you have an attitude of peace, trusting that you when you work diligently, God will take care of everything else. Simple in theory, but it takes practice to actually do it.
I found myself constantly nodding and underlining and making notes in the margin as I read, so I’ll just share a few of my favorite quotations from the book.
On relationships: “By definition, to be efficient is to achieve maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense. But relationships don’t flourish or grow that way. Relationships need time, spent lavishly. Homeschooling is all about relationships, and relationships just aren’t efficient.” This is such a struggle for me, relationships vs. productivity, and it’s something I’m really focusing on this year.
“We must…decide what is true about how we operate best, then base our homeschools on those truths, playing to our strengths and providing for our weaknesses.” I’ve found this to be so true – I’m really good at planning things, and if I try to fly by the seat of my pants, nothing happens, because I can’t function day-to-day without a list of what needs to get done. Even when we deviate from the list, we still accomplish much more than if I had just said my plan was to “do the next lesson in each subject”. I don’t work that way.
And finally, a few ideas that I’ve found because of Sarah’s blog, which are also mentioned in this book:
- Looping, which I actually use for my own chores more than for school, but the idea is awesome!
- Commonplace book, which I’ve just started, but love having all my favorite inspiring quotations and things in one place
- Morning Time, which we don’t do yet, but which I’ve seen and read a lot about and we may start at some point.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. I borrowed this one from the library, because I saw it pop up when I was searching for a “quiet” book for letter Q week for homeschool. This was one where I found myself nodding a lot while I read, because I’m very much an introvert. I really enjoy pop psychology books like this, where there’s a lot of information, but it’s mixed in with anecdotes and stories so it doesn’t feel so heavy.
I did think it was kind of funny that Cain spent about half the book talking about extroverts, but it makes sense to compare the differences between extroverts and introverts. She also talked a lot about the “extrovert ideal”, that American culture really values a lot of extrovert tendencies, which is pretty accurate in my experience in school, work, and such.
Another interesting tidbit for me was her discussion on Free Trait Theory – the idea that while we have certain personality traits that are our default and preferred behaviors, we can act outside of those traits “in the service of personal projects”. If you have something you really care about, you can behave the opposite of what you prefer to work towards that thing.
And finally, a quotation, because I can’t write a book review without a quotation:
“We all write our life stories as if we were novelists…with beginnings, conflicts, turning points, and endings. And the way we characterize our past setbacks profoundly influences how satisfied we are with our current lives. Unhappy people tend to see setbacks as contaminants that ruined an otherwise good thing (‘I was never the same again after my wife left me’), while generative adults see them as blessings in disguise (‘The divorce was the most painful thing that ever happened to me, but I’m so much happier with my new wife’). Those who live the most fully realized lives – giving back to their families, societies, and ultimately themselves – tend to find meaning in their obstacles.”
Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund. I got a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. I picked this one because it sounded interesting, and it was October, so I figured I would read it before Reformation and it would fit. And since you’re reading this review at the end of January, you can see how well that worked.
I think I was a little bit discouraged by the length of the book, because at 380 pages, it’s fairly long. But it was actually a really fast read once I started – it only took me about four days. Historical fiction is one of those categories that I almost always enjoy, but I get really confused about what’s accurate and what’s not. So I appreciated that the author included a little note in the back about which characters and situations she completely made up. I still feel like some may have been a bit embellished, but overall that was helpful.
The book got just a bit long-winded for me in the middle. Obviously knowing history, I knew that Katharina and Luther were going to end up together, and it felt like there was just one too many hiccups. Again, I’m not sure if that was just the author taking a bit of liberty with the story. Otherwise, this was a good love story with just the right amount of excitement.
I don’t expect I’ll make it through another book before the end of this month, so I’m posting my book reviews today.
Total books for the month: 3.
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