I’ve been at this homeschool gig for a while now…(wrapping up my 15th year—unbelievable)! And in many ways it feels like I’ve got it down. I’ve grown into a pretty relaxed, eclectic homeschool mom. But sometimes when you’ve been doing something for awhile—you just don’t appreciate how much you still need encouragement. How the weariness of motherhood and homeschooling can creep in without you even noticing…Sometimes our cups are empty. I didn’t even realize how much I needed some fresh perspective, grace, and inspiration until I received it so unexpectedly in three amazing books! If you’ve read them, then you know—but if you haven’t, you’re in for a treat!! Let’s dig into these 3 books that will change the way you homeschool (and parent)! They are must reads for every homeschool mom–whether you’re just starting out or whether you’ve been on the journey for years!
So in no particular order…
1) The Brave Learner by Julie Bogart
Oh. my. goodness…So glad I did not check The Brave Learner out at the library! I ended up underlining and dog-earing half the book! This book is meaty...I need to go back and reread and wash the words over my mind at least one more time! From the very first chapter, I felt inspired with new ideas. And not just “fluffy,” ideas–but actual actionable steps I could take immediately in my home and homeschool! Julie talks a lot about creating a home and environment that inspires learning–one that helps create an enchanted childhood for our kiddos. Then she actually tells you how to do it! (And now I finally know how to pronounce “Hygge” –the Danish word for cozy…it’s HOO-gah if you were wondering too!).
Whether you Unschool, follow Charlotte Mason, love the Classical Approach, or are a Unit Study girl…you will find goodness in these pages! I’m pretty relaxed and eclectic in my homeschooling–and it just felt like she was speaking to my heart!! Everything I’ve observed in the 15 years I’ve homeschooled, everything I wish I could have a “do-over,” on, and everything I’m excited to do with my little kiddos–she touched on it!
One of the ideas I implemented right away was letting my 7-year-old son stay up and read. The new rule is that he can stay up in bed with the light on as late as he wants, as long as he’s reading. It’s so simple and so genius–I got it right from the book! (It also reminded me of my own childhood days, straining my eyeballs to read Anne of Green Gables by the light of the hallway streaming into my bedroom late at night…I loved reading!) I’m thrilled to tell you– letting our little guy stay up and read has worked wonders for both his independent reading and love for reading in just a matter of weeks!
Anyhoo…I could go on all day. Get this book–you will be blessed!
2) Teaching From Rest by Sarah Mackenzie
Okay–so I’m a little late to this party! Teaching From Rest, has been out for a few years and is a beloved favorite of many veteran homeschoolers! I’m so glad I finally read this book! It was one of those books that came into my life at the exact right time and was such a blessing! I was feeling overwhelmed after a long string of illnesses running rampant through our house. I needed some extra grace, extra encouragement. And along came Teaching From Rest!
Sarah’s words are eloquent and soothing–balm for the soul. She helps you remember your roots–your “WHY.” Why you homeschool and why your work as a mother is the most important work you will ever do. Sarah encourages us to be diligent, faithful, and focused. She also gives practical ways we can lighten our loads and simplify our lives. In addition, Sarah shares schedules and examples of how she loops subjects during her morning time.
This quote from the book has stuck with me…
“What if, instead of trying to make the most of our time, we worked harder at savoring it? What if we were more intentional and lavish with our time and more detached from our checklists? Getting caught up in plans for what is coming next or trying to squeeze everything possible into this moment right now is a surefire way to miss the gift of this moment, today, and it is a certain path to anxiety. Teaching from rest doesn’t mean we aren’t planning ahead (in fact, we will likely need to use written plans and checklists), and it definitely doesn’t mean we are lazy. It means we are doing one thing at a time, and we do that thing with all our heart.”
Ouch…that hits a multitasking, anxiety prone mama hard. But it is truth I needed to hear. Truth I needed to be reminded of.
I think you’ll find so much grace and truth in this book–not just for your homeschool, but also your parenting.
3) The Read-Aloud Family by Sarah Mackenzie
So yes–I fell in love with Sarah Mackenzie after reading Teaching From Rest and then had to read her most recent book, The Read-Aloud Family. (I also finally put two and two together that Sarah is behind the wildly popular podcast–Read Aloud Revival!)
The Read-Aloud Family renewed my sense of purpose in reading aloud to my kids. And made me remember how much I love books. Somewhere in middle school or high school, my own passion for reading got squished–and I’m determined not to let that happen in our homeschool!
Sarah not only lays out all the amazing benefits of reading aloud in your home (the research she shares is fascinating)–but also gives detailed advice about how to create a reading culture in your home. She shares detailed book lists and recommendations for every age group–I’m so excited to discover new favorites with my kiddos.
And now I’m determined to start using audiobooks! All the way around, my view of reading aloud has been completely elevated–it is now the top of my daily “to-do,” list.
You will be encouraged–and empowered by this book!
Bring Your Loaves and Fish
We all need encouragement from time to time! These books were just the shots of grace and fresh ideas that I needed! They were also hugs of solidarity–both Julie and Sarah spoke the words of a reassuring friend.
And as Sarah Mackenzie points out so beautifully in Teaching From Rest,
“Remember your true task. Surrender everything. Bring your loaves and your fish, even if you think them completely insufficient. They are insufficient. You are insufficient. But His grace is not. God is not limited by objective reality. His yoke is easy and His burden is light.”
Wherever you are on your homeschool journey–I can’t recommend these books highly enough! They will not only change your homeschool–they will change you!