Is the idea of teaching from a state of rest an unattainable myth for homeschoolers?

Numerous home educators, including myself, have been asking themselves that question. It just sounds too good to be true. Homeschool. Rest. Can those words peacefully coexist in the same sentence?

We gobble up books like Teaching from Rest: The Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie. We listen to Christopher Perrin’s School as Schole (yes, schole means “leisure”) and Andrew Kern’s Teaching from a State of Rest. Blog posts containing the word rest in the title will likely grab our attention and cause us to stop and entertain the possibility. Yet, an internal voice taunts us that teaching from rest is a myth, a fleeting dream that will remain out of reach.

Why? Because we, homeschool moms, are tired. We pour our hearts into our work, but it never seems to be enough. We’re anxious, frantic, exhausted. We plan, strive, and re-plan. The day-to-day reality surrounding us appears anything but restful.

We do it all because we love our children and want to do our best. Yet, a nagging suspicion haunts us that we are not doing enough, thinking enough, being enough.

Somehow, deep in our souls, we hold out hope that it is possible. Perhaps if I can finally find the right curriculum. The right schedule. The right method. The right book on how to teach. After all, that other mom seems to have it figured out. But we’re still not sure we believe it can be our reality.

After eight years of homeschooling, I would like to say that I have figured it out. Well, sorry to disappoint, but I haven’t. You might be relieved to hear that you are not alone. And yet, perhaps that is not completely true. When it comes to teaching, my heart really is in a much more restful place than when I first began. I haven’t arrived, but I am learning.

During this journey of pursuing restful teaching, my thoughts frequently need adjustment. Otherwise, I would abandon all hope that restful teaching is possible. I have had to replace some myths with reality, some lies with truth.

Myths about Restful Teaching:

  1. Restful teaching only occurs in a neat, organized, orderly environment.
  2. Restful teaching looks like the cover photo of a homeschool magazine.
  3. Restful teaching should be easy.
  4. Restful teaching is dependent on a well-prepared plan.
  5. Restful teaching requires morning time, read-alouds, nature study, and poetry.

The Reality of Restful Teaching:

  1. Restful teaching can occur in any environment.
  2. Restful teaching isn’t about external appearance. It is a matter of the heart.
  3. Restful teaching actually requires much hard work.
  4. Restful teaching promotes learning in the midst of any interruption to the plan.
  5. Restful teaching can be cultivated by relational rituals, like reading aloud, but they’re not a magical guarantee.

At the risk of over-simplifying a complex question, I see four areas of unrest in my heart that the Lord is transforming into rest. There are four steps I have taken over the years that promote rest in my heart as a home educator. I did not set out to follow a four-step plan, but these highlight the journey that has brought me further in my pursuit of teaching from rest.

Each speaks to an area of unrest – the areas of my plan, my priorities, my people, and my purpose – that tend to foster anxiety and insecurity in my heart.

Pursue the Path of Peace: Rest with my PLAN

Create a Culture of Conversation: Rest with my PRIORITIES

Restore my Relationships through Reconciliation: Rest with my PEOPLE

Glorify the Goodness of God: Rest with my PURPOSE

I urge you to hold on to the hope that restful teaching is possible.

Individual posts are coming soon for each.

Will you join me on this journey?  Restful teaching can be your reality.