Teaching from Rest

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allgrace
Posts: 105
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:41 pm

Teaching from Rest

Unread post by allgrace » Thu Sep 15, 2016 5:57 am

Has anyone read Teaching from Rest by Sarah MacKenzie? I just started reading it. I used to be a public school teacher and I find I have a hard time not checking off boxes and focusing on teaching the curriculum instead of my children. I am teaching Adventures and Kindergarten with a three year old and 11 month old. I so want to be flexible to take time and have my son explore facts about airplanes and incorporate that into his school and be ok with the fact that we don't usually get to art and Spanish. I want to be peaceful and not stressed and just wanting him to finish the assignment before the baby wakes up, but want him to learn and grow as my focus and not worry if a lesson takes us longer than the TM says. Does anyone have any advice as how you teach from rest with My Father's World?
"Sanctify them by the Truth, your word is Truth" John 17:17
Ds11:RTR
Dd8:RTR
Dd6: MFW K
Ds 4: VOD
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Poohbee
Posts: 394
Joined: Sat Feb 24, 2007 10:38 pm
Location: North Dakota

Re: Teaching from Rest

Unread post by Poohbee » Thu Sep 15, 2016 9:56 pm

This is such a great topic to consider!

I have not read the book Teaching from Rest, but it sounds as though I need to! :-) It sounds really good!

I am in my 11th year of homeschooling, and we have used MFW for nearly all of those years. I have learned that it is okay to make changes in the schedule based upon the needs of my child. I am doing MFW 1st grade (now Learning God's Story) for the 3rd time. Having done it with 2 daughters, I am now doing it with my autistic son. I am learning to adjust things to meet his needs. He is not able to accomplish all that is on the schedule for a day in 1st grade. It is just too much for him. So, I have to decide exactly what it is I want him to accomplish in a day. I have decided that a Bible lesson, reading, math, and read-aloud are the most important things for him, so those things are our focus from day to day. Just one day a week, we do science, art, and hands-on or exploratory math. I have dropped foreign language for my kids younger than high school because it was just one more thing in our day, and each thing makes the day that much longer. I try to give us a break from our traditional learning now and then by having a day or week now and then to let my kids choose something fun to focus on that day or a fun unit study for a week...something different than the usual everyday lessons. I try to make sure I don't cut out the "fun" things in MFW...the hands-on things that tend to take time but tend to be most important in helping my kids really learn about a topic. Those are just a few of the things I do to make my day more peaceful and restful. I certainly don't have all of the answers, though. Each year is a new learning experience for me, and I need to make changes and adjustments to how I do things each year. As my kids have gotten older, I have learned to ask them how things are going, what their thoughts are about their day, their subjects, their schedule. It really helps when the kids can have some ownership and some say in their education.

I do absolutely get, though, what you are saying about wanting him to finish the lesson in the time you have to work with him, and checking off that box so that it is done. I often get that way with my son, especially when he wants to do things that aren't on my schedule for him. It is hard to choose sometimes...whether it is important to stick to the schedule or whether it is important to let your child follow that rabbit trail. There is a time for each.

I think that me having a regular daily Bible reading and prayer time before we start school each morning really helps me get my eyes and my priorities on the right things.

You've really given me something to think about. I think I'll check out that book!
Jen
happily married to Vince (19 yrs)
blessed by MFW since 2006
have used every year K-1850MOD
2018-2019: Adventures with 9yo boy

TriciaMR
Posts: 998
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:43 am

Re: Teaching from Rest

Unread post by TriciaMR » Thu Sep 15, 2016 10:46 pm

For me, it means adjusting to fit my kids' needs and our family's needs as a whole.

For example, 2 of my 3 kids are dyslexic. So, it means we often do things orally, rather than written. I still scribe for my 7th grade dyslexic boy (or writing would *never* happen for him). For my 11th grader (who is also dyslexic), that means sometimes throwing in a "catch-up" day, for her to get caught up on her work. If there were more than 3 writing assignments in a week, it might mean I decide that 2 of them will be discussion instead of writing, making sure she gets the main point. And sometimes if there are too many doctor's appointments (like, one of my boys broke their arm 6 weeks ago, and we had weekly appointments for him, plus physical therapy for the 11th grader's knee, plus orthodontic appointments for the other 7th grade boy), then we just scrap a day, and do it the next day. It also means trusting God that he knows my kids' needs and will meet them, even when I don't.

I've not read the book, but I've heard great things about it.
Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
2014-2015 - AHL, CTG
2015-2016 - WHL, RTR
2016-2017 - EXP1850, US1877
2017-2018 - DE, 1850MOD
2018-2019 - College, AHL
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tiffanys
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat May 24, 2014 3:02 pm

Re: Teaching from Rest

Unread post by tiffanys » Sat Sep 17, 2016 9:31 pm

Funny enough, I taught in the style Teaching from Rest prescribes for several years. Morning time (I think her family calls it Symposium), a loop cycle, using curriculum as tools and not worrying about following it perfectly, etc. It stressed me out! It took me so long to choose the *perfect* books, to wade through a million activity ideas to choose the most valuable, to try to gauge my time on how long it would take me to actually loop through topics in real life so that I could make sure that we were still making progress, etc. We had several really great years, but I was just. so. tired. and always second guessing myself (and if I had to label myself, I would say that I am 99% a confident homeschooler.)

I was still making all of the decisions as to what was valuable and how to schedule it (even if on a loop cycle - how long or short should my loop be? What could a child the age of mine reasonably sit through? How many items a day? Where should I even begin?).

Deciding to finally just stick with MFW & use it as written IS teaching from rest *for me.* At this point I've used it enough years (we are starting our third year with it) that I see what the Hazel's are doing and where they are going. I sit back and kick my legs up and realize that THIS IS GOOD ENOUGH. And while I don't push my children beyond their own personal abilities and stress them out, there is an aspect I like of being able to see what children should be able to manage and I gauge myself accordingly.

I like the rest that comes from knowing that someone has so seamlessly created a curriculum that is so incredibly faith building. That they waded through so much to find the best of the best. To know that they tried to make it budget friendly (because that can be stressful, too!).

As for being a box-checker, I am. ;) But - we go day by day through MFW. Most weeks we fit in a whole week, but sometimes we roll over and a week covers the last half of one week and the first half of another. I try not to get too spread out being far ahead in history, but weeks behind in science. If we need to slow down to make sure we cover science and art, we do.

I may be the oddball, but for me, saving my brain cells and having someone else do the lesson planning is REST! ;)

(We still do "morning time" - we memorize poetry - the ONLY thing I decide on myself, although most selections still come from MFW's language lesson books, we do spelling & our Greek roots from MFW together then, and we do all of the history readings together then. We fit in our composer study here, too.)
Tiffany
Having a great year with Adventures with my two older boys - 3rd & 1st grades
With the world's chattiest 4 year old boy & his 2 year old sister tagging along

allgrace
Posts: 105
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:41 pm

Re: Teaching from Rest

Unread post by allgrace » Sat Sep 17, 2016 9:59 pm

Thanks for your replies. Tiffany, it was very helpful to hear from you. I have not read the whole book, but I love my father's world and love that' it's planned out for me. I want to be more relaxed while we homeschool. I think having little ones means we can't stay on schedule. My youngest has strep throat and my husband was out of town this week. So needless to say we didn't get much school done. Thanks everyone for sharing. When I read your posts it helps to encourage me! Right now we are just going to continue going through the curriculum at a pace we can and not stress out about a schedule. We school year round for this reason.
"Sanctify them by the Truth, your word is Truth" John 17:17
Ds11:RTR
Dd8:RTR
Dd6: MFW K
Ds 4: VOD
Ds. 2: being very active😜

tiffanys
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat May 24, 2014 3:02 pm

Re: Teaching from Rest

Unread post by tiffanys » Tue Sep 20, 2016 11:27 am

I should mention that I really, really loved the book Teaching from Rest, and in general I love Sarah McKenzie. It's just important for us all to remember that her teaching from rest (loop scheduling, morning time, etc.) may not ever be MY teaching from rest.

I think as long as we are trusting in God - that will help us teach from rest. I love what she said close to the beginning of the book about bring our loaves and fishes and letting God do the multiplying and the work with what we bring. For us, that means that we use MFW. It fits our family to a T, and because of it, I can sit back and enjoy the journey and the process. MFW IS my loaves & fishes in so many ways!

I think that getting caught up in doing it her way is doing the very thing that she warns against. Getting caught up in a prescribed method that doesn't work for your family, even if it is the method put forth in the book, is going against teaching from rest - it is forcing yourself to do something uncomfortable or ungratifying or what's not the best for your kids or family.

We all need to find what brings rest to us as the teachers and our families as a whole. Above all else, it is making decisions prayerfully and intentionally and following God's will. Whether means loop scheduling and choosing your own books or using a prescribed curriculum with boxes to check doesn't matter.
Tiffany
Having a great year with Adventures with my two older boys - 3rd & 1st grades
With the world's chattiest 4 year old boy & his 2 year old sister tagging along

Julie in MN
Posts: 2925
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: Teaching from Rest

Unread post by Julie in MN » Fri Sep 30, 2016 12:02 pm

I have been enjoying this thread and the thinking process that it sets in motion. (I even have my eye on it as a good Archived thread for encouragement :) ) Since there's a lull in the conversation, I thought I'd chime in, too. So far, I've seen so many comments that just stuck out to me and had me thinking over a day or more.
Poohbee wrote:It is hard to choose sometimes...whether it is important to stick to the schedule or whether it is important to let your child follow that rabbit trail. There is a time for each.
This is so true. And we always second-guess ourselves, don't we? Did we spend enough time on academics? Or the next minute, did we give enough freedom?

About that cute little boy who wants to study airplanes, I do love the MFW idea of teaching him to focus for 2 hours, teach him how exciting learning is, and then setting him free all afternoon to learn about airplanes. Of course, with busy toddlers and fussy babies, "afternoon" can be more like "an hour here and an hour there," but I think it helps to remember that there is free time in the MFW schedule -- and to be careful not to add to it.
Poohbee wrote:I think that me having a regular daily Bible reading and prayer time before we start school each morning really helps me get my eyes and my priorities on the right things.
I definitely agree. God first, and the day is do-able.

When we were busy at my house, that morning time of Bible and prayer might simply be the "school Bible time" spent with my children, and that was good, too.

I needed to remind myself that Bible and prayer time was a priority in our school and to really settle into that part of our day, not just checking the box and racing through, despite any craziness around me, really talking with my children about the Bible and heroes and character traits and countries in need etc. Sometimes I had to remind myself by putting an arrow on that part of the day or writing in "pray" each day, so I would take that seriously and spend the time with my children there, even if nothing else got accomplished.
TriciaMR wrote:and our family's needs as a whole.
I think this is a great point. That extra time we spent knowing one another and learning from each other is one of the greatest things I look back on from our homeschooling years.

Public schools put their group needs into the mix, too, so we don't need to feel we are outside of academia when we do that. As a teacher, graceandjerrod, you probably witnessed what I saw when my kids were in public schools -- tons of time spent on classroom and school needs as a whole, whether attending pep fests and other classrooms' programs, going over classroom rules, waiting for teachers and principles to attend to discipline issues, or my kids' least favorite - standing in line.

I like setting goals or priorities, so you can make those on-the-fly decisions on what to skip. Those goals can also help you glance back and see that you are, in fact, making the choices that you wanted to. Maybe during this season, major goals will include sibling relationships, patience, and progressing in reading.
TriciaMR wrote:If there were more than 3 writing assignments in a week, it might mean I decide that 2 of them will be discussion instead of writing, making sure she gets the main point.
Definitely did this at my house, and it was more restful for both parent and child :)
tiffanys wrote:Deciding to finally just stick with MFW & use it as written IS teaching from rest *for me.* At this point I've used it enough years (we are starting our third year with it) that I see what the Hazel's are doing and where they are going. I sit back and kick my legs up and realize that THIS IS GOOD ENOUGH.

... a curriculum that is so incredibly faith building. That they waded through so much to find the best of the best. To know that they tried to make it budget friendly (because that can be stressful, too!).

... saving my brain cells and having someone else do the lesson planning is REST! ;)
100% my experience. I didn't know much about curriculum when I started homeschooling (with a 10th grader). That was a recipe for zero rest, since I was re-planning each night -- things took way more or less time than expected, or my student didn't have the past understanding to even get what I was talking about, etc. MFW Teacher Manuals were a place of rest for me.
graceandjarrod wrote: I think having little ones means we can't stay on schedule. My youngest has strep throat and my husband was out of town this week. So needless to say we didn't get much school done.
I love the weekly grids for this reason. You can just change the date at the top. Or you can pick-and-choose based on the whole picture. You don't finish the day and say, woops, we forgot to do the most important thing (like I did when I started on my own).


Enjoying this conversation during my little Dr. Pepper break :)
Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

allgrace
Posts: 105
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:41 pm

Re: Teaching from Rest

Unread post by allgrace » Fri Oct 07, 2016 9:33 pm

Thanks for your post, encouragement and ideas Julie. I was realizing today that my son is able to get his work done ( although we usually don't get to art or Spanish. I am still trying to figure out how to fit that in, whether to do that during our off days, or just wait until next year) and have plenty of time to explore airplanes. He is great at creating and building with Legos and knex. I am glad he has time to explore and develop the talents God gave him. He wouldn't have as much time if he was in public school. And yes, a lot of time is spent lining up, transitions, waiting for all 30 studentd,etc. You are right about that.
"Sanctify them by the Truth, your word is Truth" John 17:17
Ds11:RTR
Dd8:RTR
Dd6: MFW K
Ds 4: VOD
Ds. 2: being very active😜

MelissaB
Posts: 368
Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 10:01 pm

Re: Teaching from Rest

Unread post by MelissaB » Sat Oct 08, 2016 8:43 pm

Hi, Grace ~

I'm learning with you... My daughters are 15 and 12. I took my oldest driving yesterday. And yet, I'm still learning how to see if they're really learning, not just check the boxes and look at a grade.

I've read a lot of good bits of wisdom from fellow homeschooling mom, Kelly Crawford. She has a blog with a lot of good advice. You can click on "homeschooling" on her site, "Generation Cedar."

I wish I had good advice; but, again, I'm learning, too. Hopefully, we'll both be quick learners. :-)

In Christ's Abundant Grace & Love ~
melissa b.
Melissa B. (Arkansas)
Girls ages 16 & 13
Completed K, 1st, and Investigate {ECC; CTG; RTR; Expl.-1850; and 1850-Mod. Times}
"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,.." Titus 2:4

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