Teaching From Rest

I have decided that if you're going to only read one book on homeschooling that Teaching From Rest by Sara Mackenzie is it. It is short, simple, and beautifully written. When I first heard the title I assumed that the book was about something along the lines of sitting in bed and teaching school, but it's not.

Teaching from rest is being understanding and staying calm when things don't go the way you think they should go. It also goes into what is more important, that you were a task master and made your kids plow through a bunch of math problems or that maybe you only got through a few math problems, but your kid really understands division?

It also helped remind me about what is most important which is my relationship with my kids. In 10 years from now when my big kids are all out of the house, what do I want them to remember and what do I want our relationship to be?

It is a very Christ centered book and she quotes a lot of scripture throughout. My favorite comparison is Peter walking on the water. He is scared and starts to sink, but Jesus takes his hand and helps him. He is there for us too. Especially when you're just starting homeschool and it can feel like such a daunting task, even like you've been asked to walk on water, but with His help anything is possible.

She also gives ideas on how she runs her day. These didn't apply to me as much because I've been doing it for so long, but it would be very helpful to someone just starting out.

The book is so good that it's one that I will read again to help me to remember to relax and take it one day at a time.


Big Life Journal

Not too long ago I read the Mindset. I really enjoyed the book and I was trying to teach the idea to my kids as much as possible. I was very excited when I found a book for kids to teach them how to have a growth mindset.

It’s called Big Life Journal. It is designed for younger kids and their “journal buddy”. You go through 13 different topics over 26 weeks. Some of the ideas are: dream big, believe in yourself, and failure is learning. You take two weeks for each topic.

We have been using the journal for a little over a month now and LOVE it! It asks your kid questions that really make them think. Who is someone you can help? How did you feel when you helped someone? Name something that you would want to invent and how would it help the world?

The book is colorful and has poems and stories throughout. My kids really like it and remind me to do the book with them if I forget. I would suggest that the book is best for kids 6-12 years old. Next year they are coming out with a journal for teens and adults.


Book Review: Where the Red Fern Grows

Have you been thinking to yourself that maybe it's been a while since you made your kids cry? Well, if you have, then this is the book for you! :) We just finished reading Where the Red Fern Grows and my kids and I cried our way through the ending. 

I don't know if I'm one of the few people who didn't read this book as a kid, but this was my first time reading the book and I LOVED it. My boys and my girls loved it too. It is so great when we find a book that we all like.

The book is about Billy who lives in the Ozark Mountains and wants nothing more than some coon hounds. The dogs are expensive, so he comes up with a plan to earn the money to buy his dogs. It takes him two years to save up enough money. 

Most of the book is about the adventures he and his dogs have. It is beautifully written and we were completely hooked the whole time. 

Even though I had never read the book I knew what the sad part was at the ending. And even though I knew what was going to happen I still cried through it. All my younger kids cried through the last two chapters too. Even though it is a bit sad it is so beautifully written that I would highly recommend this book. I would like to add that if you have a super sensitive child I would suggest reading together, just in case they need a shoulder to cry on.

Growing Up Duggar

My older kids each read a different book that helps them develop character. I had my daughter read, Growing Up Duggar. I know who the family the Duggars are, but I honestly have never watched their show. My friend is a die hard Duggar fan. She took a road trip and she was hoping somehow they would run into them and become best friends. Any who, she highly recommended this book.

My daughter, who is 11, read this book and really liked it. I don't think she let anything sink in because she continually makes her siblings cry on a daily basis. I'm not trying to be funny, she really does. She is seeing if she can go more than two days without making anyone cry. So far, she hasn't been able to reach her goal. Apparently, I need her to read this book again.

I think there are a lot of good things you can take from this book. It delves into appropriate ways to have relationships with yourself, your family, people in your community, and God. One of things that I really did like about this book was their section on dating. They recommend getting to know someone's character. Instead of just always going out on a date, where the both of you can be on your best behavior, have opportunities to see how they handle real life situations. If they are at your house and a younger sibling spills on your date, does your date freak out? Or, is he calm and patient? 

I also thought this book was a little cheesy. To me, these girls are looking at the world with rose colored goggles. They have had a pretty good life, not perfect, but a reasonably good life. I think they are naive to suggest that if you just pray really hard, everything will work out. They are out trying to talk to girls who have been abused and/or have had horrible upbringings. It's like trying to take diet advice from someone who has never had to diet, and I had hard time believing what they were selling. 

I know, I'm cynical. I'm working on that. Just kidding, I'm totally not. 

So, overall I would recommend this book. Just know that I found it a tad cheesy.

The Hiding Place

I had the great idea of having my kids write a book review of all the books that they read. It would take care of two things. 1st, I would have a killer blog post completely done and 2nd, it would give my kids a chance to do a book report. Win, win, right? Nope, I couldn't have been more wrong. My daughter read The Hiding Place, a book that luckily I have read before, and wrote me her book review. "The Hiding Place is a really good book." Seriously?!? That was it. The funny thing is that she really loved the book and she is great with details and writing, so I think I had unrealistic expectations when I asked her to whip out a book review with little, ok let's be honest, no instruction.

Have you read The Hiding Place? You should. It is heartbreaking and it is beautiful. It is one of those books that has the ability to change you; to make you want to be a better person, to love more, to forgive more. It made me feel like my little problems are not that big compared to what others have gone through.

The Hiding Place is the story of Corrie ten Boom. Corrie was a watch maker living in Holland. The story starts in 1937 where the family was getting ready to celebrate the 100th birthday of the family shop and a lot of the conversation revolves around the Jews that are fleeing to Holland.

Corrie and her family were not Jewish, they were Christian, but they knew that no one should be treated the way the Jewish people were being treated. They became involved in an underground movement during WWII. They risked their lives to help these people. Her sister, Betsie, had the most positive attitude about having faith and moving forward. I would love to have her courage.

The sisters eventually get sent to a concentration camp for their involvement. Their train ride still haunts me. When you sit and think about the logistics of being shoved in a train with so many people for so many hours. I honestly get a little choked up when I think how those people were treated like they weren't people at all. 

After the war Corrie went around and spoke to several groups of people. One of them happened to be a German who had persecuted the people in the camp. Can you imagine the hate you would probably feel when you saw someone who had been so cruel? This is what Corrie thought as she had to talk to this man:

“Even as the angry vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him....Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me your forgiveness....And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world's healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives along with the command, the love itself.” 

I can't recommend this book enough. My kids have read it when they have been in 5th or 6th grade. It has given us some great discussions! It is probably too deep of a topic for anyone under the 5th, 6th grade level, but if you feel like your kid is more mature then don't delay and have them read this!


I just finished reading Penrod to my kids. To say that we loved this book is an understatement, we LOVED this book!! It is so odd and so funny.

Penrod is written by Booth Tarkington, published in 1914. Penrod is an 11 year old boy, living in Indiana, who gets into a lot of trouble. It is seriously hilarious with some of his misfortunes. 

My husband remembered this book when he was kid, so I tried to read it to our kids years ago, but I felt like I was reading a foreign language and decided not to read it. My husband kept telling me how much he loved this book, so I decided to try it again. I am so glad that I did!

 My sister in law said they read it with a dictionary to look up some of the big words he used. Once you start reading it, it becomes easier and easier to get through. Here is an example of some of his writing: "Penrod sat morosely upon the back fence and gazed with envy at Duke, his wistful dog. A bitter soul dominated the various curved and angular surfaces known by a careless world as the face of Penrod Schofield."

Here are my disclaimers: Penrod writes a story, and in his story he uses curse words. Except he doesn't dare write them so he puts in a dash. Here is an example (he spells the words incorrectly while Penrod is writing), "Mr. Wilson stagerd back vile oaths soilin his lips for he was in pain Why you --- --- you sneered he I will get you yet --- --- you Harold Ramorez" I would say "bleep" when I read it to the kids, they thought it was very comical. Also, an African American family move in by them. Penrod really likes the kids and they are friends, but they use the "N" word a few times in the book. I simply skipped over that.

There are a few more books in the series, but I heard they weren't as good. I am still on the fence whether or not to read the other ones.