Ahhhhh, summer. A season filled with unmistakable sunshine, the sound of water splashing from the pool, gardens full of fresh fruits and veggies, and a much needed break from the daily school routine. And if you’re a homeschool mom, like me, you probably anticipate the summer just as much (if not more) than your kiddos.
Now, we don’t totally abandon all educational activities during the summer, as I’ll be sharing about more next month, but it’s definitely a less structured season and the planned educational activities are less frequent.
However, fall always comes faster than I expect, and I have found that if I don’t take the time to rest, reflect, and prepare for the next year, I start the year feeling like I’m already behind.
So, I’m excited to share two books that have inspired, encouraged, and blessed me in my homeschool journey. These are perfect reads for the summer – because who really has time to read another book during the school year?
The first book is Christ in the Chaos: How the Gospel Changes Motherhood by Kimm Crandall (**affiliate link). In this powerful book, Kimm shares about the battles that so many moms face, but are often hesitant to share openly. With great transparency, she shares how she struggled with (and sometimes still struggles with) feeling overwhelmed by the pressure to “do it all” and make it seem easy, how she placed unrealistic expectations upon herself and then kicked herself when they went unmet, how she constantly fell into the mom-comparison trap, and perhaps the one that spoke to me the most, how she allowed her “performance” as a mom to dictate her self-worth.
This book spoke directly to my heart. At times, I really felt as if she had taken a peek into my journal and was speaking right to me. Kimm does not come across as the expert who already has it all figured out. Rather, she shares with great vulnerability anecdotes from her own life and constantly reminds us of our desperate need for Christ.
Christ in the Chaos does NOT outline a five-step plan for being a better mother or give you a checklist to eliminate chaos. Instead, she calls each reader to bask in the grace of God and find our identity in Him – knowing that we cannot do it on our own strength, and that we are not enough on our own.
The book itself is broken into ten short chapters – again, perfect for mothers. In fact, this one is on my list to re-read this summer!
The second book I’d recommend is Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie (**affiliate link). Like Christ in the Chaos, this book is written from a Biblical perspective; however, unlike Christ in the Chaos, this is specifically written for homeschool parents and the entire book focuses on that subject.
As a homeschool mom, I know I have wrestled with the questions: Am I doing enough? Am I doing this well? Will my kids be successful in the long run? Was homeschool the right decision? And when I meditate on these questions, I am left feeling stressed, burdened, anxious, and completely exhausted.
Sarah uses her own experiences to address these questions and provide incredible encouragement and affirmation. She emphasizes the fact that teaching from rest does not mean ease – quite the opposite; rather, it is having meaningful learning and growth, but without the stress, anxiety, and overwhelm so common in many homeschool moms.
Sarah shares practical tips and ideas from her own experiences, but also highlights the fact that every family is different and you truly have to find what works best for you and your children. She focuses on the opportunities you have as a homeschool parent to build an irreplaceable relationship with your children and how you can tailor your curriculum to suit their needs and interests.
As a former elementary school teacher, this book really challenged me to alter some of my approaches to homeschool because it reminded me of the fact that my homeschool classroom does not have to look just like a traditional classroom, only at home. And I found incredible freedom in that. As she shares in her book, “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? ……Teaching from rest doesn’t mean we aren’t planning ahead…..It means we are doing one thing at a time, and we do that thing with all our heart.”
This was such an inspirational read, especially for homeschool parents (like me) who desire to create a loving and nurturing homeschool environment, but are struggling with numerous anxiety-inducing questions and doubts. It has definitely impacted my approach to homeschooling for the better!
Do you have any reading planned for the summer? I’d love to hear about it. Let me know in the comments below.