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About Sarah Mackenzie

Sarah is a smitten wife, mama of six (including twins!) and the author of Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace.
She hosts the Read-Aloud Revival Podcast, and can usually be found hiding behind a camera lens or writing about vibrant and passionate motherhood at Amongst Lovely Things. Hear her speak at any of the upcoming Great Homeschool Conventions.

How to read aloud every day

read aloud every day

Written by Sarah Mackenzie of Amongst Lovely Things.

I‘m convinced that the minutes and hours I spend reading to my children are the best invested moments of my entire life.

With six kids underfoot to love on and teach, I fight a constant feeling that I’m not meeting everyone’s needs- not taking time for the things that matter most- that someone is growing up with the underlying feeling of being overlooked or forgotten.

When I’m reading with my kids, I never feel that way. No one has to convince me that reading to my children will strengthen our relationship, form happy family memories, improve their ability to communicate, and make a lasting difference in all of our lives.

I am convinced that the story formed childhood my parents gave me was one of the greatest gifts I have ever received.”

- Sarah Clarkson, Caught Up in a Story (p. 6)

I have seen the fruit of that already, and I believe in it with all my heart.

But just knowing doesn’t make the doing any easier.
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Paradigm shift: Curriculum is not something you buy

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The following is a guest post written by Sarah Mackenzie of Amongst Lovely Things.

What if we’ve got it all wrong?

What if it doesn’t matter which books we use, which history projects we take on, how many lessons of math we accomplish in a year?

Homeschoolers spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about “curriculum,” but what if, when we compare spelling programs and choose math books, we aren’t really talking about curriculum at all?

Curriculum isn’t something we buy. It’s something we teach. Something we embody. Something we love.  It is the form and content of our children’s learning experiences.

Saxon Math isn’t the curriculum. It’s just the book that we use to teach the actual curriculum, which is: math.

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How decision fatigue is wearing down your homeschool (and 4 things you can do about it)

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Written by Sarah Mackenzie of Amongst Lovely Things.

It’s 11am. The twins are emptying the tea cupboard onto the floor, the 2 year-old is fussing, and I’m standing at the fridge, trying to decide what to make for lunch. Just then my 11 year-old walks into the room. “What should I be doing right now?”

As the volume of the din steadily rises, the 9 year-old whizzes past me, flinging his math book onto the kitchen counter and tossing a comment about making a break for the basement. Somebody pulls on my pant leg and I rub my head.

“Mom? What am I supposed to be doing?” She’s getting more persistent.

“I… don’t know,” I sigh, exasperated, “Just… we’ll figure it out later.”

Sound familiar? It’s a classic case of homeschooling mama decision fatigue, and I can predict it’s arrival in my house (and yours!) like clockwork every day of the week.

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Sarah’s homeschool day in the life (with twin 1-year-olds & a 2-, 9-, 11- and 13-year-old

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Written by Sarah Mackenzie of Amongst Lovely Things.

Three school-age kids, three toddlers. Sometimes I wonder if my blog’s name should actually be Amongst LIVELY Things. :)

Let me give you a little background on us.

homeschoolday

We’re classical homeschoolers in the CiRCE sense- meaning that we believe true education is the cultivation of wisdom and virtue.

Of course, those first books read at the beginning of a homeschooling journey play a major role in a homeschooling mom’s understanding of education and the learning process, and so both Charlotte Mason and unschooling play parts in our homeschool, as well. Within the context of real life, it works.

Sometimes it looks like school and sometimes it looks like life. Did I mention that we have three toddlers? Yes, that.

Kids525

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5 tips for reading middle grade novels with your kids

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Written by contributor Sarah Mackenzie of Amongst Lovely Things

When my oldest children were small, I couldn’t wait until we could read middle grade novels together. I enjoyed reading picture books with them, of course, but it had been Beverly Cleary and Roald Dahl who had sparked my own childhood imagination and turned me into a lifelong reader.

I couldn’t wait to introduce favorite books and characters to my kids.

The first novel I tried to read to my kids was Little House in the Big Woods. It was wildly unsuccessful.

I hadn’t yet developed my own read-aloud skills enough to deliver the long descriptive passages in an interesting way, and my girls hadn’t had enough practice painting pictures in their heads and following along with longer narrative to keep up with what was going on. It was such a disappointment.

Now, I maintain that Laura Ingalls Wilder has written some of the best books ever written (and we have gone on to read her entire series three times as a family), but I don’t usually recommend that parents just starting to read novels with their kids start there.

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