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 spends her time running the vibrant, active membership community there.

Sarah’s homeschool day in the life (with twin 2-year-olds & a 3-, 10-, 12-, & 14-year old)

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Written by Sarah Mackenzie of Read-Aloud Revival.

This year we’ve got quite the crew:

  • 14-year-old (8th grade) girl
  • 12-year-old (6th grade) girl
  • 10-year-old (5th grade) boy
  • 3-year-old girl
  • 2-year-old twin tornado boys … or as I’ve seen referenced elsewhere: twinados :)

A homeschool day in the life 2016

5:38 am

My two little identical alarms run into my bedroom and wake me up. I miss the days of rising before my crew and having just a few minutes to myself, but this is not the season for it. The twins keep me running hard and long most days, so I sleep until they wake me.

The 3-year-old is not usually too far behind them. They pile on the couch under blankets and we do the early-morning-snuggle routine before getting started with first breakfast.

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7:00
It’s time to wake the big kids. They have breakfast, and the toddlers settle in for second  breakfast. :) Then I sneak off to shower while bigs entertain littles.

Big kids get ready for the day and do a morning job each (like emptying the dishwasher or taking out the trash), and I try to kinda-sorta tidy the kitchen in preparation for the day ahead.
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Why homeschooling from fear doesn’t work

Why Homeschooling from Fear Doesn't Work-- it just never, never doesWritten by Sarah Mackenzie of Amongst Lovely Things

I hear it all the time. I bet you do, too.

“I’m homeschooling because…

…I’m afraid the culture will destroy my kids.
…I want my kids to stay Christian.
…I don’t want them to be exposed to bad language or ideas or influences.”

These statements all share one thing in common- they’re based on fear, grounded in an overwhelming anxiety that unless we homeschool our kids, things will not end the way we want them to.

It’s a fear that we aren’t in control, and that things might not turn out as we planned.

Well.

Here’s an idea worth considering: homeschooling doesn’t guarantee that our kids will come out any particular way. It doesn’t ensure that they’ll embrace our religious beliefs, get into a good college, or make life choices we’ll be proud of.

Our kids are not ingredients in a recipe. Just because we prepare them in a particular way doesn’t mean that they’ll come out how we hope. In fact, I know plenty of loving, hard-working homeschooling parents whose kids live lives running a gamut of mistakes and missteps.

Kids are human, and humanity is messy.

If we’ve convinced ourselves that homeschooling ensures they’ll come out juuuuuust the way we want them to, we’ve taken on an impossible task.
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What to do when your day falls apart

What to do when the day falls apart
Written by Sarah Mackenzie of Amongst Lovely Things

As if I hadn’t procrastinated starting our homeschool year until the latest possible moment anyway… we had a doozy of a first day back this year.

It’s almost like the new school year set out to mock me right from the get-go. It’s a year I’ve entered into with much trepidation (in an nutshell: an eighth grader, sixth grader, fifth grader, potty-training 3-year old, twin two-year olds… and a partridge in a pear tree).

It was 8:30am on our first day of the new year. I was pulling the twins out of the dishwasher, scolding a child for a sassy attitude, and barking orders at my kids to finish their chores and get to the table- STAT- so we could get going with our day.

(Right, so… it was not my best parenting moment. Ahem.)

Then I heard him yell.

He doesn’t usually yell- and certainly not like that, so it caught me off guard. I high-tailed it up to my bedroom to find my husband on the floor, stiff as a board, face contorted in pain.

“I…. can’t….. I can’t….. move,” he said between strained breaths, “…at all.”

And things more or less unravelled from there. My husband spent the rest of the morning on the floor and the entire afternoon at the ER. [Read more…]

The secret to Teaching from Rest (and a giveaway!)

The Secret to Teaching From RestWritten by Sarah Mackenzie of Amongst Lovely Things

We’re tiptoeing to the end of summer, and if you’re anything like me, you’re looking over your plans for the school year, making sure you’ve dotted your i’s, crossed your t’s, that you’ve stocked up on 10 cent notebooks and colorful pens.

And maybe… juuuuust maybe… you’re sneaking a few extra things into the curriculum.

After all, you want this to be the BEST homeschool year ever, right?

Me too. But I’ve been down this new-year-of-homeschooling road a few times, and I want to tell you the secret for setting out for a new school year with mindful intention that has the staying power to carry us through the year– that will get us through that November slump and even the February burnout that threatens us year after year.

::

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Being outnumbered by babies and toddlers: The hardest part of Sarah’s homeschool year

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Written by Sarah Mackenzie of Amongst Lovely Things

No one likes to be outnumbered. If you’re in a soccer match and the other team has more players on the field than you, it feels like defeat before you begin.

I don’t just have more children than I do hands- I have more children than I do appendages. Juggling three kids under three while trying to teach my older three (13, 11, 9) was my biggest struggle last year, and it was a doozy, if I do say so myself.

And I do.

Being outnumbered is daunting enough. But to have three toddlers? All at once? That’s a madhouse even if you aren’t trying to teach the oldest pre-algebra and cover the details and implications of The Louisiana Purchase at the same time.

My friend Trina recently said that the difference between surviving and thriving is the simple act of savoring… there is always something sweet worth leaning into. And I think she’s right.

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