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.

Helping your kids fall in love with Shakespeare…even if you’ve never read him yourself

shakespeare sh
Written by Sarah Mackenzie of Read-Aloud Revival

Do you do this too?

Do you overcomplicate your homeschooling life? I’m not really sure why I do it. Maybe it’s because I feel like I have so much on the line- I don’t want to mess up my children’s education!

Or maybe it’s because in the heat of the moment- when a child is melting down over a math lesson, the toddlers are all whining for a snack, and the dishwasher starts to overflow, it all does feel rather … complicated.

So I make color-coded homeschooling plans (that never actually pan out in real life) …

… I spend way too much time organizing and rearranging our schoolroom (when most of our day could be happily tackled from the couch or dining room table) …

… and I develop a huge list of books and ideas, because my son mentioned to me (in passing) that he’d like to learn more about the Civil War.

Next thing you know, I’ve got fourteen internet browser tabs open and I’m filling up my library hold queue like a madwoman with Civil War books from every library branch in town.

Slow the train, sister.

In general, homeschooling doesn’t need to be as complicated as I make it out to be.

In large portion, homeschooling well is about showing up each day, showering my kids with love and attention, and helping them take the next step as they learn and encounter new skills and ideas.

One of those areas a lot of us overcomplicate is introducing our kids to Shakespeare.

[Read more…]

3 reasons your read-aloud book is taking too long

3 Reasons Your Read-Aloud Book is Taking Too LongWritten by Sarah Mackenzie of Read-Aloud Revival

Sometimes I’m discouraged at how few books our family can enjoy reading aloud over a school year. I pretty much always wish I could read more with my kids. I know it’s good for them. I know it’s good for me. I know it’s one of the most powerful ways to connect with my children and buy steroids to bond them to one another.

I know that hearing accurate, beautiful, and sophisticated language patterns is the best way to help my children learn to read, to think, and to write.

But still. I struggle.

Can you relate? Maybe it’s taking you forever to get through your current read-aloud. Maybe you’re struggling to drum up the oomph to make reading aloud a habit. Or maybe you’re just having a hard time getting back into the groove of reading aloud after a bit of a hiatus.

I’ve been in all of those situations, and trust me- I can relate. I want to read aloud, I even LIKE reading aloud, so why the heck do I ever struggle with reading aloud?

And why do you?
[Read more…]

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

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.


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.
[Read more…]

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.


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.
[Read more…]

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…]

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