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I want to help you think about what’s most essential in your homeschool. I’ve invited Kortney Garrison and Kara Anderson from the RAR team to chat with me about a favorite book when it comes to essentializing.We've been talking and thinking about the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown a lot here at Read Aloud Revival, especially as it relates to homeschooling. We're reading the book in our Mama Book Club in RAR Premium in January and I will tell you this book is easily one of the books I can say has changed my life.That is not an exaggeration. I think Read Aloud Revival itself has been built on the principles in Essentialism. I've probably reread it a dozen times.This book has changed the way I've thought about my own life and maybe this is due to me being a mother to half a dozen kidsbut this idea of less but better really appeals to me. Today, Kortney, Kara, and I are going to dig into just the first chapter and how it relates to our homeschools.In this episode, you’ll hear:  Defining Essentialism and why the concept is so needed for homeschool parents How doing less, but better can help us set priorities in our homeschools and avoid decision fatigue How comparing your kids’ progress to the baseline, not the ideal, can give you a better perspective on your successes Learn more about Sarah Mackenzie: Read Aloud Revival Waxwing Books Subscribe to the Newsletter Mentioned in This Episode: Great Homeschooling Conventions Use the code READALOUD23 for $10 off a registration at any location RAR#209: What Worked? What Didn't? Looking Back on Homeschooling with my 20-Year-Old Daughter
The Long Winter is the sixth book in the Little House on the Prairie series. It was first published in 1940, and is an autobiographical novel. Laura Ingalls Wilder based the series on her actual life as a child, settling the west. This particular story, The Long Winter, was set in the southwestern Dakota Territory during the severe winter of 1880-1881 when Laura was 14 years old. Even if you haven’t read the rest of the Little House books, I think you want to read this one. You can read any of the Little House books as stand-alones, but I’m betting that if you give your kids a taste of any of them, they’ll want to keep reading more stories from Laura.And truly, it’s no wonder why. Laura Ingalls Wilder is, to my mind, unparalleled as one of the finest novelists in children’s literature, ever alive.In this episode, you’ll hear:  How Ingalls Wilder creates an immersive experience with deceptively simple writing Why re-reading can be the best kind of reading, for us and for our kids How to handle troubling or problematic content in books with your kids, and why I believe we need to have those discussions But there is an elephant in the room with the Little House on the Prairie books and we need to talk about it. Today, we’re talking about what makes The Long Winter so gripping and so beloved, as well as how we handle problematic texts with our kids and why I believe that scenes and language we may find troubling aren’t reasons to leave great books on the shelf.Find the rest of the show notes at:
In this bonus episode, you'll hear: How Sarah's Jolabokaflod really went Can we actually fall in love with the homeschooling lives we already have? All-new for 2023 -- Circle with Sarah: RAR Premium Homeschool Coaching For the full show notes, head here.  
What if I told you that there’s an Icelandic Christmas tradition where you spend an entire day (or evening) reading books and sipping hot cocoa? And it’s what you’re SUPPOSED to be doing.Yes, this is a real thing!It’s called Jolabokaflod, and in this episode, you’ll hear:  Where the tradition came from 3 super-simple steps to your own Jolabokaflod How other mamas just like you have made the tradition their own During Jolabokaflod, you gift members of your family with new books, and everyone drinks hot cocoa and spends the whole of Christmas Eve reading. If I didn’t get your attention before, I’ve got it now.Today, I’m talking about when and how this tradition started, and how your family can make Jolabokaflod part of your Christmas traditions.Find the rest of the show notes at
By now, most of us are knee deep in our homeschool year.And no matter how far into your year you are, and no matter what’s happened that you either did, or didn’t, expect to happen, I’m willing to bet that something funny has happened: You’re carrying around a lot of pinecones.What on earth do I mean by that?In this episode, you’ll hear:  All the ways we end up with a metaphorical 56-pound backpack of homeschool curriculum What are these pinecones (and why do I keep picking them up?) How to decide which homeschool curriculum you really need for the rest of the school year Find the rest of the show notes at
Is it really possible to teach from rest? Even if you’re teaching a lot of different ages? And even if you feel a bit underwater, pretty much every single day in your homeschool?Let’s talk about it. This fall in Circle with Sarah, we’re diving deep into the principles of Sarah’s first book, Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace… and today we’re sharing some of it with you.So let’s get nitty gritty.Find the rest of the show notes at
Christmas School 2022

Christmas School 2022


Every year in RAR Premium we do Christmas School. What is Christmas School? It’s 4 weeks of Christmas-themed Family Book Clubs that offer your whole family (from preschoolers to high schoolers) a relaxed, bookish learning experience.This year’s Christmas School is brand new and better than ever. Our 2022 Christmas School Guide is open-and-go, so aside from collecting a few supplies at the top of each week, there is no prep. And yep, we’ve got plans for everyone in the family, from your youngest to your teens!Last week, we revealed the books we’re featuring for this year’s Christmas School, and revealed the rest of the Winter Lineup at RAR premium, too. Over 1,100 of you joined us live on Zoom— so fun! 🥳 Find the rest of the show notes at
Chances are good that you’re already familiar with the picture book sensation turned childhood classic, Bear Snores On.But do you know the woman who wrote it?Karma Wilson has come up with some of her best ideas while eating ice cream or visiting the zoo. She was saved as a child, in a way, by C.S. Lewis’s Narnia. And… she homeschooled her own kids for many years as a way to ensure that they would love reading as much as she felt they deserved to love it.Find the rest of the show notes here
Have you ever asked yourself, “Am I doing enough?”I think we’ve all asked that question.If you’re homeschooling your kids, you might ask it every single day. It might even wake you up at night and feel like an elephant sitting on your chest. 🐘Today, we’re going to talk about it.Find the rest of the show notes
It’s Victorian London in the late 1800’s… and it’s been five years since the Sweep disappeared.Orphaned and alone, Nan Sparrow has no other choice but to work for a ruthless chimney sweep named Wilkie Crudd. She spends her days doing dangerous work–sweeping out chimneys.The job is thankless, but with her wits and will, Nan has managed to beat the deadly odds time and time again.This time, though, she gets stuck in a chimney fire.She wakes to find herself unharmed in an abandoned attic. And she is not alone. Huddled in the corner is a mysterious creature—a golem—made from soot and ash.The golem we’ll come to know as Charlie. He’s large and lovable, and Nan, our heroine, will raise him almost like her own child. He is, after all, her protector. Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her MonsterThis book, written by Jonathan Auxier, won the 2019 Sydney Taylor Book Award. And it has won a place in my all-time tippy top favorite books. It’s a Charles-Dickens-like adventure about the everlasting gifts of friendship and wonder.In this episode, I want to introduce you to the book… and to the man who wrote it.Find the rest of the shownotes at
Have you ever REALLY worried about one of your kids?What should you do if you don’t feel like you read aloud well?What’s the point of poetry memorization?What would you tell a mom who is confused about all the different homeschooling philosophies and methods?How do I know that I’m doing enough?What about homeschooling high school?These are all questions you might have… I’ve had them too.Andrew Pudewa and I answered questions just like these at all five Great Homeschool Conventions in 2022. Today on the podcast, we’re sharing a recording of that session with you. Find the rest of the show notes here
Last time on the Read-Aloud Revival, I told you about the inspiration for the creation of Waxwing Books and our first book,  A Little More Beautiful: The Story of a Garden. In this episode, I’ll take you on the rest of the adventure, from connecting with illustrator Breezy Brookshire to bringing on editor Michael Green, and finding art director Cara Llewellyn.Find the rest of the show notes here
Pre-orders are Open!

Pre-orders are Open!


It’s time! It’s time! It’s time! 🥳We are SO excited to open pre-orders for our first release at Waxwing Books. It’s a story about seeing and being seen for readers who love Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney or The Library by Sarah Stewart and David Small.Find the rest of the show notes here
Way back in August 2018, I was fortunate to spend a morning with the author of The Penderwicks, Jeanne Birdsall. It was a glorious morning, truly, and something surprising came of it. A little idea popped into my head, and it just sort of… rooted itself.Actually… the idea that popped into my head didn’t just stay an idea. It became something much bigger resulting in our biggest, newest project here at Read-aloud Revival: we’re launching a boutique publishing house.Today, I’m telling you all about it. Find the rest of the show notes here
When I ask experienced homeschool parents what they wish they had done more often or focused more on, they never–not ever–say anything academic. Nope. Reminiscing homeschool parents tell me something else entirely. And do you know what they say? Relationships. They always, always talk about something related to the relationships nurtured during their homeschooling years. Relationships & Reading AloudIn fact, their favorite memories very often revolve around the memories they made and the books they shared.Reading aloud is not only the best tool for helping our kids academically succeed across the curriculum, it also helps them: Grow in empathy and compassion Bear witness to people overcoming obstacles, facing struggles, and pressing onward Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes Connect ideas and think more clearly about the world around them and their role in it Find the rest of the show notes here
In today’s Special Edition of the Read-Aloud Revival podcast, you’ll meet the man behind Make Way for Ducklings. Robert McCloskey was the first to win two Caldecott Awards, and his books are arguably among the most celebrated picture books of all time.His most popular picture book wouldn’t stay on the page, either. His ducks became permanent sculptures fixed in Boston Public Garden, and even made a way for international diplomacy as part of the START Treaty between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. in 1991. A picture book is a powerful piece of art. Find the rest of the show notes at
What’s coming next?

What’s coming next?


Last week, we held an RAR Premium Preview on Zoom. The Preview is our (very fun 😆) announcement of what’s coming next.So… what is RAR Premium?Here’s the deal: if you want to help your kids fall in love with books, while also falling more in love with homeschooling, you belong at RAR Premium, Read-Aloud Revival’s one-of-a-kind online community. What we do at RAR Premium: Coaching for homeschool moms (everyone’s favorite) Family book clubs for all ages WOW: Writers on Writing workshops  Mama Book Club that helps us fall back in love with our own reading lives Find the rest of the show notes at
Here at Read-Aloud Revival, we’re in the thick of getting a huge project together for you. We are launching our own publishing imprint, Waxwing Books. Our first release is a picture book, written by me, and illustrated by none other than the gorgeously talented artist, Breezy Brookshire. It’s called A Little More Beautiful: The Story of a Garden. August 10th is the big day. That’s the day you’ll be able to pre-order the book on Kickstarter and get some pre-order exclusives, like a brand new book bag and some other goodies. While we get those pre-orders ready for you, we’re revisiting some Special Edition podcasts. These are my all-time favorites. This one is fabulous to listen to as a family, so if you happen to be road tripping together, play it in the car. Enjoy!Find the rest of the show notes at
Early on, pretty much everyone in my world told me we were making a huge mistake in homeschooling.It was weird, it was unknown to them, and of course, we are afraid of things that are weird and unknown. I actually didn’t know anyone in my personal life who was homeschooling.I read some blogs and books (of course!), but I just had a very strong hunch that we should do this home education thing. So we did, and I’m so glad. I loved it – not every minute of it (ha!) – but now that my oldest kids are adults, I’m so grateful for the time I got with them during all of those growing up years. Today, I have a treat for you. My oldest daughter, Audrey – 20 years old at the time we’re recording this, just finished her sophomore year at Franciscan University of Steubenville as an English major, and she is joining me on the show. Audrey was homeschooled her entire education.And there were some rocky years! When Audrey was 12 – so you know, 6th grade-ish, I also had a 10-year-old, an 8-year-old, a 1 year-old, and twin newborns. Yes. Three babies age 1 and under. It was… a lot.We’re going to talk about that, plus: what was most helpful for Audrey’s future did she feel “prepared,” for going away to college and becoming an adult? (you’re going to love her answer, I think!) what she really remembers about that time with babies (💗 😭) Mama’s with newborns – you just need to hear this. 💖 We’re also answering YOUR questions! Find the rest of the show notes at
Comments (10)

Michelle B

Nearly a year later & I still think about & tell people about this idea. Kudos to the people who came up with the classroom book a day & kudos to Sarah for promoting it! It's a great practice & reminder for teachers, families, & anyone who thinks picture books are just for little kids.

Jul 7th


This works really well for us, thank you! Facing same issue here. Help is appreciated.

Mar 15th

Anika Enger

where in Mitten Strings did you read that quote from? thank you!

Dec 4th

Elisabeth Bodey

This is soooo encouraging to me! I've even read the Read Aloud Family, but hearing Sarah read about her own experience makes it feel so much more real. 🤣 Lots of good reminders in here. I'm going to listen to the episode about what your kids can do during read aloud time next!

Oct 18th


His ending is spot on. This was such an interesting episode. He's a very wise and generous man.

Mar 17th

Alisa Jones

I really liked everything he had to say about reading aloud but I really could have without the snide tone about public schools and teachers.

Jun 19th

Hannah Zimmerman


Mar 13th

Danielle Evans

One of my favorite podcasts. I enjoy the guests and the book recommendations.

Nov 13th


sooooo happy for my RAR fix!

Jul 10th

Chris Kimmel

loved it

Aug 16th
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