The start of this blog did not come at some great moment in my life when I felt that all was achievable, that I was able to “handle” it, that life was calming down enough so that I could manage this. Indeed, as I type, it is 5:53 am, and I have been up since 5:30 am, due to some miscreants who stole the iPad, hacked into it, and were having themselves a Minecraft extravaganza. My 2 year old daughter just shuffled down the stairs five minutes ago because she went to bed at 6:00 pm and is now ravenous, understandably so. My youngest is 18 months, and I have now joined the elite ranks of parents everywhere who suddenly realize that despite the fact that I no longer have a nursing newborn, this parenting gig is still just so hard at times, and certainly not for the faint of heart. I’m still at a point in my life where I have a lot of “junk” going on, and I feel as though I am the least qualified to be spouting homeschool advice, but here’s the thing:
I desperately missed writing.
I could not ignore this fire in my heart to write and share my thoughts and heart about homeschooling and our lives, and how they intertwine.
And so I asked myself, what am I waiting for?
For things to “calm down”?
For things to “get better”?
What if I’m not supposed to wait for that?
What if…I just need to put my head down and share through the struggle?
And that’s what I’ve decided to do. Share in the struggle; share through the struggle, for better or for worse.
In a community of homeschooling moms, there’s always unspoken comparisons, no matter how we try not to let our hearts go there. But I feel the winds of change afoot, and with this amazing, modern age of technology, I have learned that I am not alone, and there are other mommas out there who think in the same vein, who have that deep, wild longing in their hearts for their children to know the depth of an education that is more than just a booklist to slog through and standards to achieve. We want them to know that education is a life. Charlotte Mason wrote those words long ago, and they ring true today and permeate my thoughts as I gather our books and materials for the day. It’s so much more than checking off the to-do list for the day. I can tell you first-hand that the best way to kill the joy of your homeschool and suffocate your children’s love for learning is to let the checklist rule over all. Our obsession should not be to finish school by June, like all of the other kids. Our obsession should transcend those types of constraints, especially as we consider educating our amazing children as a holistic approach. Life as a whole education. Not compartmentalizing what “school” should look like. Isn’t that one of the finest reasons to homeschool?
As I look back on my own homeschool education, I sometimes laugh at how it was a very Charlotte Mason education, but in a rather accidental way. I don’t remember everything I read in my textbooks, but I remember every single classic, living book I read and how they made such a deeper impression on me than a bland text. I remember spending hours outside with my brother, sprinting across the corn fields (we rented a very old, very much falling apart farmhouse on 45 acres when I was growing up in the Midwest. I never realized until I was older that it is not normal for the pipes to freeze every winter, but you do what you can, right?) towards the creek in the back of the property because we could not wait to try to build another fort, a bridge, and raft, anything to the soundtrack of our imaginations. I remember climbing trees and spending hours just sitting in them, chatting away with my favorite tree (I was a very whimsical child. And a little weird.) I used to tell my mom I could live in the trees. I nearly passed out with excitement reading The Swiss Family Robinson, because the idea of building the most epic tree house in a forest sounded like heaven to me. My point is this: All of the CM components of my own personal education are what have stuck with me the most, and those books and memories are what I treasure the most and desperately wish to impart to my own children. It seems only natural. I sometimes have a little ache in my heart that my kids do not have an old farm to grow up on, but I remind myself that they are getting to experience other things I never was able to as a child, now that we are living in the Pacific Northwest (more on that later).
So. Let me wrap this up by saying:
If you are waiting for things to get easier, stop. It’s not going to, at least not for many years. Why wait? If you have a fire in your belly about something, anything, just start where you are. I’m saying this to myself over and over again. Let’s share in the struggle, through the struggle.
P.S. I am beyond thrilled to share that I will be attending the Wild & Free homeschooling conference in Portland, Oregon in May!! I am still pinching myself and cannot wait to meet other homeschooling moms that I’ve “met” through wild & free and Charlotte Mason Living homeschooling communities on Instagram. Get your tickets now, because it’s going to sell out super fast. Let the anticipation begin!