When I stopped blogging last summer, I really did think it would only be for a few weeks. But one thing followed another: my mom came to visit, I taught art during a three week co-op session in August, my Grandfather died and I ended up making a whirlwind trip back to the USA to be with family for his memorial service in September. I'm only just now feeling like life has settled into something that resembles normal again.
All that extra time away gave me a lot of time to think, though. To think about why I blog in the first place and what I really want to be writing about. I've never had any aspirations to be a professional blogger, and yet I found myself falling into a comparison trap with those who are. I was trying to 'produce content' three times a week and keep up with writing series' that I started. This sucked a lot of joy and creativity out of my writing, and my reading too since I felt like I needed to keep up with the series I started. (Sorry if you were hoping for more in the School Education series…). It also was causing me to take time away from my local, real-life relationships. I was spending my free moments hiding behind my computer screen trying to meet my crazy, self-imposed deadlines rather than engaging with my children, my husband, and my neighbors. I tend towards being an introverted hermit already, and trying to keep up with the pros was driving that to an unhealthy extreme.
Somewhere in the middle of all that, Cindy Rollins closed down her wonderful blog, Ordo Amoris. (I'd link to it, but it's no longer there, sniff, sniff.) While there are many other wonderful Charlotte Mason and Classical Education blogs that I like to follow for encouragement and inspiration, Cindy's was different. In the weeks that followed her blog's closure, I thought a lot about why it felt like there was such a gap in my online world, despite all the other wonderful sources of inspiration out there. I think the reason why is that Cindy was such a voice of experience. I mean, she has homeschooled her children from day one, and 7 out of 9 of them have graduated and are now making their way in the world. Her oldest is nearly as old as I am. That's a lot of years to gain wisdom and experience, and yet she shared that wisdom and experience with a voice of humility and a sense of "I'm in this with you". It struck me that I'm no Cindy Rollins, and I have a long way to go before I will even begin to approach the degree of wisdom and experience that she shared so humbly. When I started this blog, I felt like I had something to offer the homeschooling community. Never mind that my oldest was only in first grade and my younger two were still babies and I had yet to read anything Charlotte Mason had actually written. I thought that the fact that I had a BA in education and a few years teaching experience in a classroom somehow exempted me from having to learn this stuff in the trenches. I was cocky and prideful. Please forgive me for that.
I recognize now that the only thing I really know is how much I still don't know. The more I read and learn and walk this path of life, the more I realize that. These past few years have brought me to the end of myself in many ways. It is only as I recognize this and embrace it that I can, with God's help, start to rebuild on a stronger foundation. Charlotte Mason and Classical Education have been hugely instrumental in this endeavor. I never dreamed that homeschooling my children would be such an education for myself – my whole self: body, mind and soul - too.
I came very close to walking away from this blog completely. And yet something keeps drawing me back. If nothing else, it is a useful place to track the books that I'm reading. J And it is my place for thinking out loud, and an avenue for connecting in some small way with others who may be travelling a similar journey. With that in mind, here are a few commitments I am making as I take up my
pen keyboard and start writing typing again. Hold me to these, folks.
- I will write when I'm inspired. When I read something particularly striking, I'll write about it. When we have a particularly wonderful nature study discovery, I'll post about it. When we have a school moment that is particularly joyful or interesting or serendipitous, I'll write about it. I will not try to hold myself to a series or posting schedule just for the sake of keeping up with other bloggers. This might mean that sometimes I will write a lot, and other times I will write very little. I will learn to be okay with that.
- I will write in my 'margins'. If I haven't yet connected with my kids or my husband or my neighbors that day, I will close the lid to my laptop and leave the post for another time, no matter how inspired I might be at that moment. My local, real life relationships come first.
- I will write from a place of humility. Please know, friends, that I am right down in the trenches with you. I don't have it all figured out. If I have anything to offer you, it is because of God's grace and the wisdom and experience of those who have come before me.
I am reading Karen Glass' brand new book Consider This – which is fantastic by the way. Do go snag yourself a copy if you haven't yet. I'll close with her words:
"We remain in that state of teachableness just so long as we are able to remember that there are 'more things' that we do not yet know. We must understand and never forget, like Socrates of long ago, that wisdom begins with the knowledge of our own ignorance. The journey to wisdom is the journey of a lifetime, unlike a trip to Rome. If we want to learn and grow – and if we want our pupils to learn and grow outside the schoolroom and beyond the years of formal schooling – we must all come to recognize humbly that the goal is yet before us and there will always be much to learn."
Come. Journey with me.