I've said that before, haven't I? I've tried to close the shutters on this space several times, albeit never very successfully.
At any rate, you've probably noticed it's been pretty quiet here for awhile now. This past year was a bit of a rough one in our homeschool. Don't get me wrong – it was successful in many ways. We finished 36 AO weeks and did choir and piano and swimming and church activities and some fun field trips and a little co-op with friends. I got to go to a Charlotte Mason conference up in the DC area and a couple of local Circe Institute events. I made an attempt at starting a Charlotte Mason support group in my local area. My children have grown as people in some delightful ways.
But this Mama has been tired this past year. We've been at this homeschooling gig pretty intentionally for more than six years now, with some preschool work thrown in even before that. Assuming I see my youngest all the way through to high school graduation, we have another 11 years to go. This is a long-haul proposition y'all, and I'm smack dab in the middle of it. Far enough in that the newbie idealism has pretty well worn off, long enough still to go that the end is not yet in sight. I came dangerously close to burning out last year. And I spent some time this summer considering the reasons why that is and what I can do to remedy it.
I finally realized what the problem was: I had become a "homeschooler" rather than a "person who homeschools". (Thanks to whoever-it-was over on Facebook that put these words to what I was already thinking.) Nearly all of my time, thought, and identity was wrapped up in homeschooling my children and things related – reading educational books and books that we would someday be reading for school, spending time with homeschooling activities and groups, going to homeschooling conferences and events, listening to homeschooling podcasts and reading homeschooling blogs and yes…even writing one myself. I had lost track of the person I am in my own right. I needed to find her again.
Now fear not – I didn't give in to the temptation of the Big Yellow Bus (although true confession: some days that's because it comes through my neighborhood at 6:30 in the morning and I cannot imagine having my crew up and moving and out the door that early every.single.morning. Ahem.) We are still homeschooling, which does mean a fair amount of my time is still wrapped up in homeschooling related tasks and activities. I am still a moderator at the AmblesideOnline forums and attend some (but not all) local homeschooling events. But I have also expanded my horizons. I am reading and listening more widely - things that I really *want* to read and hear and know rather than what I feel I *should*. I'm very involved with various church activities, and recently started singing with the worship team – a side of myself that has lain dormant for years and years. And I'm writing again. Apparently I can't NOT write.
But I'm not writing about homeschooling.
And that's why I'm closing the shutters on this space. But this isn't the end my friends! While this space is closing down (archives will remain here for reference), I have spent some time over the past few months setting up a new space over at Faithfully Ordinary. My hope is to write out of the overflow of what I am reading, thinking, and learning and explore how those things intersect with ordinary life – whatever your ordinary might be, homeschooling mama or not. I want to write the things that I want to read – the things that will encourage me or challenge me and send me back to my daily life refreshed and renewed.
And I would love for you to join me!