Friends, I’m always filled with such joy at seeing other families take delight in educating their children at home. I’ve shared with you about my own journey to homeschool, how we’ve become a family that reads, and my own homeschooling journey with Charlotte Mason and A Delectable Education.
Today, I wanted to share with you the journey of a young mother who just started homeschooling her children at home. I was brought to tears when she shared this talk at a local Charlotte Mason workshop I attended. It brought me to tears because I resonated with her words so deeply. I know once you read what she has to share, you’ll feel the same way too.
It’s this life in learning together with our children that make this journey so worth it, so delightful! Here’s my new Charlotte Mason local friend, Julie.
One Mom’s Journey to Delightful Living
If I could sum up my last year in one word, it would be delightful.
I have 4 young children so that word may sound a little funny, and it does to me too at times, but even amongst the fullness of my days with my littles, my life has been filled with beauty and delight.
Homeschooling wasn’t ever on my radar when I got married or carrying our first child, however, we were around many families who homeschooled and we watched interactions between each family and were drawn to home educating.
At the beginning, I thought I could never “teach” my children. Teachers along with doctors and pastors are the experts, right? I only knew that WWI was before WWII since they were numbered – no joke. I don’t remember ever sitting down and reading a book on my own for school work or pleasure, but somehow I made it through.
My husband encouraged me to take some time before we started schooling our kids to visit with other mom’s and observe them teach their children. This was one of the best things I ever did on this journey.
One piece of advice that a friend had told me was, “You aren’t bringing the classroom home.” I had no idea what that meant before but by watching others in their homes I began to see what that looked like in practice. This new idea had broken down what I had thought of “school” or “education.” Every family looked different and there was a family culture to each home, they had each made it their own. I didn’t see a “teacher” up in front of “students” at a blackboard and kids behind desks.
I saw life.
I fell in love with the idea of home education and my walls were instantly broken down of what “school” should look like.
So now, I figured I just needed to stay a little bit ahead of my kids, right? To know things before they do so I can teach them well, or so I thought.
I’d gone to multiple homeschool conferences, read blogs and books, and researched online. A friend then invited me to the local Charlotte Mason group. I showed up, listened to ideas and thoughts I’d never heard before discussed. I left quite quickly afterward. I was overwhelmed by the new words and ideas. Narration? What is a commonplace? I felt like I was drinking from a firehose and needed some time to process these new ideas swimming in my mind.
I had been listening to podcasts lately and decided to type in Charlotte Mason in my podcast search on my phone. Only one came up that looked appealing; A Delectable Education. I started listening and couldn’t get enough. I was trying to put these ideas together and understand them as a whole.
My thoughts from feeling I could never teach, to needing to be ahead of my kids, now changed to, I get to learn right alongside them. I get to be the student too, we will learn next to each other as the Holy Spirit is our guide.
Oh, the freedom I experienced. This is when the journey became delightful.
Through trying to capture this whole Charlotte Mason way of learning, I printed off booklists galore and was trying to figure out which curriculum to use. Is one better than another? Which one would work well for our family? After further reading and some understanding, I needed to get a better grip on the philosophy and principles instead of just diving into curriculum and material.
In fact, I realized curriculum never really came up in our monthly get-together meetings.
My days were being filled with life, awe, and delight. I started slowing down (for moments) to watch the colorful birds, see the first buds on trees opening, and see beauty through the use of eloquent language and well-ordered words. Our family has counted 13 different types of birds in our backyard this spring, and we live in the city. My eyes have been opened to God’s creativity and unique designs. The more I’ve observed and started learning, the more I’m humbled by all I don’t know and blessed by everything that was created for our enjoyment and God’s glory.
I went to a CM conference in Peoria, Illinois last fall. Upon arriving back home, I told my husband, “I couldn’t sleep well, Rob. The bed was comfortable, it was quiet, but I had all these living ideas floating in my head and was trying to process them.” The lightbulb went on and I saw myself getting to be the student in this life-giving way of learning. These women were deep and I loved the conversations we had, and continue to have.
About a year ago at one of our monthly meetings, I observed a mom of eight (ages 15 on down) asking another younger mom questions. There wasn’t a feeling of superiority or belief that she knew all about homeschooling or this method, but instead, she was still learning and respected and valued other’s thoughts. I saw the principles played out in action and it inspired me.
For me, I’ve given myself a lot of grace to not do it all this last year. I’ve had a one and two-year-old, so that has kind of forced me to and I’m thankful that it did. I’ve created more of a rhythm than schedule. There is a flow to our day and it has worked great for us. We add something new into our rhythm after I listen to an episode of A Delectable Education podcast or observe some of these women who are up here today in their homes and co-ops.
There is a desire to instill a love of learning in my children and I want that to be throughout the day. We do a few things at breakfast when everyone is sitting at the island, a few more during our morning time together (while my one-year-old has some quiet time in her bed with some toys), and then a couple subjects in the afternoon when my littles are napping. Throughout the day a child will run to the window and cry out, “Mommy, come quick, there’s a cardinal!” And I now excitedly run. Or, “Mommy, I see a robin on the deck!” I get as excited as them, or maybe vice-versa.
Before this way of life, I didn’t know what I was missing. After hearing about Charlotte Mason, I had desired to set a broad and generous feast of ideas and beauty before my children, but I never knew how much I needed it. I didn’t know the scoops of nature study, bites of poetry, or servings of music that I needed for my soul.
In quoting Mason, “education is a life.” I’ve experienced that life and it has been abundant.
Julie has been a wife of one studly man for twelve years and mom of four kiddos, ages six on down. She enjoys walking outside, morning time, and sweet conversations with friends, along with trying to maintain order amongst the fullness of her days.
I hope you enjoyed Julie’s words as much as I did.
A Charlotte Mason Homeschool Planner
I just wanted to remind you that my new Charlotte Mason homeschool planner is ready for download. Stop on by my brand new Etsy shop by clicking here to download yours today!