Friday, June 1, 2012

Following A Little Way of Homeschooling......


      Turns out that my spiritual reading a few mornings ago was also a homeschooling book. I did not intend to pick it up that day, or even this week, or month. I just knew that I had a hot cup of tea, some sunshine, quiet time because everyone was still sleeping and an urgent need to improve my spiritual reading plan.





      It was just sitting in a little stack on my shelf of Catholic books;  I knew I needed to look through this book eventually. My dearest friend, and co-author of this blog, had a chapter in it. That was my only motivation. I could not bring myself to find more. I admit....it was almost a burden to have to read it.


      I have had this book in my possession at least since September, when Willa lent her extra copy to me, but it might be longer.  I cannot remember. I just never felt inspired to read it, until a few days ago, which also happened to be the Feast of Pentecost. I have homeschooled for over a decade, and have read so much that one more book on the topic of homeschooling felt like overload. In addition, with this last year feeling like one of my most dismal years of homeschooling yet, I certainly did not want to read about anyone else's successful experiences. Too depressing a thought.


     I am so tired and feeling sad about my lost year......when I went from unschooling by default (the phrase I use to describe our method of homeschooling) to nonschooling.....that I had no room for anything to inspire me. I cannot even begin to put out the energy needed to plan for next year.
It is actually mildy heartbreaking for me to read Willa's planning posts. I can't do that now (plan). And reading the comments from those who are inspired by her posts is a little distressing as well..... I want to be inspired. I just have no where to go right now with the inspiration.

      It could be knowing my fifth child will be starting with the independent study part of the local high school, so he can play the sports he thrives on so much and realizing I will not have much control over what  he is learning....... it certainly will not be literature-based (he is okay with this...it is my hang-up....and rightly so, I think :) )......but he will still be learning at home, with THEIR deadlines looming over our head. 


     So, guided by the Holy Ghost, I pick up the book, on His Great Feast Day. 


     In my natural reading style, I found myself following the advice of Mortimer J. Adler,  author of How to Read A Book: using the Second Level of Reading, known as Inspectional Reading.  I check out the front cover, back cover, contents, dedications.....and there, I see, not only one dear friend, but many dear friends. Somehow, I missed that so many of my in-real-life (or long-time Internet) acquaintances were co-authors. a very pleasant surprise indeed.


     I realized that the stories of these ladies would not be something foreign to me.  I have know almost all of them for at least ten years.  I have chatted with them.... on the computer, the phone, and some in real life.  I have shared their life journeys as well as their homeschool journeys. I have prayed for them, laughed with them, discussed with them.....cried with them.  When I read their words, I will know them.  I have been reading their words for a decade.  these people will be REAL, to me. I love that. It will be such a comfort.


     I realized, while reading the Foreward and Introduction of A Little Way of Homeschooling, that God most definitely had words within this book, just for me, at just this moment. How grateful I felt.


Maybe, just maybe......... And with sincere hope, I just might find in these pages the inspiration I need to move more cheerfully forward in our twentieth year of homeschooling.


This is not about homeschooling for me today, it is about hope.


Blessings,

                  Chari


PS  I will try to write various notes as I read through the book.  I will not be leading a fancy book discussion, but if anyone wants to follow along reading their own copy........I would like that.  Let me know if you are interested. I will not be reading it very fast.  I will try to write my thoughts with each reading. I would love to share with you.  Willa.......you, too!


8 comments:

  1. Oh Chari{{}} I've been in your spot, and it is a horrid place to be. Mine was after 10 years of hsing, burnout and mourning for the way it used to be, unhappy at being forced to have a new way of hsing. Maybe it is something about the decade periods. The best comment that was made to me was the teachers have long service after 10 yrs, a lightbulb went on and I was kinder to myself. I never did recover my earlier enthusiasm, we have a different new, still trying to make this new skin fit a bit. One day I'll process it all and write a blog post or two about it, and then about the period after. anyhow the way I figure your due a second long service leave (3 mths for every 10 years) Praying you'll find your new you.{{{}}}
    Did you go through this before after 10 years?

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    1. Erin, you are such a dear! Thank you for the hugs. I could really feel them all the way over here.

      This experience of emotions is different......but I have been through some hard emotional and low enthusiasm times with homeschooling....especially when "forced" to change my ways. This one is possibly more hormonal than others in the past, if you know what I mean :) Plus, the added burden of me working double what I have in the past.......due to my husband being layed off last year......

      We had no choice, but to find a new paradigm that worked.......for Willa and I, we have varying moments of that of which you speak, but the worst was in 2007: I had just made our cross-country trip and after spending six months of planning and taking the trip, I had done no planning for the next school year, I had two high schoolers and three littles, and one graduate. No longer could ALL of us do EVERYTHING together in our schooling. It has never been as good since. It has been an incredible blessing for Willa and I to have each other to talk through this.

      I was just thinking how nice that she and I can explore and label our feelings and search for the causes and then perhaps some fixes. It sure spares our husbands...I am sure! Men do not want to explore feelings like that!

      Thank you for the prayers, Erin. I so appreciate you!

      (not re-reading this...hope it makes sense!)

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  2. Dearest Chari - your post brought me to tears! In so many ways I relate to your feelings atm. The Holy Spirit is amazing. Today at Mass, the readings read were not those intended for the day - and boy, did they strike home. Courage, eyes on the important stuff, do not fear... Prayers for you.... I do know you pray for us!

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    1. I am sorry, Beate, to bring you to tears. It was unintentional. Willa said the post made her teary, too. I re-read it and I still don't see it as so sad..... I am sorry if you feel like me :)

      God always brings the right words......I love that about Him. :)

      I so appreciate, and covet your prayers. You are right, I DO pray for you and yours! A blessing and a privilege to do so!

      Thanks for reading here. I am glad there is still a place that we can interact.

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  3. Chari,
    I'm saying a prayer that St. Therese drops a bouquet of spiritual roses into your lap while you read . . . And may the Holy Spirit fill you to overflowing with His refreshing peace.

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    1. Thank you, Suzie, for the prayers. A definite perk, having the author of a book pray for you. ;)

      Blessings to you and yours

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  4. We are a not-for-profit educational organization, founded by Mortimer Adler and we have recently made an exciting discovery--three years after writing the wonderfully expanded third edition of How to Read a Book, Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren made a series of thirteen 14-minute videos--lively discussing the art of reading. The videos were produced by Encyclopaedia Britannica. For reasons unknown, sometime after their original publication, these videos were lost.

    Three hours with Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren, lively discussing the art of reading, on one DVD. A must for libraries and classroom teaching the art of reading.

    I cannot exaggerate how instructive these programs are--we are so sure that you will agree, if you are not completely satisfied, we will refund your donation.

    Please go here to see a clip and learn more:

    http://www.thegreatideas.org/HowToReadABook.htm

    ISBN: 978-1-61535-311-8

    Thank you,

    Max Weismann

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Mr. Weismann, for the link. It looks like a good deal. I love the book...with all of my kids and the extras I teach, this might be a good idea to purchase for them. I will keep it in mind.

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