I am a Charlotte-Mason-educating single mother of 5 who reads Robert Frost and C.S. Lewis continually to her children.
Because my home is full of children, it is full of…..
~ nursery rhymes and fairy tales
~ nature walks and pinecones
~ leaves we know the names of
~ field guides of birds we know the calls of
~ picture books and dress up
~ music to sing and dance to
~ beautiful artwork
~ nature journals
~ imaginations full of stories
~ grand conversations
~ and books
~ and books
~ and trauma
(which brings me here)
I have found myself back in my home county, the land and hills that made me, the love of my little life, remembering the girl who grew intimate with nature and family and stories and beauty - who took her little book she wrote about flowers to the young author’s conference and sat wide-eyed as Cynthia Rylant read When I Was Young in the Mountains, and I wanted to be her, until I wanted to be Madeleine L’Engle after reading Wrinkle in Time and A Wind in the Door, until I wanted to be my hometown hero, naturalist and painter, Charles Burchfield.
I wanted to paint and write for the rest of my life, and walk under trees, and pursue art therapy, so I left Appalachia for Cornell and ended up chucking my genetics lab for Chaucer. I continued to love science and history and the magic of childhood and the beauty that was Ithaca while I sat under Toni Morrison and wanted to be her and Flannery O’Conner and Faulkner, and the waterfalls. Every person needs a creek, a river, a pond, or the sea.
And resurrected dreams.
And memories and clinging things...
nature + nurture
Sometimes life doesn't turn out the way you expected it to be. It isn't a constant. Study nature and you'll see the only constant is change. But the rhythm and expectation of it can become a comfort and a help. Life is labor. There are times of rest and mercy inbetween the contractions of life. But it's purposeful. And unfinished isn't always failure, and endings can be new beginnings. Motherhood is a constant closing of chapters and seasons and a starting of new ones. It requires grieving and courage. Those go together.
The closest I’ve ever come to anything I ever wanted to be was motherhood and homeschooling. I am an advocate (of children and mothers and the love of learning) healing alongside my children, adjusting to changes, salvaging all that was good and beautiful, all that I have learned in my schooling and parenting and life, bringing them here to begin again. This is all that I know and all that I love and all that I am. It’s a lifestyle of love and intention and the right sort of books, and a continual attention and connection to the world around you and within you.
“Mothers work wonders once they are convinced that wonders are demanded of them.” Charlotte Mason
I am hoping this business, which is the outworking of my own childhood and that of my children, and the necessity for a new kind of work, will provide for us in a new way so that I can remain present for my kids, and provide for you the way reading and exploring have provided for us.
We made it. We just kept reading and we just kept doing what we knew how to do, and it kept us. And you can make it too. I’ll show you. No matter where you are or where you are going. As Robert Frost says, You come too...