Aspiring to a Charlotte Mason education can be, at times, a heavy load in your heart and mind. It should not be the case, but it is. She reiterates that, to the children, the best only, and she opens a broad world to you that, once you have glanced at it, you can't take away your eyes from.
Homeschooling is hard to me. Doing it the Charlotte Mason way adds to the difficulty.
Why is it so hard? Why do I make it hard?
Because there is a lack of heritage in my life that I am trying to construct at the same time I am trying to pass it on to my girls.
Many little things that I am sure you do not perceive. Because you may not know how I was raised up. But don't worry, I have already written the post in my mind and it has a happy ending.
My lack of heritage:
I can get carried away and make this list seriously and uselessly long. That's silly, because I love my parents. I don't need to trash them publicly either. They have meant so much for me, even in the midst of problems. I was not an ideal child either, though they'd tell you I was and I still am :)
- I never had a parent who read anything to me.
- I never had a mom who cooked with me or did any craft or project with me.
- My mom never arranged anything for my friends and my siblings or me.
- I was never sang songs, or told stories as I grew up.
- My parents are not christians, they did not read the Scritpures, or pray, or took me to services, or showed any desire to be Christ like.
- We were not taken to hikes or outdoors apart from going to my uncle's country house, days that I remember and cherish enormously.
- We had no family tradition whatsoever.
- My childhood was not a happy one. I finally have come to an understanding of this.
- I never slept or napped with my parents, or hugged nor kissed much.
- We never ate dinner or lunch as a family.
- Our vacation and get together with friends were always a potential source of embarrassment.
- My mother was absent from my teen and early adulthood years because of a personal decision.
- My parents never played any instrument, or valued music, or engaged us or themselves in any activity such as visiting a museum, enjoying different places, having a pacific conversation, etc.
- My family does not understand what homeschooling is. They do not oppose it or find any problem at all with the girls. They think I can do this because I am a former public school teacher. Sigh.
With time, things in my family have gotten better. My parents tolerate each other now. My siblings, a sister and a brother, though not very close to me, they are good daughter and son, they are there for my parents, and for me. They both adore my girls. They are good people. I truly wish I had grown up closer to them. I also live miles and miles away from all of them. That is not easy. Not only the fact I'm so far from my parents and family, but the fact that, even if I lived close to them, I'd still be miles and miles away from who they are.
However, my mom almost died two weeks ago, and it is not a pleasant feeling. We talk on the phone and it is nice. I tell her about my life, the things we do, and she is happy because we are a happy family. My suffering is her repressed suffering, not being able to see my two little fairies.
This is why homeschooling for me is hard. This is why homeschooling the Charlotte Mason way is such a challenge.
But, flip the coin and you see me so blessed, and enjoying life with all my heart. We are not lost at developing and nurturing that Heritage in our family.
- We speak two beautiful languages in my home. I'm grateful for it. The girls enjoy this much.
- We are christians, and the girls love their Creator and His Word, even more than we. They already know the difference between living a christian life, and paying lip service.
- They know prayer, understand gratitude, enjoy fellowship.
- They are growing with a mom who reads to them lots, and a dad who works with them in the garden, plays with them, is involved. Always.
- We hug and kiss TONS.
- We have family traditions. For example, we always do the shopping together, every Friday.
- We go camping together. They have pictures of special moments, videos, letters...
- I am always doing something with the girls and their friends.
- I not only homeschool them, but I do it inspired by CHARLOTTE MASON. And this is wonderful! (If I let go of the feelings of impotence and frustration for the lack of heritage I have, and focus on the blessings and the privilege that it is to enjoy a Charlotte Mason education, not only them, but all of us as a family.)
Today I know I am burnt out. I keep saying and thinking I need a period of rest, for the mind and body, but I insist in clinging to the buzz and noise, trying to find the inspiration outside instead of within. I will get there, I know what to do.
But I also have much HOPE. Once this period of feeling internally exhausted passes, of trying to save face instead of enjoying the waves of life, I know I will come back to the rest that Christ gives to the weary, and be once more inspired and maybe inspire others in return.