This post has been a few weeks in coming…started brewing when the unimaginable tragedy hit a few Fridays ago. I was already having a “bad” day when that news came over the car radio as I was driving to the parking lot at the walking trail with the Kona dog. I was supposed to be teaching an art class but just about everyone cancelled for some reason or another, pretty much at the last minute. I ended up cancelling the class and heading out to blow off some steam.
You see, I was upset with some of the moms in my homeschool group. I was frustrated with the homeschooling charter school programs they were in that deemed them “behind” so that they had to forgo coming to my art class in order to “catch up” on paperwork and assignments.
I was frustrated with the situation and realized that I had gone so far off that path that I could no longer understand why anyone would let some entity tell them that finishing math was more important than coming over to my house to play with tessellations. I was really looking forward to playing with shapes and colors with these kids and instead I was all by myself
Then the news hit about Newtown, CT. My walk turned from therapy for a frustrated mom to a walk full of tears and walking farther than I had in a long, long time. The fresh air cleared my head and I prayed in gratitude that I have been able to spend my adult life with my children learning alongside them in a way that makes sense to our family and with such joy, learning that brightened with allowing Charlotte Mason’s words to deeply penetrate our very way of life because our life was about learning, real learning.
In the weeks that have passed since the school shooting, I have had so many people say to me that I must be glad that I homeschooled. It is more than homeschooling that I am grateful for…so much more. It has been the quality of our life as a homeschooling family. It is the relationships, the bonds, the worshipping together every day, the prayers, the walks, the long conversations, the depth of our life is so much more than just schooling at home where it has been “safe”.
Our little community had our own school shooting a few years ago where the principal of the very elementary school where my older two children attended a few years was shoot dead by a disgruntled workmate in the middle of a very ordinary school day. It shook us up then and the Newtown, CT shooting brought up those memories as well. I drive by the garden dedicated to the principal just about every day…I notice it because it is on the corner of a very busy intersection but it seems to be a beautiful reminder to stop and slow down to notice the beauty we do have all around us each day and can miss if we aren’t careful.
Perhaps that is my “Favorite Charlotte Mason Moment”. Perhaps in the sadness surrounding the tragedy there was a prodding of my heart to realize that although I could not control the world or the crazy things in it, I could control how I react and respond to those that I come into contact with. Instead of being frustrated with the other moms in my homeschooling group who don’t have any real concept of how Charlotte Mason can influence their life, I can share with them the way to a better experience in homeschooling. There are so many possibilities that many of them don’t even know about yet. I can suggest great literature, offer to teach art appreciation, introduce them to composer study, take them on nature walks with me. I can show them our notebooks and artwork and be a mentor to whoever will listen. That is my moment, or maybe many moments strung together over the course of the next few years. Moments that can influence lifetimes….turning sadness and frustration into rejoicing.
So my Charlotte Mason moment will hopefully lead to some other moms having Charlotte Mason moments of their own and change our little part of the world a little at a time.
I am submitting this entry to the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival and if you have any entries you would like to submit, you can send them to this email address: [email protected].