Alan has been working on a science experiment as an assignment through his co-op (more about this later) and it made me think how fun it has been to personally experiment in the world of structure and creativity. During our Christmas break, I’ve picked up some wonderful resources that seem to scratch that creativity itch that occasionally taps on my shoulder. I’ve really enjoyed reading the biographies of some very artful ladies. Maybe you’ve heard of them?
- Morgan Day Cecil. If you have an opportunity to take one of her on-line classes, follow along on her YouTube channel, connect on Facebook or Instagram, DO IT! She is a wild feminine force and she gently leads us into wholeness.
- Julia Cameron at juliacameronlive.com wrote “The Artist’s Way”. I’m currently going through her online artist class. This class is something that I could recommend to any woman – let alone any woman who is homeschooling. There are daily, weekly and monthly exercises used to awaken your mind and soul. Fabulous. Life changing. (I mention some of the practices later in the post).
- Susan Branch at susanbranch.com along with her delicious list of book recommendations. She has inspired me to work on sketching, watercolor painting, and lettering.
- Lesley Austin writes on all things beautiful, simplicity, and quiet. I use her Wild Simplicity Daybook to journal what we have learned each day in our homeschooling journey. She is a place of calm retreat.
- Gladys Taber wrote monthly diaries about living in Cape Cod. She depicts a relaxed and fully engaging lifestyle that I would like to embody.
I know these are alot of links and with today’s internet noise it can feel overwhelming to be handed so many recommendations. But I have to say – these ladies are inspirational. I think the beauty of it is that you’ve come across your own inspirational resources. It is amazing that when we open ourselves up to growth and movement, the resources appear on our doorstep. I believe that is the same with our children and their interests. As you experiment and open your heart and mind to experiences that point you toward your Maker, you are bound to experience renewed hope and joy.
So, this year we embarked on a very “unlike me” type of journey. We signed up to participate in a classical co-op which is quite regimented in my perspective. Being a person who enjoys freedom to frolic about and not comment to any particular “system”, I have found that this co-op to be a surprisingly great experience for my oldest. He is 13. He loves friends. He likes a good challenge. And at this point in his life he enjoys a good debate. Although he is quiet, he will speak his mind when given the opportunity in public.
However, my very creative and free-flowing middle daughter has considered each Monday in this co-op a type of “torture that she wishes never to repeat again”. So we will close out this year as best we can. My expectation was simply to glean as much as we could from this experiment. I would probably have pulled her out at the end of this last semester but intense me signed up to be a tutor and I’m with it for the year.
I personally have really enjoyed the journey and find that having a group to meet with keeps me on my toes. The families there are lovely. Our tutor, Miss Beth, in Alan’s class of a little less than a dozen 8th graders, is a kindred spirit. She really makes the whole thing worth if for me. As much as a resist some of the premises of this type of co-op, I’ve learned so much and my daughter will admit she has as well. She recites all the little songs and factoids she has learned over the past 12 weeks. She has the opportunity to amass a little more knowledge in the next 12 weeks and will be counting the days until they are complete.
Our 2016-2017 homeschool experiment is at the half-way point. Will my son return next year? Probably if the same tutor continues to teach. Will my middle daughter? No. Will my youngest daughter? Probably not. But I have to say that the monthly small reimbursements for teaching have sparked a personal interest in continuing a side income-producing opportunity. I’ve been so excited to “take the family out” with the money that I have earned. I’ve never had to work so hard for money but it feels so invigorating.
We will see how my experiment with writing daily morning pages, weekly artist dates, and taking silent walks each week will open the door to more opportunities to teach and create. These exercises are recommended by Julia Cameron in her book, “The Artist’s Life”. I feel like the resources that I’ve recommended have given me a real boost of energy. Now I need to create boundaries around this new enthusiasm and really connect with my family and friends. I can get lost in the self-discovery journey and forget to enjoy the people and experiences in the present. How do you spark joy and continue focusing on your family?
(P.S. Started brewing my own Kambutcha. Thanks Samantha!)
(P.S.S. No academics over the last few weeks. Instead, we all slept a lot, poured ourselves into our passions, and laughed a lot.)