It was autumn of 2008. I had done two amazing things (if I do say so myself): I’d brought a brand new human into the world, and I’d started AmblesideOnline Year 1 with my oldest child. I wasn’t feeling so amazing, though. There were the external issues: learning to homeschool while juggling two toddlers and a newborn, plus the overwhelming fatigue caused by losing half my blood supply during delivery. More importantly, there was the internal issue: I was lonely.
In 2008, it wasn’t nearly as cool to homeschool as it is now. People raised eyebrows at us, yes they did. But more than that, even when I met other homeschooling moms, they were completely different from us. They were doing public-school-in-a-box through a local public charter school, and I felt like what I did all day mystified them as much as it did everybody else.
I remember that I prayed for just one friend. Just one friend, Lord, I groaned on a regular basis.
The Lord answered that prayer, and continues to answer it, with such beauty that when I really think about it, I am astonished.
It started when He brought me one friend. She was ready to leave her public school checklist behind and try her hand at something different. We started chatting about Charlotte Mason, and she took to the philosophy like a fish to water. Another friend started asking us some questions, and so we offered to read through a Charlotte Mason volume with her. A couple months later, an older friend called me and asked if her daughter-in-law could join our reading group. (We have jokingly referred to this as the time her mother-in-law arranged for us to have a play date!) And finally, my original one friend, the first of many answers to my prayers, invited an acquaintance.
And thus began our group of five.
There are many things I could say, many details I could give, but I think the most important thing is that this group has been my lifeblood over the years.
They encouraged me (and took my mind off my troubles) when my husband almost died. They’ve caused me to read when I would have given it up. They’ve kept me thinking when I wanted to be lazy. They’ve gotten me out of the house when I would have stayed in. The list goes on.
Every study guide you find here in the shop, every encouragement I’ve ever given you to find a group, make a group, read together, build a community — it’s all born out of what my group has meant to me.
It’s been almost ten years, and my group has changed. Out of those original five members, you know who is left? Only me. And that’s okay (even though I mourned each time someone told me she was moving away) because the Lord has faithfully brought in new people. We’ve been as large as 35, as small as 5, and the camaraderie has always been fantastic.
As you know, Dawn Duran also has a heart for Charlotte Mason groups. Hers are fancier than mine (which, when I think about it, is emblematic of the difference between Maryland and California), but both of our communities have been a blessing to us and to their members.
She and I have both tried things and failed. We’ve pushed our limits and had to pull back. It’s been a journey, but we’ve never loved Charlotte Mason communities as much as we do now.
And that’s why we designed something I’m so excited about! It’s a one-day event called Growing Vibrant Charlotte Mason Communities!
This is a three-session online event for all of you. Whether you’re a leader or member of an existing local group, or you’re still a dreamer with a prayer request who needs to make a plan, this will give you the inspiration and encouragement you need.
The first session is called The Seed: A Vibrant Charlotte Mason Study Group. It’s as you’d expect: all about building and nurturing core groups like the one I described above. The second session is The Branches: Vibrant CM Community Activities. This is where you’ll get all the amazing details on extending your core groups into other areas like Shakespeare clubs, co-ops, and more. The final wrap-up session is Adding Mulch: Q&A Session. This is where we’ll address many of the questions and concerns that come up throughout the sessions — we’ll keep track of them as they pop up in the chat box!
Both sessions also come with printable PDF guidebooks to lead you through the processes and procedures we’ll discuss in the sessions. These are designed to help you put the lessons into action right away!
We cannot wait to meet with you on Saturday, July 28th at 8:00 am PDT and start nurturing your Charlotte Mason community.
Are you ready to sign up? Click here!