I think that in His gracious Providence God made spring to follow winter--a beautiful, magnanimous gift. This year, winter came late and lingered. Perhaps that's why I'm hearing so much about burnout. In our discussion of ways to prevent and cure burnout, much must be said of the cure provided by the Divine Doctor: nature.
I'm talking about nature study, in the traditional Charlotte Mason sense, but I'm also talking about Mountain Days and even entire semesters devoted to being outdoors and restoring one's soul. To cure burnout--better yet, to prevent burnout--it's time to go outside.
Every spring for the last six years, my family has hiked about half a mile in on a muddy trail to the banks of Cub Run. There, we are treated to the splendor of Virginia Bluebells. This year, just as the blooms were promising us our winter reprieve, we had fierce, biting cold. I fretted over those precious wildflowers. I think , really, that I was worried I'd forever be stuck in the winter routine. Without the bluebells, could we break free of the boring and embrace again the joy of real learning? I didn't want to take the chance. On Friday, we pulled on our winter coats and went to see if there was any chance that it would indeed be spring this year.
When we arrived, I thought for a moment or two that we would not be warm enough, but as we made our way down the trail, we all warmed--to the idea of being in this very special place, to the idea that no matter how dreary the winter had become, it would indeed be spring again. And as our heartbeats naturally quickened, our pace picked up as well. There were the fairy spuds, dainty and white flowers that herald the arrival of the more glorious bluebells. They always make me think of Lissa, because they beg to be in one of her novels, if only because of their name.
When we approached the long planked walk that is the well-known end of the trail, Stephen could barely contain himself. He broke into an all-out run.
"They're here! They did bloom! They ARE here!" Indeed they were. In all their splendor. God's Easter gift to one tired mom who was ever so glad to know that school is not a place. It's not even a place in my house. No, "homeschool" doesn't cover it at all. "Home education" doesn't even cover it. What we're doing here is throwing open our arms to all of God's glorious goodness and sharing in it--day in and day out--with our children. It's all good. I count it all joy!