with needle & thREAD

needle and thREAD



In the sewing world, we're still kind of crazy about headbands. I told Katie that I'm fairly certain that every female who has come through our door this week has left with a headband. And all my girls have at least two each. The headbands have inspired me to clean out my scrap basket. I had saved pretty much every scrap since I started sewing a couple years ago. Now, the only pieces in the box are pieces large enough to use for a headband or some other such project. I recognize that my days of piecing quilts from tiny scraps are too many years away to justify the mess those scraps make in my scrap basket.


Speaking of the tidying baskets, not much reading is happening here these days. I have been cleaning and organizing like crazy this week and listening instead of reading. Several of you asked for links to good listening. Lately, I've been listening to Andrew Pudewa:

Nature Deficit Disorder

Teaching Boys & Other Children Who Would Rather Make Forts All Day

The Four Language Arts

Nurturing Competent Communicators

Fairytales and the Moral Imagination

I admit to crying not far into that last one. I'm a big fan of fairytales. Suggesting them to homeschoolers has not always been a happily-ever-after experience for me. It was nice to be among friends.

All of these talks have been excellent. I don't think I've learned anything new, philosophically speaking. I'm not going to drastically change the way we do things around here. Instead, there has been a sense of kinship. Here are folks who speak my language (far better than I speak it). These methods work. They do. And they are sound and they are faithful. 

I pulled out my copy of Tending the Heart of Virtue to re-read. Amazon tells me I purchased it in 2008. I remember buying it at the recommendation of Katherine, shortly after the first online firestorm of protestations against the way I was educating my children. After the second firestorm, three years ago, I stepped away from homeschool groups--both online and any place else. It's hard enough to raise a family that is in the world but not of the world of the secular culture. Why heap onto that feeling like a pariah in homeschool circles, too? There's no upside. Homeschoolers have so many hot buttons; seems pretty easy to set off an alarm every other day.

I'm not interested in dissent. 

But here's the curious thing. After three years away from all those "support" groups, I have a deeply rooted sense of confidence in what is happening in my home. It doesn't come from someone else's affirmation--not even Andrew Pudewa's affirmation. It comes from looking back on how I've spent the last 25 years and knowing that I gave my best to God. I made mistakes every single day. I still make mistakes every single day. But I sought His will and I answered His call as best I could.

One of my favorite phrases when sharing with other homeschooling moms is "In our family..." It's the ultimate caveat perhaps. This is what works in our family, with our children, and our husband and father. Your mileage my a vary. God may have put you in another vehicle altogether.

I love to talk with young moms about home education. I love to share what I've learned along the way and I love to hear the enthusiasm and utter joy in their voices. Young moms have an idealism that reminds me of newly wed idealism. You know, when you look back and wonder at the miracle of how you dared to marry someone and make a whole new family? How did you get so brave? You need that same courage and idealism to embark upon home education. I love to watch and listen to it. It is such a gift.

Two of my dearest, closest, and most forever friends aren't going to homeschool in the coming year. These were my two phone calls or visits for the quick "I hardly have to say it and she already gets it." Women who have held my hand--literally--in some of the scariest places I've ever been. Last night had me wondering at the aloneness of it all. Endeavoring to educate one's children in your own home, taking on that entire challenge for nine kids over twelve years each? That's a formidable task.

We all need kindhearted, holy support. Let's be that to one another. 

What are you sewing, reading. Heck, what are you cleaning and organizing? How are you preparing for the next season? What makes you happy? About what are you excited? It's a free-for-all. Just talk.