An Introduction 1.0: Who Am I?

I've been throwing around the idea of an introduction post for several weeks now, hoping to break the wall in front of me, or at least chip it. Maybe warm the waters by helping you to understand who is the Great Oz behind the curtain?

Maybe you don't know, but since starting this project I have been met with some pretty nasty accusations from quite a few Charlotte Mason group admins on Facebook. Saying that my questions and conversation starting was fishing and mining for information from their members and somehow violating their privacy because I have a blog and any information I learn (about Charlotte Mason and implementing her philosophies, never personal or private information) generally ends up as a post. Not because that is somehow an ulterior motive, but because I am a sharer and my entire point of starting this, the dream behind it, was to create a massive all encompassing warm community where we grow, learn, and share our journeys and knowledge so we can sharpen each other's minds with the great ideas we discover. First and foremost I am a mother of 4 that is homeschooling and attempting to do it in the most authentic way according to CM's philosophies, but I need help and I'm not afraid to admit it. Also, if I'm asking others to share their journeys, don't I first have to share mine? Somehow in this journey I'm on I have managed to personally offend Admin's in the Facebook Charlotte Mason "community". And I put that word in parentheses because that's exactly how it has felt to me personally. I'm often told that I can "search" the group, but my questions are basically unwelcome and flagged, so not the most gracious and friendly feeling coming across to me on my end. Also confusing considering how many of those groups are conversationally stagnant; i.e. "not much going on in there". And more than slightly illogical to me because I thought that was the point of the groups? To ask questions, have conversations, and gain knowledge? But maybe only if you intend to just keep it all to yourself.

Me, age unknown, 30 something.

Hello! My name is Julie, I don't know how old I am exactly unless I do the math at this point and I don't want to because #mombrain and it's 1:12 AM at this point. So, I'll just say I'm in my mid- 30's. I am a mother of 4 sweet and ornery children, 11 - 1 years of age. I have been homeschooling my oldest son since he was 6, so 5 years. My second oldest, first daughter, just started full-time last year at the age of 7. And then there is the 4 & 1 year old, who are learning by leaps and bounds by simply listening and watching and playing wildly in the background lol. 

We've always done a "sort of" Charlotte Mason homeschool simply because I loved the lay out and feel of it and heard it was a "good style" to use. So, for the first couple years we did My Father's World. I loved it, but my son deals with some pretty hefty challenges as far as focusing (ADHD & SPD) and the rigid schedules and massive work load just was not meshing with my ideals of how lovely school was supposed to be. Plus, I was lost in the Teacher's Manual and there was so much flipping back and forth between stacks of books I felt like I was never prepared enough. There was yelling and a lot of crying and frustration. At first we didn't know it was ADHD, I just felt like I was failing because I had no idea what I was doing. It took a few years of force feeding him school to figure out that it wasn't that he was lazy or dumb, but that he couldn't learn like this. And I began searching wildly for a different way. What was I missing?

Ryley, 11

I was missing a lot of things. Probably the biggest hole not being filled was grace, for him and myself. School didn't have to look like what I pictured, in fact he learned so much more efficiently when I let him alone to dig for himself. 

And then I found the authentic version of Charlotte Mason through groups like Ambleside Online where conversations were had and I caught the inspiration from other Mom's who had gone through similar things as me and the sheer admiration in the tone of their posts when they spoke of Charlotte made me hungry to search for myself. And the more I read her writings the more I am inspired and I have never been disappointed. Any time I have invested into learning her philosophies has given me ten fold in return. I have learned through her that education is not simply "school", but a lifestyle. And so when I dive in, it's to change the way I parent, the way I adult, the way I look at myself as a child of God and the way I look at the responsibility He has given to me to give my children a living education.

I live in rural Missouri. There is a homeschooling community here, but we all live pretty stretched out and I have yet to meet another Charlotte Mason homeschooler in my area. Finding face to face community continues to be the biggest challenge. And at this point in motherhood I don't know that I'm fit to have face to face conversations anymore. I'm used to the loneliness. I'm used to trying to figure things out myself and learning things the hard way. I'm used to not having anyone to talk to. 

 I'm from Kaneohe, Hawaii. My parents moved me here when I was 16 and because I was homeschooled I did not acclimate well because my entire culture, family, & friends were stripped from me simultaneously. And being homeschooled I had no way of building that community that I lost there, here. I've spent the last two decades of my life trying to find that community and I come up empty time and time again. It is the single most devastating set back in my life because of how I learn best. I'm a conversationalist, I need to talk to like minded individuals and I need to ponder and ask questions and get that feedback, the bouncing off of each other of ideas to learn the most efficiently. That's hard to do without community. Have you felt like this too? 

Rhys, Blythe & Me

I'm a creative person. From the time I was 6 I have played piano, composed musical pieces, & performed vocally in front of many audiences small and large. I love to draw, to read, to journal (or blog), I love writing of all kinds from songs to poetry to maybe someday curriculum, I love nature & being in it, I love music (classical to very select pieces of rap, lol), I love Jesus, I love my 4 children on earth (and 1 in heaven), and I love my ever supportive husband. 

Brennan, 7

I'm an INTJ personality type, so my favorite thing to do is to compile information and then organize it so that in it's simplicity it can function in the most efficient manner. I also believe wholeheartedly in logic. I'm open, probably more open than would make most people comfortable with. But I do care what other people think of me and it does hurt my feelings when I am rejected, or accused of being something I am not. 

Blythe, 1

What I share here on Ambleside Wonderland, Wild Child Zoology, Capturing Wonderland, or Everyday Charlotte (all my own blogs/etc.) is all me. There is no corporation behind me, no ulterior motives, I give everything freely because much has been given to me. I expect nothing in return from anyone except maybe to treat me with the same basic respect I try to give to every living being. And also perhaps, the benefit of a doubt. 

Rhys, 4

Here are a few last questions I have and where I will end this very short beginning biography post, it will not be my last because I feel like we can all only gain when we know each other a little bit better.

Why is asking questions wrong? 

Are not all of us homeschool moms asking questions to gain information? 

What is so wrong about me wanting to gain information so that I can share it with others? 

Even if my only motive was to ask questions and write a blog post, who is that hurting? 

I'm not attempting to plagiarize or mold it to suit some other twisted ideal. My motivation is helping other women, men, educators out there like me. Lonely, desperate to find the best way to educate their children, and needing an open community where there is freedom to have deep and meaningful conversations where everyone comes away with something without fear of being scolded, talked down to, reprimanded by "leaders", or accused of things. 

It is not my intent to spread "drama", only awareness. I have had so many conversations with other Mothers frustrated in the same way I am with the groups and the lack of conversation, community, & openness. But yet in the same breath since starting this particular blog/website I have had so many great conversations with other creative homeschooling moms here and across the world excited to collaborate and have conversations. And I'm so blessed to continue on towards whatever God would lead me to in this project. 

I hope that a few people will read this and feel like they know me and my heart better. 

God Bless,


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