The weekend with our 54 Brave Mamas was amazing. It meant a great deal to me to see a long-held private vision of what a homeschool weekend event should be come to fruition. New friendships formed, shared ideas, time to rest and reflect, no dishes to clean up or restaurants to seek out, lectures combined with discussion and sharing in pairs and small groups, beautiful grounds, a lovely town adjacent… It seems we accomplished our mission—to train, inspire, reassure, and give rest to our intrepid homeschooling parents.
The most common question put to me as women left was, “Will you do this again next year? I want to bring…”
So naturally the googling for a larger retreat space started.
The biggest take away from the retreat for me: We parents are doing an incredibly courageous thing when we take on the 12 year educational task of one child, let alone 2, 4, or 7! We don’t know where we’re going when we start, we don’t know what it means to teach or understand developmental stages of growth, we have no yardsticks to measure our progress, or colleagues to meet with in the “teacher’s lounge.”
This solo act is done purely out of love. Home educators cling to a vision of what a lifestyle of learning could be, might be, ought to be! They spend their much-needed vacation time and money on better understanding how to do this task, rather than dipping their toes in turquoise blue water, sipping a pineapple daiquiri.
I’m moved by the audacity of the commitment, and the resolve of beleaguered, uncertain, hopeful parents (in this case—mothers!) who keep going, even when they are exhausted, in pain, or can’t see the fruit of all that investment.
I could see the fruit, though—the happy stories, the unrelenting care, the creative solutions, the trudging ahead, the adapting to teens and toddlers, the attempts to consider all options… This is what success looks like when you are still in the trenches.
It was an honor to share the weekend with these women.
Here’s a little collection of memories from the retreat. If you were there or weren’t, this will give you a visual over view. Thanks to our awesome videographer, Jim Sutter, and photographer, Dotty Christensen.
Cross-posted on facebook.