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All right, I just have to say that I’m going to miss seeing you in person! I was really looking forward to getting together with you at homeschool conventions this spring. Now that many of them are canceled, we will have to wait for those hugs and pictures and fun.
But it’s good to know that we can still keep in touch online. In fact, we are working with some online convention plans right now. So stay tuned; we will keep you informed as details are finalized.
Now, I know a lot of you were planning to attend my workshop sessions. One workshop in particular is where we often get to connect, and that’s Laying Down the Rails: The Power of Good Habits in Your Home School. That session was scheduled at many of the events where I was going to be speaking. It’s an important topic anytime, but I think it’s especially relevant now when you probably have even more time available to work on good habits. So we are pleased to give you a chance to attend that workshop anyway. You can watch a video recording of Laying Down the Rails free on our website through the end of this month. Just go to simplycm.com/be-home, and you’ll be able to stream that popular workshop and watch it as many times as you want through March 31.
And you will find other little surprises and great ideas on that page, as well, to help you walk through the days ahead as a family.
Many of us have the advantage of being used to spending our days at home. So you might be simply going about your usual routines. But with outside activities canceled, you might also find that you have some extra time. What a gift! We have been given the gift of time. I find it ironic that the last workshop I was able to present live at an event before everything shut down was one called When More Is Less: A Call to Simplicity. You can listen to that workshop on the Be Home page too. In it, we talk about our desire to live well, not just live busy.
Well, now we have that opportunity. For many of us, the pace of life has slowed way down. That decision has pretty much been made for us, and we can choose to embrace it with both arms. You can use this extra time to do those wonderfully enriching practices that you never seem to get around to when your schedule is full. Do picture study and music study and nature study and handicrafts and family read-alouds. You have the time now. Enjoy it.
But I also encourage you to look beyond your own family and to reach out to your neighbors and friends and help them weather this storm. Think about how you can strengthen or initiate those relationships. Some of your non-homeschooling friends and neighbors have been caught by surprise. They’re not used to doing school at home, and they might be feeling overwhelmed right now. This is an opportunity to reach out, to encourage and reassure, and maybe even introduce some of Charlotte’s methods—whatever you can do to help them make the most of this time in their families too. You will find some resources and ideas on that Be Home page to help you with that too.
Now, I understand that sometimes students listen to the podcast version of this post. So I want to take a minute and share an idea for my younger listeners. (If you are reading this post, you can share the idea with your children if you would like to.)
You, my young friends, are living during a significant event in history. And you are beginning to understand how people who live through historical events have different emotions and feelings. That’s why we love to use “living books” for history readings. Living books make a moment in history come alive because they describe it in such a way that you can see in your imagination what was happening and you can sympathize with the feelings that the people had during those moments and events.
Well, you have a golden opportunity before you. You could create your own living book about these significant historical days that we’re living in right now. You are living history right now.
I encourage you to write down or record your thoughts and experiences during these days to come. Years from now, it could be your descriptions and narratives that make this moment in history come alive for a child who is learning about it in his history class.
You have an opportunity to chronicle what life was like for someone your age during this historical event. Just as Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote about her experiences in The Long Winter, and as you read her story you feel as if you were there, so you can write about this long spring and make it come alive to future students.
You could write or audio-record a narrative of each day as it happens, or you could simply jot down notes and journal entries as the days go by and then later use those notes to write a longer narrative. It’s up to you. But I think this is an exciting opportunity for you to create a living history account, just like the books you love best from your own history studies. Record your feelings, your family’s experiences, what you see and hear, what you eat and don’t eat; what you have and what you miss; write down your questions and the discussions you have as a family during these weeks. I think your firsthand account will make a great living history book!
And to all of you, I want to let you know that we are looking forward. We are still planning to have the Charlotte Mason Together Retreat the end of July. We’re hoping that by the end of the summer these difficulties will be done and we can all gather together to be refreshed. So with that hope in mind, we have extended cancellations right up to the day before the retreat begins, July 22. You can cancel the day before the retreat and still get a full refund. And, similarly, the Atlanta Evergreen Resort will allow cancellations up to 24 hours before your scheduled stay. Many airlines are making accommodations when you book, as well, so check with them. We encourage you to look forward too. Go ahead and register for the retreat. You can make plans now to join us with complete peace of mind and no risk. I think it’s going to be a huge celebration of being together again!
In the meantime, we’re praying for you. Will you pray for us? Let’s rest in the truth that our Heavenly Father knows everything about all of this; that He is stronger than any virus or anything else that comes our way; and that He loves His children dearly. He will do what is best. Let’s hold tightly to His hand and watch His story for our families unfold during the weeks to come. We can trust Him.