Posted by : Karen Thursday, May 24, 2012

It's May, and I'm hosting the South African Carnival of Homeschool Bloggers (SACH Blogs) this month. Heavy on my heart this month has been mothers, just possibly prompted by the somewhat coincidental occurrence of Mother's Day!

No, on a more serious note, it's  more of a culmination of my heart for mothers: wherever you are, whatever you heart looks like.

The more I grow along this journey, the more I realize how much I have grown, and how much more growth there is too come! I've known what it is to feel alone and like no one else faces the same problems as me, or the same difficulties, and I've come to learn that I am never alone: what I face countless mothers have faced before me, and mothers will face these same issues in years to come.

 It's a wonderful place to find yourself in a community of women where you can be real and share your hearts and learn. One of my favorite places to find encouragement is over here, at (in)courage.

And so I launch this carnival hoping that as homeschooling mothers in South Africa, we too can create something beautiful. Something unique - no matter what our faith, background, curriculum.

Something real...
Something vulnerable... 
and something wide open.

In this month's carnival, many different moms are daring to share. Please hold their hearts gently. And if  you happen to disagree with what they've written, or even what I've written, that's okay. This is a safe place to share and learn from one another about what makes us unique.

Before I go any further, let me say this. This is, by its very nature, specifically a blog carnival for homeschooling mothers - mothers who have chosen to walk down a very specific path of education for their children. We've made a deliberate decision to do something a little different to the norm (ahem, you might need to insert "radically" different there if you are very conservative!). If you're reading this and you are not a homeschooling mother, please don't click away just yet. Do linger a little longer, for I hope that you will find some hope and encouragement here too.

So without further ado, let's get started!

Here are some of my secrets in mothering with a smile along this homeschool journey:

  1. Live in the present - we've all heard it said, but it really does whizz by!
  2. Especially when your children are young, remember that school need not be formal everyday - sometimes, we need to remind ourselves learning can happen in any way - and sometimes, "school" can be simple...
  3. I read this article (Don't Carpe Diem, By Glennon Melton) a few months ago, and it caused me to sob for hours. It was such a revelation to me that I was not alone, that what I felt within me, other moms actually faced too. It gave me such a sense of freedom in my mothering. I needed to know that it's okay to have the golden moments alongside the dark and twisted ones
  4. Balance your days well, for there are seasons in this motherhood journey. For me this is key. It's been a long journey, but I have finally started making small changes. I've started making my exercising a priority - and I am so much more awake and alert during my days. I declutter my life regularly. With writing a blog and setting aside some time for it every now and then, writing makes me feel alive. In an effort to re-awaken creativity within me, I've also started crafting with a few friends once a month. This last month I learnt how to knit, and I'm loving it! I also have an amzing husband who wants what is best for me, and he often blesses me with time to take walks alone, where I find God renews me, or he'll take the kids out for a couple of hours, and leaves me to spend time alone in my home in peaceful solitude. It's blissful. Charlotte Mason sums it up for me -

         Charlotte Mason believed that “if mothers could learn to do for themselves, what they do for their children . . . we would have happier households. She recommended that mothers go out to play “. . . take a day, or a half a day, out in the fields, or with a favorite book, or in a picture gallery …” For a mother to allow herself a bit of recreation to refresh herself by exploring her own interests, to find a little time for herself especially when so many others depend on her, is what I call Mother Culture. (this excerpt is taken form Karen Adreola's Mother Culture site - do cross on over.) 
And now over to some mothers who have dared to share their hearts...

Nadene of Practical Pages shares (with beautiful honesty) her struggles and fears as she started this 
year. I'm sure you'll be able to resonate with her as to how she felt about what she faced in the year, and be able to recognize the stresses that come with homeschooling. Nadene also shares who gives her the strength to carry on.

The talented arty Jenni C shares, "If half the day is messed up, it does not mean that the whole day must be thrown in...:" and I loved reading about the very real feeling she had a few weeks ago during one of her darker days, when the walls felt like they were closing in. Go on over, and read about the way our perspective can permeate our days. And do you ever really struggle with Mondays and getting one foot in front of the other? Then do read Jenni's other submission over here too!

Trixi  has also shared about her feelings of being overwhelmed and feeling inadequate (as she tackles high school) and shares an update to those feelings by writing about the things that have helped her to regain her perspective.

Wendy shares the challenges she's faced over the last few years as her family has changed and their income was challenged. I know so many are in similar situations, so do go on over and bask in the sincere encouragement she has.

And Taryn has dared to bare her heart over at Hayes Happenings, and shows why it's important to do so! My heart just swelled with reading about her journey on an emotional roller coaster and health issues. She's entered another post too, this time not about the dark valleys, but about the glorious sunshine!

If you haven't spent time reading Mel's blog then do! She is wonderfully down to earth, readily sharing with humor about all kinds of things: her successes and failures, her questioning of the heart of homeschooling, those days when you just don't feel like it, issues of discipline - the list goes on! It's a treasure trove I tell you! What I also love about Mel, is that so often she has downright practical posts on things that we all face in some measure  - like how to keep a clean house and a good attitude, and how to have less stressful school days.

Linnie is an amazing mom of a large family, and openly shares about its challenges. I enjoyed her post about why she doesn't want to be like chocolate,  and her honest admission of being a control freak (I can relate you see!). I loved reading about the blessing she had of a holiday away just with her youngest babe and her husband (you must read about the virtual babysitters!), and what is very dear to my heart, the seasons in a mother's life.  She also shares a lesson she learnt a few years ago about the “Me-Time-Monster”.  

This is the May 2012 Blog carnival  which is part of the South African Carnival of Homeschool Blogs. To join the carnival or visit past carnivals visit the SACHS Blogs page. We hope you enjoy browsing!

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