There is something for me that feels so wholly cleansing about really fessing up to the things that I have fucked up. Saying it out loud over and over, singing it from the rooftop a bit, helps me to feel somewhat cleansed of my mistake and affords me a sense of beginning anew.
I was a shit homeschool mom last year. It's ok. I can claim it. In fact, claiming it is really the only way that I am able to leave it in the past and move on. Plus, I'm far enough away from it now that it has become easy to look at.
Every year, our time on Islesford serves as a bit of a mid point pause. I get a chance to hold still for awhile, breathe deeply, and take a long hard look at where I've come from and a more inspired and visionary look at where I'm headed.
It wasn't any one thing in particular that set me up to fail. Rather, it was the perfect storm of many different factors. All in all, our family has grown and evolved and requires new and different structures from the antiquated ones of the last few years. We, each of us, need a little bit more space and time to allow for our learning to unfold and develop. We need to accommodate our curiosity with greater ease and less rigidity.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a classic over scheduler. I have a shit ton of fomo, especially when it comes to my kids childhoods. And I am a pro at stuffing more activities and commitments into any given day than is either healthy or appropriate.
I can no longer get by with 2 or 3 hours set aside several days a week to accomplish our homeschooling objectives. We need large and lengthy swaths of time. We need to be able to inhabit our learning. We need to be able to take breaks and then return- without having entirely lost the thread. We need to have time to recover and reintegrate from our other daily responsibilities and pursuits so that we can approach our learning with inspiration and readiness.
So we have been restructuring our learning lifestyle. We have been scaling back on our obligations that take us very far from home and saying yes to staying much more local. And it feels so good. The main thing that I generally find myself doing when I am out in the world is simply trying to get back home. So we have been refining the learning environment that our home space is evolving into. And, ya'll! It's just creating more and more clarity and creativity around who we are as learners. And as teachers. And as mentors.
I have always sought out mentors. In mothering, in making, in being a good partner, and a good teacher and a good student. I need them. I want information about where I am headed. I want to see what has worked for others as well as what has not. I want, more than anything, guidance and support on the path.
I have tried to instill that value in my kids as well. I encourage and support them in finding appropriate mentors. And we have been seriously fortunate in this regard. When I think about the teachers and mentors that Maple and Eider have in their lives I get more than a little teary. So very fortunate. As they say, It takes a village, and I have always been clear that I cannot go it alone. Not as a parent, not as a learner, not as a teacher. And that is what mentorship has always seemed to me: the gathering up of the community toward a common aim, a common purpose, a common intention.
The folks that study with me privately, or really, are in mentorship with me, in turn become mentors of a sort for the folks in public classes. They are elevated in some senses by the commitment they have made in deepening their relationship to practice and study. This process thrills me. The awareness that students bring to the path of practice is endlessly inspiring. My primary aim as a mentor and teacher is to help people inhabit themselves as authentically as possible and in turn engage the world from that place of connection. It is not dissimilar to my aim as my children's primary educator...
The page Influences, on this site, is essentially just a compilation of folks that have been mentor to me, and continue to mentor me one way or another. Learning and teaching. To me it is fluid, never really a one way relationship, but one that benefits the whole.
Here's to refining approaches. Reassessing and growing. As ever, it's a practice.