The above photo, artistically curated by Dancing Toes, has a special significance for me. It’s taken at The Bishop’s Palace in Wells, a place much cherished by me over many seasons of my mothering. When our children were young, I would watch them play happily and imaginatively while snatching a few moments to read quietly. As they have grown up there are trees to climb and gardens to explore and I’ve taken the opportunity to tap away on my iPad. About a year ago, on a sunny Spring morning, it was here that I wrote the first few paragraphs of a new book. Last week, about a year on, the girls and I treated ourselves to some cherry bakewells and as they sped around the grounds doing a photo challenge, I set about reading through the typeset edition of the completed book! Below is a letter which fills in the gaps of the last twelve months; I’ll probably use it for wider marketing, but to you my faithful and much appreciated blog readers, I want to share a little more.
This is a book I would have liked to have been given as my younger self. As with most good books, it has been a mission of the heart. It has involved taking some risks; inviting busy people I greatly admire to contribute to it, and handling the inevitable rejections from publishers. With regards to the latter, I feel God has been very gracious in that it only took a few months to find our publisher, Ritchie Publications, and they really couldn’t be more helpful and kind in guiding us through the process. It does feel like God has had His hand on this project, providing people and resources at just the right time. And, I’ve loved collaborating with such a great team of authors. My prayer is that it will be a real blessing and encouragement to many families, and that the glory goes to Him.
Dear home educator,
We’ve written a book for you! You have made, or are considering, a most exciting, life enriching and direction changing decision for your family. It will lead you along meandering paths where you can become immersed in the beauty of the natural world, the richness of good books and delights of soulful conversations. It will take you to the vast plains of freedom to explore, question and develop critical thinking. It will at times take you to cliff edges where you will need to take a leap of faith and trust the parachute is there to catch you. Sometimes you’ll walk alone and this can be hard. Other times you’ll enjoy a depth of friendship which only those walking a shared journey against the current can know. Many of you are already some years down this path, and we want to cheer you on and encourage you in the profoundly important ministry you have undertaken for both your family and future generations.
All of us who have contributed to this book have experienced the exhilarating highs and soul searching lows of this home education adventure. Also, the many ordinary days in between speckled with beauty and laughter in the midst of the mundane. We don’t know your individual circumstances but we do have an idea of what you have sacrificed to give your children this unique education, the vision you hold in your heart for your family, and the juggling and tenacity you need to walk it daily.
Our oldest two children are now young adults, and I could not be more proud of them and thankful for them. When we started out, I was immensely grateful for the wealth of resources which winged their way across the Atlantic and offered me much needed advice and inspiration. As the years have passed, I have sensed that home education has come of age in the UK. We have our own small but expanding group of second generation home educators, many home ed graduates and a growing body of research. While most of the principles of home education are the same wherever we live, the UK has its own distinct landscape in which we live and learn. I wanted a book to give to those like my younger self, grown out of our own unique soil, but which I trust will also be a blessing to those who have sent their resources our way.
Thus this book has been bubbling for a while, and has developed out of the blogging and podcasting. Having often walked alone during our early years of home educating I, like most of us, have a longing for community and love collaborating with others on projects. There are many wise, enthusiastic and deeply knowledgeable home educators in the UK and so last spring, I tentatively started approaching some of them to see if they would be willing to write a chapter for a new book. I was overwhelmed by the positive responses and am incredibly grateful for the time and expertise they have put into their respective chapters. The group chats have been fun and lively at times too!
We also have a talented graphic designer on board who will be building a pre launch website for the book; I’m excited for you to see it! Then, just when I was beginning to feel slightly overwhelmed at pulling together all the different contributions for publisher submission, an editor friend stepped in like a fairy godmother and with great efficiency produced a well curated document.
The book is due out in September, and we’ll launch the website in the early summer. The level of anticipation is rising in my heart every time I think of it. I still can’t quite believe it can be happening! Its been a real blessing to work alongside these amazing home educating parents and read their words of wisdom, undergirded with sound common sense and sprinkled with a good amount of humour. I pray it will be just as much of a blessing to you, as you strive to build up the foundations of the next generation. Looking forward to sharing more details with you over the next few months!
With love, Molly x