Why I’m Glad I Was Homeschooled

stories made it possible

The smell of ancient paper still makes me want to sob, the way spines line up like soldiers on the wooden shelves of small-town libraries. I know they would defend me if they could, those armies of words.

I grew up in second-hand clothes and mushroom-cuts and plastic glasses. I grew up homeschooled until the age of 9, with my nose in books, stories of Pippi Longstocking and Laura Ingalls Wilder and Anne of Green Gables. Books whose characters were as real to me as every-day, as the few friends I made the houses between, for we moved fast and far, my father a pastor and so, I clung to these characters and they, to me. I could count on them to be there, when nothing else was. We became a family of sorts.

And Mum, she taught me the Queen’s language. A language lost to this texting generation. She taught me when to use “which” and when to use “that”; she saluted the apostrophe and shuddered when it was put in the wrong place. She set every word reverently in its place, in a sentence, and taught me the feel of a pen between my fingers.

I learned the art of penmanship, but not only that—I learned what it means to know a language inside and out, backwards and front, and to hold it in awe.

Throughout high school Mum pulled me out of the English classes and taught me herself because she knew what I did not: that with the age of computers we’d lose the craft of a noble speech. We’d add slang and acronyms would become actual words and kids would trade the romance of a hand-written letter for the convenience of a text message.

my goal since those days

Not only did Anne and Pippi and Laura befriend me; they paved the way smooth for an awkward girl. They made it possible for me to believe on days when my heart seemed to stop working. On days when I yelled at my parents and slammed doors and slipped dark into anorexia, on those kinds of days, only the story could reach me. Only the story could save me.

It pulls you deep, this literature, deeper than any technology could. It introduces culture, countries, religion and history and it whets the soul for learning. The story creates sympathy for a world full of characters, and provides boundaries for good and evil. It sheds light on people’s unspoken suffering and creates a longing for justice, for truth.

I will never understand the intrigue of a book-less library, of the e-book, of the Kindle, for the very charm of the silence and the old stuffed chairs lies in a library’s walls of literature. In the dog-eared page, the margin-scribbled-notes, the smell of dusty intrigue, the quiet hush of pages turning.

And my goal since those days has been to write a story that draws people in so they forget where they are, so they too befriend the people they are reading about, so they too, don’t have to be lonely, anymore.

 

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Friends? I’ve written a story (a memoir) and it’s releasing next month.

It’s called Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look (www.atlasgirlbook.com)—and all proceeds are going towards a non-profit which TBM contributor Joy Forney and I have founded in the slums of Uganda: The Lulu Tree ~ “Preventing tomorrow’s orphans by equipping today’s mothers.”

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Pre-order your copy of Atlas Girl HERE and receive a FREE e-book on How to Write Inspirational Memoir!

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This post is a part of our “Who We Are” Series. For all posts visit,

“Who We Are: The Stories Behind TBM Writers”

Who We Are at The Better Mom

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Comments

  1. Fiona says

    I’m glad you can trace your writing journey back to your childhood and homeschooling experiences with your mother. I had public schooling (in Australia) and read the same books as you from the sound of it, they formed a big part of my childhood. My love of reading also came from my mother, . She was an English teacher before she we were born, and we too were taught to speak and write correctly, not formally, but by osmosis, I guess. I don’t homeschool my teenaged girls (for various reasons), but I know that the way we speak at home, the books we have read together over the years, and even the choices of good DVDs influence their language and inner lives immensely. Fiona@A Woman of Notes

  2. says

    “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one…” ~Lewis

    I love this e.
    I know I probably can’t support the argument that a book in hand is better than _____.
    But there’s a special connection when someone understands the satisfaction of dog-eared pages.

    I am so thankful you joined this writing team and it has been such an encouragement to me over the last couple of years to see God’s hand working out His story in your life. Love, K

  3. says

    Smack dab in the middle of hosting a Creative Retreat at my home this weekend. Kelli Stuart is one of my guests and she finished previewing your memoir on her plane flight here. It’s in my hands now and I’m halfway through. So many similar heart stories, though circumstances differ. Eager to know you better, now that I’m subscribed to receive your email updates. Let me know how I can best endorse your book on the big release day!

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