Let’s go back a few years. In January 2014 Felix, our second child was born. In February 2014 I wrote my last post on my old blog and was content never to visit it again. I considered the blogging chapter in my life to be over and, at least for that blog, I’d still say that’s true. Then I got going on a business that took off. Then the business stopped. I floundered. That’s a change I’m still getting over and getting used to, but it’s a tired old thing much more than a fresh hurt and that’s progress I consider a success.
In the midst of that floundering, still hungry for a place to reach out to the world and share, I started my @katielewisstudio account on IG. I didn’t know what it would be or what it would morph into, I just knew I needed a place to share, to be myself, whatever that meant. With so much personal healing to do, I went through a phase where I focused a lot of what I shared on that account toward my testimony as a believer in Christ. To be clear, I wouldn’t consider my beliefs to be a phase. They’re not. I just went through a time where I was so immersed in studying the gospel to help heal my personal wounds that I took more time to share what I was studying on IG. I’d like to get back there, but I’m not one to force personal, spiritual things, so we’ll see.
During that phase I asked several friends if they’d participate in some interviews. I wish I could say all of them have been published here on the blog, but sadly many are still sitting on our external hard drive waiting to be edited. I feel guilty asking for friends to participate and then not sharing the beautiful things they shared with the world. I want to share those things. But with a big move and several other big and small changes since those interviews were initially recorded, I don’t know if or when that editing and publication will happen. To those friends who participated, I apologize for being a flake and want you to know how much I still think about your words, your wisdom, even if I haven’t been able to share them with others.
Other than posting those interviews here, I haven’t blogged since 2014. Between sharing on IG and the general dying out of blogs, I haven’t really felt compelled to. But these past couple nights I haven’t been sleeping well in spite of having fairly normal days and not really consciously stressing about much. But gosh, sometimes our bodies give us away and make us own up to all the things.
It’s not like I’m an old person. I’m only 30. But I’ve had enough projects and phases and years in my life to recognize that what often feels like “a new chapter!” in life is really just the next one. Or another one going on at the same time as some other chapters. Which I don’t say to be all lame or make life sound unexciting, it’s just the truth. And there’s a certain peace and calm and even-breathing that can come from recognizing the fluid, ever-changing nature of life. But anyway, another chapter.
About a week ago (was it even that long?) I was chatting with a friend. Our family moved to northern Virginia this summer to be closer to my in-laws and so my husband Bryan could start at a better job. There’s always a lot to get used to when you move to a new state and for us, this was our third move in under two years. Luckily Bryan had some friends from high school that live here in our new city and they were kind enough to welcome us in and show us around when we got here. It was this friend that I was talking to about some recent policy proposals in our local school board when I started thinking (not seriously at first) about homeschooling.
Our daughter Olivia (our oldest) is seven years old and in second grade this year. I’ve thought about homeschooling several times before. First when she was in preschool. After a miscarriage and a short (year-long) struggle with infertility, I thought I might never be able to bear more children and I selfishly considered homeschooling her so I could make the most of my possibly-only child. Then just before she started kindergarten those terrible shootings at the school in Connecticut happened and I considered homeschooling again, this time out of panic. I’m grateful for the wisdom of a thoughtful friend who counseled me not to make decisions out of fear. So Olivia’s happily and successfully attended public school for two years of preschool, kindergarten, first grade, and now second. Overall, it’s been a really positive experience for our entire family and I’m so incredibly grateful for her loving, caring teachers that have provided her with such a safe and positive learning environment. I’m the daughter of public school teachers and I know firsthand how much time goes into serving in that capacity. It’s not something I ever want to belittle. I’m incredibly grateful for the public school system here in America, flaws and triumphs and all. There are so many good people in it doing truly amazing things.
That being said, why would I want to homeschool? For me, that answer is family time. Well, family time and flexibility. Since moving to the DC area, I’ve often lamented inwardly about what a shame it is that we live so close to so many amazing museums and historical places, and yet we can hardly ever visit them because Olivia doesn’t get out of school until almost 4pm and by then it’s time for a break and homework and dinner and bedtime. I’d love to break free from that schedule and make it more our own. I’ve been fantasizing lately about studying a certain time period or subject or place together in homeschool and then getting out and actually visiting all the incredible places we have so close to us here. I keep daydreaming about getting outside when the weather is nice and not having to leave the house when it’s hot and miserable or snowy and cold.
And there’s family time. An hour or so in the morning when we’re all rushed getting Olivia ready for school and then a few rushed, tired hours in the evening when we’re scrambling to get dinner and bedtime taken care of is just not enough and it can be hard on relationships. Over the summer on a whim I ordered these beautiful We Brave Women cards from Ashley mae Hoiland and Olivia and I spent a few weeks learning about the women and trying new things as a way to honor and emulate and learn from them. It was proactive, purposeful, open-ended learning that we truly did together and it was beautiful. It was also so, so good for our relationship. I hadn’t realized how much I had let go of when I let her go to school. Not that I regret having her attend public school, but it was just wearing on our relationship in ways I didn’t expect. I think I’ve been brokenhearted about the gap that the physical distance left for a long time, but I didn’t really know what to do about it. All these things–the conversation with my friend, the years of interest in homeschooling for the wrong reasons, the beautiful experience with the We Brave Women cards this summer–they all came together to help me recognize that maybe now I was finally considering it for the right reasons.
So I started researching. Asking questions both aloud and to myself. Googling. All the googling. Pinning things on my Pinterest boards. And, yes, I still have a long list of questions and things to work out both generally and specifically, but the more I learn, the more if feels right this time. Not right like, “every family should always do this,” just right for our own little family at this point in time. If we do start homeschooling, it won’t be until next school year, which will hopefully give me the time I want and need to figure things out and keep discussing it with my family.
Which I guess brings me to why I haven’t been sleeping well. Maybe it’s the lack of significant exercise. Maybe it’s the presence of significant amounts of sugar. Maybe it’s staying up too late and eating food that makes me groggy. Maybe it’s not drinking enough water or a million other dietary or physical things. It probably is some of those things. But I think it’s also been all the research I’ve been doing and all the things I’ve been thinking about that I haven’t had a place to sort through other than in conversations with my husband and family and friends. I do a lot of mental and emotional work in talking things out with people I trust, but if I’m being honest, I also do better when I take the time to write it out too. I haven’t been honest with myself about that for a long time, I think because I was burned out or felt like the things on my mind weren’t appropriate to share, but I think it’s finally time again.
To be clear, I’m not starting a homeschooling blog. Or if I am I’m not doing it intentionally and I’m not doing it as a means to tell you what you should do if you’re interested in it. I’m writing again because I need to write. When I started my @katielewisstudio account I promised myself it would be a place for all of me. My beliefs, my interests, my talents, my thoughts. Lately it’s mostly been about quilting since that’s what I’ve been into these past few months and that’s fine, but I’m reclaiming it again as a place for all of me. And I’m extending my territorial claim to this blog that I thought would just be a holding place for podcast publishing. Things change, I keep changing, and that’s ok. I’m not here to get followers or to teach you how to do anything. I’m just here to think and feel and to share. To unload so I can set some of my thoughts and feelings and worries aside and keep moving forward.
It’s good to be back.