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Amber is a worldschooling mom to 4, a student of Charlotte Mason, and author of the brand new book, A Place to Belong: Celebrating Diversity and Kinship in the Home and Beyond. She believes the Holy Spirit is her child’s supreme educator and that there is power in creating a culturally rich environment for her children that allowed them to see themselves and others reflected in their lessons. Amber shares her observations on education, living books, and worldschooling on her blog, HeritageMom.com, and her Instagram @heritagemomblog.
You can listen to my conversation with Amber here. And be sure to check our other interviews with amazing guests like Leslie Martino, Durenda Wilson, and Jessica Waldock.
Check out A Place to Belong: Celebrating Diversity and Kinship in the Home and Beyond
Connect with Amber
Here are some of the topics we discussed in this episode:
Amber’s homeschool story
Amber never imagined she would homeschool her children, but her husband convinced her to give homeschooling a try. Early on she discovered the work of nineteenth-century British educator Charlotte Mason and fell in love with her philosophy of children as born persons and early years spent in nature and in the company of lifegiving books.
Amber’s homeschool rhythms
Amber has written about how she makes her family’s schedule and what their daily flow looks like in this blog post.
Amber’s tips for getting started with Charlotte Mason
Ideally the best way to get started is to connect with a local study group of Charlotte Mason mamas to read Charlotte Mason’s original volumes in community.
If Charlotte’s original language is daunting, you can find a Modern English version of Charlotte Mason’s volumes at Ambleside Online.
The Alveary from the Charlotte Mason Institute offers online tutorials and curriculum guidance that can help you get started.
Simply Charlotte Mason is another great place to learn about the Charlotte Mason method. Sonya Shafer’s blog is filled with helpful articles and videos.
You might also want to connect with Ambleside Online and the Charlotte Mason Educational Center.
Remember you don’t need to read all the volumes or master Charlotte’s methods before getting started. You will continue to learn and grow right alongside your children. The important thing is to begin with an attitude of humility and a willingness to be led by the Holy Spirit.
You can learn more about the Charlotte Mason method here.
What to do when we worry that we’re not doing enough
Remember that home education is completely different from traditional school. The hours and minutes are never going to match up. Homeschooling allows you to match the pace of your unique child. Sometimes that pace is faster, and sometimes that pace is slower, and that’s okay!
Look for opportunities to notice the kind of learning your child is experiencing. Homeschooling is a very expansive type of education. Your children are probably learning more than you think. At the end of the day, to paraphrase Charlotte Mason, it’s not about how much your children know, but how much they care.
Amber’s new book, A Place to Belong
This book is a guide for all families of all backgrounds to celebrate cultural heritage and embrace inclusivity in the context of daily family life. Parts of it are like a journal where Amber shares her own family’s journey, and other parts are more instructional.
Why providing a place to belong is important
Trees that are deeply rooted spread wide branches. Giving our children tools to build strong relationships with all types of people, even those who are different from them, allows them to thrive and to help create a better world.
What kinship means
Kinship is a deep family bond, not only with our biological family but with the family of people. It isn’t just a friendship, but a deeper connection that helps us to overcome disagreement, apathy, and our tendencies toward selfishness so that we can work together and live together in harmony.
How Amber has seen the importance of belonging in her own family
In the beginning Amber didn’t really see it as important. She parented her children the same way she and her husband were raised with a color blind philosophy that we’re all the same and we don’t need to talk about our differences, but Amber’s oldest child was not having it. She began acting out in different ways, and finally she articulated to Amber that “you told us that we study important things in school, and we only ever study white people, so people who look like me must not be important.” Amber realized that in her effort to make it seem like everyone was the same, what I really did was make it seem like her child was invisible, so she switched her whole approach.
Instead of saying, God made us all the same and let’s not talk about it, I said, God loves us all the same, but He made us different, and let’s totally celebrate it. And when I flipped that the other way, she really took to it, and my other kids came along. I saw them thriving , and I saw that the more we went deeply in our own culture, the more comfortable my children felt around other people. Once they learned their value in my eyes, their father’s eyes, and their Heavenly Father’s eyes, they were easily able to reach out and love other people.
How to start creating this kind of home atmosphere for our kids
Start with the books in your home. This isn’t everything, but it is a good place to start. Amber has tons of recommendations on her blog on all sorts of topics to help you on your journey.
Final words of encouragement
Never forget that the most important aspect of your homeschool is you. No one else can replicate or duplicate who you are to your child. When you realize the gift that you have, and that God put you together with this particular child in this moment in time, you can relax a little bit about the need to execute perfectly,