To have the sense of creative activity is the great happiness and the great proof of being alive. –Matthew Arnold
Matthew Henry–a 19th century author, literary critic and cultural reformer, talked about the importance of true education being the purveyor of “sweetness and light”. He strongly believed that the best education had the power to inculcate beauty, generosity, and virtue into the culture. Well, I had the rare opportunity to attend a conference that I think exemplifies the best of this notion! I am so excited to share with those who might not know about a wonderful new (well, young might be more accurate) movement of home schooling mamas committed to raising wild and free children! I was blessed by the founder, Ainsley Arment (www.bewildandfree.org ) with a ticket to attend their most recent event in Long Beach on the Queen Mary. This historic ship was a truly appropriate venue as these ladies love history and love teaching history to their children through the power of good books! Ainsley Arment has had the brilliant vision to bring together a group of her favorite bloggers and IG mamas who exemplify her view of what education should look like when we infuse it with beauty, art, music, literature and nature! Her efforts have culminated in an amazing community of strong, intelligent, artistic, and joy-filled women. I felt so blessed to spend a weekend with these precious people!
I had the privilege of getting to hear Jodi Mockabee (jodimockabee.com) who I first met when she was a tiny baby being bounced on her daddy’s knee. To see her speaking to this crowd of 400 ladies with such calm and humility was one of those “full circle” moments in life. Her grandfather and father were both our pastors for 15 years–in the wonderful community that was The Chapel in the Pines. Over two decades later, Jodi is a devoted mother to her five and she shared about the power of good books and the power of the words we speak in our homes to each other.
I also had the wonderful privilege of getting to hear Sarah Mackenzie live and in person! Sarah had kindly done a podcast
with me back in September (which you can access here) but to get to meet her bubbly self in person, laugh and share this sweet event together was a treat. Her presentation focused on seeing the beauty in the small unexpected moments in life. The beauty of Sarah is that when she speaks, you know she right there “in the trenches” of motherhood and home schooling with you. If you’re not familiar with her book, Teaching from Rest, you should check out a copy! It is a breath of fresh air in our harried worlds! I’ve felt a real refreshing of grace and perspective reading her book!
Finally, the other personal treat for me was hearing from my friend, Emily Waechtler, (bluecorduroy.com) who lives here in my community and who spoke alongside her
friend, Toni Weber (www.homeschoolingbyheart.com) Both are mamas home schooling their children, and both are committed to giving their children the freedom to explore through their education the power of good books, the beauty of nature, and the rewards of self-directed learning. Their presentations were humble, kind, and full of the gentle spirit they strive to incorporate into their homes each day.
I was amazed at the calm, cool, and collected Ainsley Arment, who not only put on this very successful event, but did so with grace, humor, and generosity, all while bouncing her little Millie on her hip! So, readers, if you ever get an opportunity to attend a Wild and Free event, don’t miss out! You can also subscribe to their beautiful publications that will inspire you to incorporate more beauty into your days–they certainly have done that for me! You will be blessed, encouraged, inspired and enriched however you interact with these interesting, alive, and passionate women!