I just looked back at my 2014 posts and realized that I only wrote 20 entries here all year, a handful of which were actually just acknowledgements of my girls' writing endeavors rather than anything I'd drafted. I wrote regularly for Celebrate Kids all year - though often last-minute or even squeaked out after my deadlines had passed. I also continued to write quarterly for my church's women's newsletter, and I added a quarterly gig for Learning Tangent magazine as well. But last year certainly was a drought in terms of my personal reflections here.
I know why that happened - and I mentioned it several times in prefaces to the things I did post during the year. Simply put, I was consumed with The Homeschool Resource Roadmap - my database project - and the daily inner workings of The Christian Homeschool Oasis, the national homeschool support group I launched almost two years ago. Of course, I had no idea what either would become when I started back on March 8, 2013. The group literally began as an impulse late that night only so I could discuss with a few dozen of my homeschooling friends at the time my concern/fear that all homeschool resources might choose to align with the common core standards. And a very humble version of the database popped out of the group almost by accident shortly thereafter, as my attempt to get a handle on what was happening in regard to common core.
Fast forward two years, and the second iteration of the very active group now has more than 5,000 members from around the world. My list of resources available to homeschoolers has grown to more than 2,300...not counting the dozen and a half new things waiting in the queue of my to-do list. On top of that, I found myself invited to speak at the 2015 Great Homeschool Conventions in Texas, Ohio, and California - the first of which is coming up in less than three weeks - as well as at a regional one-day conference in my state in March. And because I saw a great need to make the long list of resources from The Roadmap's Common Core Project truly usable, I devoted much of 2014 to getting my Subject Area Project ready. That endeavor alone - though still only in basic form - was very much like taking this:
But, of course, there's more to be done with it; even as an accidental entrepreneur, I've already learned that working for one's self means the work is never really done. Ideally, I'd like to add more details about each resource - its worldview perspective, information about its format, etc. - and I want to make the lists more user-friendly. I've also been told that developing an app would be very helpful. And I'm sure I'll discover other improvements and changes over time as well.
However, all of that will have to wait. For one thing, I'm mentally exhausted. So I need to go into "maintenance mode" with the database, keeping the lists accurate but stepping back from the intense research for a time. Second, I need to focus right now on the convention and conference talks; I'm less than three weeks out from the first one and, though I've had rough outlines for some time, I need to get moving on the nuts and bolts of each talk.
But most important of all, I need to re-calibrate personally. I never intended to become a "homeschool leader;" I just like to help as I'm able, and I apparently have an OCD-type tendency when it comes to data. Yet here I am - certainly not "famous" like the real "celebrities" in the homeschool community...though I might be "notorious" in some circles! However, it's clear that - though I didn't expect it - my opinion has come to matter to a fairly significant amount of people. In fact, I've even had a few "stalker-type" experiences in recent months!
It's very humbling - and more than a little intimidating - to see people making decisions for their children based on my opinions. I'm very willing to continue sharing the information I've learned over the course of my homeschooling journey and through the last two years as well, praying every time I make a suggestion that the person receiving it does so with the realization that my idea is just one woman's perspective and that I have no place on anyone's pedestal. However, all of the attention has thrown me off-balance, emotionally, physically, and even spiritually.
As much as I want to help, I've recently found myself wanting to go back to being "just Tina" - not "Tina the Database Lady" or "Tina the Curriculum Guru." My personal priority is still my beautiful daughters - as well as my husband and, of course, the Lord. And I want the simplicity again of being able to write here about our weekly activities without feeling the need to promote the database or provide "words of wisdom." Yet I struggle because all the other stuff - none of it inherently bad - in addition to an unusual amount of unrelated scheduling issues my family has faced in recent weeks, continues to pull on me like a super-magnet.
I haven't quite figured out how to regain my balance; just being able to voice the reality of the imbalance is a new realization for me. God has given me an ability to help others, and He's arranged the circumstances of the last two years to enable me to journey down this path. So I can't just throw that out. But I've gotten unwittingly swept up into the current of a riptide, and I desperately need to find my way back to more manageable waters.
So even as I devote a good deal of time over the next few weeks to those convention talks, I'll also be working on getting myself back on track with where I really want to be, holistically-speaking. It'll start with my schedule - with making conscious choices about my daily priorities instead of just going with the flow. There's more to it than that, of course, but that's a logical first step. I feel confident I can integrate my "new normal" - i.e., Tina who does homeschool-related research, writing, and speaking - into my life. But I need to put all of that into its proper place behind the more important aspects of who I am. It needs to fit the whole, not dominate me anymore.