Tuesday, November 7, 2023

How Six Voices, One Story Came To Be (For Those Writing Their Own Chapters)

Most of you reading this know about the new book written by the AO Advisory, Six Voices, One Story: The Heart of AmblesideOnline. Some of you may have already read it. What you may not know, although Donna-Jean hints at it in the introduction, is that this book took several years to go from “we could do that” through “are we ever going to do that” to “here it is.” We wanted to write something that was not only our story, but that would be a book of encouragement; not only about Charlotte Mason, but about the ways that God works in drawing people (many people!) together to act on small ideas; not only about how a curriculum came together, but also a deep friendship.

The project, as we originally envisioned it, was going to be a “let’s make this simple”  collaboration: you bring salad, you bring lasagna, I’ll bring dessert. Everybody contribute what they can, and we keep writing until we have enough pages.  But for some reason, the book kept stalling. We all had other things to do, sometimes very big things, and it seemed we would always have time enough to get back to it. Then, about a year ago, a new version of the book started to take shape. Instead of just a few long chapters, we began to pull some of our other writing together: talks, blog posts, even emails. It tells our story in a different way than we had planned, but that’s so often the way things have gone. It’s also a reflection of the way the Advisory have worked together: occasionally in person, quite often by video chat, but most often and always through daily writing.

The minutes of an Advisory meeting from about two years ago (yes, we are That Organized)  record that “We talked about the need for all of us to encourage those whose chapters are unwritten…” At the time, that referred only to ourselves, but as I look at that now, I think it is more about the fellow travelers, those whose chapters are partly written or who have just begun. As Wendi Capehart once wrote, “We pray that our efforts continue to be a legacy for others seeking to strengthen their own precious family bonds by educating their children using this beautiful philosophy of education popularized by Miss Charlotte Mason.”

(Six Voices, One Story is available on Amazon in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle versions.)