Sunday, September 1, 2013

Hope Floats

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Lana Hope is a real, on-line friend of mine. I met her while we read each other's blogs. Her blog is an extremely open, honest, vulnerable, and hopeful blog about this women who was raised in a very sheltered homeschooling family in a stereotypical southern racist town in America. While she is very open and honest, she also maintains her privacy and anonymity as best as she can. This woman, in her brave and purposeful travels has found her way out of the fundamentalist, sheltered mindset prison in which she was raised and has found her travels to be, not only eye-opening, but completely and utterly transforming. 
Change can be incredibly painful and lonely. Lana has chosen to take the long road, the honest road, and to share her stories with other pilgrims of truth. She is, truly, a beacon of integrity, determination, wisdom, self-determination, and hope.

Lana is a happy person.
If you have the time, I hope you check out her blog and her links.
Please join me in welcoming Lana to Homeschool Atheist Momma Blog and in thanking her for agreeing to share some of her story here.
Lana, I admire and truly love you.
Lana Hope

Perhaps the greatest gift of homeschooling - in my life, even when homeschooling went wrong - is that life is right there at your finger tips.  You wake up every day and instead of going to school, you can read and explore. Instead of sitting in a desk, you run freely -- sometimes way too much. And instead of listening to a lecture, you create your own interests -- sometimes way too many.

I am a product of the too much play. I had very little science in high school, never learned much writing skills, and my history is shady. I also did not get along with my teacher (my mom), so it's surprising that we both survived to tell our stories. 

Yet the whole world was

I was thinking about this today. Here I am a graduate student in British Columbia (I am from the USA, in the far southern part) - spending my days reading critical theory in the greenest grass I've ever seen (maybe save Prince Edward Island), and riding my bikes around town. I'm enjoying the Asian foods in the grocery store that was never available in our small southern town. In a sense, I've never been happier. 

Homeschooling instilled in me that life's greatest gifts are not bought with money. My mother stayed home with us, and with my dad's salary (making well under 30k at the time), this was a sacrifice for parents who grew up very middle class. We always wore second-hand clothing, and family vacations with other homeschool families involved tent camping in the mountains of Arkansas. I never went to theme parks or Disneyland, but we had nature. My favorite "vacation" as a child was sitting at the beach in the Gulf of Mexico feeding seagulls. 

Elizabeth Esther recently posted a clip when she was on Fox News. She talks about the importance of self-sacrifice by raising a family. I am not one to limit family to ones biological family, nor to say everyone must raise children. But my mom still instilled in me a value for family, or more specifically, for investing in other people.  And that value has taught me that people are always more important than money. 

Today I have done so much. But yet by most standards, I am a failure.  I have traveled nearly two dozen countries, so I've wasted the money I've had. I am in graduate school in my upper 20s, studying the useless field of philosophy. And I spent the last three years before now taking care of troubled children (in SE Asia) instead of working and saving money. But when I was riding my bike yesterday, I just kept thinking, But I am so happy. 

I value family, travel, and daily freedom - outside the box - far more than I value careers. 

And between setting in a part of the USA I do not like, or cutting corners, I'll cut the corners any day.  

And between living kids on the street, or fending for myself, I'd rather pick up the kids on the street. I'm still working on how to do this, though.

I know most people cannot afford the luxuries I have had the last few years (even though, I would add that I have stayed in expensive places like Switzerland for $800 a month, and far less in the East. This is cheaper than a car and house payment).  I am not saying that everyone can do what I've done. I am blessed. But my point is simply that I am willing to step out on the waters  because my mother taught me that the life is not just money or materialism.

When my mom gave up her retirement to raise us daughters, she taught me that living today - happily - is more important than a nice home and store bought clothing.

She taught me that contentment with what we had was more important than desire for more. 

When I think of the positives of homeschooling. this ranks number one. Because today, I don't actually care what goes on in school buildings or in corporate offices, beyond the people in them.  I care what goes on in my heart, that I am happy and flying, and that I care about the people around me.

(The scary part is wondering how I will ever know how to settle for a career. Homeschooling did not prepare me for this. But maybe I won't ever have a traditional career. Maybe I'll stay an entrepreneur.) 


If you enjoyed this post, you may also be interested in:
The Positive Side of My Homeschooling Years:  Lana Hope
Homeschoolers Anonymous Blog


  1. Lana, thanks for this very nice post! I learned things about you that I did not know previously.

    I am glad you have pleasant memories of your home schooling environment, along with the difficult memories. What you learned about approaching life provides you a foundation lacking in many others. Of course, this does not redeem the fundamentalist home-schooling culture.

    I am also intrigued with your comment: "My history is shady". (I am kidding of course!)

    1. Tim, I have not talked about this because it is not directly on topic with my blog, which focuses more on growing out of fundamentalism and on religion and philosophy, and because I blog more as a way to process my thoughts than anything else. Here are two posts, though, where I talk about happy homeschool memories.


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