profile

Kathy Donchak

Sunday Letter: Reflecting

published2 months ago
3 min read

“Sometimes I think, were I just a little rougher made, I would go altogether to the woods—to my work entirely, and solitude, a few friends, books, my dogs, all things peaceful, ready for meditation and industry—if for no other reason than to escape the heart-jamming damages and discouragements of the worlds mean spirits. But, no use. Even the most solitudinous of us is communal by habit, and indeed by commitment to the bravest of our dreams, which is to make a moral world. The whirlwind of human behavior is not to be set aside.”

Mary Oliver, Winter Hours


We never thought we would homeschool our kids, but as the years go by we have learned what it means to support another while they move from a childhood of creative play and into early adolescence in an environment that encourages individuality and freedom of thought.

I heard it all as mother of twins. It must be so hard! No, it wasn’t really. Look out for those teenage years! Look yes, prejudge no. Over the years of reading teachers in books, forming friendships with others, and listening to my mother’s intuition, I can say a few things for sure.

Be present, observe more, say less, and love deeply.

Every stage brings new discoveries. Education at its best is a way to provide a safe harbor for children to develop a strong sense of self, to follow their curiosity, and to have parents and teachers who never stop learning, growing, and reflecting on their own lives.

As we edge closer to winter allow ideas and things that are not serving you to fade away to make room for new things to be born in spring.

Be well,

Kathy


From sixteen-year-old Dara McAnulty, a globally renowned figure in the youth climate activist movement, comes a memoir about loving the natural world and fighting to save it. Dara McAnulty lives with his mum, dad, brother Lorcan, sister Bláthnaid, and rescue greyhound Rosie in County Down, Northern Ireland. Dara's love for nature, his activism, and his honesty about autism have earned him a huge social media following from across the world, and many accolades.

Diary of a Young Naturalist chronicles the turning of a year in Dara's Northern Ireland home patch. Beginning in spring--when "the sparrows dig the moss from the guttering and the air is as puffed out as the robin's chest"--these diary entries about his connection to wildlife and the way he sees the world are vivid, evocative, and moving.

As well as Dara's intense connection to the natural world, Diary of a Young Naturalist captures his perspective as a teenager juggling exams, friendships, and a life of campaigning. We see his close-knit family, the disruptions of moving and changing schools, and the complexities of living with autism. "In writing this book," writes Dara, "I have experienced challenges but also felt incredible joy, wonder, curiosity and excitement. In sharing this journey my hope is that people of all generations will not only understand autism a little more but also appreciate a child's eye view on our delicate and changing biosphere."

Winner of the Wainwright Prize for UK nature writing and already sold into more than a dozen territories, Diary of a Young Naturalist is a triumphant debut from an important new voice.

Download the Discussion Guide

Available on Bookshop.org & Amazon

With the grace and precision that have won her legions of admirers, Oliver talks here of turtle eggs and housebuilding, of her surprise at an unexpected whistling she hears, of the "thousand unbreakable links between each of us and everything else." She talks of her own poems and of some of her favorite poets: Poe, writing of "our inescapable destiny," Frost and his ability to convey at once that "everything is all right, and everything is not all right," the "unmistakably joyful" Hopkins, and Whitman, seeking through his poetry "the replication of a miracle." And Oliver offers us a glimpse as well of her "private and natural self--something that must in the future be taken into consideration by any who would claim to know me."

Available on Bookshop.org & Amazon

Poetry discovers and speaks a truth ordinary language cannot express. And the passionate message in Finding What You Didn't Lose is that we're all poets--capable of giving voice to such truth.

Poet-teacher John Fox reveals how imagery, sound, metaphor, rhythm, and other poetic elements can he us tell our inner story, heal psychological wounds, discover spiritual connection, and develop the rich creative imagination that lies within us all.

Transcending the traditional academic approach to poetry writing, Finding What You Didn't Lose deals with craft but, more importantly, guides readers to explore their deepest feelings and express their own unique insights through the incomparable language of poetry.

Available on Bookshop.org & Amazon