Inspired By My Ancestors

Sometimes it may seem on the outside that family history and homeschool/learning are different categories of interest for me. But I have found that they are actually very tied together. As I have been doing more family history and learning more about my ancestors, especially over the past 15 months or so, I have found myself feeling more and more drawn to learning the skills of past generations. There is just something about the past that draws me to it.

Learning how to card wool, spin yarn, and turn that yarn into something (still need to learn real knitting… but the hat loom worked well too) was such a fun (and educational) experience.

Learning how to make hand dipped beeswax candles during our pioneer unit was so fun (and educational).

I could name off multiple other skills that I have been developing as I have been learning more about my ancestors and “bringing them to life.”

Another skill that I have been working on unofficially for a couple months, but as of today, more officially, is handwriting/penmanship.

After seeing Charles Alfred Harper’s mission journal in person a few months ago, and his trek diary last summer, I felt really inspired to improve in my penmanship skills. I was so impressed by Charles’ penmanship! It was so beautiful. Penmanship is a dying art/skill.

a couple of pages from Charles’ mission journal

In today’s world, we place much more emphasis on typing skills. And while yes, typing is important, there are so many benefits that are lost by not taking pen to paper. In fact, even though writing in my journal digitally over these past 10 years has been really convenient, I am sure that I have missed out on some additional benefits of writing by hand. I want to start writing more of my journal entries by hand again. And I want to improve my handwriting, especially cursive.

After seeing Charles’ handwriting, I researched it a bit and ordered a handwriting course for myself. I had forgotten about it until this afternoon when I decided to bring it out and start. So I sat in the schoolroom where Landon and Porter were finishing up their reading, and I put in my headphones so I could listen to some classical music while I started my handwriting course and practiced cursive.

Something that I have noticed is that connecting with my ancestors and with the past time periods (which my ancestors lived in and so I feel a special connection to), has sparked a deep desire in me to live a slower paced, more intentional lifestyle. A lifestyle with more beauty, elegance, and refinement.

From Charles Alfred Harper, I have felt inspired to improve my penmanship (and to choose handwritten more often over the convenience of typing.)

From Swen Swenson, I have felt inspired to play the piano/organ (well… our electric piano on set to the organ mode) more often and especially every morning at the beginning of our school day while my kids crowd around the piano and we all sing together.

From Thilda Swenson, I have felt inspired to learn the skills of carding, spinning, and knitting (still need to start the knitting education, but I do have the desire because of Thilda.)

From Ann Sewell Hawkins I have felt inspired to learn to quilt.

I am excited to see how I continue to be inspired by my ancestors and how their examples help me to design a beautiful and fulfilling life.

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