Write where you're from

A few years ago someone shared with me the poem Where I'm From by George Ella Lyon. I think my response to the poem is a common one: "I could do that. I want to try.

A poem like Where I'm From could certainly be written by children - and kids could use it as a jumping-off point for poems about other subjects....perhaps a poem about a friend, or a vacation spot, or a season. I like Lyon's poem because it is intimate and not at all intimidating.

But, I'm not sharing this poem today as a teaching tool to use only with our children. I'm hoping homeschooling mamas will try this poem for yourselves and feel the creative spirit I felt when I first read George Ella Lyon's poem. I hope you will pick up a pencil to write your own piece.

Charlotte Mason encouraged mothers to spend time cultivating and renewing themselves, and she called it Mother Culture. Writing your own poem is a way to have a "culture day" while not spending a dime or leaving home. The tool you'll need is a bit of quiet time to dig up memories, and you can do that while in the midst of other duties like folding clothes and chopping onions.

In fact, the motions we do through the day are themselves poetry - our motions have a rhythm and tell a story - and perhaps today you'll think of them that way.

I wrote my version of the poem several years ago, and I found it recently in a notebook I used to keep. The notebook and poem inside it remind me that as I work with my children on their writing and storytelling, I can work on my own as well.

Birch tree in the front yard of my childhood home.

I come from hymns and prayers, from chapter and verse. I come from sinners and forgivers. I come from a place where I fall but I can get up again because I am weak and He is strong. I am a child of the church.

I grew up under dry icy blue skies but now live under grey city skies that dampen this little light of mine. There is no blinding sun here, no sugary snow, no burning windchills from my childhood. I come from white winters.

I come from a dad who had friends for 75 years, and they cried like babies at his funeral. I come from fishing poles, fishing tackle, fishing boats, fishing trips. I am from the lake.

I come from a bookworm, a scholar, a father who read and expected his daughters to bait their own hooks. I come from a dad who drank too much and he came from that place too.

I come from a mom more beautiful than all her daughters, more graceful, gracious, good. I grew up on strong coffee, served black from morning to night. I grew up on t-bone steak and pot roast, on venison, elk, pheasant and quail, on walleye, pike, sunnies and bass. I grew up waiting to be a vegetarian.

I grew up invisible in a big family crowded into small kitchens. Some other kid was the smartest, nicest, naughtiest, prettiest. I was simply the youngest. Where I come from, I am always eight years old.

I come from fishing tales and long dark nights, from parables and everlasting light.


  1. I just found your blog and have been enjoying looking around! I am a homeschool Mom whose oldest is 7. We have always lived in the country, but are planning on moving to an apartment in the city in a month...if there was one thing you would recommend as to "how to live in a CM type home school in an urban environment", what would it be? Thanks!!

  2. Alesha,
    I'm glad you found my blog and I hope you will be back! I guess my "one" piece of advice to keep to CM in the city would be to protect your family quiet time. Best wishes for your move - I'd love to hear how it goes for you.

    Pam and Melissa,
    Thanks for reading and commenting. :)