Along the way, many have wondered about the why and how of founding this school. I only have my side to tell, but I'm glad to share it. It's a joy to share because this journey proclaims God's sovereignty, goodness and provision. Telling you of my work merely shares the divine truth that He is faithful.
I learned of Ambleside Schools and Charlotte Mason in the Fall of 2005. My first encounter was with Ambleside Fredericksburg's website where I devoured page after page of philosophy and inspiration. As I continued to read and learn, the truths of Charlotte Mason's philosophy shifted my whole view of parenting and education, and I longed to provide this 'Living Education' for my own children. In 2010, my husband and I prayerfully made the decision to make the commute and send our two oldest daughters to Ambleside Fredericksburg. I had the privilege of teaching the second grade class that year. Stepping into it, I felt that I was doing something wonderful for my girls, never knowing how it would impact me personally. After a year of tremendous growth along with long commutes and a disorderly home, we felt the need to bring our lives back together in Boerne. I did my best to homeschool my children, applying what I had learned, but my heart still longed to have them at Ambleside. It just felt too far away. That is, until God opened my eyes to see more of the reason why he had placed this love for Ambleside on my heart.
In September of 2012, I was on vacation with my husband. As a mother of four in a modest sized home, quiet is rare. But on that trip, I enjoyed a morning of quiet reflection where I sensed the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart, "Gather people and see what I will do." I responded with, "okay, I can do that." One baby step at a time... I advertised a Charlotte Mason Study Series in our community and held it at the Public Library. As I arrived early for the very first meeting, I had no idea what to expect. For all I knew, I could be sitting across the table from my husband for the full hour. To my utter surprise, stranger after stranger walked through those library doors to learn with me about this inspiring way of educating. Already, God was providing "exceedingly more than I could ask or imagine." That phrase would echo through my mind many times in the year to come.
On the evening of the first study series, my dear friends - Robert and Mindy Harlan came up to me and expressed deep interest in helping to start an Ambleside School. Little did they know, I would be relentless in keeping their eagerness alive. A few weeks later, the four of us sat down with the St. Cyr's at Ambleside Fredericksburg and discussed the idea of an Ambleside in Boerne. Before we headed home that day, we had agreed to pursue this grand idea.
Through weekly, lengthy board meetings, we prayed together, discussed budgets and marketing campaigns, potential locations and future dreams. We planned informational meetings to gauge the interest in the community. And, we continued to put one foot in front of the other. By the time May came around, we had 11 committed students and no location. And yet, we made the decision to commit to a Fall start. That decision was hard-wrought, but the peace that each of us felt afterwards was divinely exhilarating.
As May and June sped by, we hired teachers and picked up a few more students, but still had no location for our school. Trusting in God's faithful provision, we carried on. In the month of July, I sent an email to Father Don at St. John's Anglican. I knew that their space was small and that there were no classrooms, but if we could only put up a few dividers in the Parish Hall, we could have our first year of school. When we met with Father Don and his wife Ruth, it was different from any other potential location meeting. They were familiar with Charlotte Mason's philosophy and joyful about the prospect of hosting us. Eagerly, they met with other church members to share the idea. Meetings were held and finally a vote that overwhelmingly supported the partnership of Ambleside School and St. John's Anglican Church. Again, it was a perfectly providential union and our hearts were singing His praises.
This realization of a location launched a fast and furious scramble to create dividers, purchase curriculum and furniture, get insurance and move in. The days were long and full, but as we gazed out the arched windows of St. Johns upon the woods and hills where our students would play, the blessing of it all became abundantly clear.
The first day of school arrived and the four of us crowded in the office area, listening to our 18 students and 3 teachers with tears of joy in our eyes. Many have marveled at our commitment and hard work, but that really isn't what it's about. It was and continues to be a privilege to be used by God to impact the lives of these dear children and their families. God used this journey to reveal more of his glory to each of us. May the glory continue to be His alone.