Johanna Puelston has loved music and theatre since she was three years old, watching other kids perform at church one week. She asked her mom, “When can I go up there and sing with those kids?” Within a year, she was up there with those kids, and since then has happily performed in many different venues and ways: church, community theaters and choirs, and even in a professional adult chorale. Johanna loves to pass on the joy of making music to the next generation, first with her five children, and also to other kids! She is glad to join the Loft and Field crew this semester.
Hola! Me llamo Annie.
Hi, my name is Annie Howard. I am excited to be your Spanish teacher this year! My husband Matt and I have four wonderful children. I have formal training as an elementary school teacher and taught in the classroom for about 7 years. My love for Spanish language started in high school when I took my first class. I was able to take a class trip to Mexico, which sparked my passion even more! While in college I went on a missions trip to Chihuahua, Mexico for an entire summer. I returned to the same place for short term trips many times over the next 10 years. I still consider the family that runs the orphanage my Mexican family! I love that God has given me the opportunity to combine two of my greatest passions, teaching children and speaking Spanish. I am excited for a great year!
It has always resounded deep within me, that life is a very serious thing. So from the point in my life when I first was considering having children, I have always endeavored to be intentional. To be consistently intentional in life is a struggle because life is also filled with unpredictable chaos. A quote from Charlotte Mason highlights that balance of chaos versus control. “No other part of the world’s work is of such supreme difficulty, delicacy and importance, as that of parents in the right bringing up of their children.”
Taking great care and trying to find the right path for my family has brought me to meet Charlotte Mason and increasingly admire her principled life. I love that she based her principles on Scripture and her time spent with children.
I went to college with interests in languages, culture, architecture, writing, math and many other things. I couldn’t really narrow down what i most was interested in and ended up deciding that, for me, it would be better to get started having kids and teaching them what i already knew (without student loans) than it would be to get narrowed down to career level (with loans and no longer afford to be at home).
So my varied interests and my husband’s varied interests have led us into many adventures. We live on 5 acres with 3 children. We have had cows, goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, guinea fowl, and rabbits living alongside us at different times over the years. And when it came to educating our children, I felt called to walk closely with them through life, educating ourselves together side-by-side. “Self-education is the only possible education, the rest is mere veneer on the surface of a child’s nature.” We, as parents, want to have a deep impact on our children, don’t we? But teaching is *not* molding them to a shape we want or trying to paint over their flaws. Teaching them is introducing them to ideas and letting them be educated by the Holy Spirit. So my interest in Loft and Field is in finding and collaborating with like-minded parents to lead our children to a full smorgasbord of living ideas and living books. We can cheer one another along on this journey of education that truly never ends… and so must be wide and deep and varied. Let it be based on life. Life in its chaos and seriousness and also it’s joy and the habits we choose.
“The only vital method of education appears to be that children should read worthy books, many worthy books.”
“Give your child a single valuable idea, and you gave done more for his education than if you had laid upon his mind the burden of bushels of information.”
Ok, I will stop quoting Charlotte now because if you are reading this, I know you’ll be wanting to come, meet with us and read her volumes.
I have worked hard to get my act together in this homeschooling venture and have felt a calling to share my story and resources with others. My hope is that Loft & Field can be a place where homeschoolers can come together to support, study, live, and learn. It’s a living books library. It’s a cottage school. It’s a farm. It’s a study group for Charlotte Mason aficionados. It’s a place to organize more things like nature walks, art workshops, Spanish classes, or other things that would benefit us or our kids.
“Charlotte Mason has become an absolute inspiration and mentor to me. She is an educational pioneer and I have learned so much, an am only just scraping the surface.”
Charlotte Mason has become an absolute inspiration and mentor to me. She is an educational pioneer and I have learned so much, and am only just scraping the surface. She says things like, “Children are born persons” and, “Education is an atmosphere, a life”. She believes we need to have a philosophy of education before we get into a method. She believes education is more than checking boxes and finishing a set of curricula. I’d like to share some of her ideas on this site, how I have implemented them, and how we can all put her words to good use.
I am also a practicer of farm school. We milk goats, raise our own meat animals, plant & preserve our garden produce, make maple syrup, and lots of that other stuff my great grandmother did. I believe that kids grow strong with regular chores. I believe that if you have a choice between a worksheet or living out a concept in real life – I’m going to go the real-life route every time. Farms are overflowing with real life, and they open up conversation about the value of life, biological systems, the designs of God, and so much more.
Quick blurb about me. I grew up in Forest Lake and attended Bethel University. I studied Studio Art, Education, and Theater. I taught Visual Art and Cultural Crafts in Cupertino, California until my son was born in 2007. I had just finished my M.Ed. in Instructional Technology with a focus on Information Architecture and Design. I was National Board Certified in K-12 to young adult art. I earned certificates in ESL, reading strategies, writing across the curriculum, cultural studies, autism education, disabled integration, reading enrichment, math K-12, technology use in schools, educational museum tours, and probably some other stuff (how to keep track?). As a public school teacher, I was always looking for more depth to how I worked with students and a philosophy of education to undergird what I did. And do you know what? It wasn’t until I started homeschooling my kids and found the works of Charlotte Mason that I knew I had found that philosophy.
I’ve been married to Joshua since 2000. He’s an Apple Computer fanatic, programmer, musically-minded kind of guy. My kids are Caleb, Jack, and Lou. I might talk about them here and there on this site, but this is not at all about them. It’s about the atmosphere and life we have created. I hope you’ll join in and share it with us.