SummaryHomeschool graduate Avellina Balestri, editor of a flourishing online Catholic literary magazine, shares how homeschooling prepared her for this mission.
While writing has always been a major part of my life, it has become all the more so since becoming the editor of a Catholic online magazine.
Starting out with a handful of Catholic homeschool students passionate about faith and creativity, The Fellowship of The King has blossomed into a wide-ranging and far-reaching enterprise, receiving a flow of eclectic and edifying material from over 200 different contributors.
Among them we have been honored to count such notables as Dr. Peter Kreeft, Joseph Pearce, Bradley J. Birzer, Joanna Bogle, John C. Wright, and the late Jef Murray.
My role as editor is proving to be a very multifaceted experience, defined by the ability to change hats and use an Octopus approach to multitasking. Indeed, in the course of a day, I sometimes feel like a Mother Hen, a Turkey Hawk, a Golden Retriever, and a St. Bernard all rolled up into one!
Looking back, I can see how my homeschooling background prepared me to hold this zany yet ultimately fulfilling position and carry forward a literary mission which might otherwise have fallen by the wayside. I will now endeavor to outline just a few of the ways homeschooling has shaped me as an editor:
1. Love of the Catholic Faith
First and foremost, my homeschooling heritage instilled in me a love of the Catholic faith and taught me how that faith can be shared through the power of stories and the sacramental nature of the sensory experience.
Since my dad was a religious antiques restorer, I was educated surrounded by beautiful images and statues of Our Lord, Our Lady, and the saints, whose stories I was always eager to learn.
This left me with a lasting impression that the beauty of art, whether through visual imagery or a tale retold, can serve the noble purpose of opening hearts to Divine Grace.
As an editor, I work to ensure that TFOTK Magazine serves the same purpose, bringing the three transcendentals of goodness, truth, and beauty to the fore for each reader who pays us a visit.
2. Importance of Family
Homeschooling taught me the importance of the family as a network, and the love, loyalty, and responsibility it takes to keep a unit together.
As my main educators, my parents taught me the virtues and skills necessary to assume a command position of this kind, grounded in a determination to uphold the integrity of a worthwhile project, even in light of sudden circumstantial shifts.
My parents also taught me that familial duty extends beyond bloodlines; indeed, I do consider our magazine fellowship, both contributors and readers, to be a type of spiritual family.
Like the members of the Body of Christ, we are all bound up together through the love of this project and the willingness to produce and appreciate wholesome and substantial content which touches upon the search for ‘something else’ that is beyond this world.
3. Work at Home through chaos
Homeschooling taught me how to work at home…in spite of any amount of simultaneous chaos!
Some people will say that working in a household environment sounds extremely difficult considering how life tends to barge in and get in the way. But maybe the trick is simply to “go with the flow” of life instead of trying to swim against the current. This is something homeschoolers learned long ago.
Interruptions and distractions are bound to come, but fighting them too hard just proves frustrating. Go with the flow. If working in a linear way does not work out, try a circular route. In other words, if you always come back to your work, it will get done… maybe not when we exactly intend it, but it will!
The same goes for imperfections in the realm of organization. Maybe my desk is a cluttered mess; but as long as everything’s there, it can be sorted through for working purposes…and when all else fails, there’s always the once a week tidy-up maintenance routine!
4. Importance of Reaching Out
4. Lastly, contrary to what some might expect, homeschooling taught me the importance of reaching beyond my own circle.
Being homeschooled does mean that, in some ways, social interaction is something which must be sought after through one’s own initiative. Making contacts, oftentimes long-distance ones via the modern conveniences of phone and internet, has been something I have grown comfortable with through practice, and happily so because of the variety of friends I have met in the process.
Indeed, it is through these internet connections that TFOTK came into being in the first place. In the case of the magazine, networking through media continues to be a vital part of recruiting contributors to write for us and staff workers to review and edit the material we receive, as well as working in the graphics and technical departments.
It is also necessary in the way of advertisement and networking with other projects that hold similar aspirations and inspirations to our own. All this is done from a home base, a direct descendent of my homeschooling training.
It has been a greatly rewarding experience to watch The Fellowship of The King grow up to ten times its original size in output and incoming readership since the start of my tenure as editor, which has truly been a blessing from God.
It has required a lot of hard work dedicated to developing it from all involved, but I believe that the project does have a providential mission worth carrying forward. Observing the diversity of our readership, it is clear that our love of the literary arts is drawing in not just our fellow Catholics and homeschoolers, but people from every religious belief and educational background.
Many of these people may ordinarily avoid all things including the words “Catholic” and “Homeschool” on instinct. But through our works, we are extending the hand of welcome and the opportunity for them to open their minds and hearts to us with mutual dignity and respect.
Since the magazine has been a homeschool initiative from its inception, I would like to also invite all of those affiliated with Seton Home Study to come and visit us, either as readers, contributors, or both.
We would be blessed to have you become a part of our Fellowship.