Each Friday we will be spotlighting a member of Classical Conversations: the first Friday will be a homeschool graduate who attended CC’s Challenge program, the second Friday will be a current student, the third a state manager and the fourth a community director. Want to share your Classical Conversations story? Email us!
This month’s Classical Conversations director spotlight is: Alecia Baptiste of Cedar Park, Texas.
Greetings! I am Alecia Baptiste and I currently serve as a Foundations and Essentials director in Cedar Park, Texas. I have been married for almost 17 years to the love of my life, Edward Baptiste, and we have four children—Brian (15), Bianca (11), Edward III (9), and Felecia (7). We began our journey homeschooling our children when our oldest son was three. I did not think of it as homeschooling at the time. For me teaching my son was synonymous to parenting. It really did not matter if I was teaching math, scripture, or learning how things work (used to be my son’s favorite book). Living and learning was as natural as breathing. It still is! Homeschooling seemed like a natural fit for our family.
After our oldest son attended school for three years, my husband and I decided that we would educate our children at home. That short stint in school provided the extra encouragement we needed to pursue homeschooling full-time. We want our children to reach their fullest potential, not simply pass some standard set by people who know nothing about our children. How can they know what our children need to know? My husband and I knew many of the shortcomings of the educational system firsthand, since we both taught in that system. We wanted our children to have more. We wanted a different life for our family.
In my search to learn more about educating our children, I came across the classical method of homeschooling. I began to read as much as I could from the Bluedorn’s site and started implementing their strategies. In my desire to learn more about the classical method of homeschooling, I came across a program on the internet called Classical Conversations. It intrigued me. It seemed to take everything that I was trying to do, and put it together into something that was “doable.” Unfortunately, Classical Conversations was not in Texas at the time, so I subscribed to Leighmail in hopes that CC would be in Texas soon. In the meantime, I continued to read and learn more about the classical method of educating. Then one day while perusing one of the homeschooling Yahoo groups, I saw it. Classical Conversations had come to Texas! I was so excited!
I immediately began to correspond with the lady who posted the announcement—Anita Wilson. After several emails and phone conversations with her, we visited an Open House. That was three years ago. After seeing the program for myself, I realized that this program was even better than I envisioned. This was a gift from God! It encapsulated everything I wanted for my homeschool. Now we would actually study geography and the timeline. We would spend time studying art, and music. We would do a science experiment each week. In addition, my children would be learning science, math, history, Latin, Scripture, the timeline, and English grammar. It looked like something even I could accomplish! There was only one problem. We couldn’t afford to enroll our children.
I told Anita that I was interested in tutoring or directing a community. Honestly, I do not know what made me say that I would direct a community. I remember specifically thinking earlier that I did not want to direct, but I would like to tutor. It was obviously the will of God that I would direct a community, because He “parted the Red Sea” so that I could. What a tremendous blessing it has been these three years to direct for CC. God has connected me with some of the most amazing people! I have made precious, lifelong friends who labor with me in prayer. The Lord has exposed so many of my weaknesses and allowed me to excel in my areas of gifting. I have learned so much about Him, and He has widened my view of His amazing work in the world. How could I have known the tears I would cry, the burdens I would bear, the seasons of uncertainty, and the long hours of crying out to the Lord on behalf of my community? How could I have known that I would see His hand in marvelous and miraculous ways, and hear Him speak with clarity to me and through me? How could I have known that I would be a part of such a beautifully diverse group of people with one heart, one mind, one purpose, passionately proclaiming with one voice, “We want to know our great God and make Him known!”
CC has benefited my children in so many ways. The first year we were a part of CC, my expectations were pretty low. We had only memorized Scripture and a few other facts, so that large quantity of information that we were memorizing seemed daunting. But during the course of the year, I realized that they could do it. Now that we are in our third year of the program, the benefits are much more evident. I can see that my children’s minds have gotten so much stronger! Memorization is becoming MUCH easier. I believe CC has helped us to press our children farther than we would have on our own, without exasperating them. I also believe we are giving our children the skills they need to walk confidently in their purposes. They have made some wonderful friends and they look forward going to “school” each week. CC has been a tremendous blessing for my children!
Thank you, Leigh, for being a servant of God and bringing hope and redemption to America’s educational system. Thank you for being a voice crying out in the wilderness, telling mama’s that they are indeed smart enough to teach their children and even more importantly, God has called and equipped us to teach our children. Thank you for going before us and blazing this path, and then sharing the roadmap with us, so that our families can benefit. Thank you for following the vision that God placed in your heart, even when others have criticized or wanted to change the vision. Thank you for allowing me to join you and the entire Classical Conversations team as we all strive to “know God and make Him known.” The past three years have been a joyous journey and I am so thankful that I made the trip. I pray that God would continue to allow our family to stay connected with Classical Conversations, though I will no longer be directing. Classical Conversations has given me a “foretaste” of the eternal kingdom. And what a yummy morsel it has been!
I pray that you would take time today to stop, be quiet and still today, so that you might experience more of the fullness of our beautiful Lord today. May you live every moment in His Presence that He might fill you to overflowing with Himself, causing you to bear much fruit. Amen.
Servant of the King of Kings,