In my early twenties, I was a very career-focused woman. Working for a large corporation, my days consisted of tackling new projects and consuming copious amounts of Diet Coke.
Then three children came in four years. The world changed. My husband and I started a new kind of project, and our homeschooling journey began. I directed my time and attention away from my career and toward chanting Latin declensions during dinner.
A Master’s Degree for Homeschool Parents
That was over 23 years ago, and who could have imagined the opportunities in store? In March of 2020, Classical Conversations Plus announced a new partnership with Southeastern University that allows parents to earn college credit while homeschooling and receive a Master of Arts in Classical Studies, just by homeschooling their child through the high school years using the Classical Conversations Challenge program.
I value this new Classical Conversations® partnership with the master’s degree program because it affirms the hidden work of the homeschool parent, the education of two generations, and the acquired skills of a lifelong learner.
Read: “CC Plus: College Credits for Homeschoolers”
Your Hard Work Recognized
This master’s degree program recognizes the hidden work of homeschool parents as we invest in the next generation.
The days are long, but the years are short. Homeschooling is not easy. Many of us entered homeschooling under criticism, scrutiny, questions—doubts from family and friends. We often felt the need to defend our choice to homeschool, sometimes out loud and other times quietly. Many days, we battled our own questions: Am I doing the right thing? Is this best for my kids? Can I truly be the best teacher for my children?
We stayed the course, prayed, and kept learning with our children. We learned with our friends and their children. We studied weird things like logic, Latin, and essay structure together. We read Hamlet and Homer together. We gathered together and had lively discussions and debates about humanity and freedom. We even relearned chemistry and algebra. My husband and I were redeeming our own education while pouring into the next generation of lifelong learners. Our initial questions were beginning to be answered. And some of our questions were being transformed.
The One-Room Schoolhouse
Early in our homeschooling journey, my husband and I asked normal parent questions: What about the SAT and standardized tests? Will my kids get into college?
Slowly, seeing college student debt climb, our questions changed: Should they go to college? As we moved through high school, our questions got really crazy: Do I really have to give up my vision of homeschooling and its flexible lifestyle for college credit? Could our community-based curriculum earn college credit? Educational leaders worked together. Partnerships and programs formed so that both students and parents could earn college credit as they learned side-by-side from the same curriculum. Who could have imagined this kind of one-room schoolhouse?
We began the homeschooling journey without many practical promises or guarantees. It was work that we cherished for its own sake. We challenged assumptions. We loved our children, and, for some of us, that also meant opting out of mainstream education and opting in to homeschooling. We never planned for pats on the back, let alone a certificate on the wall. We never imagined educational leaders might one day turn, partner, and affirm the homeschool parent’s efforts.
Acquire the Skills of a Lifelong Learner
Classical Conversations with the MA in Classical Studies marks a new season for the homeschool parent. Since 2020, parents have benefited from this opportunity to learn right alongside their students and receive a well-rounded education and something to show for it. This addition of the master’s degree program is one more way of putting confidence in the heart of, and opening opportunities for, families in our local communities. As lifelong learners, Classical Conversations parents have acquired valuable skills through an immeasurable experience, skills that enable them to pour back into the next generation.
Earn Your Master’s Degree While Homeschooling
Let us press on together. Let us keep learning together. Let us keep reimagining education. To learn more about earning your master’s degree while homeschooling, visit CC Plus.
This post was originally written by Heather Shirley in 2020. Heather is a homeschool mom of three, previously a Challenge Director, and the Chief Academic Advisor of Classical Conversations.
Not yet a Classical Conversations member and interested in our community-based approach to homeschooling? We’d love to hear from you! To learn more about us, click here.