Meet Nathan Williams. He serves as one of three pastors at Northshore Church of Christ in Mandeville, Louisiana—and he’s a long-time homeschool dad! Here’s this homeschool dad’s perspective on how homeschooling with Classical Conversations has helped his family navigate classical, Christian education.
A Homeschool Dad’s Perspective on CC: A Compass and a Wind
My parents homeschooled me and my two brothers back when homeschooling wasn’t cool.
I started first grade in 1984 and graduated twelfth grade in 1996. My parents knew nothing of the classical model of education, but they knew they would honor the Lord by managing the content of my studies.
I’m glad they did.
Meanwhile, my wife had navigated the public schools, which meant she wasn’t classically trained either. She observed the ugly side of mashing together a few hundred worldly-minded youths.
Because I was homeschooled and because my wife was public-schooled, we were both determined to homeschool our children, but we didn’t know exactly where to start.
Read: “Homeschool vs. Public School”
For the first couple of years, we experimented with our oldest child, Josiah (the poor eldest, right?). But one day the Lord connected us to a lovely lady, seemingly at random, who told us she was starting a Classical Conversations community in our area. She asked if we’d join her in this exciting new venture.
Twelve years later, we’re deeply pleased we said yes.
Why? Because Classical Conversations has provided my family ship with a compass and a wind.
Classical Conversations Helps Me Steer the Family Ship
As a husband and father, God gave me the responsibility to lead my family. If things go well in our homeschooling, my wife deserves the praise, as she shoulders the lion’s share of the day-to-day work with the kids.
If things go poorly, though, the buck stops with me—and rightly so.
I am responsible for steering the family ship, for keeping the focus on Jesus, for realizing when course corrections are needed.
The Classical Conversations community gives me and my family a compass by which to navigate our children’s educational oceans, and they provide motivating wind to move the sailboat.
Classical Conversations Casts a Vision for an Educational Destination
As I wasn’t classically educated, I knew nothing about the trivium, the natural stages of educational development through which all children progress. Classical Conversations taught me about the grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric stages of learning.
Read: “What Is the Trivium?”
After walking the homeschool road for twelve years, my two oldest boys have graduated, and the fruit they have borne is sweet. I am glad we trusted the classical model. Not only did it provide an excellent framework for training my kids, but it has helped me to continue my own education.
If you hover around the Classical Conversations community for long, you will hear that parents can redeem their own education.
Classical Conversations Helps Me Get to the Destination
My youngest, Caleb, is about to begin his second year of Essentials, and God has blessed me with a flexible schedule, so I plan to be his Essentials Tutor.
Did I mention that Essentials is my favorite Classical Conversations course?
Whoever named it “Essentials” hit the target, as it provides the essential building blocks and skills these young folks need for understanding and expressing themselves through the written word. In my opinion, most college students today need this course!
My only daughter, Kaia, will start Challenge I soon, and she will implement those building blocks she learned in Foundations and Essentials in math, Latin, writing, and beyond.
Josiah and Xander, my two oldest, completed their first twelve years of education well-equipped to learn whatever they need.
That is a major goal of true education—to teach someone how to learn for himself.
We don’t spoon-feed them any longer because they can now put food on their own plates and, Lord willing, they will eventually provide for others. Classical Conversations provides a vision for getting to that destination and then helps along the way to arrive.
Classical Conversations Provides Constant Support and Encouragement
As a husband, I’m in charge of supporting my wife and making sure she has everything she needs (Ephesians 5:25–33).
When she is with other parents in the CC community, I know that she has friends and support. In fact, although we needed much more cheering on in the beginning years, now we do more cheerleading for younger parents!
If we sent our children to a public school, we would constantly be battling worldly and sinful influences from school acquaintances. No friend is perfect (we all sin), but the children of families who honestly and openly love the Lord tend to make more wholesome friends for my children.
CC communities provide healthy environments for our kids to enjoy, grow, and thrive.
And that’s my “homeschool dad’s perspective” on CC. As I look back over our years with Classical Conversations, I see a few lows, yes, but many highs.
Classical Conversations has given us a compass and a wind. The compass provides real-time feedback on our present location in relation to our destination. The wind moves us toward that right destination.
I’m excited to begin another outstanding year. Praise God for what He has done and continues to do!