“If you build it, [they] will come,” has become an iconic expression in American culture.
For you young’uns, it’s a line from the 1989 film Field of Dreams starring Kevin Costner. In the film, Ray Kinsella, played by Costner, is a struggling farmer who keeps hearing that phrase and decides that if he can build a baseball field on his farm, then baseball players will come. He believes this will somehow help him reconnect with his estranged father who is a huge baseball fan in general and White Sox fan in particular. After building the baseball field, ghosts of the 1919 Chicago White Sox arrive, led by Shoeless Joe Jackson, and the film ends with Kinsella reuniting with his father and playing a game of catch.
Field of Dreams is a film primarily about fathers and sons and lifelong dreams, but the sentiment of the quotation can apply across the spectrum. “If you build it, they will come,” could be Classical Conversations’ clarion call for new Foundations directors.
For many of us, Classical Conversations has been a tremendous blessing for our families, and we respond positively, even passionately, when people ask us about homeschooling and classical education. We encourage family and friends to consider Classical Conversations as an educational option. We are encouraged when enrollment grows by the thousands every year. But what if there were no new Classical Conversations communities next year, no new Challenge programs started? As the number of Classical Conversations students continues to grow 10 to 15 percent each year, our existing programs would very quickly fill up. In fact, many programs are already completely full for this fall. Should we turn families away? Should we deny them the blessings that we have enjoyed? Of course not!
New communities are started by one or two parents being willing to step up and become Classical Conversations directors. Sometimes they are veteran Classical Conversations parents, but often they are simply parents who want the blessing of Classical Conversations for the children in their community.
You don’t have to be a trained classroom teacher to be a good director; you don’t even have to be an experienced homeschooler, although both of those things might help. We do ask that you have homeschooled for at least one year before becoming a director because adjusting to homeschooling is enough of a challenge by itself.
Classical Conversations has identified four general characteristics necessary for being a successful director; directors should:
- Model a love for lifelong learning;
- Lead under authority;
- Embrace and uphold a Christ-centered worldview; and
- Help children integrate subjects around a Christ-centered worldview.
That’s it! It is not necessary to have had experience as a classroom teacher or have an advanced degree. In fact, I think we can concentrate those qualifications even further: you need to love God, love children, and love learning.
Classical Conversations’ curriculum and training does much of the heavy lifting for its directors, and it recognizes that God equips different people differently. You may not think of yourself as a teacher; maybe you work as a bookkeeper or managed a business or earned a degree in engineering. Some of the best directors we know studied business or engineering and not education. You don’t have to know how to write a lesson plan, but if you are good at delegating or organizing, God may be calling you to be a director, too.
Do you drive more than thirty minutes to your Classical Conversations community? Then consider starting a new community in your town. Do you have a few parents and half a dozen kids in your area interested in Classical Conversations? Consider starting a new community—thriving communities have started with less. Don’t forget, dads can become directors and start communities too!
Fortunately, Classical Conversations has thought of literally everything. Between the finely-tuned curriculum, the extensive and ongoing training, and a supportive community and leadership, any committed parent who loves God, loves children, and loves learning can be a successful director.
If you believe God is leading you to become a director, don’t doubt the call because of your perceived lack of ability. God has been using the weak vessels of this world to accomplish great things for His glory for thousands of years, and he can use you in Classical Conversations too. If God leads you to start a new community or a new program, don’t doubt, because, “if you build it [in God’s strength], they will come,” and with His help, you will be a successful director.