Classical, Christian community—that’s what Classical Conversations is all about. Since the beginning of our homeschool journey in 2009, our family has experienced classical, Christian community in a variety of ways, from our first days in Foundations to the final blue book of Challenge IV. To commemorate and celebrate our fourteen-year homeschool journey, it seemed only natural to head north over 700 miles to Southern Pines, NC, and participate in the 2023 Classical Conversations National Commencement.
We discovered that the National Commencement was indeed a fitting way to celebrate all that we had accomplished together as a homeschool family. We experienced classical, Christian community in a whole new way!
Commemorate the journey. Celebrate the Challenge. Conclude the chapter.
Why Would a Graduate Attend?
Wyatt Thompson: Before the National Commencement, I had met some of the other students on the grad zoom parties.
I looked forward to meeting them in North Carolina. While completing the obstacle course at the National Athletic Village and fellowshipping with my peers at the barn, I was amazed at how God provided community over 700 miles away from home. I formed fast friendships with several Challenge grads. Three of us even shared our Senior Theses with each other!
Although this weekend was short, I look forward to seeing them again in the near future. I will join three others in the Odyssey Program during the 2023/2024 school year and several more when I attend Southeastern University in the fall of 2024. I am thankful for all the grads I met and got to know.
As a Classical Conversations student, it had been a dream of mine for many years to meet Mrs. Leigh Bortins. When I found out that she would be at the event, delivering an informal presentation to the graduates and holding an interview for a possible internship, I was thrilled.
Listening to her speak was a wonderful treat. During the presentation, she spoke about classical education and encouraged us graduates that we can homeschool and God will equip us to do so. During the interview, she spoke about entrepreneurship and how to be both wise and effective with our finances.
I am thankful to have met Mrs. Bortins, and I look forward to hearing from her again.
Why Would a Family Attend?
Our family enjoyed seeing a part of America where we had never traveled before. Living in Southeast Florida where there is mainly swamp, beach, and flat terrain, visiting an area of the country where there were hills, forests, and warm weather that was not humid was refreshing.
Taking a tour of the home office gave us a glimpse of all the behind-the-scenes work that Classical Conversations does to support families and help us to have community back at home. We were encouraged to see how much work CC does each day to provide families with resources for educating at home. We are grateful to have visited the Southern Pines area in North Carolina, and we look forward to the next time we all can visit.
If you ever get a chance to visit Southern Pines with your family, be sure to check out the National Athletic Village!
Why Would a Parent Attend?
Rachel Thompson: If you have been in Classical Conversations for any length of time, you have probably seen the Parent, Student, and Tutor Triangle.
Read: “The Partnership”
CC believes that we as parents are able to teach our kids, and they do everything they can to support and equip us in that endeavor. Being at the National Commencement was one more example of that commitment.
As our graduate’s name was called, a short thank you written by our student was presented to us by the MCs of the event. As parents came on stage from the opposite side of the church, we met our student in the center alongside Robert and Leigh. There on stage, we parents handed our children their diplomas.
It was a moment that will forever be etched in our memories and signifies so much more than just a diploma. This was family-centered home education playing out in real time. CC has helped our family get to this moment, and it was on display at the ceremony.
. . . in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV)
Why Would It Be Worth It?
Going into National Commencement, we knew that it would be more than giving and receiving a diploma. To our surprise, we experienced an event far beyond our expectations. It truly was a celebration of home educating as a family. If you are at all wondering if you ought to make the time and investment of the travel . . . the answer is yes! Emphatically, yes!
You will be blessed. You will see a company that is cheering you on, all the way to the finish line and beyond. You will be surrounded by families that have traveled a similar road as you. You speak the same language. You get each other and what it takes to just keep going. It truly is a one-voice-unity type of moment.
. . . then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.
Philippians 2:2 (NIV)
Thank you, Classical Conversations. You have taught us parents that we are capable of teaching our kids, you have given us tools to equip us for the path ahead, and you have reminded us to look for the fingerprints of our Creator. You have helped us model to our kids (and taught us, too) that we truly can learn how to learn anything while sitting at the feet of Jesus.
We are abundantly grateful to have attended the National Commencement. We could not imagine a better way to conclude and celebrate completing fourteen years in classical, Christian community. Our family has two more upcoming graduates, and we are excited to travel north and celebrate again.
We can’t wait to see you there!