In this blog post, homeschool mom Heatherly Sylvia shares her reasons to be thankful for homeschooling and classical education this Thanksgiving season.
Homeschooling affords many benefits—from academic advantages to community support—but the greatest gift homeschooling offers is a simple realization: that our own education as parents cries out for redemption.
Why I’m Grateful for Homeschooling and Classical Education
My education needed to be reclaimed and redeemed. That was pretty obvious from the beginning of my homeschooling journey.
While I had been a decent student and then a confident classroom teacher for the better part of a decade, it quickly became apparent that I was at a loss when teaching my kids how to learn.
I knew how to follow a curriculum guide. I knew how to quiz my kids. I even knew how to assess their work. But I didn’t know how to teach them how to learn. I only knew how to teach them what to learn.
This realization was the first step in my journey to redeeming my education—a journey for which my family and I are thankful.
I’m Thankful for Reclaiming My Home School with Classical Tools
Redeeming my education began with my first introductions to Classical Conversations. Homeschooling was miserable! I knew what I was supposed to do but didn’t know how.
Knowing how overwhelmed I was becoming, a friend invited me to meet her for coffee, and with only her Foundations guide, she showed me just how simple homeschooling could be. That day, I began to learn about the arts of grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric as she guided me through the tools of memorization.
The very next day, I began to implement those tools, and suddenly, the overwhelming task of map memorization became a delight and our children’s favorite party trick. I had only implemented one new tool, but they were already discovering the joy of learning new things!
As I joined a CC community, I quickly realized that the tools of the classical method could benefit not only our home school but also my own personal studies.
I’m Grateful for Redeeming My Own Academic Education and Beyond
I had been a poor foreign language student in high school, but learning the grammar of Latin inspired me to begin studying it with more intention and intensity—to be able to read the original texts. Reading well, understanding English grammar, and studying history, all content areas where I had had some confidence, suddenly were rich mines to be plundered.
I realized there were layers that I had been missing, and I began to fill in the gaps as I entered the Challenge program and continued to learn how to learn well and how to learn shoulder-to-shoulder with my students at home.
Once I was introduced to the five common topic questions, I realized I could figure out how to apply these classical tools to my personal Bible study. Suddenly, it was a joy to slow down and read through even the most difficult or previously tedious portions of Scripture. I simply had to know the right questions to ask!
CC equipping opportunity introduced me to the idea of using the five common topics outside of academics, and our family life was transformed! Our communication improved, and we avoided silly squabbles because we knew how to ask the right questions, listen to the other person, and answer respectfully—all skills our children were learning alongside me in Challenge.
I loved learning alongside my own kids and with the students I tutored in our Classical Conversations community. Still, there was one more benefit of redeeming my education, for which I became thankful.
I’m Thankful for Becoming Rhetorical
My favorite aspect of reclaiming and redeeming my own education and giving my students a much richer learning experience than I had is being able to pass on what I am learning.
As a Challenge tutor, parent mentor, and team leader, I have been able to share with others the joys of teaching with “a stick in the sand” (using simple methods which I could teach using just a stick and some sand, a pencil and paper, or a marker and whiteboard) and “easy plus one” (adding only one challenging element at a time, so that students have the time and space to master the skills they are learning).
Watching overwhelmed parents become more peace-filled as they simplify their home schools with classical tools, gain the confidence to mentor their students shoulder-to-shoulder as their lead learners, and begin to explore new content for themselves has brought me immense joy.
A Heart Full of Gratitude
Never underestimate the power of a friend with a cup of coffee in one and a Foundations guide in the other. Their simple message may just lead you to a home of joyful, life-long learners and a heart thankful for a reclaimed and redeemed education all your own.
Image by Drazen Zigic on Freepik.