We are coming up on our eighth year in Classical Conversations, and we truly love it more each year. For this reason I thought I would take a minute to share what we have learned during the last seven years.
Classical Conversations truly is a classical Christian community.
Classical: The education is rich. It is about loving learning, not checking off boxes. We use time tested techniques designed to work with how God created us to learn! Little kids are sponges, so we memorize! Middle school kids love to argue? Great! We teach them how to argue properly with logic and debate! High schoolers long to express themselves? Perfect! We give them quality content with the tools and the opportunities to express themselves. Then we watch them blossom! However, we do it with excellence. The bar is set high so every single learner can be challenged. It is up to parents to adjust that bar to fit their child and their family.
Christian: A Christian world view is woven into every subject we discuss. One of my favorite Bible teachers is a sixteen-year-old boy in our community who didn’t go to church growing up, but learned about God through every single strand of this program. If you want to know God, study Latin, science, math, history, and more. Study His word, of course, but don’t ignore the importance, nay the necessity, of studying his world!
Community: For the last seven years I have grown with the families in our community. Some have come and gone. Some have gone and come back! We have strong personalities. And we have small personalities. But we are family. Here’s an important point a lot of people do not understand. It took time. I did not always feel this connected. You cannot join a group and expect instant connection or a conflict-free commitment. There will be misunderstandings and high emotions. We love Jesus, but we are broken. However, as I sat and watched my daughter complete her mock trial with her peers, I felt such pride for every single one of those students. You see, I tutored some of them in Essentials. I directed most of them in Challenge A. I felt nearly as proud of them as of my own daughter. I’ve found that if you want to feel that extra special closeness in community, you have to step up. You have to dive in. You have to serve and invest.
Classical Conversations is not just an academic program for our family. It has been an enrichment program for every part of our being. Scripture says that we are to love the Lord with our all of our heart, soul, spirit, and mind. Classical Conversations is a program that encourages us to do exactly that. Too many people forget that loving the Lord with your mind is an actual thing. For too long Christians have ignored all the blessings that God has waiting for us in academia. He created and designed this amazing world around us. He has lessons to be learned about who He is. Unfortunately, however, we have turned learning to an unnatural, mechanical, fill-in-the-blank, get-it-done-quickly-so-you-can-get-on-with-life obligation. Learning is more than an obligation; it is a lifelong privilege. Tutoring and directing at Classical Conversations has taught me that, and I have the blessing of passing down that excitement on to my children.
However, I have met people who have not had this experience for varying reasons. Classical Conversations is a rigorous program. Some get bogged down when the boxes can’t be checked off, so they give up, rather than scaling back. Some parents are looking for a hands-off drop off program where an expert lectures for an hour at a time. But CC is not that. Our children thrive in the program when we, as parents, are able to enter the conversation with them and get involved. That does not mean you must always sit in class with them, but the more connected you are, the better. And lastly, for some, the community part is hard. And that is the truth. Community is always hard. But I am thankful for the grace I have received in my community, in spite of my weaknesses, in spite of my shortcomings. It is because of the grace I have received that I try my hardest to give others that same gift, and pray that God will use us all to glorify him as we grow through conflict with humility.
Classical Conversations is a classical Christian community that has blessed our lives in countless ways for the last seven years. For this we are grateful and expectantly look forward to whatever God has in store for our education through CC. Learning about God and his world as a family is a blessing for which I repeatedly praise Him as we continue to know Him and to make Him known.