Ever since my husband and I began to think about having children, we agreed we would homeschool. He was adament, I was more reserved (after all, I would be the teacher, not him), but I was excited to try my hand at it, though both of us had excelled at public scool. (Tim has always believed in me and my abilities far more steadfastly that I have believed in myself. I hope I can be as much of an encouragement to him as he is to me.) The Bible says parents are to “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6) but to my way of thinking, that isn’t so much a command as a statement of how things will naturally flow. Parents talking to their babies, responding to their coos as well as their cries, help pre-verbal babies learn how conversations go back-and-forth. Toddlers learn how to walk, usually with the encouragement from mom and dad, and most parents will teach their children shapes and colors along with the alphabet and numbers, before they’re officially school-age.
From this perspective, my homeschooling journey started almost 7 years ago. (Ethan will be 7 this Wednesday!) For the past 3 years, we have been a part of CLassi call Conversations. My first 2 years, I was a tutor, and this past year I was a director, and today was the last Community Day of our third year. It was bittersweet in many ways, especially as I have been praying for and with these families all this year, some even longer than that, and we will not be continuing with CC next year (that is a long story maybe for another time…) Each year we’ve been a part of CC, I have been on a different campus, and I’m looking forward to some consistency in our future.
While we have been part of a homeschooling community for the past three years, this year is our first official year homeschooling. In Ohio, public school attendance is manditory starting at age 6 (I forget the birthday cutoff, but Ethan’s April birthday was unquestionable.) Public preschool and kindergarten are optional, although Ethan did CC when he was 4, Ethan and Naomi did CC last year when they were 5 and 4 as well as a math curriculum, and this year, when Ethan and Naomi were 6 and 5, we added math, language arts, and Bible curriculua, none of that had to be reported. We sent a notification to the TPS Board of Education, received our letter of excusal from compulsory attendance from the superintendent, and continued on with what we had been doing.
All this to say, Week 24 of the 24-week Classical Conversations is in the books. Done. Complete. Successfully, even. But that doesn’t mean learning stops. First of all, we need to finish off the math and language arts curriculums. Those are set to be finished by early June, according to my lovely homeschool planner. But even then, I don’t know that I want to wait until next “school year” to start the next level. I love seeing the wonder of the world through their eyes, and I want to encourage them to always be seeking the Truth and figuring things out.
The Bible says (speaking of God’s Law) “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7, emphasis mine) Education and learning should not be, dare I say cannot be, confined to a limited few months of the schoolyear.
We won’t be attending our formal “school” any more this year. But school is far from being over. I have graduated from high school and from college; while I will likely not receive any more pieces of paper stating that I’ve accomplished a significant amount of schoolwork, my education is still continuing. By teaching my children, I am discovering there are things I was never taught; I look forward to learning alongside them, teaching them and being inspired by them, through the spring, summer, and seasons beyond!