Encouragement from the Word

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth"
III John 1:4

Monday, August 13, 2012

Classical Conversations: The Adventure Begins!

Today my daughter and I and several other friends attended an open house for our new home school program...Classical Conversations. I can't tell you how excited I am that the Lord led us to this wonderful Christian based educational program and this new (to us) educational philosophy.

According to the Classical Conversations handbook, the program is: a mission - to know God and make Him known, a model - to combine a biblical worldview and classical tools and, a method - to equip parents and encourage students.

Classical Conversations is based on the classical tools of learning: grammatical, rhetorical and dialectical skills in particular.

The students go to a specific location one day a week to have lessons and concepts presented by an experienced Classical Conversations tutor. They will have opportunities to discuss literature, share their writing, learn Latin (!) and explore creationism vs evolution. The parent is still the child's primary teacher and works through the assignments with them during the week.

Our tutor is a godly, perky, former missionary, Mom who is definitely gifted and passionate about teaching. She actually seems to ooze the love of Jesus from every pore, if that's possible. I'm thrilled that we will have the opportunity to get to know this amazing woman as the year progresses.

My expectations for this program are that my daughter come out on the other side as a more independent learner, a more impassioned and skillful communicator and, that she will be moved to a closer walk with God as she begins to understand the power, genius and creativity of the God of the universe.

I am constantly amazed at how God orchestrates our lives as we seek to please and honor Him...opening up new avenues to fulfill the desires of our hearts. In this case, the desire of my heart to raise a godly young woman who will walk in the ways of the Lord and pass on the legacy of faith to her own children.

Another very special blessing that God showers on us at the most unexpected times is the gift of new friends who are in the same phase of life with the same heart for their children. It's an awesome thing to be in such a community. This is another facet and benefit of Classical Conversations.

For my daughter and I, this year will signal a change in the pace as well as the content of our previous homeschooling efforts. It will be a challenge  but we will embrace it and "work at it with all of our heart as unto the Lord".

I will keep you posted on our progress as we journey through this year of new friends, new material and new challenges. I can't wait to see what God has in store!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Not Your Grandmother's University!

I recently returned from a college scouting trip with my 17 year old son and what an eye-opening, informative and exciting adventure it was. It has been many years since I graduated from college but I still remember how certain I was about what college I wanted to attend. As a Florida girl, I was determined to go to a place where I could experience cooler weather and a little snowfall in the winter. I was also drawn to the beauty of the mountains. Even though I had a wonderful, loving relationship with my parents, I really wanted to go a good distance away from home. I was ready to spread my wings.

Even so, I was still caught a little off-guard when my son expressed that same determination to go to a college out of state. After a few early, futile attempts to get him to attend college closer to home, I realized, he is his mother's son...a little stubborn and independent. Therefore, I eagerly began helping him to sort through college information and to plan a college road trip to several colleges in the southeast that seemed to fit his needs and our goals for him as a college student. After much prayer, planning and anticipation, we headed out... SAT scores, G.P.A. and class rank in hand.

We visited seven colleges in 5 days, listening to admissions presentations and taking tours at each location. We explored both Christian and secular universities, from very small to quite large. I quickly realized that we were hearing many of the same "buzzwords" at nearly all of the schools we visited. Needless to say, they were all new ideas since my days in college nearly 30 years ago. Some are big ideas, others are smaller innovations. Here is a partial list:

honors college
undergraduate research
extensive data bases
freshman seminar
test optional  admissions process
weighted GPA's
completely wireless campus
club sports
laundry web site ( you can go online and see when a washer is available! )
green campus
microwave-fridge combination ( for saving energy )
study abroad ( we had this at my college but it is much more wide-spread and available now )

As I said, these terms are now the norm on college campuses. We heard them again and again.

The most awesome moment for me was visiting one-on-one with the admissions counselor at a medium sized Christian college. She exuded the joy of Christ and of course, talked to my son about praying about his decision and following the Lord's leading. She said, "If the Lord leads you here, we would love to have you."

It was at that same college where I was fighting back tears during the viewing of the admissions video! My son and I were the only ones in the room at the time and the Christian message and vision that were put forth by the college president in the video just got to me. It was inspiring...and I am quite sensitive when it comes to spiritual things anyway. My son, of course, was horrified that someone would walk in and see me crying...he said, "Mom! No one cries during admissions videos!" That made me laugh and I quickly dried my tears before the admissions counselor reappeared.

The colleges we visited covered a somewhat wide range from very conservative to more liberal, as evidenced by their dorm rules, types of clubs and organizations on campus, and the content of the classes offered. As I said, it was an eye-opening trip, to be sure.

We will continue to pray and plan as my son begins his senior year of high school and considers God's will for his life and occupation. I know that God intends to do something special through him in the world in whatever mission field he chooses to plant him.

What do you think about whether Christian kids should ever go to a secular college? Leave a comment below and let me know.