Tiptoeing Into the Land of High School

I have been waiting for this moment for the past 10 years. Ever since I first read The Well Trained Mind and learned about a Great Books Study, I knew this was one of the reasons why I wanted to homeschool all the way through high school. In reading WTM, I had visions of reading The Iliad or Oedipus Rex out loud with all of my children. This vision was complete with drinking cups of hot chocolate and plenty of lively discussions in keeping with the Great Conversation. This was the kind of education I wanted for my children.

There were little niggling strands of doubt 10 years ago about how I was going to pull this off. I mean, I did not have a classical education growing up. In fact, in hearing about other people’s education, I didn’t even have a good education. What made me think that | could wade into these deep waters when I hadn’t even walked through the shallow waters? I always thought that if I had the interest and desire to give my children this kind of education then I would just learn all that I would need to know.

At the time I considered this vein of thinking as confidence. Now, I’m not so sure. I see it now as arrogance. That I could learn all that entails a classical education, as well as learn how to teach it–well, that is a pretty hard order. An order that I have failed to fill.

I have not learned all that I had hoped.

That being said, though, I have learned a great deal about a myriad of subjects–mimetic teaching (5 years ago I didn’t even know those words existed,)moral imagination, poetic knowledge, heroic epics, dyslexia and how to teach dyslexic children, and the list goes on. So I have learned many things in the past 10 years but I’m not sure if that is enough to carry us through the high school years, let alone a Great Books Study.

But we are going to give it a try.

Emma and I have picked out her book list for science, as well as the books for her Great Books Study. If nothing else, she will be introduced to these works. Even if she does not gain an understanding of these works, her soul will be touched by the words. She will be exposed to the poetry of these words. These two sentences has become my mantra of the last few months.

I will admit this here: I am scared. Okay, that is too passive a word to describe the tumult that my innards are experiencing right now. Let’s try again: I am terrified of the prospect of homeschooling high school. What if I mess up? Let me rephrase that: I am human so I am going to mess up. How do I clean up the messes? These are my children’s futures we are talking about. How do I unmess the messes when they occur?

I guess that my answer to that is my answer when the messes occurred during the past 10 years: trust and faith. Trust that God will clean up those messes and rectify the mistakes made. Have faith that even in the midst of the messiest of messes, God can produce a thing of beauty. God is in control of my children’s lives and, yes, their education. He will make sure that it will all turn out well even with me as their teacher. This is what I will cling to in the next 4 years: trust and faith.

I realize, as I am typing this out, that how I feel now–at the cusp of high school–is exactly how I felt when we were starting to homeschool. I was scared (terrified) at this new endeavor but I knew deep down that this was the right decision for our family. It was daunting but it also seemed natural.

Nothing has changed. I feel the exact same way.

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