by Sara Breetzke, TCA Head of School
It’s summer. You did your research, and you decided that a classical, Christian education will best guide your student toward virtue and academic excellence.
Now comes the hard part.
The word decision literally means “to cut away,” and this educational adventure – while hugely valuable – won’t come without difficulty. You may be cutting away from routine schooling situations, having a child at home full-time, or comfortable family rhythms. All of these changes will likely be painful.
So what next? What will you need to help you transition well into a new year of classical, Christian schooling?
This summer, as you feel the pressure of cutting away, here are three things you’ll need to stay the course on this journey.
1. PERSPECTIVE: There is a story about two stonecutters. One was exasperated to have to chisel away at a stone all day. He focused only on the task in front of him, boring and seemingly endless.
His partner, though, chipped away with vigor. He saw not just the stone, but the cathedral that his stone would help form. This tale reminds us that “we who cut mere stones must always be envisioning cathedrals.”
I’ve heard this story before. But until reading David Macauley’s Cathedral this spring, I hadn’t considered that it took over 100 years to build a cathedral. Not only did that stoneworker see little progress on his stone, it was likely he would never see the completed work of his labor. By the time a cathedral was finished, the original visionaries and builders were dead. But the cathedral stood. Many of them still stand.
This long-term perspective is the one that classical, Christian educators must hold tightly. We want our children to become virtuous humans and Christ-worshippers. We hope these children will go on to educate another generation of people who love learning and do so to the glory of God. To prepare yourself for the school year ahead, take time this summer to reflect on what God is building in and through your family’s educational choice.
2. PEOPLE: Very little in our culture prepares us or encourages us to work for this sort of long term goal. The stonecutter in the story needed the man working beside him. He needed to be reminded that each hit of his hammer shaped a stone that would become a cathedral that would glorify God.
When you decide on a classical, Christian education for your family, you’ll need other people. You’ll need them to remind you of your ultimate goals for your children. You’ll need them to remind you that you have a loving Father who will give you grace for each day of your child’s school.
Furthermore, we need each other’s gifts. To classically educate children well, we need people who have knowledge that we don’t: How can we teach our children Latin? How can we introduce them to the best art and music? How can we train our children in virtue?
This work cannot be done in isolation. This summer, I hope you’ll prepare for a year of classical, Christian education by pondering the role you’ll play in your educational community. How will you share your gifts with those who share the vision of a classical, Christian education? How will you invite others to share their gifts and further this vision?
3. PRAYER: Those of us classically educating our children from a Christ-centered viewpoint not only need perspective and people around us, we need the Holy Spirit. Our efforts are futile if God himself doesn’t establish them.
Those of us deciding on this form of education must pray that God will be present in our homes and classrooms to bless our efforts. We must trust that God will establish our work, even when we experience the fear and pain of doing something new.
Each year that we make the decision for classical and Christian education, we have to “cut away” anew. So this summer, let’s ask God to prepare us and give us courage to follow through on our decision.
Let’s ask God for perspective. Let’s ask him to form a strong community of people around us. And let’s submit these requests to the Lord in prayer again and again. Because ultimately an education is just one of many decisions that will help us reach the true end of our lives: God’s glory.