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    With appreciation for classical education...

    As my husband and I see our friends become reluctant "empty nesters," we begin to be thankful for the somewhat unique opportunity to continue homeschooling beyond our children's graduation. Neither of our children, as it appears now, will be able to attend college; yet both want to continue their studies after graduation.

    Over time we have learned to relax our expectations, but not our courses or methods. My son now takes Intro to Logic, Music Theory, Algebra, Composition, and other challenging classes with me -- slowly, but with Socratic questioning and purpose. As his medical conditions progress, he knows such an education strengthens his otherwise weakening mind. I posted on a separate Latin thread that Michael told me recently, "Latin is so meticulous and systematic, it takes my boggled mind and sorts it out." When he added, "I want to study Latin forever," his twin sister chimed in, "Me too."

    Above all, as classical teachers we want to help our children see truth, goodness, and beauty whether through literature, language, or the natural sciences. Over the weekend our children enjoyed insights from Shakespeare on our deck, as we read through The Merchant of Venice together. Michelle loves Portia's famous speech on mercy, so she plays Portia in each scene. When Bassanio (played by my son) noted that outward appearance does not always indicate inward beauty, we paused and reflected. We recalled from an earlier act in the same play, “all that glisters is not gold—often have you heard that told....” Bassanio referenced Troy and Hercules, so we reviewed briefly our classical studies. Hours later, after locating some star guides, my husband gathered the children to recall simple astronomy terms. Armed with binoculars and blankets, we all settled in for an early autumn evening of stargazing.

    On such occasions, we see how all learning comes together in gratifying ways. Lying still in an open field near the woods that night, we marveled at the numerous clusters of stars in our country sky. We recalled Abraham and the promise about his descendants from Holy Scriptures. My husband identified the constellation Aquila, and Michelle said she knew from Latin it would be an eagle. We smiled. Sparked by the names of various constellations and even the planet Mars visible in our night sky, the children then told stories from Greek and Roman mythology – they always know these far better than we do.

    As a family, we all relaxed, captivated and quiet. As the darkness deepened, we spotted the Big Dipper low on the horizon and noted the trapezoid shape of its ladle. We searched the rugged craters of the moon, and someone noted the the half moon's appearance as a perfect “semi-circle, with the diameter bisecting the whole." My husband pointed to another constellation “45 degrees from the bright star overhead.” As the children followed his finger, I reflected on protractors and our many years of geometry lessons together.

    Snuggling our fragile daughter to keep her warm as the fall chill descended under those stars, on such nights it becomes very easy to be thankful for classical education ... and even for the knowledge that we will need to continue to homeschool well into our children's adult years. “O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all,” Psalm 104:24.