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Before & After

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    Before & After

    Would you like to be featured in the next edition of Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child? Would you be willing to share your stories?

    As we approach the 5-year anniversary of Simply Classical (!) we are working on an expanded edition. I would love for this to include your stories.

    Perhaps your child's education was changed by the Simply Classical Curriculum. Perhaps your own mindset was changed through the book Simply Classical or through your fellow sojourners on the Simply Classical forum.

    Perhaps you are a mere "lurker" with no special needs in your family, but the courage and tenacity of our Simply Classical families inspire your own homeschool or cottage school. Perhaps you are encouraged as a classical teacher to be more welcoming to the struggling student and adapt as needed to allow him to receive an excellent education.

    Perhaps you have learned about your child and yourself in ways you attribute to the Simply Classical mission of serving and enriching the lives of all children?

    Perhaps you have a striking "before & after" story to share.

    All of these are welcome.

    1. Write your story in 400 words or less.
    2. Include any names as you would want them published. We will use only first names anyway, but if you want to disguise the name by creating a fictitious name, do this in your actual submission.
    3. Tell your story as honestly as you can. Remember the "before" emotions, concerns, struggles, fears. Be specific. Reflect on the progress, relief, joy, or accomplishments of your "after," even though you are still teaching and parenting day by day. If you do not have a clear before/after story regarding anything measurable, feel free to share how your own thinking has changed since first reading SC the book or since finding the SC Curriculum & resources.
    4. Optional: Attach a photo or a set of photos (e.g., before/after with work samples) with explanation. If you send this, send written permission to include it. Again, a photo is optional.
    5. Write reasonably well! Use good sentences. No slang. Do not begin sentences with a conjunction. Avoid contractions and cliches. (We will not want to do extensive editing, so the more well-written, compelling submissions will be considered first.) However, do not let this be daunting. We will want "every-mom" stories, so your own voice is warmly welcome!
    6. Please include written permission for us to use your submission in the SC book or for any promotions related to the SC book or curriculum.
    7. One submission per family.
    8. Check and double check all of the above 7 criteria before sending.
    9. Deadline: April 15 (Tax day!)

    You may post your submissions here, so everyone may read. I think we will find these encouraging, even if they do not all appear in the expanded edition of the book!

    If you prefer, send to me

    Either way, I will eventually read all submissions.

    To anyone interested in participating: Sharpen your pencils or your typing skills, and let the writing begin!

    Thanks to Memoria Press, the SC book and message and curriculum have reached more families and schools and countries than I ever dreamed possible. We want this expanded edition to reflect the scope and depth of our vision and of your own personal implentations of that vision over the past five years.

    Your stories will help.

    Thanks in advance --

    Last edited by cherylswope; 03-23-2018, 02:13 PM.

    Re: Before & After

    Bumping this for anyone with a story of the impact of classical education with a child who has special learning needs.

    Deadline: April 15!

    Adding this: We can accept shorter (75-100 word) submissions.

    Do not be intimated by the length. We just want to hear the stories! Thanks --
    Last edited by cherylswope; 04-02-2018, 05:35 PM.


      Re: Before & After

      Hello Cheryl,

      Below you will find our submission. A short testimony makes it seem easy, ha! But you all know the honest struggle as I've posted looking for help with Ava, and secretly wishing I could move out of the special needs diagnosis with her. But we have been on a journey to adjust our expectations and are in a much better place as a family, experiencing the peace of God and better able to see His plan for our daughter and our family. SC4 arrived at our house and I'm so excited I decided to go all in for her. Following your curriculum has blessed our family with our son, and I know it will help so much with Ava (she has already informed me she likes the SC writing 1 book, and has done well as we try to bring her writing up to being able to do SC4 in the fall). As I say in my testimony, thank you for writing the book, for sharing your family's story, and for all the work you are putting into developing the SC Curriculum!

      You have my permission to use my submission however would best help bless other families, in the revised Simply Classical book, on the website as a testimonial, or in other publications.


      Several years ago, I bought a copy of Simply Classical because I was drawn to the classical model of education. However, I also had a child who struggled to learn. I was desperate to read stories of other moms who had successfully educated their children with special needs. At that time, all of my homeschooling friends were gushing about how quickly their children learned to read or how much math their children knew. Meanwhile, I was struggling with a child who consistently forgot how to count to 10! Reading Simply Classical was a breath of fresh air. It gave me the encouragement I needed to homeschool a child with special needs. Our daughter, Ava, has benefited greatly by being at home. She struggles with a multitude of issues, but because she can learn at home, she is progressing without being labeled as “slow” or “difficult.” She grows every day, and we are happy to say that next school year she will be starting in Simply Classical’s curriculum program, beginning her Latin studies, learning about mythology, and continuing to advance at her pace in math, reading, and writing.

      Our story does not end, though, with helping only our daughter; Simply Classical and the strategies we learned gave us the encouragement to begin a journey of adopting a child with special needs: a child who had been waiting for a family for more than 4 years when we adopted him. Our son, Rowan, came home at the age of 5 from China, and 6 months later we began Simply Classical Level A with him. He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and developmental delays in China but knowing that we can follow a well-designed path of study with him alleviated some of the fears of saying yes to him. Today, we read Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? with Rowan, and he was repeating the words with us! On day one of Level A, he didn’t even know what a book was, and now he can point out animals, say what sounds they make, and he is beginning to ask us to read to him. Thank you, Michelle, for encouraging your mom to tell your family’s story. You are a part of a bigger story encouraging many families, and our particular story of helping our daughter succeed and welcoming home our son who would not have otherwise had a family!
      Emily J

      2018-2019 School Year
      DD (11)-MP 5 core
      DD (9)-SC 4
      DD (8)-MP 2 core
      DS (6)-SC B

      *Be of good cheer. Do not think of today's failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourself a difficult task but you will succeed if you persevere: and you will find joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to obtain something beautiful is ever lost. ~Helen Keller*


        Re: Before & After

        Beautifully written! Thank you, Emily, for your thoughts and for taking the time to express them so well.

        You are most welcome! I will pass along your words to Michelle.

        We will try to include this in our next edition.


          Re: Before & After

          Our oldest child, Winston, could not speak until he was five, and both he and his next younger sister have significant receptive and expressive language difficulties. We wanted to homeschool them, but knew of no one who did so with their special-needs children.

          Our public schools had a wealth of “programs,” but we were not satisfied. Our children would be taught “life skills” through apps and keyboarding, but they would not be encouraged to excel. Neither could they climb trees; go to the zoo and explore; or dance in the first snowflakes of winter. Our local private schools were not much better and were also well beyond our single-income budget. I knew in my depths that my babies needed to be home, getting a quality education from someone who loves them and was willing to push them as far as they could go. So we took the path “less traveled” and embarked on home education.

          Yet preliminary research yielded a harsh reality: there were no special-needs homeschooling programs. I had to take the best I could find and modify it. But I wanted a truly excellent education for my children. Enter Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child. It was, in a way, like reading the Gospel for the first time. Suddenly, I had hope. Someone had done what I endeavored! I cried; I was relieved beyond measure.

          We started four years ago. My children have made significant, startling gains — especially Winston. When we began, he didn’t know where the sky was, much less the weather. Soon, he knew the seasons, the months of the year, Scripture, and poetry. He began to love phonics and math, art and craft, and hearing stories. He went on to write beautiful cursive; to read chapter books and to begin writing stories. This was the same child we were told would never speak, much less learn to read and write. We are so thankful to Simply Classical for making a classical education available to all, not just a few.

          This is not an easy path -- it is brambled and winding, rocky, unpredictable and steep. There are few signposts. Yet the strength, wonder, perseverance and awe it builds in us is far more valuable than any easy, level path. As we reach every overlook, every unexpected waterfall or unexplored cave, we thrill at the embarked adventure. I firmly believe, in the end, we will have far more joy than sorrow at undertaking the climb.
          In just under the wire! (In my defense, I’ve been a little busy moving 1400 miles away and unpacking my entire family).

          413 words. I give permission for MP, SC and Cheryl Swope to use this essay as well as any other materials I have previously submitted for promotion of MP and SC materials and updates.

          Last edited by Anita; 04-15-2018, 07:16 PM.
          Boy Wonder: 10, MP2/SC4 (Special Needs)
          Joy Bubble: 8, MP2 (Special Needs)
          Snuggly Cowboy: 6, MPK
          Sweet Lightness: 2, Reverse-Engineering Specialist

          “Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.”
          ~Pope St John Paul II


            Re: Before & After

            Thank you, Anita!


              Re: Before & After

              That is how I feel about Simply Classical!
              I am just beginning this journey, but in the teen years with a lot of baggage and not much support. I know my all-sufficient God will guide and give wisdom. ❤️