Doubt is often the domain of mothers. Mothers who school their children at home seem particularly plagued because they make decision in two realms: in the home and in the school. Even the graduation of a child from homeschooling and into the next stage of life does not release mothers from the nagging thought that perhaps she should have done something (or even everything) differently. Second-guessing curriculum or providers or even the decision to homeschool can fill the minds of moms, especially when the homeschooled child experiences struggles or obstacles.

As my first child progressed through his first year of college, I began to wonder if my husband and I should have approached his education differently to help him prepare better for college. Prayerful consideration did reveal some tweaks to employ with the siblings to follow, but God has been faithful to affirm one major homeschool decision that we did make: to have our children participate in the Great Conversation.

I had the privilege to attend The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference last month in Indianapolis with my daughter and another Wilson Hill family. As we studied 1 Peter together at the feet of some of this generation’s greatest teachers and preachers, I began to notice something common to their teaching. These men were engaged in the Great Conversation.   References to many of the books that our children read as part of the Great Conversation courses at Wilson Hill Academy peppered their talks.

One speaker reminded us in his session on prayer that Aristotle got it wrong. He believed that man had nothing in common with the gods and could therefore never have an intimate relationship with them.   Tim Keller rightly stated that we can be friends with God because we have much in common as image-bearers. He went on to reference Augustine and Frankenstein. D.A. Carson spoke of The Federalist Papers, C.S. Lewis, the Odyssey, and the Koran. He explained Philosophical Materialism and Romanticism.

I eventually started making a list of every reference to a book, person, or idea that I knew my children had been exposed to as part of their Great Conversation courses. My excitement grew throughout the conference as I realized how much conversation and discussion enriches our understanding of our world and of God’s sovereign hand. Overhearing a conference participant whisper, “Who is Augustine?” during one of the sessions quickly reminded me of how dangerously close we are to losing the conversation. My first thought was, “Not on my watch!” We need generations that can continue the conversation because it is too great a heritage to lose. We need young minds that can learn from those who uphold a high standard in their teaching and then become those great teachers for the next generation.

With mixed emotion, two of our children are taking a summer school class at the local community college.   They are the two youngest in the class, and my daughter, age 14, detected a bit of an exasperated sigh when introducing herself to the professor and stating her age on the first day of class. Once again the discipline of participating in the Great Conversation is serving them well. Their writing skills have placed them at the top of their class, and they can eagerly engage with the professor when he asks, “Does anyone know what Rhetoric means?” or “Has anyone read Plato’s Republic?” Sadly, their hands are the only ones being raised in response to the questions.

I am grateful that God has faithfully affirmed our decision to engage our children in the Great Conversation. As I shared my thoughts on the wisdom of the Great Conversation with my oldest son, he echoed my realization. “Reading the Great Books and discussing them was the best part of my homeschooling education.”

Submitted by Anne Stublen, WHA Math Instructor