I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what is involved in both the teaching and mentoring of a child, or anyone for that matter.

Sprittibee and I will be speaking live at the Heart of the Matter online conference this Thursday on “How NOT to Homeschool,” which obviously leads me to ponder the inverse. Also, I’ve been diligently researching and weighing the option of whether to continue teaching elementary students or switch to high school for next year at our Classical Conversations location. Obviously, the decision is not mine alone.

Observing the class yesterday at another CC location was part of the process. I loved the give and take between tutor and students, and the energy and creativity of the class. Ordering Henle Latin 1 from my Amazon iPhone app on the way home (I would teach Latin 2 next year, a fact that inspires no small degree of fear) was an indictor of the way my feelings have settled.

The workload would be intense—six to eight hours of teaching prep per week, although being “forced” to read British lit is my kind of assignment. Engaging class discussions of Pride and Prejudice or Jane Eyre? Wow. Latin 2 and Debate? Scary. Good thing I’m a life-long learner.

Inspiration is coming in the form of Echo in Celebration: A Call to Home-Centered Education by Leigh Bortins (which can be downloaded free here). I was quite moved by the following quote in my reading tonight, taken from Tony Campolo’s article “Missing the Point: Seminary“:

“It doesn’t matter what the course is—learning at the feet of a great scholar marks a student forever. If you find yourself in seminary, concern yourself not so much with what courses you take, but from whom you take them. You’ll forget most subject matter within a decade, but the influence of a memorable instructor stays with you for a lifetime.”

The quote instantly brought to mind my high school English and U.S. History teachers, and a college Russian professor, the three finest instructors I was ever blessed to know, and I was moved by the thought of what it means to be that kind of influence in someone’s life, the honor, privilege, and responsibility of it.

It’s possible, whether home, public, private, or co-op schooling takes place.

Teaching of that kind is a gift both in the giving and in the receiving.

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