Last night I came home, talked to my in laws, hung out with my husband and sick kids, and then wrote a fb post about putting my feet up after my last community day of CC. I was deliberately vague but a fb friend was quick to comment, “Last day of the year, or last day ever?”
I responded, “Last day ever,” then went through and looked at the four different versions I’ve written trying to articulate why our family is leaving CC. Nothing was right, so here’s what I ended up posting:
Well, the cat is out of the bag… I have tried to figure out what to say and how to say it and nothing seems to fit quite right… so, here goes a very inelegant, “Facebook official” statement.
Our family has made the decision to leave Classical Conversations permanently. Illogical accusations and unlawful expectations from our state leadership are the straw that has broken the camels back, but, to be honest, the business practices and philosophy changes have caused me heartburn for quite awhile. We have been praying that God would be extremely clear if He wanted us to change anything and He’s been so faithful! It’s become quite obvious that He’s ready to move us in a new direction.
After 8 years in regional leadership and publicly promoting the organization across the country, I feel like it’s reasonable to make a public statement about our changes. This has been a heartbreaking decision. It is not one I *ever* anticipated making.
We don’t know exactly what things will look like in the future. What I can say is that the curriculum has worked fabulously for our kids and we are wanting to continue with a Classical Model of Education that will develop critical thinking skills. I’m hoping to blog about this journey on StealingFaith.com
I used to passionately declare we couldn’t homeschool without C.C.! Well, the circumstances of our experience have changed drastically and now I am realizing we can homeschool excellently without C.C.! I have to thank C.C. and its existence for giving me the tools I needed to learn to create and manage a better fit for our family with confidence.
Being able to make this decision, while it has emotionally wrecked me, has given me a crazy amount of freedom. We all know homeschoolers are about as easy to manage as a herd of cats… but I have realized I gave up my individuality and voice in support of someone else’s vision. I’ve been a very profitable player in someone else’s capitalistic scheme. 🤣 Yet Organizations have no memories… so if I have a choice of being a cog in the wheel or a Mama… I’d much rather direct my efforts toward these precious kids that I’m privileged to parent. 💗
I had no idea what was about to happen. Our family started watching our traditional Friday night family movie night (this week it was Captain America) while my Facebook feed blew up. And that was nothing compared to the multitudes of notes I got in Messenger or the texts I have received on my phone.
First: Thank you. The decision of whether or not to go public with our departure is one my husband I have prayed over for several weeks. Our goal is not to create a furor of gossip, so speaking out publicly is not something we would typically do. However, our family has been highly and publicly involved in Classical Conversations. Both my husband and I have been practicum speakers in multiple states, I’ve been a Director for eight years and was a driving force in establishing CC in our state, as an AR for five years over a three-state territory I worked to establish and support communities in a larger region. I have been the creator and an admin for the Foundations/Essentials Directors Facebook group for the last four years. We have been publicly involved in the organization and that has given us reason to believe that a public statement is reasonable and necessary.
Second: While it might be temporarily satisfying to go into great detail of what gripes we have, the details might not be helpful in the larger picture. Yes, we absolutely think our reasons for leaving this company are legitimate and it would be a nice salve to my pride and help me gain a boost of confidence from seeing comments of vindication from other people who agree. But would that be the best witness of Christianity? Would that be the best way to support homeschooling in this country?
The Bible says in Exodus 14:14, “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” We believe we are leaving for reasons that are valid and have been inspired by the Holy Spirit. We also want to walk uprightly and with integrity. God has been so faithful to us to give us certainty that He is moving us away. You can trust Him to display His faithfulness to YOU by giving you disquiet or peace in this decision, because that’s the business of the Holy Spirit.
Jeremiah 23:1-4 states: “‘Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!’ declares the Lord. Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: ‘You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds,’ declares the LORD.” The consequences from God for poor leadership are significant and a reason anyone should pause before assuming the mantle of leadership in any way. I can actively and passionately pray for the people who have created these issues for us through action (or inaction) because I would NOT want to switch places with them.
I can trust that God’s consequences for poor leadership are worse than any raking over the coals on social media.
Also realize – as folks who have committed to home education, we have a vested interested in doing what we can to make homeschooling trustworthy. I want it to be easier for people to take those first steps down this path. I am committed to people feeling courageous enough able to make this lifestyle choice. (OK, let’s be honest, I also want our kids to have other kids to marry who will be like minded!)
If the largest voice in the country for the cause of homeschooling is thrown under the bus, there will be a negative affect on families. And those families, even though I don’t know them right now, are worth sacrificing my selfish pride and sense of justification to support.
Let’s be realistic – Classical Conversations has provided an excellent product in the form of curriculum and a model for community. This tool has helped literally thousands of people who would never have had the courage to homeschool on their own to take those first steps. That’s something to praise! If you believe that home education is a way to change our society, you should be thrilled whenever any option comes along to make educating this next generation more achievable! If I go crazy and attack CC I’m really only gnawing at my own leg from a larger perspective.
Third: If you’re here because you are uneasy, you’re not alone. I walked into this situation with a nervousness that I would lose relationships from people in leadership across the country. That there would be a mass exodus of Facebook friends who are offended that I would ever say something negative about CC. Dude, that is not the case. My messenger feed has exploded. My phone has been buzzing off from text messages so much the battery died. (It kind of makes me identify with the announcers on PBS of the last Presidential election results; they all assumed one candidate would win and as the results of the silent majority came filtering in, you could see their incredulous and disbelieving reactions!)
I’m shocked by the response because I’ve spent several months thinking I must be going crazy that this situation is even happening. (That’s called gaslighting. I’m learning so many things in this process.) Our experiences recently are so far removed from the organizational values I’ve know and loved I thought I must be mistaken or misunderstanding. But here’s the deal: I’m not crazy. (I never was – I was being manipulated by some masters with a specific agenda.) Assuming my experience is true, then there’s a good chance that if you are struggling with concerns – you aren’t crazy either.
Where does this leave us?
For the average parent and family I think there are really no issues to be concerned about being in the organization. The model, the method, it works. It really does. Our education and community has been invaluable and we have LOVED it in pretty much every way.
For the Director, you should ask questions outside of your team leadership. I was a team leader and I was purposefully never, ever given the tools to be able to answer the questions that needed to be addressed to support people from the business perspective. You’ll have to do your own footwork here because CC will not do it for you.
Run your contract through an attorney and a CPA. Make sure you’re doing the things that will protect you as much as possible from Murphy’s Law because I can assure you that the way CC has written their contracts they are legally not bound to support you in any way. Many have made the mistake of thinking this is a ministry because that’s what it has felt like locally and under previous leadership but make no mistake – CC is NOT a ministry. It is a business and it’s being run as a FOR-PROFIT. This feels like a philosophical change for many people, but there’s no use crying over spilled milk.
If you would check with professionals and do due diligence in starting a branch of Kaplan testing services… do the same stuff before you sign on the dotted line of any contract coming from Classical Conversations. Take the blinders off your eyes and the feel-good, fuzzy feelings off of your heart and get serious because if anything goes wrong it’s on your head and there is almost indubitably no CC-calvary headed your direction to save the day. YOU ARE HOLDING ALL LIABILITY from everything to misclassification of workers to property tax exemptions to medical expenses if Johnny falls off the slide and breaks his arm.
Now… enough of that gloom and doom.
As we’ve walked through this process I have found much comfort in researching the American Revolution. Yep, I’m a weirdo, but I believe history can speak to us and our founders were willing to write down their thoughts for us to see today.
You know, from Britain’s perspective the Americans were unsubmissive, sulky children whose complaints didn’t deserve attention or resolution. But for the Americans – they were actually willing to wrestle with a lack of submission based upon Biblical principles. They were actively considering truth, beauty, and goodness. The American Revolution was the first war that was fought for principle, rather than land ownership.
Because I’m an American, many of those independent ideals are inherent in the way I view the world. Homeschoolers in general are more willing to buck the system because they’re already doing it against the vast majority of families in the country by opting out of the public schools. All of this is a longwinded set up to say, this quote from the Declaration of Independence is one I’ve been chewing on lately:
“Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
Application to my own situation?
Classical Conversations is a government of homeschoolers that is voluntary. It’s not required. It should never be an idol, or a whip, or a threat. It’s a tool that is marvelously helpful and effective when those who are governed are given the freedom to practice their independence while choosing to fall into philosophical alignment.
And that’s all I have to say about that for now.
We are actively trying to identify the things we’ve loved and how we plan to continue in the future. If you’d like to follow this progress (as well as be invited into our crazy life), please feel free to subscribe or follow this blog.