Lux et umbra vicissum…

light and shadow by turn…

Lux et umbra vicissum… header image 2

Well, that’s logical

March 31st, 2010 · No Comments

Growing up, I always did well in school.  Yes, I was one of the annoying kids who got upset if I didn’t get an A++ on a test and who ruined the curve for everyone else.  Of course, I was also completely lacking in people skills until college, but that’s beside the point.  I’ve always known I had some brains in there somewhere; the difficulty has been figuring out what in the world I’m supposed to do with them.

Through my school years, I enjoyed most of the subjects we were studying.  Well, I really didn’t like learning French in college, but in a moment you’ll see that there was a good reason for that.  With the rare exception, I found something to like about every class I was in, which may have made my schooling more enjoyable, but it also put me in a difficult position when it came to figuring out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.  Consequently, I became something of a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none and ended up majoring in theatre in college.  Why?  Well… why  not?  I couldn’t think of anything else I’d like to do more, though honestly I didn’t have the passion for it that some of the other theatre majors had.

It was in my college theatre experience that I discovered my love for management.  My favorite job in theatre was, by far, stage managing.  Acting was fun at times, and I had a great time as a tech, but stage managing was pure joy (along with a heap of stress… but once again, that’s beside the point).  Being able to start with an idea and help put the pieces together to turn it into a full-scale wonder was an incredible adrenaline rush to me.  But after graduation, the question arose as to what exactly I was going to do with my oh-so-marketable degree.  My new husband and I weren’t living in an area where I could start looking for theatre jobs and I don’t have the balance to be a waitress, so instead I turned to teaching.  I enjoyed teaching, but it still didn’t really feel like I had found my niche.

After my brief teaching stint in a local Christian school (which ended with extended bedrest and an eventual miscarriage), I moved on to customer service.  Eureka!  I had found it!!  The job I would NOT want to work in for the rest of my life.  My acting skills definitely came in handy, though.  From there, I found what seemed like the perfect job for me, creating, running, and teaching in a drama program for a nearby Christian arts studio for kids.  It was a fabulous job, and I did enjoy it.  Had I not become pregnant with our first baby, maybe I would have kept working there.  As it was, the time commitment required for the position was too great for a new mother, so that was that.

Fast forward to today.  Other than a brief time of doing a little email customer service from home, the Drama Director job was the last paying job I held.  It’s been more than eight years now since I actually worked for money, and though the eight children that we’ve acquired in that time certainly keep me busy, I’ve had plenty of time to think about what I might like to do with my life if I ever enter the workforce again.

So now that I’ve had eight years to reflect on the question, what have I decided is my calling in life, besides being a mother?


I don’t know.  But I’m one big step closer to figuring it out!  And that step began with a little thing called  Classical Conversations.

Maybe some day I’ll type up the whole story of what led us to finally start homeschooling our kids this year, but I don’t want to go into that right now.  Suffice to say we had pretty solid reasons to begin on this particular journey.  This year has definitely been one of learning for all of us, perhaps even more for me than for the kids.  The younger school-age kids were mainly going through an ABeka curriculum, while our oldest, our adopted 15 year old, joined with a local homeschool group called Classical Conversations, or CC for short.  The way the group works is that they meet together as a class every Friday under a specific tutor.  The tutor is hired by CC as a contractor, so they actually have to go through an approval process and are paid by the organization unlike many homeschool co-ops where parents just offer to teach classes either in exchange for participation in other classes or for a small fee that they charge on their own.  Another difference with CC is that they have their own curriculum.  If you know anything about different theories of education, you may have heard of the classical model (as opposed to the traditional model employed in most schools).  For an excellent essay on classical education, check out The Lost Tools of Learning by Dorothy Sayers.  If you’re going to follow a classical education process, then you aren’t going to be using the same curricula that you would see in your typical schools.  Classical Conversations makes the whole curriculum thing a little easier by putting out their own materials so you don’t have to do as much shopping around to pick your books.  They also have a large section of recommended materials in their catalog if you want to get extras to supplement the basics that everyone needs.  This is the system into which we stepped when we signed our eldest up for CC last year, and it’s this system that has led to my recent, significant self-realization.

One of the major differences between classical education and traditional education is the focus of the former on rhetoric and logic.  Students actually go through logic classes in which they learn how to detect fallacies and how to frame their own statements logically.  They learn the art of debate and how to apply their understanding of logic to a persuasive argument.  This idea of logic becomes a thread that is woven through every other area of their education, showing itself in math, science, history, theology, Latin (yes, Latin!), etc.

So what, you may be asking, does this have to do with me?  Well, somewhere along the way, I had the sudden, startling realization that there’s actually a very good reason I’ve done so well in a variety of subjects but never bothered to master any of them.  My gift doesn’t lie in any one compartment of traditional education; my gift is in logic!  It makes perfect sense!  I love seeing how things fit together, and I’ve always pushed to understand the “why” of a particular piece of knowledge so that I could understand it better.  Throughout my schooling, I could find something logical in just about every subject which is why I enjoyed them all.  I think the reason I disliked French so much, and wouldn’t enjoy most languages, really, is because they truly defy logic.  Latin is an exception as far as languages go; I think you’d be hard pressed to find a language more logical than Latin.

Where does this realization put me?  Well, for now I’m doing the only thing I could think to do.  All of our children are enrolled in CC for next year, and I’ve applied to be a tutor in their program at either the middle school or high school level.  I mean, I’d love to go out and tackle a PhD in logic.  UC Berkeley has a program that’s supposed to be excellent.  Unfortunately, there would be two mitigating factors to pursuing this most excellent degree: I don’t think it’s a distance program and I believe they would actually want payment for the classes.  My husband also reminds me that going for a PhD while caring for eight children, the youngest of whom is an infant, might be a tad daunting.  So for now I think the most I can do as far as learning more is to continue with independent research and reading.  That’s ok for now.  Maybe I can go farther than that some day.

But to finally understand a bit of myself that didn’t make sense to me before!  I don’t know if I can fully express quite what this understanding means to me.  For a long time, I’ve felt rather stupid though my grades in school would say otherwise.  I couldn’t figure out why it was I didn’t seem to have an aptitude for a specific subject like so many of my friends had.  To finally be able to point to something and say, “Here lies my talent!” is an amazingly freeing feeling.  Does that make sense at all?  It should.  It’s logical.

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