Monday, September 1, 2008


In preparing our home, our kids (and my mind) for the first day of school tomorrow, I began to think about this post that I shared last April. It sums up everything I love about our school. I'm so sad that summer is officially over. It has been a great one - full of fun, memories, rest and a time of regrouping. My kids work sooo hard throughout the school year that summer has become quite a treasure. But we are all ready, rested, and looking forward to another great school year - so here is a "reposted post" about all the things I cherish about my girls' school......

Our kids attend a classical school, which to sum it up very briefly, they are educated in a modern yet "classical" style, studying great works of literature, study in great depth history from the beginning of time to present, memorize pieces so large that it is mind boggling, study years ahead in math continually reviewing every math concept. Something like you would picture education in the 1800's to be, yet modernized and fun. Most importantly, every aspect of their school day is steeped in relating it all back to our Creator. He is the One who created literature, math, logic, art, music, science. They don't just have "Bible" class on top of their curriculum. It is integrated into every part of their day. They pray earnestly for each other, all the time. I am so thankful for this - my kids see the world in an entirely different light than I did as a child, even though I was raised in a christian home. When I think of our school and the education my children are receiving, these are some of the things that come to my mind....

  • When an adult enters the classroom, seeing all the children stand out of respect for that adult, and hearing a cheerful "Good afternoon Mrs O'Steen" yet it is never a distraction.
  • Having the entire school in one room for things such as memory period, or chapel, and there is absolute silence and reverence, with a respect for teachers and each other that is rarely found these days.
  • At the same time that there is such order and respect, there is also such fun and learning - walking through the hall and hearing the second grade class jamming and dancing away while singing "Pharaoh, Pharaoh -oooooohhhhh - LET MY PEOPLE GO! HUH! Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!!!!"
  • Knowing that when school starts, the Headmaster (principal) touches every childs desk and prays for that child.
  • Having a chat with one of their teachers, who invest so much into every child and love them like their own, when I realize they have discovered things about my kids that I never even knew.
  • Having my second grader be completely in love with anything and everything Ancient Egypt.
  • Hearing them recite such lengthy (and powerful) bible passages as a school body, that I continually fight tears, and then hearing them recite it in Latin.
  • Watching and hearing my kids recite The Declaration of Independence, standing in the same exact room in Philadelphia where the actual Declaration was signed.
  • Watching and hearing them recite the Gettysburg Address, while they are standing on the battlefield at Gettysburg.
  • Exploring so many places together, such as Jamestown, Mt. Vernon, seeing the Liberty Bell, the homesite of Benjamin Franklin and so many museums.
  • Knowing that these great minds in history of which they learn so much about were actually Classically Educated themselves.
  • Seeing them learn how to be "servant leaders" with a christian worldview in a fallen world.
  • The memory of them "manning" the wooden turn of the century ship "The Sultana" on the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Hearing my girls have discussions at home about the Bible, Latin, or even grammar rules and parts of speech, and I have no clue what they are even talking about!
  • My eight-year-old recently realizing that prayer and "God" are not allowed in public places and not even being able to fully comprehend that fact.
  • Kirsten teaching me about Logic and the Law of the Fallacy of Presumption (which apparently I do entirely too much).
  • Knowing that my children and their classmates pray for their families every day, and feeling those prayers throughout the day.
  • Knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I couldn't find a more Godly, academically excellent, loving, nurturing environment for my children.

Embracing everything Egyptian

Mesmerized by the canopic jars, and knowing (to the surprise of the tour guide) exactly what they were used for. Playing football on the front lawn at Mt. Vernon. Reciting the Declaration of Independence in Independence Hall in Philadelphia. One of the many famous battle sites in Gettysburg (I should know this, but don't - just ask my kids - they know). Reciting "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" in Jamestown. Experiencing the battlefield. Reciting something (??) while waiting to see Independence Hall. I find it so amusing that they will just break out in these recitations out of the blue, with no prompting, and it attracts quite the crowd in pubic places. (Probably their motivation). Exploring a ship at Jamestown.

Such love.

Happy Back to School Days!!!


Florida Girl said...

I love this whole post. Can't even pick one thing out to talk about. I understand though--I can say that. Awesome school until God makes your longing clearer.

Nana said...

I am not sure why you have the longing to homeschool and you will just have to wait for clear direction, but from all I have seen while visiting this school and seeing what the girls are learning both in the school and on their field trips, I don't know how home schooling could give them this much.Outside of the money you could save, I doubt that they could receive what they get from this school anywhere else in the world. This is a heritage you and Richard are giving your girls that will live with them as long as they do. The respect they are learning and the way they are learning is absolutely worth more than money can ever buy. They are learning everything they will need to know to make their way in this big world, plus making lifetime friends that are raised with values and morals. But if you decide God wants you to homeschool I would support you in that, because I know you are only seeking what is best for them. But for me personally I think they have it right now. :)

Heather O'Steen Photography said...

Thanks Nana for that reassurance. Sometimes I have to wonder if I want to homeschool just so I can "have" my girls home longer - maybe it's just part of me not wanting to slowly let go of them, I don't know. I know that the education they are getting now is second to none, and not even just the academic part, but every part of what touches their lives. I guess no matter how good you have it, the grass is always greener! I just want to be absolutely sure that I am doing for my kids exactly what God is calling me to do for them. They are a treasure that He has given us for such a short time, and they are ultimately His and not ours. I want to know that I am raising "His Kids" exactly how He wants them to be....

Nana said...

I think you are doing a good job so far and it shows. They are happy, smart, well balanced girls that are learning to love the Lord. There isn't much more you can ask than that. But we are never ready to let go. If only we could hang on forever, but then they wouldn't be happy well balanced anymore. From the day we get them it is a process of getting them ready to leave. That does sound sad huh? But we do get to enjoy them while they are growing up and then when they are grown sometimes I think even more when we get to enjoy who they have become.

Anonymous said...

It's funny, I just skimmed and was going to write, "I love your school, too. It reminds me of mine." Then I noticed your desire to homeschool.

Heather, homeschooling is all the wonderful things you mention rolled up with family love. We study classics; my children love to learn; we have fun with others and visit exciting places. I wouldn't trade my most trying homeschool day for sending them to school.

The way I see it, if you have the inclination to homeschool and your children are asking for it, the Lord has probably called you to it. Why else would you even think of doing something so crazy?


Karen said...

Be still before Him - listen to the whisper. As our plaque says "Make time for the quiet moments when God whispers and the world is loud". You'll know. Then rest in the peace of knowing that while you listen, they are in the best place for them because that is where God placed them. As parents who make every decision for our children out of prayer and listening, we can rest assured that He is in control, and thankfully, we are not. And when and if the "pillar" moves, you'll know.

Nana: You are an awesome voice in Heather's life and as her sister, I love the encouragement, blessing and affirmation you give her.

P.S. It's funny because just this morning I was looking through the homeschool catalog and talking to Cary about it too. I understand the longing.

Heather O'Steen Photography said...

Thanks for those wonderful words Karen. "Our" plaque is hanging in my kitchen, it's a great reminder. After our very long phone conversation this morning, I couldn't even bring this subject up or it would have been another hour! But you know I think about it often.

Alana said...

You school looks amazing. Really. It sounds and looks like a wonderful place!

Your pictures are gorgeous. Thanks for stopping by my blog! I sent you an email about creating the signature.

Heather O'Steen Photography said...

Thanks so much Alana! LOVE your blog too!