Celebrating Milestones: Over 1000 Students in South Africa

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Classical Conversations in South Africa has reached a significant milestone with over 1000 students. This achievement signifies not only growth but also the profound impact of classical Christian education on families across the nation. As we celebrate this milestone, we reflect on the journey of our graduates and the transformative power of homeschooling with Classical Conversations.

Classical Conversations Graduates: Stories of Success:

The Van der Nest Family: Mission Impossible Accomplished:  A Journey of ownership, discipline and community.

As a proud and grateful mom of Jana and Lambert, and director of Hugo van Niekerk, Jana and Lambert, I am thrilled to share our four-year journey, which is a powerful testimony of taking ownership, building discipline, and the strength found in community.

In January 2020, my friend Liezl van Niekerk and I embarked on an adventure by starting the CC Community in Lydenburg, Mpumalanga.  With no prior experience in Classical Conversations, we dove headfirst into the Challenge A program.  Our children – Hugo at 17, Jana at 15, and Lambert at 13 – formed the core of our inaugural group.

Coming from an Afrikaans background and unschooling, we faced significant challenges, particularly in English language and writing skills.  Back in 2020, there was not the support that there is today.  The absence of things like CC Connected compounded our journey, leaving us feeling lost and overwhelmed.  But amidst the uncertainty, a beacon of hope emerged:  the ownership and discipline that flourished within our children as we marched together through the darkness.

In 2021, while in Challenge B, Hugo, then 18, discovered his passion for chemistry.  Taking initiative, he delved deeper into math and science, exceeding the requirements of Challenge B.  His determination and self-motivation set a remarkable example for us all, leading him to excel in these subjects and graduate with an American High School Diploma by the end of 2022, after completing Challenge 1.

Halfway through Challenge 1 in July 2022, our children shared a collective dream:  to attend North West University in Potchefstroom as a group in January 2024.  However, this dream presented a challenge – Jana and Lambert’s proficiency in math and science.  Because Hugo already started to add Math, Chemistry and Physics additionally to Challenge work, he experiences no problems.  With unwavering resolve, we accelerated Jana and Lambert’s learning in math and science at an intensified pace.

In January 2023, Jana and Lambert embarked on their final year of homeschooling, with British literature, Apologia Biology, Apologia Chemistry, Saxon Algebra 2, Saxon Advance Mathematics, and Saxon Physics.  Their dedication was unwavering, even as they faced the rigorous demands of double speed math and science.  In August 2023, they took the SAT, achieving excellent results – a testament to their hard work and perseverance.

On Tuesday, January 23, 2024, our journey reached its pinnacle as all three – Hugo, Jana, and Lambert – registered at North-West University as first-year students.  Despite new requirements from USAf, they stood triumphant, ready to pursue their passions:  Chemical Engineering for Hugo and BSc Agriculture with Agronomy and Soil Science for Jana and Lambert.

Our journey embodies the spirit of the Challenge program:  personal investment builds ownership, ownership builds discipline, discipline is the cornerstone of freedom, and freedom provides opportunity for noble choices.  Through challenges and triumphs, we have grown stronger together in the community, guided by the unwavering belief that with perseverance, even the seemingly impossible can be accomplished.

To all the Classical Conversations moms and students embarking on their own odyssey, remember:  with ownership, discipline, and community, no dream is out of reach.  May our journey serve as inspiration for your own adventures ahead.

(Photo: Hugo van Niekerk, Jana van der Nest, Lambert van der Nest)

The Miles Family:

Homeschooling has truly been a transformative journey for my family over the past 18 years. Initially drawn to the idea of freedom and peace, we dove headfirst into hands-on learning and surrounded ourselves with literature-rich resources. However, as our family expanded to ten children, including foster children, we realised the need for a more structured approach.

Joining CC (Classical Conversations) came with its own set of demands – as one of the first families to sign up, I found myself stepping into the role of a tutor! It was a whirlwind of emotions, from tears to triumphs, but we were equipped and encouraged every step of the way. Discovering this comprehensive curriculum was like finding the treasure map we needed, and becoming part of a community through CC gave us the structure and support we craved.

Seeing my eldest and foster daughter now thriving in university pursuing their dreams fills me with gratitude for the academic and communal support that prepared us all. Homeschooling wasn’t just for my biological children but also for the foster children we welcomed into our family, providing stability and academic progress despite their unique circumstances.

Despite grappling with doubts about my own ability, the structure of the program proved invaluable, especially within the dynamic of our large family. CC addressed the need for shape and form in our academic pursuit, supporting children with learning difficulties and mitigating the impact of trauma on our foster children by providing smaller group settings and pathways to success.

Our theme this year, “discipline is the cornerstone of freedom,” perfectly encapsulates our journey of trusting God despite our fears and challenges. Graduation uncertainties were met with acceptance to university, affirming our path. True freedom, we’ve learned, lies in following God’s will, and I’m grateful for how this curriculum helped us know God and make Him known.

The next steps in our journey are nothing short of incredible. Our graduates have transitioned seamlessly, with our eldest daughter excelling in her BA Communication studies at North West University. Similarly, my eldest foster daughter, who once faced major backlogs due to unfortunate circumstances in her own childhood , is now thriving in her BCom in Marketing and Tourism Management, and get this – she’s loving statistics! It’s a testament to the unwavering support of her CC tutor/mentor and the uplifting community that surrounds her.

(Photo: Caitlyn Miles & Hayley Gilbert: Caitlyn studying a BA communication  and Hayley a Bcom Marketing and Tourism)

Other Graduates:

Mia Bester is working at a Crèche and applying to Au Pair in the States and hopes to take classes at a local College while working. I’m excited for her! Her family has taken a very practical approach, but all 3 of the Bester graduates are already finding their feet, building companies, expanding skills. None of them went to Uni, but all have been very proactive in their pursuit of “making their own way/life.”
Thomas Yell is studying Electrical Engineering at False Bay College to become an electrician.

Reflections on the Classical Conversations Journey:
The success stories of CC graduates underscore the core values of Classical Conversations: a commitment to academic excellence, character development, and community support. From overcoming challenges to embracing opportunities, each graduate’s journey reflects the transformative impact of homeschooling with Classical Conversations.

Join Us in the Journey:
As we celebrate over 1000 graduates in South Africa, we invite families to start on their own homeschooling odyssey with Classical Conversations. Discover the joy of a Christ-centred education that equips students for success academically, spiritually, and personally. Join our thriving community and experience the transformative power of classical Christian education.

The milestone of over 1000 graduates in South Africa marks a significant achievement for Classical Conversations. Through dedication, perseverance, and a commitment to excellence, CC graduates have journeyed on diverse paths, shaping their futures with purpose and passion. As we celebrate this milestone, we reaffirm our mission to empower families and nurture lifelong learners through classical Christian education.

Ready to start the transformative journey of homeschooling with Classical Conversations? Join our community today and discover the power of classical Christian education!

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