Ordinarily certain moments stand out in a busy conference: a warm conversation, a quick reunion with a student, or funny story shared by a colleague.
But in this year’s Great Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati, every moment seemed to stand out! This conference rivals anything in the country. The long list of simultaneous sessions is impressive, and yet the rooms are filled with eager listeners. The attendees are fired up and full of questions. Our booth stays abuzz from the opening “bell” on Thursday evening until the last moments of the Saturday schedule. I love it.
But, as we careen through the night on our way back home to Texas, one moment did stand out, now that I think of it. Actually it’s a person. I won’t say too much to identify her except that she once again renewed her annual Circle of Scholars membership even though, I suspect, her kids may be just about grown up. She was one of our earliest customers, maybe even all the way back to that first year when we came to Cincinnati in 2010. There we stood in our long-since abandoned pop-up booth, sporting only a brochure for our signature course Discovering Music—not yet finished. We struggled to find the right words to proclaim our mission which, to be honest, we hadn’t quite identified!
The people who stopped by either already loved the arts or were curious enough to see what these newcomers had in that brochure. Some even bought the course, or, more accurately, the promise of a course that would be ready later in the year. They were bold, don’t you think?
Step by step we’ve added courses, created online curricula, filmed (and filmed and filmed), written books, and yes, found our mission. I like to say we Teach History Through the Lens of the Arts. And our battle cry goes like this.
Our Western cultural heritage is not an elective. It’s a treasure!
These past days in Cincinnati, greeting, chatting with, and embracing the flow of students, families, and tutors who use our materials, I just shook my head in wonder. How simply beautiful that we could have shared music, art, architecture, dance, theater, poetry, and literature with so many people. How grand it is that they took the leap with us, and found themselves on solid, and inspiring, ground. And how inspiring it is when we hear them say, “What’s new this year? We want more.”
That’s partly the magic of the arts. We do want more. We hear a terrific piece and we want to hear another one. We go to a marvelous play and we come out thinking: “I’ve got to go to the theater again soon.” And when we walk through a gallery of unfamiliar paintings only to have one of them reach across the room and pull us towards it to gaze in fascination or wonder, we know that we have joined with viewers past, present, and future in encountering the power of art.
Community always matters, and this community of people seeking learning, treasuring education, and working every day against great odds to instill wisdom and virtue in their children matters. They share our mission, and sharing their journey has been one my life’s greatest privileges.
And so, to you, most lovely woman who yet again came to my talks and watched me fumble with my iPad as I rang up your renewed annual membership, may I express my gratitude? Thank you for jumping into the race with us and cheering us on. I’ll do everything possible to have new courses and interesting publications for you next year, that’s for sure. But I’ll never forget that you and others trusted us when all we had was a brochure and a dream.