Plumbers Who Love Milton

Kendra Thompson

When considering options for the kids’ schooling, I read Leigh Bortins’ The Core about the classical Christian education model and the homeschooling approach. I’ve appreciated it for a while now because the goal of classical Christian education involves more than fulfilling state-sanctioned objectives; the aim is to instill a love of lifelong learning. Bortins paints a picture of it this way – that the result would be the development of well-rounded professionals. Not just academic classics’ scholars but also “plumbers who love Milton.”

For families connected to Morning Star Academy, we’re all giving homeschooling a try these days. How we embrace this temporary “calling” varies, but it’s safe to say that we’re all trying something new. For us, the dining room became the classroom and at any given point papers, glue sticks, and crayons litter the previously formal space. The kitchen table seems a retreat – where mom hops on Zoom or where Google Classroom holds session as dad tackles dishes or mom preps dinner. With stay at home orders, our schedules are more fluid, we are often together. And since we’re together, we’re all learning.

Learning has spilled out over all our lives in this time and that’s what Bortins would want. Theoretical value has become actualized reality as we count money together and learn the story behind a language. Thanks to Mrs. Mercy’s engaging “Bobby’s Bedtime Stories,” we’re all Latin students. To quiz my son, I have to know the vocabulary myself. Andi, who is four, is joining in the fun too.

 I’m a mom and a minister. I busy my days caring for my kids and providing faith formation resources for other families, too. My Latin prowess is about as sharp as my kindergartner’s. But thanks to this time at home, I remember that “unda” means wave and my four-year-old will tell you that “cancer” is crab. These realities are woven into a story about our time here at home, too. A time when, let’s be honest; sometimes the stress undulates and we can all be a bit “crabby.”

I am aware that we are fortunate to have what we have; meaningful work we could transition to accomplishing from home, availability to be present to our children in ways that fill and nurture them, a topnotch school to streamline their learning in a time of extended distance.

All of these I count as blessings. What I didn’t anticipate is how much the togetherness would shape us. That my son would step away from an evening viewing Star Wars to help me with yardwork, just so we could be together. That my daughter might get a jumpstart on phonics, just because she’s daily within earshot of Mrs. Norton’s helpful reminders. I have yet to discern what my children will become in their professional futures. Frankly, I’m not too worried about it. But what I hope is that seeds are germinating now that continue to fill them with a deep love and curiosity for what they are learning.

Kendra Thompson is a children’s minister, a writer, a Morning Star parent and the school’s part-time director of communications. She and her husband, John, love that their kids’ faith is incorporated into their learning at Morning Star Academy.

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