An American in London

In 2018 God called me to begin homeschooling our eighth-grade level (Year 9 in the U.K.) daughter much to my confusion but His providence. We found a local Classical Conversations community in the U.S. and seamlessly plugged right in with an army of veteran homeschoolers. After completing our first year with Classical Conversations, I finally believed this was something I could do regardless of how intimidated I was to teach through high school. My flimsy one year of experience somewhat assuaged the countless stories I had heard of other families who only homeschooled until high school, but then let the “professionals” take it from there.

In 2019, however, God threw a curveball, and we moved to London just in time for our daughter to begin ninth grade (Year 10 in the U.K.). Navigating a slew of excited questions from friends and family about whether we were excited to place our daughter in the world-renowned international schools in London, my unease grew by the day as each inquisitor was left speechless at our response: we would continue to home school. I could feel the judgement in their pauses before the predictable “Oh…that should be nice.” With each interaction, my apprehension grew while my trust in God firmly refused to acknowledge my out-of-my-league feelings. Was there even a home school community in England? Was it a Classical Conversations one? Was I making the biggest mistake of our daughter’s life by not placing her in the international schools, the ones that demand attention from colleges in the U.S.? What about Science…how on earth was I supposed to meet a lab requirement while moving to a new country?!

With a suitcase full of school supplies, we arrived in London stressed, exhausted, and thinly clinging to a hope that God would provide a way in this “Old World,” which was all quite new to me. The following week we arrived at the Classical Conversations community that met in Oxted, England and there they were: friends! Many of them! I laughed as they immediately flanked us on all sides—new faces full of love and joy, bubbling in eagerness to welcome us. Our daughter joined a class of seven Challenge I students, British and American alike.

Here after her ninth-grade year, we have now witnessed our daughter blossom in home school in a way that would have been impossible in public school. My trust in God paid off: her worldview is firmly being shaped for the rest of her life by debating the death penalty based on civil society and Scripture this year, writing her Science research paper on Creationism vs. Evolution/Big Bang, applying biblical principles to free-market economics to combat socialism, etc. These are things that would never happen in U.S. public schools.

And that Science lab? The class completed it each week in community with the director.

As I take a moment’s respite while writing this, I can’t help but smile at how this has all been like Dietrich Bonhoeffer said: in the thickest of things is where I find out if I began in a burst of enthusiasm or faith. Thank God I chose faith.

-Hannah

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