Having a passion for teaching, Kelly earned her B.S. in Education and began teaching in the public school system before God called her to teach her own children at home in 2001. Seeking to provide a more classical education for their four children that was first Christ-Centered but also academically rigorous, she and her husband, Chad, jumped at the chance to join a Classical Conversations community even though the nearest community was 90 minutes away. They soon discovered that the ease of the layout of the curriculum, the modeling of how to implement the curriculum at home for the parents, and the immediate bond with like-minded families, was well worth the drive. When asked about their experience she replied, “I knew immediately that I wanted to be a part of this great program because I share the values that it exemplifies. To Know God so that we can Make Him Known, which is the mission of CC, should always be the purpose of our studies, and maintaining excellence in doing our work as an act of worship to Him should be the value that is modeled.”
After being a part of a CC community from foundations through Challenge II, Kelly was asked to help start a new community in the Joplin area and become a Challenge Director. The opportunity to come alongside homeschooling parents and equip them with the tools and encouragement needed to continue educating their own children through middle and high school, was a huge blessing. To model to students how to learn any subject , to think critically about ideas that are put in front of them, and to express themselves in an articulate and persuasive way, while being centered on Christian integrity was very rewarding. Soon Kelly realized that many families in SW Missouri could benefit from the accountability and sense of community that CC brings and she was honored to become the support manager for Southwest Missouri. It is her desire that everyone who desires to homeschool, from those just starting out, to those who have teens and are wondering how they will ever make it through high school, would have a community close by and be able to take advantage of this program. She considers it a privilege to support other families, directors and communities as a support manager and is amazed at what God is doing to glorify Himself through Classical Conversations. It is truly exciting to be a part of His work!”
Kristie Stoddard has been involved in Classical Conversations since 2007, as a Challenge Director. As a mom of five children ranging from toddler to high schooler, she is passionate about classical education in general, and Classical Conversations in particular. She has always enjoyed reading about educational philosophy, and embarked on her own classical journey with her children when the oldest was in first grade, eight years ago.
“Every year as my son breaks through the new frontier of each subsequent Challenge level, I am more excited, more passionate, and more sold on the outcomes produced by such an education as CC offers. I see the fruit and it is so encouraging!”
The vision of Classical Conversations, to know God and make Him known, is an integral part of the Stoddard family philosophy. As church planter’s they use a similar vision for their congregation: to know, be known, make known. This same vision in both main areas of Kristie’s life, defines her worldview.
As a pastor’s wife, she has often been struck with how many moms need guidance and mentoring; and that is especially true of those moms and dads who are taking their children's education as their own responsibility. In Titus 2:4,5 women are called and encouraged to teach and mentor other women. Kristie believes that being an SM gives her the ultimate opportunity to mentor other home educators in the life in Christ, in general, and specifically, in classical education, and to encourage those who are on the fence to forge into the unknown, sometimes overwhelming world, of homeschooling.
Classical Conversations entered Mary's life just as her older son was about to launch into those uncertain high school years and her younger son was entering third grade. Having now walked through Challenge I, II, and III, Foundations and Essentials, Mary is passionate about sharing with others the deeper level of learning she has experienced with her children. New revelations and joyful discoveries punctuate family conversations and spark enthusiastic sharing. Through Classical Conversations, Mary desires to help families discover the beauty and complexity of God's world and to know God more fully as they explore the amazing universe He designed.
Over the next few months, Mary plans to host information events throughout the greater St. Louis region. These events will be designed for those who are uncertain how to implement a classical, Christian home education program and those who need a fresh vision for their family's educational goals. Because Mary will be training new directors to manage Classical Conversations communities, home schooling families in the St. Louis area will not have to drive far to find safe, lasting relationships with others who have similar goals for their families. Her burning desire is to reassure parents that God has equipped them to be the educators of their children from high chair to high school and beyond.
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