Introductory Letter to My Challenge III Class

For our first class in August 2014, I requested each student write a letter about themselves, answering questions about their history and their favorites. In cleaning off my desk today I found my own letter. 

Dear class,

Thank you for sketching your character so I may have a glimpse from behind your eyes. I will return the blessing.

So. I was born on Long Island and grew up in Connecticut, where in kindergarten I met my future husband. In high school I had no idea what I wanted to do and made my physics teacher laugh when I told him I wanted to be an astronomer. I have always been partial to the outdoors and thought maybe something with plants would be my future. In my senior year I took AP Biology and also played Maria in West Side Story. At the same time, I took Music Theory, which I absolutely loved.  I was also teaching myself to play folk guitar. I did so-so in Biology. Okay, so then I knew—plants out, music in. I went to college in Connecticut for music, taking the Music Education path because I was not intense about practicing. I just wanted to learn more, much more about music.

So that I did, especially loving theory (no surprise), and graduated in 1981 with a license to teach music. I moved to Maryland, where I was interviewed by the county school system. After many adventures, the next year I was teaching elementary music, K-6. That is what I did for the six or so years I was there (while Ronald Reagan was president).

In 1988 my old kindergarten buddy, who had become a forester, persuaded me to leave the congestion of Maryland and make a home with him in the hills of Vermont. I gladly came. We lived in a one room house with no plumbing, power, or phone. Not for long though—once the ground thawed we put them in. I can remember the thrill of hearing a refrigerator hum!  No more daily trips to the store! And water—now we could wash dishes daily!

Six children were born to us and I started to teach the first one in 1994. He has just graduated from engineering school and lives in Vermont—like his parents, his roots go deep in the Connecticut River valley. The second is still in college, another one starts this week, and my last three are in high school. (They have been in Classical Conversations since Foundations and will be much better educated than the others!) I tutored Challenge B for five years and am now seeing one of those classes  in Challenge III.  I would love to park right here for several years.

That’s my history. Now to finish with some favorites (in threes):

Books: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Busman’s Holiday by Dorothy Sayers. Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student.

Writing: my blog, in my journal, articles (though this is very painful. Writing is still not easy for me.)

Activities: camping, cooking over a fire, long bike rides

Quirks: I sleep with the window open as long into late fall as I can and as early as possible in late winter. My kids won’t let me go near used bookstores. My favorite cat would like to eat the other cats (I admire his panache.)

With warm regards,

Mrs. Holleran

About lettersfromheartscontent

Mother of six, homeschool teacher, tutor with Classical Conversations, wife to a forester and educator. I tend a perennial garden with a riot of blossoms, ride my bicycle in and out of the watershed, play ocarina and a boom-chick accompaniment when my kids feel like playing contradance music. I love being home, but I love an open road and adventure, too. Classical Conversations' Writers Circle carries my article on some aspect of classical education once a month.
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3 Responses to Introductory Letter to My Challenge III Class

  1. Camille says:

    I like how you describe cannibalism as having panache. You would have enjoyed the Donner Party, I presume.

  2. He has a lot of nerve. He is a stray whom I found sneaking into the house at night one autumn as the days were getting cooler. We invited him to live with us. He did, but quickly made it clear to all of us that Taggerung, top cat, was now second to him. Taggerung, a mighty hunter but a modest personality, has had to fight this battle over and over, and only when provoked.

    The kids, who side with Tag, do not tolerate Fred, but Fred chooses to sleep with me and so he is my favorite.

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