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Back in the Arena… Together!

April 10th, 2018

{photo source}

First, an announcement: Congratulations to Jennifer Martinez  – you’re the winner of our Reading Resolutions Giveaway! Look for your gift card in your family file soon. THANK YOU to everyone who participated! Next week we will post the entries.

Today’s post is for all the SLOCA (and other homeschool) parents out there who are returning from our well-deserved break and facing what may feel like the longest span of time known to home educators: the stretch between Spring Break and the end of the school year. It’s a long haul!

Our school’s theme this year has been “Daring Greatly” and as we now head back into the arena for this last leg of our courageous journey through Ancient times, we know there is a real risk of experiencing a little blood, sweat, and tears on our home days. (Hopefully not much blood!) Call it what you will – spring fever, burn-out, trimester-three-lethargy… it’s a thing. We are weary, and often tempted to switch into survival mode and limp along until summer.

But… don’t! This is one of those times when being part of a community like SLOCA is so very worth it. Know that you aren’t alone, and that your fellow warrior-parents are pushing forward right alongside you to finish the year strong. Reach out to them. Swap ideas. Make a few minor adjustments. But continue to put in the work on your home days – do the grammar and the spelling and the writing, and pursue those deep conversations about history, literature, science, and life with your kids. They may be feeling a bit listless too, so cheer them on and model perseverance. (And maybe now is the time to add in a fun new incentive or routine!) We won’t regret the time we've spent learning alongside our children and investing in those relationships.

With that said, we hope to encourage our readers today by looking back at the Roman gladiators who have loosely inspired our “arena” analogy that we’ve been using all year.

{Pollice Verso by Jean-Léon Gérôme, via Wikimedia Commons / Public domain}

In an article titled “Ten Things You May Not Know About Roman Gladiators,” the History Channel website calls Roman gladiators the “working class heroes of antiquity,” which has a nice ring, doesn’t it? Thankfully there isn’t too strong a resemblance between those fierce Roman warriors and SLOCA parents today, but let’s identify with the “hero” part and take a lighthearted look at a few similarities between us and the ancient gladiators (while we very intentionally avoid many of the other possible connections - yikes!):

#1: Gladiators weren’t always slaves.
Some of them CHOSE this lifestyle! Let’s remember why we have chosen to partner with SLOCA in the education of our children. Although the gladiators were motivated by fame and prize money, we have different priorities – learning alongside our kids and providing an exceptional classical education that is life-enriching, life-preparing and life-giving.

#2: Gladiators didn’t always fight to the death.
Reassuring, right? We just might survive this. Seriously though, the daily battles we face on the home front won’t kill us. (Plus we often have the benefit of choosing our battles, unlike many gladiators…) Even if there are some wounds inflicted during home day struggles, we can rise strong, re-connect, and heal together.

{artwork source / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0}

#3: Women also fought as gladiators.
Our dads might be loving the gladiator analogy, but in case any of our moms out there haven’t appreciated being compared to Russel Crowe all year long, know that occasionally women would volunteer to fight in the arena too! Perhaps they weren’t taken as seriously as the men in this particular sport during patriarchal Roman times, but a few women proved themselves to be worthy opponents. These were tough ladies. And we are tough, ladies.

#4: Gladiators viewed themselves as a kind of brotherhood.
As do we! Homeschooling parents, and SLOCA parents in particular, have a special bond and brotherhood. Gladiators formed groups that looked after one another. Granted, it was often more about making sure a fellow warrior received a proper funeral when he fell in battle, and that his family was compensated. Take that as you may. But let’s look out for one another! Ask how others are doing, seek out help in areas where you're struggling, and spend time with other parents who support you. Our SLOCA community, including teachers and parents, is strong because we are in this together.

So press on, dear friends! Some days you’ll feel beaten and bruised, but other days will be glorious. And if nothing else, remember that when we’re feeling face down in the arena, we can be glad that at least what we’re doing at home isn’t serving as “entertainment” for the masses.


Do you have any additional encouragement to share (related to gladiators or not!) as we face the last long stretch of the school year? Leave a comment below – we would love to hear from you!


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