Updated: Jun 25, 2020
"I love seeing the Bible come alive and impact my daily life and the lives of those around me. "
- Bobbie Jo Ryan
1) Tell me about yourself?
I love to learn, create, and organize! If I could be in school myself I would be and I don't go anywhere without my colored pens and Post-It tabs! LOL My husband, Tim, and I own Ryan Family Chiropractic Wellness Center in Acworth, GA where I am the Office Manager and take care of the marketing. I'm also a graphic designer with my business I started in 2008, Completely Crafty, LLC. My family and I attend Three Taverns Church (Acworth, GA) and go on mission trips two to three times each year. We served locally,out of state: Alabama and Oklahoma, and out of country: Mexico.
I officially only have High Schoolers! I am mom to Connor (Challenge III) and Kylee (Challenge I) .
2) When and why did you decide to homeschool?
When our son was in Kindergarten we realized he was a year ahead and struggling in school because he was an active little boy with a big imagination and he was bored with the curriculum because he already knew it. The previous year in Pre-K was the same for him, so with a lot of encouragement from my husband and neighbor (and lots of prayer and bartering with God) I did a trial run of homeschooling over the summer which quickly turned into a year commitment. My plan started out with whatever was cheapest because I was so overwhelmed. Then I shifted to... an online public school (homeschool-ish program), for a few years but the longer we were with them the more I had to advocate for my son. At that point I was burnt out and failing at keeping my head above water. My children wanted to try public school and I was one worn out momma, so we allowed them to venture into the brick and mortar world. Though it wasn't a total loss (we discovered things the kids loved that I wasn't providing yet), it was one of the hardest years to date. (That's for another conversation though.) What was clear is that homeschool is where we needed to be and I needed support to educate my kids.
Enter Classical Conversations!
3) What led you to classical conversations and what do you like most about it?
One day I was scrolling through Facebook and a friend had posted about an Information Meeting for her homeschool group. I trusted this friend and decided that the kids and I would rush to the meeting. By rush I mean the meeting was 15 minutes from my house and it started in 15 minutes!
We met a few ladies who were involved in the group as directors/tutors and parents and we met a few of their children. My kids loved the idea and I did too. It was an answer to our prayers. I needed something that would equip me to let the kids do music (tin whistle, check, memory work songs, check) and art (check). I also knew both of them were interested in science (check). All of our needs, and support for me, were already built into the program! A few weeks later I attended the Parent Practicum. Though I was out of my comfort zone it was exactly what I needed! During our first year of CC our Directors and Tutors met my family where we were on our homeschooling journey without judgement or frustration (the opposite I'd received from the public school sector) and helped us find our footing.
4) What made you decide to apply to direct?
My CC journey brought me into the fold quickly as a Bookstore Rep. I spent three years helping families understand which books and resources were essential and which would bless them where they were at. In addition, my introduction to Challenge B (the level I am Directing) was an immense blessing to my family. As a parent I sat in nearly all the classes with my son because I wasn't confident in the curriculum and because I wanted to better understand him and how I could help him in his educational journey. That year I didn't complete all the work but I did a lot of it (especially Logic) with my son as if I were the student. It built my confidence and his. All of that wouldn't have been possible without an amazing Director who welcomed me into the class to learn along with my son, to encourage me when I was needing it, and to have a place to help in our community. [The Challenge Director] did an amazing job caring for and directing conversation for my child and his classmates and I wanted to be able to bless others with the things God has blessed me with. So.... here I am!
5) What are you most looking forward to about being in a classroom with students next year?
I'm most excited about learning more myself and drawing the students into great conversation. One of the most unique things about CC is that it teaches our children how to communicate on levels that many adults struggle with. I've sat through classes, in different levels of CC, and I love seeing the students encourage each other and share questions they have to discuss with their friends. In a world filled with technology, we are often cheated out of great conversation.
6) How does faith inform your work as a director?
Currently I'm in my second year of formal discipleship in my church. It's been amazing, difficult at times, but this year has been my favorite by far. Each year in discipleship we focus on reading the Bible cover to cover and identifying certain things, as well as reading additional books.
At the end of the school year I decided to step up my Latin game and I began drilling Latin vocabulary (Books I, II, and III - remember, I have a Challenge III student this year!). As I have been reading through my Bible at the same time I have been identifying english words that we learn in Latin. I am also identifying verses that go along with the Challenge B curriculum. Nothing makes me nerd out and get more excited than things like that!
I love seeing the Bible come alive and impact my daily life and the lives of those around me.
7) Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
I have a philosophy when it comes to my curriculum and programs and it's worked well for me. Ready?.... okay, here it is! I try not to make any snap judgments or changes unless absolutely necessary. I feel it takes three years to really know if something is working. Here's what I mean:
The first year of a new curriculum I figure out what I need to do better and make adjustments but I don't judge myself too harshly because I had no idea what I was doing the first year! It was new to me and it was new to my kids. The second year I apply the changes and keep moving forward. I continue making adjustments along the way. But I don't really judge myself until that third year because I've committed to it and I've given myself and my children time to make the much needed changes to make it fit our family. This has worked really well for me because I'm generally one for the "this isn't working let me ditch it and try something else" motto. But with education you need consistency and you need to not change everything all the time. This has been reflected in my homeschooling journey time and time again. The first three years we did a modge podge of curriculum. It didn't work so we tried online public school (aka homeschooling-ish) with the curriculum provided. After three years of learning what blessed us and what didn't, and after a year of kind of giving up on homeschooling, God spoke to my heart and we found CC. What was different though is after the first year my husband and I were excited about the next year. We were making plans for our son starting Challenge A and what that would look like for him. And my husband pointed out the difference: At the end of the year I wanted more. I loved the program, the people, the structure, the support, and I was happy for the first time with what we were doing and the path God had brought us to. Now we are preparing for our 6th year of Classical Conversations and each year I appreciate it more and more, knowing that it's not only what my children needed, but what I needed to be able to homeschool my kids through high school.
8) How can people who are interested in your program reach out to you?
The best way to reach me is by email: WC.CC.ChB@gmail.com.
If you are interested in knowing more about my journey, what CC can offer your family, or have a question about the bits and pieces of my family's story that I've shared here, please let me know. I would love to talk with you!