Since reading Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie, I’ve been living in a self inflicted whirlwind of scholé data input. It’s the way I normally respond to something that really clicks. I remember when I responded like this when I encountered the ancient faith of Orthodox Christianity. I dove in strong and deep and swam around in a sea of Church Fathers, Church history, Christological theology, Saints lives, and ancient Bible commentary until my head hurt.
You may be asking, what exactly is a self inflicted whirlwind of scholé data input? It all started after reading the book Teaching from Rest. I was so excited to see on paper what had already been written on my heart for years, that whatever is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy, think on these things. I couldn’t just stop there with a beautiful encounter of truth and take a rest as the book and the Good Book both encourage me to do, I had to know more, dig deeper, see what others were saying, engage further with this idea. For better or worse, that’s just what I did.
I looked up Scholé Groups, because it was mentioned in the back of her book. I discovered that there were co-op groups popping up all over the U.S. where homeschoolers were getting together to do scholé (restful learning). “Maybe I could start one,” the little voice in my head whispered. I discovered that there were Scholé Sister groups where moms were doing scholé together, and of course I had to start one of those, Scholé in Seattle (name credit goes to Lynn Wilcox, who is my clever and fun brainstorm partner).
Then I had a hairbrained idea, “What if I could host a retreat? What homeschool mom doesn’t want to get away for a restful retreat of learning? I could call it Homeschooling from Rest!” Somehow I discovered Jennifer Dow with Expanding Wisdom and incredibly she agreed to come all the way out from North Carolina to share some practical ways to homeschool from rest. Had I ever hosted a women’s event before? Nope. Did I know what I was doing? Nope. Was I crazy? Yep. Amazingly, we had 50 ladies attend, and generous donations from companies like: Classical Academic Press, The Well Trained Mind Press, Memoria Press, Simply Charlotte Mason, Veritas Press, IEW, Ed Snap Shots, Expanding Wisdom, Catherine’s Pascha, Usborne Books, and official sponsorship from Scholé Groups and my parish Holy Resurrection, and we left there swimming with ideas about scholé. Was I done? Nope.
I joined an online group hosted by Jennifer Mackintosh of Wildflowers and Marbles to discuss CiRCE‘s new video series with Andrew Kern and Matt Bianco, Restful Teaching. I watched and listened to each video several times, and discussed them with the group’s lovely ladies through video chat. You’d think I would be done after this…nope. In truly restless fashion, I was just getting started. I wanted to do another retreat, this time a smaller event. In thinking about who to ask to come and speak, I couldn’t stop thinking about Heidi Scovel of Mt. Hope Chronicles. So, I contacted her to pitch this idea. She agreed to come out and speak from her heart about everything she had learned on her journey toward scholé. We decided to title the mini-retreat Truth, Goodness and Beauty: From Principle to Practice. “Perfect! That’s what I need. I need to get from Principle to Practice! Awesome!” Somewhere in here before the TGB retreat I became a Retreat Consultant for Scholé Groups, and Truth, Goodness, and Beauty became our first official Scholé Retreat. Then we had a follow-up discussion on Facebook, Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. “Hey Jen, are you done yet?” my inner self was asking, and my husband was hoping. Nope.
I proceeded to listen to every podcast, read every blog, engross myself in every discussion I could get my eyes, ears, or mouth engaged in. Some of those included, and in no particular order before, between, or after these events: The Liturgical Classroom with Jenny Rallens, The Mason Jar with Cindy Rollins, From Ancients to Zoology Master Class with Sarah Mackenzie and Pam Barnhill, various videos and podcasts with Dr. Christopher Perrin, Andrew Kern, Matt Bianco, Pam Barnhill, and Sarah Mackenzie. Around the 4th of July we took a trip to Grants Pass, Oregon, and I listened to Charlotte Mason’s Volume 1 on audio on the way down. On the way up I listened to as many episodes as I could fit in from the podcast, A Delectable Education. In the meantime mixed in there I was reading Dante’s Inferno and discussing with Jennifer Dow on her Expanding Wisdom discussion group, and I was watching Wesley Callihan on Roman Roads Media “Epics” video series, and I was reading Homer (well, the children’s version by Padraic Colum – to my kids during Together Time). What else? Oh there’s more. On August 14th I wrote this Facebook post: I feasted to gorging. (Please hop over and read it. There are some fascinating insights.) Additionally, I hosted a Lost Tools of Writing workshop with Matt Bianco. Somewhere in there, I posted about my homeschool planning freeze. Andrew Kern and Jennifer Mackintosh encouraged me to slow down, stop even (Eek!) the scholé data input whirlwind. I obeyed, for a little while, and my mind and heart began to settle down. There were several confessions with my priest mixed in there, which always help to settle down my spirit.
To read where this all ended up and follow my journey to scholé at home, continue on to Part 2.