Dr. Chris Perrin started us off by highlighting some key points on the concept of scholé. I was particularly fascinated by the discussion of acedia —a kind of depression and despair, the antidote to which is scholé—but I will save the thoughts that inspired in my mind for another post.
Then Dr. Perrin posed the question “How have you practiced scholé in your homeschool?” Honestly, my mind first ran to all the ways we’ve failed to do that. Just being real – I have definite Eeyore tendencies.
A few of my kids (22, 19, 17, 15 this week) had started straying into my room towards the end of the webinar, and so I gave them a brief recap of the content, and then asked them what they thought were the ways we practiced scholé. They all immediately said, “Reading aloud!” We read aloud for as much as 2.5 hours per day when they were younger, and it was such precious and profitable time. Our entire history curriculum until high school consisted of read-alouds supplemented by their own reading of (mostly) Landmark books—not assigned, just interest-led. And we read TONS of literature, poetry, Scripture, etc. It has been harder to make read aloud time happen through high school with my last two, but we did manage to read a good bit of the Odyssey and the entire Aeneid in the last school year.
Other thoughts I had on the practice of scholé in our schooling:
Meaningful memory work can contribute to scholé, particularly as a long term investment. Learning to chant endings of all conjugation, declension, and pronoun paradigms from early ages gave them pegs to hang their Latin grammar on later. I do think those connections made late elementary and high school Latin much more profitable and perhaps a bit more restful. The same could be said for learning math facts early on (which we did not do so well, so I’m speaking of a lesson learned the hard way here…) We also memorized a good amount of poetry and Scripture. That, along with all that reading we did, has contributed to ease of expression in written work (in varying degrees, depending on the kid!) On the other hand, memorizing copious lists of unrelated facts and dates is probably a scholé killer.
Content in the younger years does pay off in the high school years. This is part of the Charlotte Mason’s genius – reading Plutarch and Shakespeare starting in elementary school, for example. Habit of attention, avoiding twaddle, etc…all of that allows us to go deeper in high school with far less anxiety and far more enjoyment.
Picture study and nature study are simple and natural ways to invite observation and contemplation in younger kids. Our Primer and Grammar classes do this each week at Providence Prep. In our own home, I wish we had continued this practice longer…I plan to reinstate at least picture study during our read-aloud time this coming year.
New to the idea of scholé? Read Scholé – Restful Learning here.