A new school year is here! I love planning and preparing, so summer was really fun for me. This year will be different for us than any of our previous years, so I had lots to plan! I am excited for the changes!
One change from last year is that we will not be a part of a Classical Conversations group this year. (If you are interested in why, read my post Why I Am Not Returning To Classical Conversations.) Last year was a good learning year for me as far as figuring out what I want my homeschool to look like and what I think education in general should look like.
One thing that I am learning is that I think there is real benefit to doing some parts of education together, and benefit to doing some parts alone. By together, I mean with other children/families, and by alone, I mean at home as a family. Ideally I think I would really like a half-day cottage school type program (that is located 5 minutes from my home, that teaches using the classical model, and filled with wonderful students and amazing teachers....hey a girl can dream, right?) but that is not available to me at the moment, so I've come up with something as close to that as I can get for now.
At the end of my Why I Am Not Returning To Classical Conversations post, I listed somethings that I desired for my homeschool this year. Here is what I wrote:
I want a truly classical group.
I want a group of like-minded people to dive into the full richness of classical education with. I want to dive deep together, cultivating virtue, enhancing wonder, and pointing our children toward truth, goodness, and beauty.
I want freedom.
I want the freedom to change things that need to be changed. I want the ability to stay on one subject for 2 hours if the children are engaged in the wonder of God's creation and there is no pressing reason to stop!
I want to work together with other moms.
The Body of Christ is so diverse in our gifts and talents. CC literally left me in a state of exhaustion each week because their model has the tutor doing everything (to show that "You can do it too, mom!") I appreciate their desire there, but it has made me understand more fully how every person is uniquely gifted and that it is beautiful when we come together and share our strengths!
I think that meeting days could be a time of joy (instead of stress), with each mom doing what she loves to do, blessing the entire group by doing it.
Enter Scholé Groups from Classical Academic Press
A few friends and I had already been talking about getting together once a week this year for a co-op type group. We had the same desires as far as working together to create a day of joyful, restful, beautiful learning for our children, but didn't have all of our ideas together yet. Then I heard about a new program that was being launched by Classical Academic Press, called Scholé Groups.
I have been greatly influenced by Dr. Perrin and many Classical Academic Press resources, so I knew right away that I wanted to check this out! It turns out that it is a perfect fit for what my friends and I had already started formulating.
A Scholé Group is unlike other homeschool groups in that it does not tell you the specific course of action that you need to follow (no specific classes or curriculum is outlined). The folks at Classical Academic Press simply want to lead us in our understanding of classical education principles and help us to employ them as we learn together. From their website:
"A Scholé Group is a homeschooling community of at least two families employing the content of a classical curriculum and the pedagogy of restful learning embodied by the word
So, that is what I am doing this year! I spent the summer planning, hit a few bumps along the way, planned some more, and now will be starting my Scholé Group this week on Tuesday! My group is pretty small (3 families) and quite young (ages 4-7), so it is going to look different than other Scholé Groups, but I think it is going to be wonderful!
Scholé Group Curriculum
Here is what a day in my group will look like:
Recitation - One student each week will share something with the group.
Bible/Virtue Lesson - We will start our days pointing the children (and ourselves!) to Christ.
Memorization - Each week we will learn a Bible verse and a hymn together.
History & Geography
This year we will be learning about ancient civilizations. We will memorize a timeline and create one of our own. We will learn about the people, places, and events of history through story, song, and hands-on activities.
We will use Story of the World as a jumping off point, but will add or take away as we see fit. I am really enjoying the corresponding activity book which provides map work, reading suggestions, and lots of great activity ideas.
Nature Exploration & Recess
When the weather is reasonable, we will take the children outside to explore God's creation. Some days we will have specific activities for the children, and other days they will explore freely.
I have typically thought of lunch as a break from the day. When I was reading the Scholé Group handbook I was intrigued to read their thoughts about lunch. They talk about lunch being a time for great conversation, beholding that which is beautiful, and restful enjoyment of food. I'm sure I still don't exactly understand it all, but that sure got me thinking!
We are planning on opening our lunch time by singing the Doxology and then praying. The children will all have a part in setting and clearing the table and will work on learning certain manners each week. Remember that my group is very young, so we have to start with the very basics! Hopefully as we grow we will be able to engage in great conversations, but for now we will focus on keeping the kids in their seats for the duration of lunch and saying please and thank you =)
I plan on having something nice to set on the table each week (flowers, candles, etc.) and playing nice music in the background. If anyone has any other ideas for making lunch a venue for contemplating truth, goodness, and beauty, please share!
I really want to title this section The Great Books, but in reality it is going to be the Kindergarten version of great books. I am really excited for this time as we strive to help the children love books and begin to learn how to discuss what they have read or heard. This time will change throughout the year. We will read pictures books, chapter books, poetry, etc., discussing and doing activities where appropriate.
We will end our day by attending a local homeschool music class together. Hopefully the kids won't be too tired out after our day of scholé! I think it will be really fun and a great experience for the kids.
So, there you have it. This is my plan for next year! I am very hopeful that it will be a wonderful time of learning and exploration. I will share more with you as we get going. If you want to see some other Scholé Groups in action, check out Sola Gratia Mom and Expanding Wisdom's Paideia Fellowship.