Do your homeschool days feel hurried, rushed, and tense? I know the feeling! Homeschooling does not come naturally to me – I'm not a born teacher, I don't have endless patience, and while I love my kids to pieces, I'm also an introvert. Which means that I, quite literally, run out of words about 3/4 of the way through my day. I go from big smiles and cheerful conversation to tight-lipped grimaces and nods. I don't want to be that way, but I've learned that I HAVE to find ways to have quiet – and rest – throughout the day or everyone suffers. I'm going to be brutally honest, here, and tell you that one thing I have to work on the most about myself is that I often feel exasperated and overwhelmed, and I have a really hard time not letting that bleed out into my voice and facial expressions. It is so hard for me not to show my irritation through a bad attitude to everyone around me.
I began to feel like my afternoon quiet times were not enough, and that I needed to change my entire homeschool approach. How could I change from a tense, hurried mama to a peaceful, restful mama? I don't have all of the answers, but I've learned about a homeschooling approach that has made a big difference for us – Scholé.
I was introduced to the concept through Pam Barnhill's podcast, Your Morning Basket, and learned more through the Read Aloud Revival. I received the book, Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakeable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie, and it really opened my eyes.
What does Scholé mean, and why is it something you need to know about?
Scholé is the Greek word for leisure, and it's the word from which we derive the word “school.” When I first learned that the Greek word for learning meant “leisure,” I was surprised. Our homeschool days were not full of leisure by ANY stretch of the imagination, and I really felt that I couldn't keep going the way we had been. Maybe I was organized, but I was really stressed out and no one was enjoying school. Our days were not restful at all.
I needed to make some changes if we were going to sustain this homeschool lifestyle, so I started reading and absorbing as much as I could about Scholé, and I was pleasantly surprised at how some minor changes made a big difference.
The Scholé How-To
It seems that one of the leading experts on Scholé is Dr. Christopher Perrin (I highly recommend reading/listening to anything you can find by Dr. Perrin), and I've heard him say more than once that the first step is surrounding ourselves with what is good, true, and beautiful. For me, the good and true part was incorporating more scripture and calming music. Then I spruced up our living room (where we do most of our school) just a tiny bit, and put it higher on my cleaning list so that it stays neater. A clean, pretty, and calming environment made a big difference.
Once I had those first few steps down, I turned to the experts for more ideas – moms who were embracing the concept of Scholé, and teaching from rest. Here are a few of my favorite resources to help you teach from rest, with truth, beauty, and goodness every day:
Scholé Everyday – 13 Ways to Incorporate Restful Learning Into Your Day from livingandlearningathome.com
Scholé Groups – find homeschool communities near you from Classical Academic Press
Scholé Sisters – One of my favorite podcasts,ScholéScholé Sisters has practical and inspiring tips and ideas from Mystie Winckler, Brandy Vencel, and Pam Barnhill.
I can honestly say that since we've made these changes we have true leisurely learning in our home. Not every subject is beautiful and peaceful, but we have our moments! We use Sonlight curriculum as part of a Classical education, and I can truly say that we have a leisurely, enjoyable homeschool environment (especially our Sonlight reading time). How do you teach and learn from a place of rest? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!
Photo Credit: © Stephanie Frey