Scholé Spotlight: Scholé Group of Rochester Hills
We began a Scholé Group this year as a few like-minded homeschooling families who desire to pursue restful learning together. This year we have three families, and we’re enjoying our small-group environment. We are also a young group, with five children ages four to seven, so our meeting times may look a little different than other (older and larger) groups. Our main goal this year is to help our children develop a love of learning, setting before them a multitude of opportunities to encounter truth, goodness, and beauty.
Morning Meeting: We start our days by gathering in a circle on the floor. Each week, one child has the chance to share something they learned with the rest of the group. Students have recited poetry and Bible verses and shared songs and readings. Then, one of the mothers leads the children in memorizing a Bible verse and singing a hymn. She closes our morning meeting by sharing a truth from God’s Word. Recently, we have been learning about the promises of God, which the children are really enjoying!
History: The next portion of our campus day is spent learning history. With such a young group, this time is really just a time of exposure; we plant seeds of truth in the children that will hopefully grow and bloom as they get older and study the material again.
We have started with ancient history and are moving our way slowly toward the present. We focus on one people group or event each week. So far we have learned about Creation, the Flood, the Tower of Babel, and the Ancient Sumerians, and we have just begun learning about the Egyptians. We trace maps, add the events to a timeline, and do activities that help the children grasp what we are teaching them. We have painted cave drawings, written in cuneiform like the Sumerians, and made a model of the Nile River.
Restful Lunch: My favorite part of the day is lunch. Now, it’s not for the reasons you might think! With young children, meal times are often chaotic, especially when a group of kids is gathered together! I was really inspired and challenged earlier this year when I read about lunchtime in the Scholé Group Handbook:
“Lunch should be thoughtfully planned as a time of leisure, good discussion, delight, good food and refreshment.…Try to make lunch as beautiful as time and resources permit; a potluck approach can work well, with tablecloths, candles and real silverware.”
Knowing what mealtimes with friends usually look like, I knew that I would have to do some serious planning to make our Scholé Group lunches even resemble restfulness. First, I do my part by putting on beautiful background music and having flowers or some other decoration as a centerpiece for our table.
Because our children are young, I knew that lunchtimes would be times of training for them. We decided they would all participate in setting the table, and then we would work on one manner each week. Each child has a small responsibility that contributes to getting lunch ready (e.g., filling the water cups, setting out the plates, etc.). They all look forward to seeing which job they will get for the day! When lunch is prepared, I explain which manner will be the focus for that day. We have worked on things like staying in your seat, clearing your plate when you are done, and saying please and thank you. The children take this very seriously, because if they remember their manners, they get to put a sticker on a chart, and when the chart is filled they get a special treat.
For the sake of keeping a liturgy even during lunch, we begin our lunchtime by singing the Doxology and then having someone pray. Since everyone is practicing their manners, our time of eating is so enjoyable. The moms actually get to sit down and enjoy lunch as well, which is not typical for moms of young children! We try to ask the children questions, perhaps relating to something we learned that day, to help them connect the idea of mealtime with good discussion. So far it is working well, and it is really enjoyable for everyone!
After lunch, the kids run off for a time of unstructured play. They are very ready to stretch their muscles and burn some energy by this point!
Closing: To end our day, one of the moms gathers the kids back from their playtime and reads a short story or a poem. I would love to see this time expanded at some point, but we realize the limits of our time and energy right now. Hopefully one day we can have a full read-aloud or discussion time, but for now it is a wonderful way to end our day together.
I am so thankful for the families that have come together this year for the Scholé Group Rochester Hills, and I am excited to see how we grow and develop going forward!
Amy Maze is the director of the Scholé Group of Rochester Hills. In addition to homeschooling her children and coordinating their co-op, Amy is the founder of the Living and Learning at Home blog, through which she provides encouragement, inspiration, and resources for other classical homeschoolers.