Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Scholé Group?
Scholé Groups are homeschooling co-ops that employ the content of a classical curriculum and pursue restfulness in learning. Learn more about these distinctions here.
What is scholé?
The word scholé (pronounced skoh-LAY) comes from a Greek word meaning “restful learning,” with connotations of reflection, contemplation, and leisure.
As our name implies, we at Scholé Groups value learning that is restful rather than frenetic. How do our educational philosophy and methods differ from those represented by progressive education? Modern education is largely an education in anxiety. In this system, students commonly take eight or more courses at a time, which contributes to the stress and anxiety now associated with the term “student.” For each of their classes, students are typically graded numerically by teachers who are often driven to “teach to the test” and who must use assessments that produce easily quantified data—in other words, dehumanizing tests that are machine readable. Students in such a system learn to cram, pass, and then forget.
By contrast, Scholé Groups seek to cultivate un-rushed learning with meaningful, deep engagement of fewer books and concepts (comparatively speaking), so that learning becomes memorable, enjoyable, and permanent. Scholé Groups seek to create an atmosphere of restful learning by modeling peace, tranquility, love of the subject, and they value methods of evaluation that assess understanding and mastery of the subject rather than just the input and output of facts.
This means that in their various settings, Scholé Groups work to create engaged discussion and learning and seek to build relationships among student and adult learners. Scholé Groups work hard to structure their courses so that the amount of work required is in accord with the allotted time while an atmosphere of contemplation, conversation, and reflection is also cultivated. Our groups seek to wed truth to beauty in their teaching and to cultivate education in its fullest sense, so that students will receive excellent, classical instruction that leads to wisdom and mastery.
If you are interested in exploring the concept of scholé in more depth, we recommend these resources to you.
- “The Liberal Arts Tradition: The Philosophy of Christian Classical Education” by Kevin Clark and Ravi Jain (book)
- “Scholé in The Scripture: Choosing What Is Better” by Christopher Perrin (article)
- “Desiring a Kingdom School” by Christopher Perrin (article)
How do I start a Scholé Group?
We’re so glad you asked! Here’s a page that will walk you through the steps we recommend.
Can I operate a Scholé Group in person and/or online?
Most Scholé Groups meet in person and have no online teaching or meeting component. However, you can add online elements or even operate a group completely online! Here’s a page that contains our free guide for taking your group partially or completely online.
What is the Scholé Group Statement of Faith
As an organization, the Scholé Groups Network is rooted in the Christian tradition, though we are not associated with any one particular denomination. As our name implies, we seek to present all teaching and learning restfully with scholé. While scholé as an idea originated with the Greeks, it was transformed and extended by church, especially in monastic centers of education. The Scholé Groups Network seeks to recover this approach to education that is contemplative, “liturgical,” restful and full of Christian peace. Our faith commitment is summarized in the Nicene Creed (posted below).
Within our support network, each Scholé Group functions autonomously. As such, a Scholé Group may choose whether to specify a particular Christian tradition or denominational focus for their group. While the leadership of each Scholé Group should be comprised of individuals committed to the Christian faith, each Scholé Group may decide whether they wish to open enrollment up to students who represent another faith tradition, or no faith tradition.
We believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
begotten from the Father before all ages,
God from God,
Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made;
of the same essence as the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven;
he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary,
and was made human.
He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered and was buried.
The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures.
He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again with glory
to judge the living and the dead.
His kingdom will never end.
And we believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life.
He proceeds from the Father [and the Son],
and with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified.
He spoke through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church.
We affirm one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look forward to the resurrection of the dead,
and to life in the world to come. Amen.
What is liturgical learning?
Liturgical Learning is a phrase that describes the use of the embodied patterns from church worship and tradition for shaping the way we order time, space, and language in our schools and homeschools.
Using a liturgical pattern within your group meetings and classes is an effective way to recover reflection and contemplation as part of learning. For example, one could incorporate aspects of a typical “order of worship” as a pattern for ordering a lesson:
- Welcome/Greeting: 3 minutes (students greeted by beautiful images and music, possibly with an inspirational quotation or key question; 3 minutes of contemplation before official start)
- Grateful Acknowledgment: 2 minutes (of the art, one another, the opportunity to study some aspect of God’s creation, the mind, nature, humanity)
- Confess What We Need: 2 minutes (disposition, frame of mind, virtue, heart that seeks and calls out for wisdom; a written confession can be read and/or prayer offered); key Scripture: Proverbs 2:1-7
- Teach/Present/Discuss: 30-45 minutes (traditional lesson, led by the teacher, ensuring that all students are engaged and participating)
- Confess What We Know/Have Learned: 2 minutes (summary and review taking the form of “creedal” confession that edifies)
- Expression of Thanksgiving: 2-3 minutes (led by teacher or mature student, but giving opportunity for all students to express gratitude to God, teacher, other students)
- Benediction/Dismissal: 1 minute (prepared benediction written by teacher, or from traditional sources)
- Processional: 3 minutes (return to beautiful music and images; students free to leave immediately or remain for quiet contemplation)
Please note: this pattern includes many elements of liturgy that you may wish to implement within a given class. However, Liturgical Learning will vary in style and length according to your group’s specific composition. This pattern serves as one example of what Liturgical Learning could look like, but you should feel free to adhere to or depart from this specific sequence as you see fit.
What is the pricing structure of Scholé Groups?
There is no cost to join the Scholé Group Network and gain access to the resources and benefits provided to Scholé Groups. Once a group has been founded, the group director establishes an individualized pricing structure that best suits their co-op’s specific needs. That is, the director may run the group on a volunteer basis or may choose to charge tuition, rent a facility, hire teachers etc. The Scholé Groups Network no longer charges a per-student fee.
How is the Scholé Groups Network funded?
Scholé Groups is a division of Classical Academic Press. Because there is no charge to join the Scholé Groups Network, Scholé Groups is funded by other Classical Academic Press enterprises..
Can my family comprise a Scholé Group?
Scholé Groups are communal in essence, and so we require at least three participating families to come together to form a group. However, even if you do not wish to form a Scholé Group, we certainly recommend incorporating the scholé philosophy into your personal homeschool.
What course of study is required for Scholé Groups?
Scholé Groups are committed to a classical course of studies, a path that has been tried and proven since ancient times. The long tradition of classical education has emphasized the seeking after of truth, goodness, and beauty and the study of the liberal arts and the great books. A classical education should be like a stroll through a garden of delight. As with any good walk, there may be digressions, but the main path—the key spots and visitations—should be known. Scholé Groups follow a core sequence of studies (see below), which includes Latin (or Greek or Hebrew), logic, writing, and rhetoric as well as the great books, mathematics, and science. Because each Scholé Group is unique in its setting and composition, we encourage our groups to structure their community time according to the specific needs and goals of their co-op, focusing on certain areas of study together and others individually in their homes. For example, a group could choose to offer Latin and Great Books during their co-op meetings, and each individual family would pursue the other core studies individually within the home. Likewise, we encourage each group to use whichever tools and published resources they find most fitting and helpful.
*Note: Greek or Hebrew may be studied with, or instead of Latin.
How often do Scholé Groups meet?
Scholé Groups gather to meet on a regular basis. Most Scholé Groups meet weekly, though we have some groups that meet up to three days per week and others who meet only twice per month.
What classes should I offer in my Scholé Group?
This will depend largely on the setting of your group and your group’s preferences. We encourage Scholé Groups to take advantage of the resources present in their group. For example, you might like to take advantage of the group dynamic to study literature, a study that thrives on discussion. Alternatively, you might wish to offer a class based on a particular teaching resource in your midst, such as a parent who is an artist or a musician (or a physicist!). Ultimately, the Scholé Group director or leadership team determines which classes the Scholé Group will offer. If you would like advice from an experienced Scholé Group director on this topic, please reach out to one of our Scholé Mentors.
What size are Scholé Groups?
Scholé Groups range significantly in size. Some prefer to maintain a small community, while others like to expand. If you are just launching a co-op, we recommend starting with a smaller group. This will allow you to focus on the pedagogy and practices that will shape your community first, before taking on some of the logistics that come with a larger group.
Is there someone who can coach me through the process of starting/running a Scholé Group?
Yes! We have certified a number of Scholé Group directors as Scholé Mentors & Consultants. These experienced Scholé Group Directors are qualified to help new groups get started and thrive. To qualify as a Scholé Mentor, a director must have two to three years of experience leading a Scholé Group and at least five years of experience homeschooling and studying classical education and pedagogy, and demonstrate leadership ability. All of these mentors have been interviewed and approved by the Scholé Groups network. New Scholé Groups are highly-encouraged to reach out to one of these mentors for an initial, free consult to help a Scholé Group start. Each mentor sets her own fees for ongoing consulting and mentoring of new Scholé Group directors. Each of these mentors is also qualified by the Scholé Group network to host and lead Scholé Retreats around the country. Learn more here.
How do I operate a Scholé Group?
The flexibility of Scholé Groups means that this is ultimately up to you! The operational aspects of your Scholé Group will vary greatly depending on the size and scope of your co-op, but if you’re looking for guidance based on these factors, you can find our recommendations in the Scholé Groups Handbook. The network of Scholé Groups across the country is also an excellent resource for finding best practices that suit your style. Connect with other groups like yours on our forums, on our Facebook group, through our webinars, or through shared documents in our File Library! If you would like advice from an experienced Scholé Group director on this topic, please reach out to one of our Scholé Mentors.
Do you provide structural and/or curricular recommendations/guidance for Scholé Groups?
We do! We are developing a curriculum guide for just this purpose. In the meantime, we recommend using the Ambrose Curriculum Guide as a tool. This is a comprehensive K–12 curriculum guide developed over many years by one of the veteran schools leading the renewal of classical education across the United States. The full Ambrose Curriculum Guide is available to subscribers of ClassicalU.com. View samples here. If you would like advice from an experienced Scholé Group director on this topic, please reach out to one of our Scholé Mentors.
Can I participate in a Scholé Group and Classical Conversations community at the same time?
We think that for most people it will be unrealistic to participate and support two homeschooling communities at the same time. It may be roughly analogous to trying to participate in two churches at once! Some families are able to do this, but not many. We do allow students to participate in both a SG and CC community at the same time, but we do not permit one person to be the director of both a CC community and a Scholé Group simultaneously. We greatly admire the work of Classical Conversations and are in debt to the great contribution CC has made in the renewal of home-centered, classical education. While we at Scholé Groups offer a pedagogical approach that varies from CC at points, we support the work of CC even as we support other organizations that working to renew classical education in the US and abroad. You can learn more about Classical Conversations here.
What are the benefits of starting or joining a Scholé Group?
The concept of scholé cuts across the grain of modern education and therefore it takes a principled commitment to the scholé ideal in order for it to be implemented and realized. We provide each Scholé Group with a variety of educational and practical resources for understanding and implementing scholé in their communities. Our resources include support for group leaders, parents and teachers, and students. Discover our collection of resources and benefits here.