Schole, it seems to be the buzz word around certain blogging circles. According to Dictionary.com, schole is the Greek root of school, meaning leisure employed in learning. Dr. Christopher Perrin says schole is the ability to rest and contemplate. He wrote a two part series on Recovering Leisure in Education, which includes a video presentation of a lecture he gave in regard to the book Leisure, The Basis of Culture by Josef Pieper. I have not read the book, but have spent countless hours researching and listening to podcasts on schole around the web, one of my favorite sites being the Schole Sisters website, which began back in 2015. It was there I first learned about schole.
At that time, I was already leading a Charlotte Mason 20 Principles study in my area, but knew it would eventually come to an end. I loved our group and the energy I felt after meeting. Although the 20 Principles study would end, I didn't want to loose the camaraderie and charge of the women in our study. I printed the How to Start a Schole Sisters Group guide and toward the end of our Principle study, I presented the idea of continuing our group in the form of a Schole Sisters group for summer. The idea was well received.
A Schole Sisters group doesn't just talk about how homeschooling is going. These "sisters" do schole. They give themselves ample time in a beautiful setting (with some good food and drink) to discuss great literature and art, they may play music, sing, recite poetry. They learn from one another and are restored and enlivened by the engagement of truth, goodness, and beauty. (How to Start a Schole Sisters Group, pg. 6)Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy was on my want to read list for some time. It's a big book!...and I thought it would be fun to read with friends, not only for accountability, but for leisurely discussion and contemplation. Again, I presented the idea and it was decided that our new Schole Sisters group would begin by reading and studying Tolstoy's classic.
From there, I posted on a local homeschool forum this idea of schole, reading Anna Karenina together, and then meeting for discussion. I received an overwhelming response from nearly 20 women showing interest. I was so excited to see the diversity of interested moms. These were not women that hung together in any certain circle, but a good scattering of women from a variety of circles.
Next, I looked at logistics including the potential size of the group and proximity of where interested parties resided. I wanted a relaxing, neutral location for our meetings with easy access for all participants. We also needed to decide on a date for our first meeting, which was the biggest challenge with a group of busy moms this size. Once I had our interested persons list, I sent a direct e-mail to each mom with a request to rate a list of possible dates, times, and locations. In all fairness, because of the potential size of the group, it had to be a majority rules type of situation.
Once settling on a date and location, I not only e-mailed original interested parties, but also posted an update on the local forum opening the invitation to everyone because I knew some moms were unable to commit without an exact date and location.
Friday, May 27th, we held our first Schole Sisters meeting at a local restaurant and discussed Part I & II of Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. Nine women attended and it was delightful! In advance, I did a bit of research online and printed study questions to use as the basis for our discussion. Of course, not all moms were able to attend, but they still wanted to be kept in the loop for future meetings. Therefore, after our initial meeting, I sent a follow-up e-mail to all original interested parties with links to background information and questions discussed. I also included our mutually agreed upon assigned reading and future meeting date, time, and location. Thus our Schole Sisters group was born.
Now, I don't want to give the impression that there is any one right way to begin a Schole Sisters group. This is simply what worked for me. Even if you are in a remote area or don't have a large pod of homeschoolers to pull from, I believe you can still create schole. It could be as simple as finding one other person in the flesh or online, with which you can read and discuss a book. Some other ideas may be finding a friend to tour a local art exhibit, an orchard, or a winery with. You might attend a symphony, a play or host a movie night. Maybe you want to take a drawing or pottery class. How about a nature study walk? You see, I believe there are countless ways to go about schole. The only right way is to just do it!