Words haven't always fascinated me. Maybe it's a sign of my age, or just a byproduct of taking on my kids education, but between the diving into the challenge of parsing sentences or teaching children with dyslexia to read, I've gained a new appreciation for slowing down and appreciating the minutiae within a sentence. Ever since my children's writing curriculum BANNED certain words (go, went, good, bad, say, said, the list goes on), we find ourselves on a weekly quest for the consummate adjective or verb to really make the writing *chef's kiss.* When it came to choosing a the name of our little venture, Scholé Songs instantly came to mind.
Certainly, the concept of Scholé, or learning from rest, is no great discovery of my own. I stumbled across the many references to it from the books, blogs, and podcasts about Classical home education that I scoured in my quest to not mess up my kid's education. Ha. When I think back on that young idealistic homeschool mom who thought she had it all figured out, I realize that the early years of our endeavor were many things, but RESTFUL, they were not.
The Greek word for leisure, scholé, evolved into the Latin word, schola, which turned into the English word "school." This is the point in the story where most people raise their eyebrows in surprise because so few of us look back on our school experiences and classify them as leisurely restful pursuits. (Raise your hand if you ever asked if you could burn a book at the end of the class!) Our society tends to divide life up into work and non-work ("Oh, I'm so sorry you are having to work on the weekend!"), and modern schooling/learning definitely most often falls into the "work" category.
When we started our journey of parent-led education, I was all in on the Classical model of education. In my limited understanding, in the younger years, classical education emphasized the unique ability of young children to retain massive amounts of information. They are referred to as "sponges" because they can absorb massive amounts of information, even if they can't explain it yet. My goal was to get as much information into my children's head as I could! I was doubtful that a six year old could recite the Preamble to the Constitution, but we attempted it. Guess what? There's no way he could get through it orally, but as soon as it was put to a song? Bam. He could sing the whole thing. Same thing with the first 20 elements on the periodic table. List of all the prepositions. John 1. John 1 in Latin. Did he know any Latin? Not at all, but he could sing an entire passage from the Vulgate. This same child is now 14 and about to take the National Latin Exam. Guess which words he never has a problem with? In principio erat Verbum...
Children don't naturally love to memorize things, but as soon as you put it to a song or chant, it becomes an ear-worm that they can't stop singing. It instantly ceases being work and becomes fun (leisure)! What is more scholé than that? (Might I mention the added benefit that I now had an entire repertoire of school that we can do in the car while running around town!) My son who was addicted to Legos could now listen to his schoolwork while he played at his Lego table. My daughter could put on some headphones and listen while she was swinging outside.
I jumped in headfirst to lists of things to cram into my kids' heads while they were still in the Grammar Stage, so I would spend hours scouring the internet for songs with lists of all the things. The problem was that SO many songs are written to tunes from the public domain, and hey, I get it. It's much easier to start singing a list of helping verbs to Jingle Bells and just see how it comes out. However, my kid had already learned to skip count his 3s to the Jingle Bells tune, and now he's got his helping verbs to the same song.
Another problem I had was that in songs that were really long (looking at you Timeline Song!), the melody part was so repetitive that it was easy to skip around within the song, or worse, get stuck in an endless loop. As a music educator, it was painful to listen to songs that had been written by well-meaning parents in their own comfortable range with no thought to what range is most comfortable for children to sing in.
I would inevitably start tinkering with melodies or setting definitions to chant, and they just stuck. However, as a homeschool mom with all the balls in the air, I just didn't have time sit down and put it all together. When my boys were diagnosed with dyslexia, I feel like our journey took a hard right turn while I started reading books and researching how to give them what they needed. It wasn't until my children were older and beginning to become more independent that I felt like I had any margin to even tackle something like this. I recruited my husband to help write and record. We realized that we really enjoyed creating things together. I began to dream of putting together a program where parents and teachers have the freedom to pick and choose what they want to use and how they use it. It morphed into what is now Scholé Songs, and I'm so proud to release it into the world.
It will probably be 2-3 years to finish everything that's on my list to include here, and by then we'll have more, so keep coming back. We hope to be a valuable resource for the next generation of grammar school students.
Soli Deo Gloria