5 Things I Learned in April

posted in: journal 2

We’re smack in the middle of our “verdure” term, which is aptly named. The world outside is greening up and though we are all ready to wind up this school year, we are pushing through for strong growth ourselves in this “growing season.”

One more week after this week of lessons for us, then a testing week, and then on to summer and school planning.

#1 – As Christians, we can be more than resilient or robust – we can be anti-fragile.

Early in April my friend Kirsti and I spent a Friday in Moscow, ID, at the Femina preconference, a part of the Grace Agenda event. Well, ok, we also spent some time thrifting and enjoying great coffee (at Bucer’s) and ice cream (at Panhandle Cone and Coffee).

Rachel Jankovic’s talk was on “Antifragile Mothering,” taking the term from a secular book titled “Antifragile.” Fragile, of course, means easily broken – and too often we women not only are fragile, but actually reinforce fragility by the way we “encourage” one another. Robustness is the opposite, but means rather that it’s unable to be broken – think of a tennis ball hitting a racket as opposed to a Ming vase.

But “anti-fragile” is not robustness. It means actually deriving strength and growth from pain and struggle and trouble. Muscles are anti-fragile. They actually have to be broken down to get stronger.

In Christ, we have the ability to be anti-fragile, Rachel said. Because He’s the one who gives His strength, who orchestrates our growth through adversity, we can have faith in the midst of hardship and grow thereby. We don’t have to be afraid, even of what is beyond us and what is breaking us, because God’s working in all of it and we can take it on – not because we’re all that, but because God is.

The Grace Agenda talks (including preconference talks) will be available for free online at some point – I’ll be sure to share the link in my Saturday digest when that happens.

#2 – Personal mottos really help if you can make them catchy enough.

Well, we’re going on 2 years of the same “Lose 10 pounds” project and although there’s only baby-step progress this month, I did find the mindset shift I needed.

Turns out, if you want to lose weight, you shouldn’t eat until you feel like you can’t eat anymore. That’s overeating. “Normal” eating is eating until satisfied. That amount where you are neither hungry nor full and could readily go for a brisk walk right after eating. Eating, in other words, shouldn’t weight you down. Ha! Yeah, I know.

So, as I realize just how much I eat for entertainment and out of boredom or just because it’s there, I need a good mental trick for stopping myself from eating on autopilot.

Mottos are great for parenting small children, and really what this boils down to is parenting and disciplining my own inner two-year-old. So, a motto:

You choose: Full and fat or satisfied and slim.

It goes on my alignment sheet to review in the morning and it’s been helping me gradually make better decisions.

Because this year, I’ve determined, this project gets crossed off my list. Either I accomplish it (and establish the necessary maintenance habits so I keep it) or I forget about it. It’s not going on my 2020 goal list, either way.

#3 – I do have a homeschool vision. What a relief.

I have my own hot little hands on a hard copy of Pam Barnhill’s Plan Your Year (hurry! preorder to get some awesome bonuses!), which is color printed all the way through with the forms right there in the book.

So I’m using the purple Frixion (erasable) pen from the multipack that helped fill kids’ Easter baskets (but, clearly, the purple one was mine), and filling out as I go.

Nothing is worse, though, than staring at a blank page called “Vision” and starting from scratch when you know you’ve already done this work before.

Sure enough, a search through my laptop pulled up the version I wrote out with Pam’s new instructions in Autopilot last year. And – better yet! – I still liked it!

So into the book it went.

#4 – Personality typing is my party trick.

A few people who know me on the internet already knew this, but (being an introvert), I tend to keep to myself until asked. Personality tests on the internet are actually notoriously bad at giving an accurate type – so if you think it’s wrong after you read the description, it probably is.

There’s much more to Myers-Briggs typing (the one that gives you four letters) than 16 distinct types. Really, there are 4 functions, used in differing combinations and in differing ways – these are called “cognitive functions” and each type’s combination is called a “stack.” The 16 types are more like shortcuts, simplifications, to get at the way the functions are working in that particular combination.

Knowing what the cognitive functions are and how they operate makes it easier to diagnose yourself and others after observation as well as listening to answers to more open-ended (rather than binary) questions.

So, anyway, my party trick became known in my “real life” circles – but that was just in time for me to freshen up my ability to speak coherently about it all. Monday I delivered a 2 hour Masterclass inside Read-Aloud Revival Membership called “Discover Your Personality’s Superpower.”

And, while I’m into it again, I’ll be delivering a series of extra Personality workshops inside my own membership in May to add to the Practical Personality Portfolio, which already includes a handy guide and several cheat sheets to help you not only wrap your head around cognitive functions, but use it to type your kids and then use that information to parent, teach, and understand them better.

#5 – I want to be a classical home educator, not a Charlotte Mason educator.

I love Charlotte Mason and I love the ladies who are working her system. There’s plenty of wisdom and solid advice to last a lifetime and direct a complete and wonderful education, no doubt.

But for my own part, I don’t want to stop in the Charlotte Mason culdesac, as full of happy and thriving families as it is.

I’m more interested in reading what Charlotte Mason read, in participating in the Great Conversation with her.

Educational philosophy is my jam – and it’s much bigger and more ancient and also more current than Charlotte Mason’s specific applications. Educational thought is an ever-rolling stream and I want to know where it started (Moses & Plato), where it gained traction (the early church), where it diverged (Enlightenment), and how to make sure we’re in the river that leads to the ocean and not some random dead-end.

(Metaphor stops here – quick).

Anyway, I’m committed to exploring classical homeschooling, knowing that can take many forms – even forms that don’t use classical terminology or labels.

That means exploring what’s been said about education and what that looks like in our homes.

To do that and to encourage others who might feel similarly, I’ve started a new Instagram account with the help and support of a number of other classical homeschoolers (and I’m interested in connecting with more!). Find and follow that account here: @classicalhomeschooling and if you share (unless your account is private) with the hashtag #classicalhomeschooling then I’d love to reshare and build a community there.

If educational philosophy – whatever the label you want – sounds intimidating, know that you have one already if you’re educating. The more informed and intentional it is, the better.

That’s why Brandy and I, as the Scholé Sisters, asked Eric Hall to teach a 3-lecture series (one per Monday night, starting May 6) on what education is, what classical education is, and what Christian education is.

Click here to find out more information about these Spring Training Series and hear from Eric about why philosophy is necessary in order to educate in our latest episode of Scholé Sisters: Philosophy for Mommies

What have you learned in April?

2 Responses

  1. Mama Rachael
    | Reply

    I have loved all your mottos. I need this one as I’ve put on weight since the last baby weaned, and I’ve gotten older. And I hear you about wanting to be apart of the great conversation, not merely be a CM educator. I appreciate posts like this, thanks!

  2. Emily B
    | Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing the GA conference video links! I’ve been enjoying them during my “busy work” moments like laundry and dishes and gleaning some great ideas for our family.

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