Beyond Restful Learning
~ by Evalyn Homoelle ~
Restful Learning. Scholé Academy’s goal seemed paradoxical and almost amusing to me as a stressed-out high schooler. How could schoolwork, high school, and learning be restful? Weren’t the almost universally accepted characteristics of education hard work, pressure, and frustration? Regardless of my skepticism, my parents enrolled me in a few of Scholé’s online courses. Without knowing it, I was about to embark on a journey to find not only restful learning, but the restful lifestyle that classical education leads to.
I am a very type-A person: I enjoy completing assignments well and on time, I’m obsessed with organization, and I tend to fall into the trap of perfectionism. Before beginning intense classical education, I was really only focused on the final grade of a course, or whether I had enough extra-curricular activities or community service to impress college admissions counselors. I was not concerned with deeply, truly understanding an idea, or being able to use the knowledge I had gained in school to guide and shape my life going forward. The Scholé model of restful learning, deep thinking, and meaningful discussions radically changed the way I view not only my education, but my life as a whole.
As I soon discovered in my first Scholé classes, restful does not mean easy. Simplifying an argument from The Federalist Papers into a logical syllogism and analyzing it to confirm validity was not easy. Translating Latin portions of Vergil’s Aeneid and Ovid’s Heroides into English was not easy. This is why restful learning is so valuable! No, it’s not quickly attained or easily reached, but restful learning provides an environment that nurtures discovery of knowledge without the pressure and frustration that non-classical learning brings. The scholé model doesn’t let students get away with regurgitation of facts or passivity, instead it demands and encourages originality and activity. I soon found that classical education actually was restful and inspiring! Not because I didn’t have deadlines or difficult assignments, (because I did,) and not because I didn’t have to wrestle with difficult paradoxes and ideas, (because I did,) but because the community of classical learning rejoices more if you have a “lightbulb” moment and finally understand the “why” of something than if you receive a perfect score on a quiz and didn’t learn a thing.
The beauty of classical education lies in its pursuit of something greater than a diploma or a passing grade; it seeks to thoroughly inform and inspire the mind, to observe the similarities of different fields of knowledge and use them as stepping stones to discovery, and to lead the classical learner to be uniquely equipped in viewing the goodness, truth, and beauty of the world. Classical education is a higher calling, one that requires a willingness to learn truth for truth’s sake, the ability to give and receive criticism, and intense concentration and inspiration to continue learning and growing.
I am so very thankful for my opportunity to learn and grow at Scholé Academy. The teachers I have learned from, the classmates I have interacted with, and the life lessons I have learned are invaluable. The skills and knowledge that I have obtained through classical education have shaped me into who I am today. Through Scholé Academy, I’ve witnessed what meaningful learning looks like, and I’ve been humbled by the kindness and generosity of my teachers, and I will forever remember the lively, rigorous discussions I’ve had with my peers. Classical community truly is a gift.
This journey through classical learning and community has been transformative, but where do I as a former student go from here? Something that I have thought about as I’ve pondered this question is the fact that restful learning is just the first step in a lifelong quest for knowledge and a restful, deep, meaningful lifestyle. We, as former classically trained students, cannot just leave restful learning’s guiding principles and methods of learning and discovery behind once we walk across a stage and receive our diploma. Whether or not we choose to attend a classical college, become a classical educator, or study Latin for the rest of our lives, restful learning has made a profound impact on the way we think, process, and dream about tomorrow, and it will continue to guide us through the rest of our lives. A restful lifestyle takes time to appreciate the beauty of creation and life, desires to increase knowledge, and always maintains adherence to the higher calling that we received as students. A restful lifestyle isn’t the easiest, but it is extremely rewarding.
If you’re reading this and you are not familiar with classical education or haven’t been trained in it as a student, you can still experience the gift of classical community and a restful lifestyle. A restful lifestyle is a choice to view the world in a different light, to commit oneself to constant growth and change, and to become equipped in defending the truth and contributing to society.
Abigail Adams said, “Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.” This beautifully summarizes what classical learning requires and the intrinsic motivation that must take place in order for restful learning to be a success.
Scholé Academy has been instrumental in helping me achieve a love for classical, restful learning and a desire to continue the scholé lifestyle. I love how classical learning seeks to educate and inspire the whole person and achieve a well-rounded persona. It is my hope to be able to continue my education in a classically grounded college, but if other opportunities occur instead, I will take comfort in the knowledge that I can use the tools that restful learning has given me to remain living a restful lifestyle.