Sodalitas means “a close association of friends” and that’s a perfect description for the two days I spend at the Sodalitas Conference each summer.
Despite the beauty of this gathering, I always worry about being away from my family. But every year, my husband says makes sure I go. He’s seen first-hand how it ministers to my soul and that, in turn, transforms our homeschool.
Each year, I take some time to process what I learned and experienced during the conference. Here is some of the richness I’ve gleaned over the years:
This year, the whole family went with me to Kentucky!
We took our camper and the kids had so much fun hiking, fishing, and exploring with their dad while I was at the conference.
They also went with me to the Sodalitas Conference Family Picnic and got to play with other MP kids!
While the kids played, I joined over 100 Memoria Press parents for two days of encouragement and practical learning:
I’m definitely one to get bogged down by the monotony of daily life. Everyday things can feel less important or — dare I say? — less interesting than the projects and ideas I want to get to.
If I don’t put effort into the daily things, my children begin to wilt. Arguments increase. Simple things become difficult. Everyone feels heavier.
My daily offering says “Eternal Father, I offer you…my works, my prayers, my apostolic efforts; my time with family and friends…my difficulties, problems, distress which I shall try to bear with patience.”
But I don’t bring this back to mind in the middle of things. I’m not sure how to change that.
Yes! We have to be sure we’re putting in true effort, but no one can do everything.
In this vein, I no longer look at MP’s core packages as “everything that is essential.” They’ve added many wonderful things over the years, but not all of it is essential for every family.
I see this in my own children. Each time they read a book, they understand more about it; but they also begin to draw more out of it.
We need to use the student guide discussion questions more often, so we can contemplate our studies more deeply.
My first introduction to classical education was through The Well-Trained Mind which places history at the center of learning. As a history major, that made perfect sense to me.
Then, I discovered Memoria Press and they said Latin was supposed to be the center of a classical education. Other than the fact that it’s a classical language, I really didn’t understand this shift.
I knew the arguments: if our children are to read well, write well, and speak well, they have to understand the order of language; but English has so many exceptions and idioms that it’s hard to see the order in it. Latin, however, is intrinsically ordered and has fewer exceptions.
I knew these things, but I finally understood them when I took the First Form Latin teacher training at this year’s Sodalitas Conference.
Did you know that every regular Latin verb has four forms and each form is the foundation for building all the variations for a specific tense of that verb?
As Cheryl Swope said in the Simply Classical Latin session, Latin is “incremental, sequential, disciplined.” And a child has to think through that order every time they work with a word, or phrase, or sentence.
For the first time in my life I can say: Latin is a beautiful thing.
Going forward: while we’ve prioritized Latin based on the wisdom of others, I’ve finally internalized its importance. Latin will receive our focus this year, not just our time.
Total conviction here. We’ve worked towards mastery to an extent, but never with full diligence.
If something is worth knowing, it’s worth truly knowing; and my child, made as a person in the Image of God, is worth that knowledge.
Going forward: we will be restoring Recitation this year and mastery review will take place daily.
This was a gut-punch for me.
I was so focused on building skills, that I neglected the beauty my struggling learners needed.
We skipped the read-alouds, the art cards, the music…they still had beautiful content in their skill-work, but they missed out on the full richness of the program.
I told myself this was okay since they did the regular MP Enrichment on Mondays at our co-op; but they missed out on the specifically-tailored Simply Classical Enrichment.
My 10yo, especially, needs access to deep content while working on the skills most children master at younger ages.
Going forward: I was already planning on the Level 3 American History Enrichment, but Cheryl’s insight will keep Enrichment front and center in our plan.
My mom was a wonder with traditions — even after she became partially disabled. We lived in the middle of a crowded town in South Florida, but we always knew autumn had arrived when the pillows on the couch turned to leaf patterns and gourds appeared on the table.
We welcomed winter with seasonal dish towels and pot holders, a musical, miniature rocking horse on the coffee table, a white pillow embroidered with gold thread, and cypress branches cut from the backyard.
But I haven’t carried this into my own home.
I focus too much on “getting through” each day. Seasons, both meteorological and liturgical, come and go without my children being steeped in their truth and beauty.
Going forward: I’ll be putting some of these days/seasons on my calendar, with a simple idea for remembering and celebrating each one. I’ll be sure to share when I get this done!
While these were some of my big takeaways from this year’s gathering, I also came away with so many practical, “nuts-and-blots” tips from the breakout sessions. I can’t wait to watch all the sessions I missed!
If you’ve never been to Sodalitas, you can watch videos from past years here (free!): https://www.memoriapress.com/videos/