Seeking a Tribe of Wise Women

All my adult life I’ve been seeking a tribe of wisdom.

In college I studied Engineering at Michigan State University where I had some of the best professors in the country. One in particular, Professor Robert Hubbard, was creating a Head and Neck Brace Support Device (HANS) to wear inside race cars. He would bring his models in to show us and discuss the intricate process he was going through for copyright and changes he’d make from model to model as he learned more about the results of physics on the human inside the vehicle. I still have vivid memories of his stories today, 20 years later. He was AMAZING, but I missed having female companions in this journey.

I went on to work for Northrop Grumman in Virginia where I met folks in Supply Chain Management who were not only working their day jobs, but discussing books and gaining industry certifications after business hours. APICS was and is the premier organization for the Supply Chain Industry. I spent many evenings in meetings listening to experts talk over dinners at hotels, then dove in full speed to volunteer with them. First as Treasurer (I love budgets…), then President of our chapter, and finally as Communications Chair of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. I couldn’t learn enough. Soon, I was standing in front of audiences and teaching their Certification of Production and Inventory Management (CPIM). Here I found a handful of amazing women.

That was 2005. I spent the next year as a contractor to Capitol One as an Engineer before coming home to be with my children who were born in 2003 and 2004. Working to that extreme wouldn’t work as a young mother, who also wanted to do motherhood with the same gusto as her career. With great sadness I abandoned the old me and started to build the next model, Jen 2.0. I was determined to make this one even better than the first, though I couldn’t imagine how to build her inside of our stay at home mom society. So I tried different things to experiment on what direction I would take. There were some lonely years at first.

When KrystalSage was in Kindergarten I joined the PTA. In normal Jen-like fashion I didn’t just become a member. I went ahead and threw my name in the hat for the board. When the mom I was emailing came back with, “the position of President is open…” nothing in me really flinched. I knew I had volunteered, led boards, ran budgets, and been over three different states in previous positions, so I started out on the board as the President! It involved a lot of hustle to learn about the education industry, and there were many new learning curves. But I didn’t mind working long hours since it was still way less than I would have been doing if I were working. Plus it was nice knowing I was giving back directly into my kids’ community. Here I was meeting dozens of amazing women!

Flying about four years down the road and a really long story later, we entered the amazing world of Homeschooling, where I would now become the teacher, administrator, parent, lunch mom, custodian, and more. I spent the first year just making sure my feet were on solid ground. We started at a local co-op, frequented the local used curriculum store, created a classroom in our home, and learned little things like you don’t have to raise your hand to go to the bathroom anymore.

Our second year of homeschooling, 2014, we moved to a log cabin on a Pennsylvania mountain, and our adventures there lead me to discover CLASSICAL CONVERSATIONS. In homeschooling, I discovered I had to seek wisdom more ferociously than I ever had before due to the nature of teaching all subjects. I discovered that I couldn’t do it myself if I wanted it to be excellent. And not having excellence wasn’t an option. It’s not in my DNA.

Classical Conversations became my new “PTA”. We had community. We had beginning of the year BBQ’s, First days of school, classrooms, tutors instead of teachers (I was the teacher), a Director instead of a Principal, and Year End Banquets. Only this PTA was nothing like the first. Instead of planning “activities”, we were planning “curriculum”, “education”, and “administration”.

“With great effort I sought a wise tribe.

God sent me Classical Conversations!”

Allison Mackey from Hanover Campus in PA, “Bible time fills up your copiousness!” “Be amazed at others’ experience.” “You CAN rejoice in suffering, by knowing TRUTH.”

Yesterday I had the extreme fortune to be included in a room full of CC Leaders from my region in Pennsylvania. These women are the cream of the Homeschool Crop! I discovered I wasn’t alone in my passionate quest for knowledge. I learned Classical Conversations had started at 500 students in North Carolina in 2005, but was now exploding world-wide at 100,000 students! Parents everywhere are starting to FIND CC. And it appears they are from my tribe that seeks wisdom always, everywhere. Women everywhere must be seeking wisdom! Bless their souls!

Fourteen women convened in a Farmhouse in Pennsylvania,

to inspire, focus, and renew their minds.

We connected from 8:30AM to 4:30PM to collaborate about Pythagoras’s Trivium and Logic. We were being trained to be an army of trainers. One mom humbly stated, “we are the ones who seek out women who are wiser than us.” Could this be the new era of mom-hood? Could this be how the feminist mom could collide with the conservative mom? We could be extremely educated, driving our children’s educations into a new future of both Christian morals AND higher level thinking or Philosophy. This thinking elicited fully by “mom relationship brokers” who demonstrate copious communication and leadership to their children, thereby planting seeds that grow into full, fruitful, flowering trees. This is moms upping their stay at home game by 1000%. What will these children look like in adulthood? What will we moms look like in their adulthood? This has never been tested! I have found my tribe and I don’t plan to go anywhere else!

Lesly Barnes, “In order to be transformed into His image, we MUST renew our minds.” “Practicum gives you another nugget of hope that you can do more than you think.”

Practicum is what CC calls their annual training. According to practicum means “a course in which theory is put into practice”. So, in essence, it’s coming together as a group to study one subject deeply through hands on activities, and that is precisely what we do at CC Practicum! There are two major components to the day; first, the understanding of Classical Education and the Trivium, and second, each year Classical Conversations choses one of it’s educational strands or subjects to focus on. A leader among us stood up and recounted that practicum would employ Aristotle’s mission that one should never wield the tools of rhetoric unless your goal is to make the listeners better people. To do anything less would be a sin. That is why I will go again and again and again. They are making me a better person in so many categories.

Logic was the strand chosen for this coming Practicum season. As an engineer, you can imagine my enthusiasm! According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary logic means “a proper or reasonable way of thinking about or understanding something”. This one word really sums up the education road I have been on for 20 years. I feel like this summer I’ll get to put together a sort of capstone on top of my knowledge. I’ve learned many subjects, but this one subject is infused in all of them. In math, I tutor kids that math has it’s own language. But, beyond just being vocabulary, language also has it’s own set of terms that we set equal to definitions. This is LOGIC. Conversations swirled about what those words might mean today as opposed to Aristotle’s time or Washington’s time. Definitions change, language is a living thing. I was newly riveted!

Practicum this summer will feed the soul of this Engineer, APICS Expert, and PTA President. Plus, it’s free. How could anything ever be better?

Are you a wisdom seeker too? Find a Practicum near you and JOIN US!!! Wise people know to seek those who are more wise… The learning journey will never be complete…

I’d love to hear what you LOVE about Practicum in the comments!!


Jen at Log Cabin Schoolhouse

3 thoughts on “Seeking a Tribe of Wise Women”

  1. Jen, LOVE this post. Thank you for sharing your experience! Because of hanging out with very wise women (and men too!), and because Practicum brings us all together, I am a far more competent educator. No doubt about it.

  2. Jennifer Claire

    Thanks for your kind words.

    Yes, definitely men too. But in engineering I recognize that it’s “mostly” men… as I recognize that in Homeschooling it’s “mostly” women… I have to say though that the men I’ve met in CC could be a whole separate post… They are amazing as well… Now I’m going to go ponder that… 😉

  3. Thank you for summarizing our day so beautifully. It was such a blessing being with you!

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