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Have you heard of multum non multa before?
Multum non multa is a Latin term meaning much, not many. Essentially, we’re looking at going deep in a few subjects in contrast to skimming through everything.
As homeschoolers, this means choosing the best instead of trying to do a little of everything.
Currently, I’m slowly working through Dr. Perrin’s list of 8 Essential Principles of Classical Education and discussing each one, because these principles are vital for classical homeschoolers to understand and implement in our homeschools.
Multum non Multa
First, let’s look at multum non multa a little more in terms of the modern homeschool. I’ll begin with a life of multa or in other words, a life where you’re trying to do everything.
A Life of Multa
I don’t know about you, but for me, there’s a lot of pressure to add to the school day.
- Kids need daily activities. Summer vacations should be scheduled.
- Kids must be part of co-ops and outside classes.
- They need ballet, piano, and art lessons. They should be involved in soccer, skiing lessons, and track.
- Join this awesome nature class that’s being put together. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity!
And the pressure doesn’t stop with extracurriculars. I’ve also heard it in regards to my homeschool.
You should be teaching American history, world history, and non-western history at the same time.
Learn about nature study, chemistry, ecology, biology, and physics this year.
Read 20 books this quarter or you’re behind the times.
And one math program simply isn’t enough. You must use two or three to ensure a proper mathematical education.
If you want your child to succeed you need to push, push, and push some more.
Cover everything, do everything, and pray no one has a mental break down.
This is living a life of multa.
You’re doing many things, but where is the free time to contemplate what you’re studying.
When do you have time to breathe?
The principle of multum non multa in scholé speaks of a need to slow down and thoughtfully consider where we put our time.
It’s not that any of the options of multa are bad. They’re wonderful opportunities.
They’re good, indeed great, things to do.
But to have the best life has to offer, you must say no. Say no to the busyness of living a life of multa.
Say no so that you can say yes to a life of multum.
A Life of Multum
First, let me assure you that a life of multum is not one where you become hermits in a cave.
Instead, it’s a life where you carefully contemplate where your family’s resources of time, energy, and finances are best invested.
You carefully choose from the plethora of subjects which ones are best for your children to study this year.
Likely reading, writing, and math will make the cut.
But what about Latin?
While many classical homeschooling families choose to study Latin for many good reasons, there are a few who choose to study Greek for the simple reason that it’s a better choice for their family.
A life of multum should be one with challenging subjects.
Subjects that make you and your children think about the world in a different way. Subjects that expand your minds. Subjects that introduce you to beauty and make you better people.
You need to make the same choices for the curricula you choose and the activities you participate in.
Choose curricula that encourage you to take your time, dive deep into your studies, and develop a lifelong fascination with the subject.
And choose activities that bring your family joy, and activities that encourage your children to practice, work, and develop discipline.
Carefully choose where you put your family’s time and energy because there’s always another wonderful opportunity coming around the corner.
There’s such a thing as too many activities, especially if the activities take away from your time to contemplate the world, crawl after the ants to find the anthill, or study a slug eating a leaf.
A life of multum isn’t one of non-stop studies.
Instead, it’s a life that’s rich with opportunities and well-thought-out choices. One that allows a child to dive headlong into a passion, or slowly exposes another to the wonders of the world.
Multum non multa recognizes that raising and educating children isn’t a race.
There’s no prize for the first child to the finish line of graduation because there is no finish line. You’re simply starting your children on a long and beautiful journey called life.
And in order to save our sanity and enjoy the best homeschooling has to offer, we need to follow the principle of multum non multa.
Find the nougats of gold hidden in the plethora of good.
Make time for the best life has to offer.