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  • Writer's pictureJenni Beth

Introductions and all that

I guess I should start by introducing myself. My name is Jenni. I am a wife to a wonderfully supportive husband. I am a mother to five rambunctious, fun-loving and thoughtful boys and one girl. I am a classical educator. I am a Christ-lover. I spend my days organizing the abundant chaos in my homeschool home. It's never all the way clean. There are too many of us in the house too much of the time for that to happen! Our time is filled with reading history, literature, and science books aloud and independently, listening to memory work songs, reciting Bible passages and math facts, practicing phonics and handwriting, learning how to add decorations and dress-ups to our compositions, and the many other parts of our school schedule. Sewing is my outlet. It is both a way to control the chaos around me (at least in a small part of my home) and an opportunity to create beautiful things that bring joy to me and to those around me. Here are all the people who live in my house. I like to sew things for all of them (in addition to sewing gifts for other friends and family), so I'm sure you will see a lot of them on the blog.

Besides sitting at home working on our schoolwork, we participate in church activities, attend a weekly Classical Conversations co-op, and are involved in scouting. My husband and I are both leaders in our local cub scout pack, and three of our boys are scouts there. Our oldest moved on to boy scouts about a year ago. And our youngest two (twins) come to all fo the family events that we have, waiting for the time that they will be able to join scouts as well.

I should also add that I couldn't do all of this without my amazing husband. He is a wonderful provider and supporter of our family, both financially and with his leadership and encouragement. He is constantly tells me that I can do the things I dream about, and he make sure I have all the things (supplies, machines, time) I need to succeed.

And I guess that's all for now! I have more to say about my thoughts behind this blog, but that's another post :)

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Why "Sewing and the Trivium"

The Story

Classical educators like to divide education into developmental stages called the Trivium. These are called "Grammar," "Logic," and "Rhetoric." Grammar refers to the first steps of learning anything: learning the vocabulary of the subject being studied and memorizing facts about that vocabulary. Classically speaking, this corresponds to the elementary years of learning - years when students never seem to grow tired of astounding the adults around them with fact after fact about things they are interested in. Have you experienced talking to a six year old who is really into dinosaurs? enough said...

Adults also begin learning with the grammar of a subject. Each subject has its own unique terminology and facts that need to be mastered before one can explore the more complicated applications of that subject. Sewing is no different. What is a french seam? What kinds of knit fabrics are better for different applications? What is a dolman sleeve or a raglan top? These are grammar queries.

In classical education, logic refers to the action of logically processing the grammar facts students have learned, or are learning. The student who is particularly suited to this type of thought is the middle-school scholar - the student who wants to argue his or her way through the world and "be right" about all the things. This pattern of thought includes bringing different ideas together, comparing and contrasting them, analyzing what an authority figure says about an argument, and deciding whether different arguments are consistent with each other. In the sewing world, logical questions include things like, "How is knit fabric different than woven fabric?" and "Why does this pattern ask for a particular fabric type?" as well as tasks such as mashing two patterns together or changing the sleeve/length/placket from how the pattern was designed.

The final part of the classical trivium, rhetoric, is when a student makes an argument of his or her own by developing a "thesis" or main point and then laying it out for someone else in writing or speech. Typically, students are ready for formal rhetoric in their high school years - years that they are very concerned about what they look like to other people and gain an interest in learning to craft a message in a way that will be most effective for their purposes. Examples of rhetoric in sewing would be fully-formed tutorials or sew-alongs - or even the writing of a blog post itself. Anything that is explaining previously thought-out/tried-out projects can count as rhetoric. 

My goal on this blog is to lay out my sews and thoughts using this framework. And that is why I chose this title.

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