5 Quick Things #275 🏘
small towns, historic towns, therapeutic walks, & philosophers
So far our 2023 has been very full, rather whirlwind-y, and dare I say, a bit stressful (with things that shall pass, so it's all good). This is why this past week has come with welcome rejoicing because there was nothing on my calendar except for a musical performance starring lots of my students that I was happy to attend anyway. Oh blessed chill week! Months ago I purposely blocked out this week for our family, knowing we'd need it, and I'm quite grateful to my past self for that foresight.
It's our first week of Spring Break (we're grateful for two weeks off), and once I turned in my grades, I spent the week doing house projects. I cleaned out freezers, baked bread and cookies, planted a bit in the garden (but then had to hold off, due to a random cold snap), and now I'm doing research for our next home renovation projects. It feels good to get some of this long-listed stuff crossed off the list. 💪
I hope your week has been a good one!
5 Quick Things ☕️
1. Reclaim your education and avoid the sins of your age — you know that I’m always banging the drum about reading the classics, but there is a delicate approach to doing it thoughtfully. I plan to write more about this in the near future, but in the meantime, here are three legit points to consider in reading the Great Books well.
2. I am fascinated with small towns, urban planning, and human-scale living (i.e., walkability), and I enjoy a good nerding out on learning why certain places hold more livable appeal than others.1 There’s something near-universal about our natural desire to live in thoughtfully and in community — this is an interesting exploration about why a little Florida town works as well as it does.
3. Our family almost never misses our nightly post-dinner walk, but I didn’t realize that doing so “activates the same centers in your brains that EMDR does.” I have some friends who’ve reaped surprising benefits from EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) in therapy, so this is intriguing.
4. Oxford is one of my favorite cities in the world (both to personally visit and to take pilgrims on our group trips2), so this deep-dive into the storied city, specifically with a Lewis and Tolkien angle, made me happy. Great photos, too.
5. And finally, it boggles the mind how Peter Kreeft is able to write as much as he does, but we’re all the better for it. He’s one of my favorite thinkers, so I loved hearing him talk about Socrates vs. the Sophists. (Our post-modern culture forces us to swim in sophistry, so this is legit practical knowledge.)
Currently Reading, Watching, Listening 📚
How to Save the West, on audiobook by Spencer Klavan (because his voice is like butter…)
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“If you want your language to mean anything, your space travel to be worthwhile, and your virtue to be more than an empty performance, there must be some ultimate truth to which it is all referring and against which it can all be judged.”
— Spencer Klavan #
The Classic Learning Test 🏛
Standardized testing is going through a bit of a reckoning these days, but as the new kid on the block, the Classic Learning Test (CLT) is only getting stronger. Every exam of theirs can be taken online, lasts a little over two hours, and is accompanied by an in-depth analytics report that helps students and families understand performance in 15+ academic areas. This was a huge boon to my daughter, who gets test anxiety — she could take her college entrance exam from the comfort of home! No need for fluorescent lights and number two pencils.
The reading selections on all of CLT’s exams are drawn from the classical tradition and are the good things you already want to read with your kids, like Shakespeare, C.S. Lewis, Flannery O’Connor, Aristotle, Plato, and more. (After taking the CLT exam last summer, my daughter spent hours on a Frederick Douglass deep-dive after being so moved by his Fourth of July speech that was part of her exam.)
Over 200 colleges accept CLT’s college entrance exams and actively recruit CLT students. They've helped thousands of students connect with colleges that align with their values and even earn generous scholarships to these institutions. You know I only promote stuff I genuinely believe in and already use, so spreading the news about the CLT is a no-brainer for me.
The CLT is offering all my newsletter readers 25% off any test registration with the code COMMONPLACE. They currently provide placement exams and assessments for grades 7 and up (with grades 3-6 coming soon!). Homeschool, private, and public school students: all are welcome to take the CLT.
What’s the Best Season? 🌿
As I mentioned in the poll, I asked this question again but this time in a different season to see if the answers changed. …Alas, they did not, so it seems like autumn might be the perennial winner.
I’m a fan of the season, too, but spring holds first place in my heart.
Find this week’s poll here.
Quick Links 🔗
Question(s) For You to Ponder… 🤔
What three specific things are you grateful for today?
Have a good one,