Isn’t life the strangest, most beautiful, convoluted thing? Did yours turn out the way you expected? Do you stand amazed, as I do, when you look back at all the seemingly small (and sometimes BIG!) steps you’ve taken that have resulted in you being where you are right now? On this website. Reading this sentence. Researching curriculum. Again!
That’s how I arrived here at Invictus Classical Press. Big steps and small, one after the other, day after day, year after year. My name is Nicole Henry and I am a homeschooling mom of four. My oldest is a freshman in college, and my other three are 12, 16, and 17, so I only have a few more years before the homeschooling path will reach its end. I was, and still am to some degree, a reluctant homeschooler. I fell into teaching after college, having never aspired to it or even thought about it as an option. But I hated my receptionist job, so I was desperate. I took a job teaching 6th-8th graders at a small, inner-city Christian school in Chicago. Hey, I told you I was desperate! It was one of those decisions that changes your life forever. Have you ever had one of those? You think, “Huh, I could do that.” So you do, and 25 years later you look back and recognize it for what it was: Providence. Destiny. Fate. I found my calling in that dingy, run-down classroom and I never looked back.
A short time into my teaching journey I found Classical Education and my calling sharpened in focus to teaching in a classical classroom. Even a rudimentary grasp of the pedagogy persuaded me to its merit as an educational philosophy that was not only time-tested, but desperately needed in our increasingly progressive, humanistic culture. I was pumped to really dig in and explore this “old but new again” way of doing school. So I did. I dug deep. As the years passed and my four children were born and grew to school age, my desire was for them to receive a classical education. My oldest attended a classical school for two years, but then circumstances were such that we turned to classical homeschooling in connection with a vibrant, local community. That was almost twenty years ago! Along the way I was introduced to Charlotte Mason and her 20 Principles, which added new dimensions and layers to my understanding of educational pedagogy. Over time I pondered how to blend the two together to form something beautiful, which leads me back to Invictus!
As Myriam, my dear friend, creative director, and business partner will also say, Invictus was born in friendship and hardship. We were together in a classical community, but using a curriculum that we were not satisfied with. We wanted to grant our children the freedom to memorize, integrate, and narrate across a vast feast of knowledge and ideas. We wanted to ask questions and challenge our students to integrate and make connections, but also listen carefully as they told us all about what they had just read or listened to or imagined or wondered about. We wanted them outside exploring, observing, and sketching nature and then inside experimenting and demonstrating and getting caught up in the beauty of it all. We wanted them lifting their voices together in the great hymns of the faith, reciting poetry and scripture and catechisms, and chanting lists and declensions and math facts with joy and abandon and glee! We wanted them to study and be inspired by great art, and we wanted to teach their ears to hear and appreciate great music. We wanted them to want to learn and be excited to wake up in the morning (as much as a kid can be excited to do that - let’s be realistic here).
We wanted a lot. So we made it. And isn’t that the strangest, most beautiful, convoluted thing?
The dream of Invictus Classical Press began in friendship! My name is Myriam and I am a French Canadian homeschooler, mom of six who is passionate about God, family, adoption, music, and serving the church and community.
This friendship with Nicole Henry (the author) came about in a very difficult season in my life, having lost precious friends, lived through church division, and having just adopted 3 girls from the public system ages 4, 5 and 9. I was entering the world of homeschoolers with no experience, (at least that’s what I thought) and feeling like a deer in headlights. Nicole, experienced in classical education and already a homeschooler for 10 years was part of the classical community I had just joined and helped me through the next few years by tutoring my grade 11 son and accompanying me through my fears and innumerable questions. She directed our small community school, modeled with grace and truth, and I slowly became acquainted with the beauty of classical education.
As time went by, and I progressed in this method, I found that my emotionally bruised children were struggling to grasp concepts in books and needed a more relational, tactile, hands on approach that was drawing me to the principles of Charlotte Mason. While I still appreciated the classical approach because it offered structure and a clear scope, I felt torn and in need of a solution.
As both Nicole and I discussed and debated, a dream started to form: a grammar level curriculum that would unite a classical and Charlotte Mason approach in a common place. An ambitious, five-year project, led by Nicole as the author and myself as the creative director and manager.
So here we are, two ordinary Toronto suburbia moms, trusting God with every step we take as we embark on this giant leap of faith to create a beautiful and true curriculum within the Trivium-based method, and informed by Charlotte Mason, to accomplish the formation of whole persons made in God’s image who can learn, reason, and persuade people to the enduring truths of God.
Join us in the Invictus adventure!