by Harvey & Laurie Bluedorn. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Subject: Music and art appreciation?
Date: Mon, 3 Sep 2001
Question #1: Is it not necessary to teach art and music appreciation on the early grammar stage? If not, why not and if so, how? We love and listen to much classical music and love to look at art prints.
Question #2: Is there a good list of literature to memorize. You recommend our early grammar stage children memorize excerpts from good literature as well as the Bible, poetry, and catechisms.They have done memorization in all of these areas except the literature. I had never even thought of it till you pointed it out. I wonder if you can give me some suggestions of especially good excepts for 8 and 6 year old daughters. Would The Kings Daughter and other stories be what you would have in mind?
Question #3: Would it not be all right if my 8yodd read abridged classics if she promises to read the original soon after? If I read the original to her within the next couple years will it not then be o.k. for her to read the abridged version? She loves to read and has been asking if she can read some of the abridged classics. I have always hesitated because I wanted them to get only the original, not the twaddled, dumbed down version.But now I am wondering if I can just let her go ahead when we agree the we will work on the original one soon after.What are your thoughts on this?
Question #4: When can we expect our children in the early grammar stage to learn Greek? Should we be teaching this to 5 or 7 or 9 year olds? How have others taught this and what did they use and what were their children's reactions? Is this easy to teach? Do children catch on fairly easy?
Question #5: Is there a source for great Canadian speeches or sayings that the children can use for memorization? You have a list but from what I can tell it is all American.
I hope that next time I post I will be able to take the time to properly introduce myself. But for now I will close with a tiny bit of info.
Love Tracey 26, married to Brian 29, for 9 years, mother of Janina 8, Breanne, 6, Gideon, 4, Marielle, 2 and Lindsey,1. Living in Alberta, Canada on a 280 acre dairy and poultry farm.
1. I think the best way to teach music and art appreciation in the grammar stage is by simply listening to good classical music and viewing good art. About 15 or so years ago I bought at a garage sale (for a dime!) a huge book filled with prints of all the famous paintings. What a find! Over the years I would tape onto the living room wall one of those prints, changing it weekly. The card game Gallery (B & I Gallery Specialties, Moorestown, NJ 08057 -- don't know if this is still in print) is an excellent way to expose young children to art. Here are some additional tools we have in our library: The Art-Literature Readers by Eulalie Osgood Grover (mentioned on a past loop -- see archives for details); Great Pictures and Their Stories -- Interpreting Masterpieces to Children by Katherine Morris Lester (an old, out of print series of books); Masterpieces in Art by William C. Casey (reprinted by Christian Liberty Press); A Gallery of Children -- Portraits from the National Gallery of Art with text by Marian King (Acropolis Books -- I think this is out of print also); The Treasures of the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York described by Arthur Hoeber (R. H. Russell Publisher, New York, 1900 -- probably out of print); The World's Masterpieces by M. Le Frere Carroll and Frances Cavanah (a series of books published by Grosset and Dunlap, 1939 -- probably out of print).
As far as good music, your local classical radio station can provide you with plenty of material. There is a cute child's version of Peter and the Wolf that can serve as a first exposure to classical music. Also, have you ever listened to Civil War era music or marching music or musicals, such as The Music Man (we listened to this on our recent trip to Texas -- it helps to liven up a sleepy driver). Or how about the flute player James Galloway or the Irish Tenors?
2. How about dialog from Charles Dickens or Lewis Carroll?
3. Concerning reading of abridged classics -- I'm assuming here that we're talking about abridged 19th and 20th century fiction classics. Let's put that question out on the loop and get other opinions. I'm of the opinion that we should avoid those types of abridgements, but what does everyone else think?
But if we're talking about abridged Greek, Roman, medieval, and renaissance literature -- the really hard stuff -- then it might be advisable to start off with abridgements and work up to the unabridged versions.
4. We suggest starting with the Greek alphabet at a young age -- maybe age 4 or 5 and up. We have written more on this on our web site.
5. Our Canadian readers will have to help with this.
From: "Heather & Rusty"
Subject: Letting go of math with kids who've been in workbooks
Date: Mon, 3 Sep 2001
Just finished the portion of your new book that you wrote and am plowing into the Dorothy Sayers article. Thanks SO much for writing your book. It has been such a blessing to me to have so many of my own questions articulate and answered all at the same time. What a superb format that was in the book. I am getting more and more convinced about delaying the workbook part of math for my seven and eight year old little girls who both got pretty frustrated with math at times last year. But, I guess my husband (who only vicariously is enjoying some of your thinking at this point, via me!) has several questions. He wonders how you teach addition and subtraction before age 10 but without any workbooks. Does this mean that it's only done at a verbal level and never with pencil to paper? (for example like I occasionally did last year with my then 6 yr. old by allowing her to answer workbook questions orally?) Or are you meaning teaching it informally till 10? When people like Dorothy Sayer said "Reading, writing, and ciphering" did they include addition and subtraction in that? Or more? You recommend multiplication tables wait till ten but sort of sound like you are comfortable with informal math right up to that before then. I guess I'm trying to figure out what I'm comfortable with and if it's time to throw the two math workbooks out and be done with it or am I obligated to teach the concepts right up to the multiplication tables on an informal basis to the extent I can up till they're 10? Thanks so much for any clarification you can give me on this. I thank you so much again for writing the book and for hanging on to a high Biblical standard. Your book and blessed me this summer more times than I can tell you. Your sister in the Lord and in teaching at home, Heather Young P.S. What do I say to my kids? Mommy and Daddy have changed our minds on math?
We would suggest teaching math, including the math facts, informally up till age 10. In a home where there is a minimum of television and computer viewing and plenty of hands on experimentation/exploration there will be lots of opportunities for a young child to learn the math facts. Answer all questions that come up and if they ask you to teach them some math, then, by all means, teach them. My children were often playing "store" or "restaurant" and games such as dominoes, and so learned the addition and subtraction facts that way. Laurie
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001
From: Robert Beechner
Subject: Your Seminar at Highland Baptist Church
Mr. & Mrs. Bluedorn,
My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed your seminar in Waco last evening, and we just wanted to say "thank you" for coming. This is our first year using the classical method, and your books and materials have been so helpful. Last night we especially appreciated your comments about PC's attack on clear and precise language, and the essentialness of a revived emphasis on studying the Biblical languages. We took it as a challenge. Indeed, we took from the evening many good things, not the least of which was one of your daughter's lovely lace bookmarks (which we gave to our babysitter. She loved it.). May the Lord bless you this day. Best regards, Bob & Katherine Beechner
Date: Fri, 28 Sep 2001
From: (Janice Kerswell)
message: I recently received a copy of your book Teaching the Trivium. I have read it through and am reading it again. I am very interested in the ways that you differ in some of your approaches from the other classical educators. Some suggest written narration by third grade but I have found that my son's (8 yrs old) narrations are REALLY weak. I don't know why it didn't dawn on me sooner but he not "saying" anything because he doesn't want to write it all down. (duh!!!) I will cease to make him write his narrations down and will just let him talk. We could certainly use those painstaking hours to listen to me read and discuss more. (It literally takes him 45 minutes to write 3 short uninteresting sentences.) Thanks for your insight. I'm still not sure how to carve out 2 hours per day for read alouds. I guess it is still a matter of priorities. I'm afraid to let go of the seatwork. I'll keep reading your book. ! Maybe it will build my confidence. Thanks for your insight. Your book have been my "find of the year". My husband has noticed a change in the attitudes around here and has asked about it. (He hasn't been around much the last three weeks. We live ten miles outside NY city and he works in television news (audio engineer) - you get the picture.) Anyway, your book has really helped me to gain more of an eternal focus. It's almost been like reading a devotional. THANKS!!!
Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2001
Subject: Abridged Classics, Memorize Speeches, Chores.
From: Eugene B Sedy
Some thoughts regarding:
Abridged Classics: My father-in-law dumped several titles on us, and the kids quickly devoured them before I could say, "Waaaiiiittt!" They were pretty young then--maybe 7 or 8 years old. They read and re-read those books many times--abridged or not, the elements of the stories are still good. They knew they were reading a "kid's" version, so pretty soon, they discovered the "real" versions at the library. They devoured these, too, and now have re-read them many times, and they really have appreciated the "meatier" version. I don't think reading the abridged version hampered them in their appreciation for the classics, in fact, it may have whet their appetite for these books at a younger age than what otherwise might be expected.
Memorization: Tracey in Alberta also asked about what literature might be appropriate for memorization. I was heartened to see Laurie's response about memorizing dialog from Charles Dickens. For the musical "Scrooge!" that my kids are in, they're memorizing whole passages of "A Christmas Carol" as they practice their lines! I was thinking that a family with several children could memorize dialog, and act it out. This might be a fun project to do for Christmas, and then present it to church or extended family at Christmas-time. My husband has always enjoyed memorizing the first lines of the classics. The opening paragraphs of "Moby Dick" and of "A Tale of Two Cities," are two of his favorites to start spouting out--somehow there always seems to be an occasion for him to recite some of these lines. In fact, the opening of "A Tale of Two Cities," is apropo for our present age.
My children also enjoy memorizing speeches. Patrick Henry's "Give Me Liberty, or Give Me Death!" speech is quite dramatic. The story is that Patrick Henry, himself, became exceedingly dramatic, and when he came to his famous line he used a letter opener and pretended to stab himself in the heart, then fell over as if dead! I think my kids find memorizing speeches to be fun because they can get dramatic with them.
Chores: With 7 kids, my kids do chores, otherwise I would never have time to teach them school! My kids start doing laundry when they are 4.
Before that, I've been teaching them how to sort the clothes. They can learn to operate the machine when they are 4 (my oldest son, who has always loved machines, used to live to do laundry!). They also are capable of folding their own clothes and putting them away. You have to make it easy for them to do this by not over-stuffing their drawers with clothes. I find that it helps to put a minimum of clothing in their drawers. I limit the clothing for the younger ones to 5 shirts, 5 pants/shorts, and 2 or 3 pajama sets. I put shoe boxes in their drawers to make a place for socks, underwear, etc. A 4-year old can also put clothes on a hanger, and hang them in the closet if the bar isn't too high. If you have your child putting away his own clothes, you can't expect perfection. The drawers get messy. I control this to some extent by doing random drawer checks and laying a piece of candy on top of a neat drawer. If I do this for one child, the others get the hint and tidy theirs, too.
My younger children also clean sinks on a daily basis. I let them spray the sink with Glass Plus then wipe it clean with a paper towel. Done regularly, this keeps the bathroom sinks nice and clean. I put all my everyday dishes in the cabinets below the counter so the younger children can empty the dish washer and put them away. We have a set of plastic dishes that we use most often, this helps minimize breakage of the everyday stoneware. Even our 2-year old will help empty the dishwasher. They also can set the table.
My 7 year-old does breakfast dishes--this is pretty simple since we usually eat oatmeal or cereal.
My 5 year old sweeps our porches.
Our older children can do just about everything my husband and I can do. The only jobs that I do is mopping and ironing, and as I write this, I'm thinking that my oldest two could probably be taught these things as well.
I've also started giving the older 3 their own night to cook dinner. They can choose whatever they'd like to cook from a cookbook, check the pantry, and add needed items to the grocery list. ("Okay, Leah, choose something else other than the crabmeat souffle--that is going to be too expensive.") So far, they have all done very well with this, and they find out that it's nice when someone says, "Thank you, Joe, I really like these meatballs." They still need me to be near when they are cooking, but I can usually be working at something else as I supervise. This has really been freeing for me!
These were just some ideas about what jobs you can give your children. Here are some things to keep in mind: When starting a new chore, make sure you teach the child first. This is most important! Show him, then let him do it. You will have to do that several times before the child won't need your direct supervision. You will *always* have to check his work. Require the child to re-do the task if it was not done properly the first time. Sometimes this is not enough--sometimes the child needs "extra practice" so instead of one bathroom sink, maybe he does three, or maybe he must "practice" on the kitchen sink. Sometimes allowance gets docked. Make a chore chart. We do about a half hour of chores after breakfast, and another half hour after lunch. I schedule chores so that bathrooms are done every other day, laundry 3 times/week, vacuuming everyday(high traffic areas), and dusting and window cleaning done once/week. By the end of the week the house is clean--maybe not always clutter free, but at least it's clean. Now if you happen to stop by on Tuesday, you can expect to see some dust because we only dust on Wednesday!
Sorry to be so long-winded. Hope this is helpful to someone. If you want more ideas about kids and chores you can e-mail me. Blessings,
Date: Mon, 1 Oct 2001
This is why I have chosen to use the classical approach in my home school: I believe that the classical approach is one that gives my child a complete education, one that teaches him/her to think and ask questions. I prefer my child to be able to tell me why World War II took place as opposed to telling me specific facts about World War II. I think this is the biggest difference between classical education and any other method or approach. Sincerely, Whitney Thompson
Date: Mon, 1 Oct 2001
Subject: Re: Why We Use the Classical Approach
Our brief answer to this question is this: upon reading and rereading Dorothy L. Sayers' essay, "The Lost Tools of Learning" (reprinted in the Sept/Oct, 1997 issue of The Teaching Home), we became convinced of the logic of her argument that this method, practiced in the Middle Ages and on up to the post-Renaissance world, provided the very foundation of our own culture and society. As Sayers argues, "the truth is that for the last three hundred years, we've been living upon our educational capital...but one cannot live on capital forever...For the sole true end of education is simply thus: to teach men how to learn for themselves; and whatever instruction fails to do this is effort spent in vain." It's hard for parents who are products of a public school education to accept this challenge, but we do so because we believe that this is the best way to arm our children with the tools they will need to live their lives before Christ in the coming years and, perhaps, to be part of a new generation of men and women who will be strong leaders simply because, among other disciplines, they will have learned to think.- B. Isaac Haverhill, MA
Date: Fri, 21 Sep 2001
From: Daniel Kirk
Subject: Differences between Biblical and Classical Greek?
What are the main differences between Biblical and Classical Greek?
Do they use much of the same vocabulary? Which does our scientific and medical vocabulary come from?
The difference between Koine (Biblical) Greek and Classical Greek is a little more than the difference between Modern English and King James English. The spelling is somewhat different, and the vocabulary is somewhat different, but, with a little explanation, the Apostle Paul could have communicated with Homer or Plato. Scientific and medical vocabulary is derived from Classical Greek, but there would only be accidental difference between that and Koine Greek. In other words, if you studied Koine Greek, the bridge to Classical Greek would be small. Harvey
Some comments on our "Commentary on Terrorism in America":
From: "Bob Jennings"
Date: Mon, 1 Oct 2001
Good, Harvey. Bob
2 Cor 5:11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;
Date: Mon, 1 Oct 2001
What a terribly ignorant diatribe. Perhaps you feel the terrorists have not done enough yet? Are you praying that your God unleash further horror upon us so that we may repent? I think you and the Taliban would make nice bedfellows. You are both so damnably set on imposing YOUR version of god's truth on all. For shame..this sort of tripe is unworthy of a Christian. I truly hope and pray that, while you are in your cellar hiding and repenting, God WILL watch over my son and my brother who will be fighting this fight to protect fools like yourself from fools<terrorists> like yourself. Remove me from your mailing list. I will be quick to speak AGAINST any of your products to home educators in the future. Elizabeth
From: "Dave/Jynene Hartman"
Date: Mon, 1 Oct 2001
Thank you for your faithful, scriptural commentary on the events of Sept. 11, 2001. I hope it is alright that we have shared it with everyone we could and encouraged them to do the same. Some dear friends of ours left their church permanently the Sunday after the attacks because their minister preached (to a full house in the largest church in town) that 'God was not in this.' They checked with him first after the services to be sure they had heard him right. Your comments will bless them especially. Thank you again, The Hartman family
From: "The Millers"
Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2001
Harvey - thank you for your commentary and call to repentance. We certainly need to humble ourselves before God and confess our sins - individual and national. I do think, however, that we need to also acknowledge and be thankful for the freedoms we do experience as Americans. Yes, we have grave sins, but we still do have the freedom to worship God freely! We have many others as well, such as the freedom of speech. The nations we will be battling in this "war" against terrorism do not have those freedoms and Satan has an even greater foothold there! At this time we are only experiencing freedoms established by our founding fathers, and if we are not careful, we will lose those. I think we need to be vigilant and self-sacrificing to protect the freedoms guaranteed in our founding documents, or it will all be lost. And yes, I do think President Bush has an obligation, according to Romans 13, to use our national defense to protect the American citizens from evildoers...regardless of whether or not they have repented. It would be simple to say we are all responsible for the terror on account of our own sins, and until we each confess we should not act as a nation. Fortunately, those conditions of repentance are not put upon our government. Had they been, Israel would never have been ordered to war, as there were many in that nation who were unrepentant as well. However we would do well to note their records of success and failure and the relationship between them and their spiritual state. Praying for national revival, Karen Miller Hudsonville, MI
Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2001
I don't share your views. Please unsubscribe me.
Date: Mon, 1 Oct 2001
Dear Mr. Bluedorn,
Thank you for your message. Is it any wonder that this happened during what is known in Jewish tradition as the Days of Repentance, which is between the Feast of Tabernacles, leading to the Day of Atonement, the one day of the year that the high priest went into the Holy of Holies? Just a thought.....
Date: Sat, 6 Oct 2001
All I can say is Amen. May the people heed the warning. Starting with the Christians. Jeff Harrouff
From: "Cathy Kurtinitis"
Date: Sat, 06 Oct 2001
Bravo! Our sentiments exactly. Thank you. We shall pass this on. George Kurtinitis Family P.S. We are earnestly watching our country's reaction as concerning Israel - will we bless or curse? The time is come that judgment must begin in the house of God (Christianity and America, her representative.)
From: "Frank Rogers"
Date: Mon, 1 Oct 2001
Hi, Mr. & Mrs Bluedorn,
I felt extremely honored when you mentioned my program in your book and really feel I have something to live up to. I took "Teaching the Trivium" with me while we vacationed on the Oregon Coast in August. I had previously reprinted a one-page article written by Richard Fugate (Alpha Omega) on why we should keep our children out of the public schools. It was the most effective thing I could find to that point. But the first three chapters of your book give the most complete and most powerful reasons for homeschooling that I have ever seen. Those chapters justify the cost of the book. And I think it would be difficult for anyone to write a more powerful argument.
Many years ago several individuals expressed the thought to me that the schools might be going back to good phonics reading instruction because of all the discussion in newspapers about phonics. I didn't think so but I thought that one way to determine if the schools were going back to phonics would be to see what the universities were teaching our teachers. So over the years with annual visits to college bookstores I could pretty much substantiate that the schools were not going back to phonics. But I was very surprised by the books I found in the bookstore of nearby Pacific Lutheran University last week. One, "Literacy with an Attitude. Educating Working-Class Children in Their Own Self-Interest" was mandatory for EDUC 565. I once heard Bertell Ollman, the NYU Marxism professor, tell a university audience something to the effect that the Marxists had the colleges, now they were going after the high schools. This PLU text would seem to indicate that beginning reading teachers are now being trained to prepare first graders for a "class struggle." The strategies in the book were adapted from those of the Brazilian leftist Paulo Freire Freire asks his pre-readers, as the book points out, what they might do to secure justice and suggested to them that literacy would make them far better able to engage in the struggle if they wanted to get a better deal. "Then he was ready to talk ABCs, and so were they." Freire is mentioned on 16 pages of the book. And the author, Patrick Finn, writes that, "Giving children more and more drills in phonics and basic skills never has and never will lead to powerful forms of literacy."
Does this interest you? It is quite depressing to me. We have a big job cut out for us.
R'spy, Frank Rogers
From: "Kendra Fletcher"
Date: Sun, 7 Oct 2001
I was delighted to see you had recommended Frank Roger's TATRAS (Teach America to Read and Spell) reading program in your book. We taught our first son to read using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, but when our second son was struggling through it, I knew it was time to look for something else. I called Mr. Rogers and he took at least 45 minutes of his day to speak with me about the TATRAS program, making certain I felt comfortable enough with the material to begin. Two weeks later, I received a phone call from Mr. Rogers inquiring about how I was doing using TATRAS. Did I have any questions?, he wanted to know. When he was satisfied he'd answered all my questions, he hung up and I went on to use TATRAS with great success. Our 6 year old son has absolutely turned on to reading, because he now has the tools to do so. He can decode the words he reads because he knows the phonograms. TATRAS is a perfect match for homeschoolers teaching the trivium; give the child the tools and he can take off reading on his own. By the way, six months after my initial call to Mr. Rogers, he again called me to check if I had any questions with which he could help me. This is the best customer service I have ever had. It is evident by his concern that Frank Rogers strongly believes in what he does, and in making sure children learn to read and spell. Kendra Fletcher
From: "Sergio & Virginia Youmans"
Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2001
Subject: Re: anti-phonics bias at teachers college
I had a very similar experience during my time at a state teacher's college, especially during the final semester. I was a secondary education (English) major, and my "concentrations" were in ESL (English as a Second Language) and linguistics. My linguistics and education classes were very interesting, but I know now that the philosophy behind them was naturalistic evolution and behavioral psychology. One of my professors was considered one of the leading linguists in the country. During my final semester, while I was doing a full-time student teaching stint at a local high school, I was also required to take a Wed. night class on "reading theory." We spent the entire semester reading the papers of the so-called expert researchers, then writing summaries of them and discussing them in class. At no time did we learn to teach someone how to read! And any mention of phonics was scorned and laughed at as if it were on par with believing in a flat earth.
A few years later, when I was homeschooling my son and teaching him how to read via Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, I realized that I had been cheated. I had paid a lot of money (and am STILL paying the student loan payments) for an education that was full of lies and faulty teachings. When I used The Writing Road to Reading and Teaching Reading at Home, I thought of all the ESL students that I could have helped with a basic phonics program. It is brainwashing, and it's very sad that entire generations of children are being taught (or rather, not taught) to read with these incomplete, experimental, and just plain wrong methods.
I should also mention that as a student at that college I worked as a volunteer tutor, helping freshmen from the inner city learn how to write basic sentences and paragraphs in English. In my opinion these students did not qualify for high school graduation, let alone college entrance, but they had come in under a special program that allowed SAT scores of less than 800 so that "underprivileged" city students who would not otherwise get into college could do so. But they were not equipped to take freshman comp., so we had to tutor them to get them up to a minimum level of proficiency.
How had they been "taught" in their public high schools? The Whole Language method. How was I taught? My mother unknowingly homeschooled me--she taught me to read at home before kindergarten. She read to me and encouraged me to read everything. It's not about money or programs or magnet schools or teachers with Ph.D.s--it's about simple phonics rules that work.
Subject: Saxon not teaching mathematical thinking?
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001
I have often heard the comment, "Saxon does not teach mathematical thinking." I'm not sure what people mean by this. I stayed away from Saxon for years because of this comment and recently started both of my older boys in it. We have been very pleased so far and have found Saxon to be very thorough. My husband is a mechanical engineer and he feels the program teaches mathematical thinking very well. Is it possible that certain grade levels are weaker than others? Perhaps it could really be just a matter of preference? Or maybe it could be what works well for some necessarily does not work as well for others? Just curious. Thoughts on this would be appreciated. Teri in Oregon
I've also heard this comment and have always wondered what exactly is meant by it. Perhaps one of our subscribers can tell us. Laurie
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001
Subject: Re: Phonics in teachers college
Interestingly enough, while the "regular" teachers in training were being taught everything but phonics, my "special education" program taught me to teach strictly phonics! I used the Distar program with my "mentally handicapped " children long before it was condensed and written for parents as Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. The original worked great and so did the rewrite--with all five of my own! Debbie Gottlieb
Do you have any suggestions for improving spelling in those who seem not to be "natural" spellers? My 11 yo ds can spell a word 3 ways in one paragraph. Each time it is spelled phonetically correct, but not in the accepted manner. Thanks!
Watt due ewe mene bye thys kweshtun?
If his spelling is always phonetic, then he obviously does not have a decoding problem, but an encoding problem. He has some difficulty in fixing in his mind the one correct encoding out of many possible encodings. The many possible encodings is what has made English able to grow and adapt until it is now by far the largest language ever. There is a lot of etymology in the spelling, so if you have a big dictionary with etymologies in the definitions, look them up. This may help fix some encodings.
Pick a particular problem, and teach to the problem. If it's the spelling of a particular word, teach the spelling rules which apply to that word. If it's a systematic misspelling, teach the systematic rule which applies to that category. Don't overwhelm him at first. Just examine his writing and pick one problem and work on it for maybe a week, then another for the next week. Harvey
When children memorize scripture, how can we be sure they will know the passage a year or 10 years from now? Do you need to do periodic reviews? Or will the Holy Spirit bring the passage to their minds when they need it? And therefore it isn't critical if they can't recite a passage word for word that they had previously memorized?
Sonja in Seattle
First, the practice of memorization is a mental discipline which strengthens the mind and carries its own reward.
Second, without some regular review, the memory often fades.
Third, I believe the Holy Spirit can bring things forward in our minds, but they have to be in our minds before He can bring them forward.
Fourth, it isn't memorizing if it's not word for word. We may begin to lose confidence that we have the right idea from Scripture if we cannot rely upon our memories. Often enough I have thought some idea was in Scripture, but when I went to look for it, I found my understanding to be quite inaccurate.
Psalm 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
Psalm 37:31 The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.
Psalm 119:97 O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day.
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Was there any particular resource you used to encourage your daughters in desiring to be keepers of home. What would you suggest I say to my daughter (9 years old) when she says she'd like to be a medical missionary (or some other profession)? Sonja in Seattle
The book she will read every day is you -- how you behave, your attitudes, etc.
It's not what your daughter would like to do, but what the Lord calls her to. His call will follow His order of things. Perhaps some "professions" can be followed within that order.
Here are some resources we have on our shelf:
Letters on Practical Subjects to a Daughter by William B. Sprague (Sprinkle Publications, Box 1094, Harrisonbury, VA 22801) Female Piety or the Young Woman's Friend and Guide through Life to Immortality by John Angell James (first published 1860, reprinted by Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 412-221-1901) Mother -- A Story by Kathleen Norris (first published 1911, reprinted by Vision Forum, 1-800-440-0022)
What Latin program would you suggest for beginning students from 9th through 6th... I understand you sell Artes Latinae. Would this work? They've had background in some French and Spanish. How would this compare to, say, Our Roman Roots or Matin Latin?
Most Latin programs have enough information in them that any good teacher who knows Latin well can teach from any of them. Obviously, certain programs will work better for certain teachers, and for certain students.
An inductive grammar will work better for someone who has a conversational aptitude for other languages. However, with classical languages, conversational aptitude is not nearly so important as grammatical aptitude because the authors of classical literature did not write for conversational communication, but for careful comprehension. So a grammar of a classical language which is largely inductive may not serve one’s purposes well.
A deductive grammar will work better for someone who is rather methodical and systematic in his approach to things. It also matches better the goal of studying classical literature.
A programmed interactive grammar uses both inductive and deductive methods, but in a more effective manner. However, if you want to do the teaching, you may not like a programmed grammar, because it does all of the teaching for you.
If you use inductive or deductive grammars, you will need to do some preparation before teaching. If you are not familiar with Latin, you will probably need to do quite a bit of preparation before teaching. But if you use a programmed interactive grammar, all of the preparation has already been done by the teacher which is the text itself.
Of course, I don’t know your children, but if they’ve studied English, French, and Spanish grammar and done well, then they probably could handle about anything. Most grammars are deductive grammars. Matin Latin is a deductive grammar. I’m not familiar with Roman Roots. Artes Latinae is an interactive grammar, and it works well for most families. The old rule “you get what you pay for and you pay for what you get” holds generally true, but there are some overpriced as well as some underpriced programs in classical languages. Harvey
What do you suggest for a good Bible Study? I will be leading this. I have a 14 yodd, 12 1/2 yodd, and an 11yods. Thank you! Donna
I’m not sure if you’re asking for a curriculum or for a method. I’ll give you some definitions and principles.
In an inductive Bible study, we gather careful observations from Scripture, and we draw general conclusions. So an inductive study is usually a textual study a study of one particular passage of Scripture.
In a deductive Bible study, we connect Biblical facts in a logical order in order to arrive at necessary conclusions. So a deductive study is usually a topical study a study of many passages which touch on a particular subject.
If you were going to do an inductive study, you might pick a certain book of the Bible, or a longer continuous passage, such as the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), or the Lord’s Final Discourse (John 13-17). If you were going to do a deductive study, you might use the proof texts of one of the confessions or catechisms as a starting point to deduce the doctrines of Scripture.
Younger children are in the Knowledge Level, and may be trained to make careful observations of fact. So as you read a passage, you may ask one to narrate it back, and have others fill in any details which the narrator may have missed.
As children approach the teens, they should be developing their capacity for reasoning the Understanding Level. So after you’ve rehearsed the facts, you will expect the near teens to make logical connections and careful evaluations and interpretations of the passages you read. (Once in a while the younger children will have something important to contribute here also.)
The older teens are developing the skills of effective communication and application the Wisdom Level. Of course, the other children will make applications as well, but you particularly expect it from the later teens. Try not to close Bible study without some practical applications.
Your job would be to train the Knowledge Level to make accurate observations, teach the Understanding Level to draw careful conclusions, and coach the Wisdom Level to express themselves well and apply things effectively. Remember, all children of all age levels are developing all three of these capacities Knowledge, Understanding, and Wisdom all of the time, but certain age levels are focused on certain levels. Harvey
I have a son who will be 9th next year. He is very science and math oriented - I'm not! (BTH, he didn't like Saxon at all and I've heard that it's not the best program for math oriented students - doesn't teach mathematical thinking well.) What would you suggest? Is there a good online or correspondence course for these two subjects?
Over the years we have tried a variety of science curricula. When our children were young, we studied science in an interest directed manner. We would check out a variety of science books from the library, and I would read them aloud to the children or they would read by themselves. We would occasionally do simple experiments at home. We attended science fairs and museums and just generally investigated things in nature as we came across them. From 1988 to 1993 we participated in science fairs and science competitions (in our book we have a list of national science contests open to homeschooling families). If you ask my son Nate, he'll tell you that he learned the most about science from those years.
As far as a structured science curriculum, we have used numerous sources. One year we used the Bob Jones Biology textbook, and Nate simply read the text and outlined some of the chapters. That worked OK as far as learning the basics of biology, plus he learned how to outline. That particular textbook is excellent. For a couple of years we used the University of North Dakota high school correspondence courses for chemistry and biology. I wouldn't recommend those. Their textbooks aren't nearly as good as Bob Jones. One year Nate used the ABeka physics video course. I would recommend that course if you have a child who needs a lot of help with physics and if you are a millionaire. Hans and Johannah took the ABeka chemistry video course one year. We weren't happy with that course.
But, if I had to do it all over again, I would use the biology, chemistry, and physics courses from Jay Wile (Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc., 888-524-4724) with all of my children. They are excellent. Three of my kids used the biology, and 2 used the chemistry. I even started the biology course myself, but got so interested in his chapter on Protozoa that I stayed there for a couple of months. We bought a wonderful used university microscope (the place where we bought it is no longer in business) and I had the time of my life investigating the different types of Protozoa. Jay Wile has written his courses to be totally self-teaching. There are labs included in the courses, and he tells you where to buy all the equipment you need for those.
Concerning math, there are numerous good math curricula available to homeschooling families. Except for the geometry part of Saxon's Advanced Math textbook, we liked Saxon. But if it didn't work for your child, then you should go to something different. If he is good at math, then he shouldn't need an online or correspondence course -- you'd be spending extra money needlessly. Harold Jacobs' Algebra is supposed to be good, and we loved his geometry text. Laurie
Subject: Do we really need to study LOGIC?
Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2001
When one of his audience said, "Convince me that logic is useful," he said, Would you have me demonstrate it?
Well, then, must I not use a demonstrative argument?
And, when the other agreed, he said, How then shall you know if I IMPOSE upon you?
And when the man had no answer; he said, you see how you yourself admit that logic is necessary, if without it you are not even able to learn this much___ whether it is necessary or not.
Discourses of Epictetus
We read this quote from one of our logic text books.
Date: Tue, 30 Oct 2001
From: (Jason Faber)
message: Dear Mr. and Mrs. Bluedorn,
Here I am, a senior in high school, realizing that I am not near as prepared as I should be for the subsequent college years of my life that follow high school. This became fully evident to me as I read through Dorothy Sayers, "The Lost Tools of Learning" and i wish to remedy my predicament. I understand that if I do not choose to do so, I am throwing away a mind that can be efficiently harnessed to further the Kingdom of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I was delighted upon the discovery of your homeschooling program. May God bless you as you strive to arm His children with the necessary intellectual weapons for the culture war in which we are engaged.
Jason W. Faber
Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2001
Subject: Re: Apologia for Knowledge stage
>But, if I had to do it all over again, I would use the biology, chemistry, >and physics courses from Jay Wile (Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc., >888-524-4724) with all of my children. They are excellent. Three of my kids >used the biology, and 2 used the chemistry. I even started the biology >course myself, but got so interested in his chapter on Protozoa that I >stayed there for a couple of months.
Is Apologia practical for an advanced, very interested 3rd grader, who
hasn't had much science? If not, what would be a good scope / sequence, curriculum -- not just science experiments, but within a framework of science teaching, experiments, and biographies. I really feel that I don't want to leave anything out of his science study, but don't know exactly what to cover first and how to approach it. Is it possible to cover it all? Or will there be gaps? I've noticed that various schools have different topics within different areas of science to cover at different ages? What exactly is important when covering science in early elementary, knowledge stage? What would you recommend as an appropriate scope and sequence for science. I surely wish there were a Saxon for Science. I'd sign up right away!! (I also have a pre-K daughter who seems to be a born scientist -- excellent powers of observation and intense focus, and already a keen interest in natural objects and animals; so I'd like to start teaching/doing science correctly with her!) Any guidance or advice or materials you could suggest would be helpful. By the way, my 8 year old has collected lake water, and is already asking about Protozoa, which you mention Apologia covers. Sincerely, Judith Conley
How is science taught to grammar stage students in public and private schools? Primarily by reading textbooks on a variety of scientific topics and memorizing random facts to be promptly forgotten after the periodic tests. I'm not sure this is the way to produce scientists or even students who enjoy studying the subject.
It is my opinion that what you want to do with grammar stage students is to instill in them, first and foremost, a love and curiosity about science and nature. First you read to them (or have them read aloud) something about science or nature, and then you need to have them go out and DO something with that knowledge they have just acquired. That's where experiments, nature journals, microscopes, telescopes, binoculars, dissecting equipment, test tubes, soap bubbles, .... and just plain observations come in.
Here are a few examples from our own family. Get a book from the library on weather. Make it a short book at first with lots of pictures. Here you will get a general picture of what is included in the study of weather. Assign one or more of the children to monitor the weather: wind direction, temperature, clouds, etc. Show them how to make a chart of these items. There are all number of activities you could do to study this subject. It might take you a week to finish (if you have totally unscientific girls in your home) or it might lead to a month long study or more. When your and your children's interest wanes, then leave that subject and go on to a different topic. Someone once gave us a cheap telescope. That led us to find a man who used to work in an observatory in Chicago who helped us clean the telescope, which led us to a long study of the stars. Nathan once got interested in electro plating (I think that's what it was called), and after a phone call to a chemist at Iowa State University who sent us bunches of information on the subject, Nate was able to do a simple experiment for a science fair.
I think we need to be concerned about "gaps" when we study math or grammar because any topics a student misses in those subjects will affect future studies. But I don't think we necessarily need to worry about gaps in the study of science. The study of science is so very wide that there is no way anyone can study everything. We should be more concerned with instilling in the student a love and curiosity for the study of science and nature -- especially with students in the grammar stage. It is later, from ages 15-18, where students can study the subjects of earth science, biology, chemistry, and physics in a more formal manner.
From: "Bill & Gretchen McPherson"
Subject: Saxon math
Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2001
On the subject of Saxon and thinking skills, I thought you all might be
interested in this interchange I had some years ago with a high school math teacher, Harry Petersen.
> Dear Harry,
> I have noticed you mentioned Saxon math books a couple of times in a positive way. My five children have been using Saxon math books from Math 65 to Advanced Math (alg. III, trig & geometry, I think it includes) for ten years. After Algebra I they worked almost completely on their own, because I didn't have time to relearn the stuff and help them. When they went to college they all three got the highest grade in at least one math class (and A's in all) even though they were competing with students older than they. But all three of them, after they took a college math course or two, began to complain about Saxon and look down their noses at his books, saying that they didn't learn how to attack problems, that Saxon only gave them problems which were workable by whatever formula being taught at the time....I don't think I even know enough to write about this subject......I always came back with, "Well, Saxon taught you well enough that you could easily do the 'better' math that you prefer now!"
When we were registering them for the college classes in their early teens the math teachers there also didn't think highly of Saxon. But I have heard more than one mathematically-minded or scientific person speak favorably of Saxon texts. > Certainly for homeschoolers Saxon has made the world of math accessible, to those whose parents are not confident or adventurous. But do you think his system is second-best? Have you heard elsewhere of this debate to which I refer? > There's more! I have a homeschooling friend who recoils at anything which smacks of behavior modification techniques, and she read what another company wrote, that Saxon math is behavior mod through and through, I guess because you get a reward for the right answer, whether you understand it or not! The other company is Making Math Meaningful. I think this is simplistic and silly. Gratefully, Gretchen
Thank you for your interest in your children's math education. How do most people learn? One view that has over 2,000 years worth use says: 1) show someone how to do it. 2) Give the other person a chance to do it. 3) Go over it the second time to make sure everything is clear. 4) Make sure that through practice the new process is "automated". 5) After the fundamentals are given and automated, give the learner new problems that extend the fundamentals.
This 5-step approach is the Saxon approach. It assumes that we are dealing with people of average intelligence who need a firm foundation in the fundamentals before step 5 can be reached.
Another view of learning which has developed in the last 10 years or so says people learn by : 1) they construct their own learning; thus it is best for students to discover everything on their own. 2) Sharing things in groups and writing in journals about what you have learned will reinforced what you have learned. 3) Practice is relatively unimportant as research-type problems that before had been reserved for 25-year old college students working on a Master's in Mathematics will now be given to 12-year children who still do not know what 7x8 equals. 4) Assess students through projects, journals and group exams; since math is a "social construct," no individual should be held accountable for having learned anything. This second approach is what the NCTM and the leftist in schooling support. From my research, this approach has been a dismal failure! It is good to see that your children reached level 5 in the above traditional scheme of learning so quickly. After only 2 college classes, they were ready to be "independent learners." But what they and nearly all the educrats overlook is the basics had to be in place before they could have reached this level. Before a great writer could compose an epic novel, he first had to learn to write his name, how to spell easy words like "cat," learn how to read, learn the meaning of over 30,000 words, read at least 100 different books, and practice writing in a formal way in English classes. How should we respond to the great writer who then says, " What my first-grade teacher taught me was boring!" Should we stop teaching these fundamentals and instead have first grades do research projects in writing epic novels? Heaven Forbid!
It is good that someone has reached the level in an art or given field that he wants to be creative. But "no wine before its time" should be the motto of those who want their students to create these great masterpieces. I firmly believe the Saxon series holds true to this motto that has stood math students in good standing for over 2,000 years. All The Best, Harry Petersen
Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2001
Subject: Scripture Memory Review
From: Eugene B Sedy
Recently Sonja from Seattle asked about reviewing scripture memory verses. Here's a method that I was taught by a man who's goal it is to memorize the entire New Testament before he dies. It works if you stick with it. (Ah! there's the rub!)
He uses 3x5 cards cut in half and writes his current verses on the front with the reference on the back. When he writes out the verse, he writes the reference, then verse, then reference again, as in "John 3:16: For God so loved the world...." John 3:16"
This helps cement the reference in your mind as part and parcel of the verse. He keeps his current verses in a little pocket business card holder, and he gets them out several times a day to review. At home he has a business card box that he keeps his cards in once he has them memorized. Newly memorized verses are put in what he calls "the refrigerator" section of the box in the front. He goes over these verses daily in the morning. After a week or so, these verses are moved to the "Freezer" section of his box, and once a week he goes over those verses. After a month or so, these are moved to the "Deep Freeze." All Deep Freeze verses are reviewed once a month. Now that he has many, many Deep Freeze verses, he spends about 15 minutes every other day going over a portion of his Deep Freeze verses. All in all, he spends about 15-30 minutes a day in Scripture Memory. Rather than memorizing straight through Matthew to Revelation, he picks out books or sections that are particularly meaningful at the time.
As for myself, I've not been so disciplined, but I do find it easier to memorize whole chapters or passages, and then as I come across them in my Bible reading or in hearing them, I recite them then. Also, there are certain passages I want the children to have committed to memory (Ten Commandments, certain Psalms, chapters in Isaiah, the Sermon on the Mount, Romans Ch. 8, 1 Cor 13, Philippians, etc.) and every few years as the up and comers start memorizing these passages, the older children are reviewing them. BTW, the more practiced you become at memorizing, the easier it gets. I figure scripture memory is one way for me to combat the adult onset attention deficit disorder (AOADD) that seems to plague me!
From December CHECK News of Kansas:
Book Review: Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn
I love this book. I love the feel and the weight of it. And the paper choice. After I read this book, I read it again and I loved it even more. It truly is a beautiful book if you call those things beautiful that God calls beautiful. This book will align or realign your thoughts on exactly why you homeschoolers do the things you do. If you have not thought through the reasons for teaching at home (or have forgotten any good ones this week) this book will logically guide you and transform your mind.
I must confess that I have never, prior to reading this book, understood the premise of classical education. I had listened to Mrs. Laura Berquist explain to me how and why she teaches the Trivium. After sitting through her workshop I was convinced that I was neither intelligent enough nor adequately equipped to undertake such an endeavor. Mr. and Mrs. Bluedorn have cleared up all that. I now know for certain that I am not intelligent enough nor am I equipped to adequately teach the Trivium.
But I know Someone who is. For the Trivium comes to us not through the pagan gods of the Greeks, but through the God of the Ages. The Bluedorns claim that the Trivium was the believer’s first and that we should take it back. They show through scripture and history that ancient Greek education and current state-run educations were looked upon disdainfully by Paul in his letters to the early Christians. To the Romans, Ephesians, and to the Corinthians Paul points out that “Their education was the agent which caused their great ignorance, because they were educated without reference to God.” (I Cor. 1:21) Also,”Nothing can be truly known and understood correctly without reference to God.” So encouragement comes from the Bluedorns that yes, you and I can teach in the classical Christian method without unwanted classical pagan influence.
The Trivium is a method of instruction that focuses on teaching children what their minds are created to handle and doing it during those years that they can handle it. First comes the Grammar or Knowledge stage in which all manner of memorization takes place. Poems, math facts, scripture, songs---anything that can be considered the pieces of a thing to be learned. If the child cannot seem hold a pencil for the math and spelling--small matter. Do it orally. If the child can recite the facts, that they know it. Here is the time to gather all the pieces to be learned in their most basic form. Next, comes the assembling of the pieces, the Understanding stage. The child begins to understand the how and why they fit together. All even numbers times an even number equals an even number. If they know the sounds of a language, they spell correctly. If I understand the elements of a foreign language, I can fit them together to make meaning. Here we teach the child the logic of his education. Finally the puzzle is fit perfectly in place. The picture is revealed and you now ask the child for a description of the picture, its pieces and how he arranged them to fit so well. This is the Rhetoric or Wisdom stage. The explaining stage. Your child should be taught how to argue (no--as in debate --with logical reasons for their position). Your child should produce well prepared and well penned ideas, presumptions with their conclusions in their own literary works. They articulate the language of any discipline they have formerly studied. Here is the fruit of their and your labors. The rhetoric stage is really the blossoming of your child.
The book is a how to (and also a why should we?) on every area of education. Of particu-lar usefulness is the lengthy exposition of Deuteronomy 6:4-9. Clarity of reasons and commands to oversee the education of our children is present in this excellent discussion. This alone is worth the cost of the book.
Men, you should read this book and implement the thoughts and instructions therein. It has so much there for you. Discipline--you cannot instruct a child who is rebellion. First he must be trained then taught. What do you do with this boy who manifests these behaviors: “Hates to hold a pencil, is not motivated, does the minimum required--seems lazy, wanders around with seemingly nothing to do, must be continually reminded, no project appeals to him, has a narrow focus of interests, and so on ”? Definitive answers are provided. And the girl who rolls her eyes and sighs when given work, what about her? The questions and answer sections are rich in wisdom. Suggestions are also given for those considering college and on establishing a livelihood.
Specific resources to use are given for many of the suggested courses, history, bible study--not a written one--but how to study, authentic historical sewing patterns, lists of contests, lists of confessions and catechisms to discuss, and so on. This list is not like any resource list you have heretofore perused. Also included is Dorothy Sayers’ essay “The Lost Tools of Learning.”
The Bluedorns go into extensive detail on why Latin, Hebrew and Greek are so important. We may not achieve fluency with the current generation but with perseverance, our grandchildren or the “greats” should. Can we truly know and understand scripture unless we truly know and understand the languages? Included is a comparison of alphabets and pronunciations of the ancient languages. Did you know that at seminary a century ago, no Greek or Hebrew was required? That is because they were to have mastered them prior to college. How far we have fallen.
Also given a vigorous discussion is the choice of Bible translations. You’ll not be surprised that the Bluedorn’s prefer the King James Version. That is because it does not suffer from “meaning between the lines”. So many translations exist today because the common people can no longer understand the syntax of the King James. Bluedorn’s suggest that the “look-say” or “whole word” reading being taught has shut down the ability to understand complex sentences.
The Bluedorn’s five children from 18 to 26 have successfully fulfilled their education at home.(Helena is in her last year) From their website I have paraphrased the information about their family. I believe it is important that you see families like this who have lived the good life of homeschooling and are thriving. Nathaniel is the family webmaster and designs and formats all of the Bluedorn’s materials. He studies classical guitar, logic and writing and attends bees and cows which he owns. Johannah has illustrated the book reviewed here. The front cover is truly a lovely oil of a pastoral scene. She studies French, writing and illustrating--having written a children’s book— gives art lessons, attends five cows and makes cheese and other milk products. Hans handles the Logic Loop on the web, studies classical guitar and is working with Nathaniel on putting together a logic curricula. Ava handles phone calls at the house and with Helena’s help fills the orders from the home. She gives sewing and music lessons, and does sewing for others. Helena is finishing her high school studies and is working with Harvey on a Latin pronunciation guide. All the children work with them on their writing projects. The girls keep the household running and the boys keep the property in good repair. The family lives in the country and have a large garden and a fruit orchard. The children are all still there contributing to their parents’ well-being. In other words the Bluedorns live what they teach.
With highest recommendations, you need this book.
At the author’s request, I include in this review my name, address and phone and have forwarded a copy of it to them. Debra Laughlin, PO Box 251, Mount Hope, KS 67108.
*Note to the Bluedorn’s--wish I would have found your book completed 8 years ago. I see that I have been leaning in this way, but couldn’t quite find the right thing to guide me. You have put it wonderfully together in the book. Thanks.
Here are some of the books we have been reading lately:
The Yarn of Old Harbour Town by W. Clark Russell (first published in 1905) -- A sea story similar to The Wreck of the Grosvenor by the same author, but not nearly as good. It is the tale of the kidnapping of a sea captain's daughter, his pursuit of her, and a fight in the English Channel. The ending is so bizarre and disappointing that I'm not going to recommend it to anyone.
Micah Clarke by A. Conan Doyle (first published 1894) -- I got about 100 pages into this book before abandoning it. It is historical fiction very similar to The White Company by the same author -- interesting story, but tedious and wearying to read aloud. Doyle's mysteries are much more interesting and not at all like his historical fiction.
The Little Duke by Charlotte M. Yonge (can't find a date on this) -- Wonderful story set in tenth century Normandy about Richard the Fearless. The best part about reading historical fiction is looking the time period up in the encyclopedia and putting the story in context and then pulling out the historical atlas or globe to find the location.
Tarka The Otter by Henry Williamson (first published in 1927) -- Johannah just finished listening to this book on tape, but recommended that the rest of us not listen to it -- she thought it was morbid and boring. It would have been better as a short story. Has anyone else read this book?
Beau Sabure by P.C.Wren (late 1800's) -- This is the sequel to Beau Geste (which is one of my most favorite books).
The Lost Baron: A Story of England in the Year 1200 by Allen French (published in 1940) -- Here is another exciting piece of historical fiction you won't want to miss.
The Rise of Silas Lapham -- I read to the middle of this book and finally quit. It is dull and didn't seem to have any plot.
The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict by Ken Sande (1991) -- Harvey just finished reading this to our family, and we would recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning how to resolve conflict within the family.
Date: Wed, 14 Nov 2001
From: "the Canadian Boswell's"
I would appreciate any advice you may have on routine. I recently had a baby (a girl after three boys - Grace is her name) and we are on a fairly good schedule now. I am just wondering if you would suggest that we wake up by alarm. You see, we never wake up at the same time and we rarely are up before nine. The kid's all sleep at least twelve hours and I just wonder if I am instilling bad habits by not insisting that we start at the same time every day. I realize that homeschooling gives us freedom to do what ever our family needs but I don't want folks to become lazy around here. I does seem to cut our morning short too and we don't usually get all done that we want to. This seems so trivial but my grandmother thinks that scheduled wake up times will create well disciplined children (and parents).
I like schedules. We get more done and are more efficient when we stick to a schedule. But then, we're all adults here in this household, so sticking to schedules isn't that difficult. When our children were young like yours we still had a schedule, but it was a very flexible schedule. We always had a regular time to go to bed and get up, but if someone was sick or if the baby kept me up then the schedule was altered and we slept in. Children and nursing and/or pregnant mothers need lots of sleep (I did, anyway -- and I doubt if I'm alone in this), so if you determine that you will all rise at 8 AM, then you'll need to go to bed earlier or take a long afternoon nap. Laurie
From: "Michele Cameron"
Subject: What to do with small town boys
Date: Sat, 17 Nov 2001
Dear Harvey & Laurie:
I really loved and implemented your idea of having our young daughter (8) go and work with a mother with young children and look after them once a week. This has been a real blessing to the mother and to our daughter who is learning how to look after babies and toddlers. Now my son (10) really has nothing in the way of occupational training to do once he has finished his chores and school work. We live in a growing small town subdivision that is sprawling all over the place. Our church community is 40 minutes away and my husband works and commutes an hour away. Any suggestions on what to do with my son? There are no chess clubs or anything remotely educational in town. The other kids on the street spend countless hours skateboarding and playing computer games, which quite frankly I find an appalling waste of time. Thank you for your website, books and dedication to Classical Homeschooling.
Whatever you do it's going to make a mess, so hopefully you don't have one of those better homes and gardens houses and yards.
Can you make him a small garden in the backyard? He could grow earthworms and rabbits. One of the families we stayed with had a rabbit hutch set up over an earthworm bed. The rabbit droppings went into the bed and the resulting compost went to the garden. The worms can even be sold to neighbors.
Buy the boy building materials and with Daddy's help have him build a small shed/playhouse.
Dog obedience training is something kids of all age can get into.
Ham radio operating -- that takes time to learn the code and set up a station.
Collections -- he can start collecting rocks, shells, coins, skeletons, feathers, insects, etc.
Can anyone add to this list? Laurie
Date: Sun, 18 Nov 2001
From: Scott Pepito
I checked a book from the Library called "Founding Mothers" by Linda Grant De Pauw. It was about women in the 1700's in America. She was obviously biased but she asserted that most children who were captured and raised by Indians chose not to go back to their white parents if given the choice. Since we as homeschoolers often glorify colonial America why would this be true, or is it a fallacy? I am also looking for reasons why Christians should celebrate Christmas. Any information or a reference would be appreciated.
In Christ, Scott and Jennifer Pepito
You might want to see our pamphlet "The Mystery of Christmas" by Harvey Bluedorn.
I thought you might like to see some of the responses we received to the Harry Potter article (written by Berit Kjos) which we sent out:
From: "Connie Carlton"
Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2001
I cannot believe that in 2001 I am in receipt of an e-mail that contains such crap. Two important notes:
1. Religion/Prayer is not allowed in the public schools because as a government sponsored institution, it cannot use tax dollars to declare an official religion. Doing so would violate the separation of church and state laws that protect all religious people from being forced to conform to a state sponsored religion. Religious freedom requires just that, freedom. That means that the majority cannot impose itself on the minority (even a minority of one), to practice their religion with tax dollars. A state mandate of an official religion and time for prayer in schools would harm religious people. What if the majority in an area were Muslim? Would the Christians in that area tolerate a Muslim prayer each morning?
2. The subject and details of the books and movie Harry Potter are fantasy. To suggest that this fantasy, no different than Mickey Mouse or Mary Poppins, will cause children to believe in witchcraft (which is F-A-N-T-A-S-Y, not religion) is ridiculous. To infer that J.K. Rowling's wrote the book with the intention of wooing children to the dark side, is no different than the Taliban forcing women to cover their bodies because men might do bad things if they see their evil faces. GROW UP.
Harry Potter is great literature. In the same way that Peter Pan, Oliver Twist, Huckleberry Finn were great works of children's literature. Was Peter Pan trying to woo children to something with magical fairy dust that enables you to fly? It too, was fantasy. Good Grief!
As a student of history, and an individual who can see through see intolerance and hatred that leads to censorship and book banning, I am appalled at the gross exaggerations and lies contained in this post.
If the purpose and focus of this e-mail list is to spread fear and hatred, remove me immediately.
Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2001
I have to admit it never crossed my mind that Harry Potter was satanic. Of course I don't think Alice in Wonderland, The Hobbit, or Chronicles of Narnia are either. Oh and we can't forget classics like Winnie the Pooh--a talking bear--my gosh that must be satan's work.
I'm glad that your children will grow up to be drones unable to use their imagination--a job in fast food is available. It takes imagination to invent things, or create. I'm guessing you haven't even read the book, but jumped on the band wagon. It seems that many religious people find the need every few years to band together and decide that something is evil. It's some circle of life or something.
The books have been banned from some places, kind of reminds me of a man who used to burn books. Hitler believed in censorship also-didn't want people to get any radical personal ideas.
I guess you've had your say now I've had mine. I really don't like checking my email before church and having someones newest platform in my email box. It's fantasy--it is that simple. The problems that we have are due to the fact that yes children are home alone surfing the internet. I believe that is the parents' fault not Harry Potter's. And values? The values that the book teaches are--being good, being a friend, being loyal, and standing up for what you believe no matter the consequences.
I wanted to make sure everyone knows that the article "Twelve Reasons Not to See Harry Potter Movies" was written by Berit Kjos, not by us. You will find many other excellent articles written by Berit at her web site.
Also, I would like to recommend to you a book entitled Harry Potter and the Bible: The Menace Behind the Magick by Richard Abanes (Horizon Books, Camp Hill, PA, 2001).
From: "Denise Wickline"
Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2001
Dear Harvey and Laurie,
I want to thank you for the Berit Kjos piece regarding Harry Potter movies. It by far the most comprehensive treatment of the Biblical viewpoint that I have encountered thus far. This topic is sure to surface at our extended family holiday gatherings, and I now feel better equipped to defend our position on the subject. Your ministry is such a blessing to us. Your wise counsel is grate- fully received! Sincerely, Denise Wickline
From: "Julie Anne Edwards"
Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2001
Dear Laurie & Harvey,
Remember, dear sister & brother, these people are obviously not on the same page as we are. To thrust such a preponderance of supporting scripture aside and reply with such anger leaves me to conclude one of two things: either these people are not true believers, and hate the Word, or, they ARE true believers that have just had their consciences assaulted and are responding in anger. I have found it to be the case when people attack me for the stand I take on issues, that they get very angry when they are not living up to God's standard, yet blame ME for this!! I greatly appreciated the piece.
Mrs. Jeff Edwards
Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2001
H'mm you hit a nerve with some folks over Harry Potter. I have let my son read the books, and all my kids have seen the movie, AND are getting some Potter items for gifts this year. However, I DO APPRECIATE your detailed information about the possibilities of satanic influence, etc. While I obviously no more think the Potter stories are going to lead my kids down the wrong path than books about hobbits, Aslan, or Mrs. Whatis, Mrs. Which, etc I do talk to my kids about the lack of Christianity in the Potter books. My ten-year-old noticed that at Christmas in the book and film the kids at Hogwarts enjoyed gifts, such - but where was church? Where was the real meaning of the day? I think my kids can enjoy the fantasy and humor of the books and know the difference between fantasy and reality. I do NOT think it is supportive of "freedom of speech" for some folks to have complained about your providing info from a biblical point of view about the Harry Potter books. Everyone can have their say, to be sure, but let's keep it civil! JFS in IL
Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2001
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Bluedorn,
I so much agreed with you comments about Harry Potter and the dangers for Christians reading these kinds of books. I think that people do not recognize the subtlety of sin (in any form) and how it can take hold of you before you know it while posing as an angel of light. I have been so deceived in the past on other issues and that is why I am extra careful now. Thanks for taking a stand on this. Sincerely, Lucy Hobbs
Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2001
Can you stand one more comment on the "Harry Potter" issue??
My DH & I discussed the potential implications of these books when they first became the "rage" of all of the public schoolers on our street. We kept coming back to the same points ~
1 ~ "Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Phil 4:8
2 ~ "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?" II Cor 6:14
3 ~ "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs & wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." Matt 24:24
4 ~ "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth." Rev 3:16
Anything that does not necessarily "promote" Christ rejects Him! I would much rather get to the gates of Heaven and have Jesus tell me that I took Him just a little too literally than not nearly literal enough.
"...as for me & my house, we will serve the LORD."
Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2001
From: Daniel Kirk
I haven't read the Harry Potter books or seen the movie, and have tried to avoid any controversy surrounding it because those advocating the book have made one thing clear: it is a colossal waste of time. Why spend the time reading fluff because it's fashionable while leaving so many books of proven worth unread. Many worthwhile books, from Pilgrim's Progress to Till We Have Faces, could be classified as fantasy, but they each have something important to say. Harry Potter, from all his fans' comments, is pure entertainment, and nothing more. If, as on fan claims, in 50 years people will still be reading Harry Potter, in 50 years, I *might* take a look at it. My question is this: you apparently received a large number of responses to this article, and I find it hard to believe that all responses that disagreed with it were as absurd as these. Why do you only print letters that disagree with you if they are rude and stupid?
From: "*Homeschool Mom*"
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2001
Thanks for the article you sent out re: Harry Potter.
Apparently DISCERNMENT is not a gift many seem to have been blessed with in this day and age. But it was a very well-written article. I enjoyed the comparisons to the word of God. It seemed to put the whole thing into perspective. Seems those who throw the stones at the Christian worldview need to have a more of an"open mind".
From: "coad family"
Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2001
How about twelve reasons not to see Star Wars - since it seems that is more of an issue with Christians than harry potter !!!
Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2001
Thank you for your information on Harry Potter. God's World Publications offers outstanding Christian books. They offered the Harry Potter books when they first came out. But after reviewing them more carefully, deleted them with excellent explanation similar to your post. I don't understand the hateful responses of others. You didn't say to burn the books or to put down others who choose to read them. You just gave us helpful Biblical information. I let my children read some books that you have nixed with your children. That is freedom. But I respect you for your choices. June
Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2001
From: Larry Foster <
I just read #231 and of course the responses to your Harry Potter email at the end of it. I have a question--why did those persons sign up for the email loop in the first place? Did they not know you were Christians and this was a Christian classical loop? I for one absolutely agreed with your position on HP. My children have not been allowed to read those books and they know why--even though many people at church and everywhere we go ask if they've read them _yet_! A friend commented the other day that first the world's children were desensitized by Pokemon and now by Harry Potter and I thought he was right. That's the way Satan works, isn't it? Just a little nagging doubt here, just a little crossing the line there--kind of like a boiled frog. You don't have to put this response in the loop if you feel it's too insulting to those other respondees. I just wanted you to know what I thought and to let you know that there was some positive feedback to your email.
Your sister in Christ, Marsha Foster
From: "Kevin Mathews"
Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2001
Thank you so much for the information about 12 reasons not to see the Harry Potter Movies. I completely concur with your assessment of the dangers of reading and viewing material that absolutely contradicts scripture. Please continue to stand firm on God's word.
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2001
I agree 100 % with the two responses to the Harry Potter article (in #231).
This series is in no way different than Chronicles of Narnia which most Christians are highly in favour of. Please, people, this is fantasy. Let your children have their time of being children without forcing grownup misconceptions into children's story. I really feel sorry for all of your children.
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2001
After seeing the replies of others to this email about Harry Potter, I just had to add my own opinion. It frightens me to no end that witchcraft and wizardry are being marketed to children in the guise of "good literature." I am dumbfounded that so many Christians have bought into it. I truly believe there will be a generation of children that will seek "supernatural" power because of Harry Potter and similar stories, and it doesn't take much imagination to figure out where they will find it: the occult. I was a child not so long ago, and remember how appetizing the thought of "casting spells" and such can be. Young children will not only look at Harry as a hero, they will want to be like Harry.
Furthermore, stories such as Harry Potter teach children to rely on their own strength and abilities, instead of on the Lord. They can save themselves, so why would they need Jesus? I could go on and on, but enough said.
Shelley Wight, single mother Conroe, TX
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2001
From: (Elizabeth Isaac)
message: Dear Harvey and Laurie,
I'm already on the email loop, but I inadvertently deleted "Twelve Reasons Not to See the Harry Potter Movie" (that may not be the exact email title). Would you be so kind as to send another to me? I really am taken aback at the tone of the responses you received from such "tolerant" and "enlightened" people whose arguments reveal the gross ignorance and lack of understanding of history and religion so prevalent (even in the classical education audience) in our society today. I'm sure you are both aware that in sharing your views with a large number of people coming from various backgrounds, religious, political, and otherwise, you run the risk of - dare I say it - "casting your pearls before swine".
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2001
Wayne Walker here,
I wish to make a few comments on the Harry Potter controversy.
Several letters pro and con have appeared in our local newspaper, and I read with interest the article by Berit Kjos and the two responses thus far on this list. Recently, on another e-mail list (not related to homeschooling, but intended as a discussion list for Christians) someone asked whether parents should allow their children to read the books and see the movie, and while there were a couple of exceptions, the vast majority who answered surprisingly said yes. We have chosen not to have our children read the Harry Potter books, and we ourselves have not read them. Therefore, I guess that I am not qualified to discuss the actual content of the books, but then I really do not have to see adult videos, read pornographic magazines, or engage in robbery to know that such things are wrong. Furthermore, I can read the reviews of the books, by both those who support them and those who oppose them, and draw conclusions from that. And nothing that I have read, even from those who accept them, has led me to believe that they are worth reading. There are several arguments made by those who identify themselves as Christians for reading Harry Potter that I have seen. One is that "the books are well written." That does not prove anything to me. Certain movies have been so well made that they win awards, but they are trash and unfit to be seen by anyone professing Christ. I am always reminded of a comment by Cecil B. DeMille that something that is not worth doing is not worth doing well. If, according to Philippians 4.8, we are to spend our time thinking on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, and of good report, then we ought not to spend our time thinking about things which are anti-Biblical, no matter how well written they are. Another argument is that the books present the triumph of good over evil and thus encourage good values such as friendship, loyalty, etc. But do they? Dawn Watkins, who has read the books, wrote in the Apr., 2001, issue of "Home School Helper" (Vol. 13, No. 2), "Nothing can be 'profoundly Christian' that makes lying and revenge acceptable, that blurs the distinction between good and evil, or that glorifies what the Bible in any way condemns. Harry may be a sympathetic character because terrible relatives mistreat him, but he is not a champion of right, no hero like Peter, High King of Narnia, who (with his comrades) leads the reader to confidence in Christian perspectives. Peter views evil from the high ground of truth. Harry, on the other hand, leads the reader to humanism, situation ethics, and self-reliance. Here is not a story of human redemption, but rather the opposite of it: Harry views evil (his mistreatment) as something he can revenge by his own power." Are we ready to say, "Let us do [or read] evil that good may come?" (Romans 3.8). As Paul would respond, "God forbid." Still another argument is that parents who are Christians should let their children read Harry Potter because they are going to be exposed to it anyway and they should be acquainted with the real world so that they can learn how to deal with such situations. By this same reasoning, we should let our children play on a busy highway because they will be exposed to traffic anyway and this way they will learn how to deal with traffic. Or we should let our children play with the chemicals under the sink because chemicals are a part of the real world and they need to learn how to handle them. However, parents are commanded to bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6.4). Thus, the fact is that in both the physical and spiritual realms, they are obliged to protect their children from that which is harmful to them until they are mature enough and really ready to handle them. And besides, the way to prepare our children for the real world is not to expose them to such things when their minds are young and developing, but simply to teach them the truth of God's word. But the biggest justification being given right now for the books is that "they're just fantasy" and children should be trusted to distinguish fantasy from reality. I do not object to the books because they are fiction, or because they are fantasy, or even because they contain magic. However, some have seemingly ignored the fact that there are different kinds of fantasy. Some fantasy can be used for good, as C. S. Lewis did. Some fantasy is likely quite harmless, as Peter Pan or Mary Poppins. But can anyone deny that fantasy, even well-written fantasy, might be used for evil? Paul prayed, "...That your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment" (Philippians 1.9). We need to use spiritual discernment to determine when fantasy is being used for good and when it might be used for evil. Just because something is fantasy does not make it harmless. I cannot, and therefore will not, say that parents who are Christians and let their children read Harry Potter, or see the movie, have sinned. There are decisions that each family, guided by the principles taught in God's word, must make for itself. But in our family, we desire to keep ourselves unspotted from the world (James 1.27). Therefore, we have decided to forgo this popular series. Besides, there are so many excellent works, even of fiction and fantasy, which are just as "well-written" (perhaps even better) and promote that which is truly wholesome without all the objectionable elements in Harry Potter, that in trying to read all of them there will just be no time for J. K. Rowling's books.
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2001
From: Diane Anderson
A question, in response to Connie and Amy's thoughts on Harry Potter. Why so defensive?. If HP is as harmless as they say, why get so angry. I do hope they defend Christ in the public arena as vigorously. But I am very puzzled at such a strong defense for a piece of literature that glorifies something that God abhors. Witchcraft is not FANTASY and IS religion, despite what Connie states. I am sorry she does not know her Bible as well as she knows Harry Potter. I for one will be praying that God will give her a desire to dig into His word. Maybe then she can take a rational look at Harry Potter, and make a rational decision about its value. One more point. The prophets of old were also ridiculed and reviled for their messages. Fortunately, some listened. May we be discerning enough to recognize the true prophets and do likewise. Sincerely, Diane from Indiana
P.S. My husband and I are still discussing this issue and have not decided which way to go yet, although I must say, from what we have read and from similar angry responses from fans of HP, we are leaning hard toward not bringing any of these books into our house.
From: "Candace Marra"
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2001
I just wanted to say congratulations to the Bluedorns for taking a stand for what is right. They are absolutely correct in saying that we should avoid the Harry Potter books. I must say that I was shocked at some of the responses they received. I did not realize so many Christians felt so strongly about this literature. To that issue, I would like to suggest that there is plenty of quality literature available out there that does not have satanic undertones, and that fully engages the imagination. I personally have not read any Harry Potter books. The titles of most of these books are enough of a red flag for me. I cannot say whether or not the author intended to promote witchcraft, but I can say that witchcraft is being promoted as a result of these books. One only has to go to the website to see that. These books affect adults as well as children. And the fact that some parents do not properly supervise their children's internet activities does not justify promoting witchcraft online. There are plenty of novels out there that are available, even fantasy novels, such as the Chronicles of Narnia, that do not promote witchcraft. The Chronicles of Narnia, by the way, are an allegory that illustrates the kingdom of God and should not be compared with the Harry Potter books. Chuck Colson had an excellent commentary on this, which is available at his website. I would actually like to address a larger issue than the books themselves: I think that it is unfortunate that the term "intolerance" is being thrown around even in Christian circles. As the moderator of this website, I believe the Bluedorns have the right and the responsibility to follow their personal convictions and warn the Christians who subscribe to it when they perceive a dangerous trend that could impact their lives. Although I agree with the Bluedorn assessment of the Harry Potter books, I do not have feelings of animosity towards people who express opposing views. If I did, then perhaps one would be justified in calling me intolerant. I believe the true "intolerants" are those who cannot stand the fact that someone else's convictions disagree with their own. I have not been on the logic loop for really all that long, but I daresay that this whole area of intolerance has some real logic fallacies. Perhaps before we throw stones at people whose convictions are different from our own, we need to take a look inside ourselves to find out why those convictions cause us to feel so offended. The truth can be very offensive when it steps on our own toes. I am not trying to make anybody angrier, and I am not writing this just because I agree with the Bluedorns. I have not necessarily agreed with everything they have ever said. That, however, is not the issue. I am writing this because I believe that whether we agree or not, we need to stand in unity as believers and love one another. Yes, we should boldly confront sin where we see it, and certainly challenge someone whose convictions are dangerous or sinful, but there is no room for accusations of hate or fear mongering on a Christian email loop. It is fine to express disagreement in a civilized manner, but let us be mindful of motive and method. The commentary on Harry Potter had nothing to do with hate, and everything to do with a desire to educate and inform fellow believers about a perceived danger. You don't think there is any problem with Harry Potter? That is fine. Your choice, but at least you are making an informed decision. Keep in mind that we are accountable for what we know. Also, let's have teachable spirits. I know that for me, if there is even a chance that something is a bad influence on my children, I will select something else. It's not like there is a limited selection out there. Maybe you will never agree about the Harry Potter books. But there may be another issue presented here that will crop up, which ends up being a godsend for you. In the meantime, please be careful about how you express your disagreement.
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2001
I certainly agreed with you when it came to your insightful warnings about Harry Potter. The person's assertions that Harry is in line with Alice, the Hobbitt, and the Chronicles are seemingly misinformed. Alice in Wonderland, The Hobbitt, and all of the Chronicles of Narnia were written in a time where occultism was completely foreign. Alice is full of political parody, not Satanism. The other books are also analogous, not directly dealing with the powers of demonism. The Bible is so clear on this, it makes me wonder if "Christian" parents who allow their kids to delve into this also don't mind blurring the line when it comes to remaining separate from the world or committing fornication. God does not change--only us. We hear "don't" and our innate instinct is "I won't listen". This was instilled in us by our first parents and takes contentious effort to fight it. We are extremely wary of what our children read and it broke my heart when these books came out. How sad to support Satan--and in such an obvious manner that people cover their reason with excuses. It is not mindless or uncreative nor unintelligent to keep these books away from our kids. Hitler banned books from all mankind. We aren't taking them away from everyone. Just our own families. We as parents are under order to watch out for our kids, including what they read. That is our choice. No one is demanding you follow. You reap what you sow. If someday your child rejects the Word of God, you have to examine what started that course. Bluedorns, I don't always agree with everything you say (write) but I respect you for saying it. I take issue with your belief in the doctrine of the Trinity and a few other things, but hearing a family so intensely concerned with its own Christian welfare in a pagan world is always welcome in my home. My beliefs are firm enough to take it. Thank you and keep up your work! Sincerely, Elaina Shupe
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2001
From: Dianne Palmer-Quay
Subject: Indian captives
If the author of the book "Founding Mothers" lists specific individuals in her discussion of Indian captives (or includes a bibliography), you could research these individuals and draw your own conclusions. I am not well versed in this aspect of history but I do know Lois Lenski wrote a book (historical fiction) about one such captive who chose to remain with the Native American tribe. I believe the girl's name was Mary Jamison and the book was called "Indian Captive." In this case the girl's family was all taken captive, but she was removed to another group (clan?) before the rest of the family was killed. Later, she learned of their deaths and so had no white family to return to when the option was offered her. I believe Lenski's account is respected as an accurate retelling of the historical record.
One of my most favorite books about Indian captives is Wait for Me, Watch for Me, Eula Bee by Patricia Beatty. Lewallen is separated from his sister Eula Bee when they are taken captive in a Kiowa Indian raid. Lewallen manages to escape and struggles to ransom his four-year-old sister back from the Comanche Indians. Laurie
Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2001
Subject: Harry Potter
From: Janice Kerswell
OK, OK - I couldn't resist any more. I borrowed the first book from my brother-in-law and sat down one evening and read through it. I couldn't finish it. It was too tiresome. I admit that the plot was engaging. The writing was just exhausting - one choppy short sentence after the next. (Re-read the first few pages for instance - how many times does she use the name "Dursley"? If my junior-high student turned that in, I would make him/her re-write it.) My husband came home and we pulled out The Hobbit and started reading the two books aloud, back and forth, paragraph for paragraph. What a howl!!!!! As my husband concluded, Rowling is a terrific storyteller trapped inside the body of a horrible author. The book reads more like a movie than an imaginative piece of literature with stunning imagery, engrossing characters, and an undeniable nagging moral statement or message. It certainly made it easy for the screenplay writers I suppose. Even if we set all the spiritual implications aside, we are not going to subject our kids to such poor writing when there are such well written volumes available at practically every turn. I would also be curious to find out how many adults who hold such strong views against the books have taken the time to read or scan them. Let's not argue from a point of here-say folks. I guess my real concern is this: If our world tolerates and even makes rich people like Rowling, it indicates that our world-wide literacy rate has sunk to a point where any angel of light with a decent grasp of the English language and a strong marketing budget will be able to seduce this generation and lead it any where it chooses. Sincerely, Janice Kerswell
From: "Jesse and Judi Oswalt"
Subject: Harry Potter
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2001
I really have enjoyed reading these posts concerning Harry Potter. I believe it is important to get the facts out there. I was reading an article on foxnews.com about Harry Potter. They were interviewing witches.
The thing that really caught my attention was the last paragraph: "Yes, it is a brilliant film and it will start off the new generation of witches," he said. "Harry Potter will put more magic into real magic." Also, the comparison between Narnia, Winnie the Pooh and other fantasy makes no sense. I won't cover the same ground others have gone over already but I don't see those books displayed in stores with books on how to cast spells. I also read a book by Rowlings with letters from children and adults. I suggest you sit in the store and read what those children have to say. It is a real eye opener!
From: "Sergio & Virginia Youmans"
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2001
Subject: more Harry Potter comments
The positive feedback in #232 was much more indicative, to me, of the proper attitudes and well-considered responses of Christian parents. Thank you for sending them. I have said many of these things myself when discussing these books with other Christians. I came across the Kjoses' website myself a few days ago and found the Harry Potter articles, and several others on different topics, to be very well-written and well-supported by Scripture. Their site also contains email responses from so-called Christians who then go on to define their faith in some very strange, unorthodox ways, as well as some who call themselves wiccans or witches.
Some other points:
--I take issue with the media's much-quoted comment from parents and teachers that "at least kids are reading." Is that how low our standards have fallen? If so, then why don't we just let them read cereal boxes or the articles in Playboy magazine?
--I read through parts of the first book last year with my (then) 13yo son. We both determined that they were NOT well-written. After a steady diet of good literature (Dickens, Henty, Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, etc.), my son was able to discern for himself that these stories are not on par with works of great literature. I predict that they will not be popular in 50 years (or even less). We studied Beowulf, which revealed how much Tolkien gleaned from it in his creation of the Lord of the Rings books. The HP books have no such literary foundation.
--We are teaching our children that just because we have the freedom in Christ to read, watch, do, or whatever does not mean that we should. That "discrimination" and "discernment" and "judgment" are not bad words.
--By the same token, we do not believe in banning books or forcing public school students to pray. What is the use? If people who say they follow Christ insist on reading any and every book out there, or watching any movie, or in putting their children in public schools (which promote the religions of secular humanism, naturalism, evolution, etc.), then they are already missing the point.
--When people, especially those who call themselves Christians, respond with such anger and "intolerance" towards calm, reasonable debate with strong Scriptural support (such as Mrs. Kjos's), it's time to wonder what's really bothering them. Let's face it, Scripture is offensive to those who are living in rebellion towards God.
Ginny, wife of Sergio, mother of André, Emilio, Olivia, Cassandra, Magdalena, and #6-on-the-way
Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2001
Subject: Latin Quote
From: Heidi A Triska
I saw this quote on a t-shirt in a catalog.
SI HOC LEGERE
It says: IF YOU CAN READ THIS YOU HAVE TOO MUCH EDUCATION
Love, in Christ,
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2001
From: "Keith A. Harris"
I just had a few more ideas for you. We also live in a rural area and work to develop a variety of skills in our 8YOB. We buy anything made by K'Nex, which my son has used to build motorized planes, cars, a ferris wheel and a 6 ft. tall training tower. We bought him a used workbench and tools (real, not plastic), and thin sheets of plywood that he can use to make a variety of projects. (Power tools are only used with Daddy.) Computer time is limited to educational programs that focus on science, math, space exploration, etc. (Magic Schoolbus, National Geographic, etc.) He has many science tools including microscope, chemistry set, telescope and lots of books for exploring with those tools. We saved the old car and he and my husband will dissect it to learn about cars. He is also active in Cub Scouts (Boy Scouts program--do you have anything like it in Canada?) and will be getting into a 4-H program. Both programs guide the boys to a variety of accomplishments. We call him an M.I.T.: Man in Training! To that end, perhaps the most important lessons are the ones he derives from following daddy while he works on the car, makes home repairs, cooks, etc.
A Real Dinner Table Conversation at Our House by Nathaniel Bluedorn
(The names have been changed to protect the innocent.)
Little Greek: I think I have a cold.
Big German: At least it isn't an Echinacea cold.
Nosy Austrian: What is an Echinacea cold?
Big German: You take Echinacea because you think you might be catching a cold, then when you stop taking it, you get an even worse cold because you've stopped.
Nosy Austrian: What clinical studies have led you to believe this theory?
Big German: I know it's true because it happened to me.
Nosy Austrian: But anecdotal evidence, especially just from one experience, isn't reliable.
Little Greek: Real doctors don't recommend taking Echinacea.
Nosy Austrian: How do you know that? What are 'real' doctors?
Little Greek: Real doctors who go to college know more than those health-nut doctors like Dr D-------- who recommends taking herbs because he sells them.
Nosy Austrian: How do you know the difference between a real doctor and the other kind?
Little Greek: Because real doctors are smarter.
Nosy Austrian: How do you know that the IQ of doctors who do not recommend taking Echinacea is higher than doctors who do recommend taking Echinacea?
Have you done studies on the different IQs of doctors?
Little Greek: It's obvious they are smarter. They don't recommend taking Echinacea.
Nosy Austrian: Our argument is going in a circle.
Little Greek: No it isn't.
Nosy Austrian: Your saying so doesn't make it so.
Little Greek: There's nothing to prove it doesn't.
Nosy Austrian: Wow, this is a very interesting discussion. Maybe we could use it on our logic web site.
Little Greek: You better not.
Nosy Austrian: How many fallacies was that?
See Hans and Nathaniel's web site for the text of an interview with James Nance.
Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2001
From: Wendi C
Subject: Re: Alice and her times, was Harry Potter
I'd rather not weigh in on the Harry Potter debate, but I did want to comment on this:
>"Alice in Wonderland, The Hobbitt, and all of the Chronicles of Narnia were written in a time where occultism was >completely foreign. "
Just for your information, this isn't accurate. I share this not to criticize, but to offer further information (I'm an information junky myself=D). Seances, tarot cards, theosophists (a 'new' religion combining elements of Spiritualism with Eastern ideas of Karma, reincarnation and the unity of all souls), and all manner of other dabblings in the occultic world were quite fashionable. Lewis Carrol himself believed in telepathy and was a member of the Society for Psychical Research, founded in 1882. This organization was formed because of the large number of mediums and psychic claims being made.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was particularly influential in promoting the careers of several mediums and psychics, and he was fascinated by the occult. The late Victorian era was actually a hotbed of interest and fascination in occultic activity. Queen Victoria herself participated in a seance. Occultic beliefs flourished (one reason for the popularity of ghost stories with the Victorians). The popularity of spiritualism continued into the 20's and 30's. If you've read C.S. Lewis' science fiction trilogy you can see references there to the fascination his contemporaries had with the so-called supernatural. G. K. Chesterton also refers to it, and in one of his short stories points out that people will not believe in Jesus find themselves believing in almost anything else. Occultism wasn't foreign, it was a ragingly popular fad.
Shared for informational rather than inflamational purposes.=) Wendi
From: "Barnaby Family"
Subject: Re: Math for children under 10
Date: Sat, 1 Dec 2001
Several of my children had no *formal* math training. Recently I evaluated where they could be placed in a formal math program since I felt it was time to begin. My 12 yo can work in Saxon 76, my 11 & 9 yos in Saxon 65, and my 7yo could easily work in Math 54, though I will not begin that program with her at this time.
Some of the problems on the tests caused them considerable thought. Since they have not even been taught division, and very little multiplication, they frequently solved problems correctly, but in rather unorthodox manners. While I realize that for the sake of efficiency they need to be taught long division and proper adding of fractions, etc... I was pleased to see that their thought processes had matured sufficiently to cover these materials, despite lack of teaching.
I basically incorporated math into our daily lives. None of them missed any questions pertaining to money! :) They receive some pay for extra chores and are required to manage this little sum themselves. They often counted change for fun. We taught fractions while cooking, especially while doubling or tripling recipes for our large family. When the boys would build things I would have them figure out mathematical things related to their endeavors. They learned to use calendars, and to tell time as a matter of daily living. They played lots of games that required different math concepts (Life on the Farm, Yahtzee, Monopoly, Life).
To be honest, I was very concerned that I had "failed" them prior to doing the testing on where to place them. Yet, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the only things they were lacking was some terminology (I had to tell them that perimeter meant "the distance around" for example), but they were well equipped to solve problems. A few speed tests and their multiplication facts will be mastered as well. I hope this encourages someone else!
Thanks again, Laurie for encouraging me!
Chelle, wife to Jim
Mom to the Barnfull
Bethany, Emily, Thaddeus, Samuel, Abigail, Georgia, Elsa & Sorche
From: "Don Potter"
Subject: Concerning TATRAS
Date: Sat, 1 Dec 2001
Dear Harvey and Laurie,
Feel free to post this for others to read. I am now in my third year teaching Frank Rogers' TARTS Vertical Phonics Program. I have learned a lot about the program from my experience teaching it to individuals and to my second grade bilingual class. There are two things I would like to recommend to parents and school teachers using the program: First, be sure and practice the Phonogram Sequence Chart DAILY. The phonograms represent the variable symbol-to-sound correspondences of the written language. They form the basis for a practical knowledge of English orthography. I practice the WHOLE chart daily. Note the adroit(and highly effective) way in which he sequenced the phonograms by frequency, and orthographic relationships i.e..: ai, ay; ur, ir, ear, wor, wr etc. Refer to the chart often during reading time. Students love point out the phonograms in their stories. Second, I would recommend that the student should decode the words many times. There is an inverse ratio between the number of times a students identifies a word and the length of time it takes to identify it. Every time a students reads a word, the less time it takes to identify it. My students, using TATRAS, show very high levels of oral fluency and expressive reading. Their spelling is also amazingly good. I take it that learning the phonograms and seeing the words during decoding practice helps them master good spelling much better than traditional methods. May the Lord bless parents and teachers using TATRAS. Don Potter, bilingual teacher Odessa, TX
Date: Tue, 4 Dec 2001
Subject: Re: Math for children under 10
I was so encouraged by your post regarding formal math training. I have resisted purchasing a formal program (with the exception of a used Miquon Math book) and am doing many of the activities you mentioned using with your children as daily living and activities (games). My son is 8 and this is our 2nd year homeschooling. Even when you feel you are doing what is right, you sometimes have a "nagging doubt" that maybe you are not doing enough. Glad to hear someone has been successful in this area following that approach!
In His Love,
Opposing Viewpoints -- Justin Martyr and Tertullian/Christianity and Pagan Learning
Viewpoint #1 Justin Martyr
Introduction to Justin Martyr:
Justin was born around A.D. 100 in Samaria of non-Christian Greek parents.
The main facts of Justin's life are gathered from his own writings, but we don't have any exact dates. It is certain that he lived in the reign of the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius. Justin was brought up with a good education in rhetoric, poetry, and history, and he studied various schools of philosophy in Alexandria and Ephesus, joining himself first to Stoicism, then Pythagoreanism, then becoming a disciple of the teaching of Socrates and Plato.
Justin was converted to Christianity about A.D. 130, and a short time later became a Christian teacher, but he continued to wear the cloak that was the specific uniform of the professional teacher of philosophy. He was the first to study the relation between faith and reason, and he introduced Greek philosophical terminology into his expositions, defining Christianity in philosophical terms. His position was that pagan philosophy, especially Platonism, is a partial grasp of the truth, and serves as "a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ." He sought common ground between Greek philosophy and Christian belief. He seems to consider someone like Socrates as a Christian before the time of Christ.
He engaged in debates and disputations with non-Christians of all varieties -- pagans, Jews, and heretics. By the year A.D. 150, Justin was living in Rome, and running a kind of Christian catechetical school on the model of a Greek philosophical school tradition, teaching Christian philosophy. He suffered martyrdom in the reign of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, around the year A.D. 165.
Historians consider the writings of Justin Martyr to be among the most important which have come down to us from the second century. He was not the first who wrote an Apology on behalf of the Christians, but his Apologies are the earliest extant. His writings are characterized by intense Christian fervor, and they give us an insight into the relations existing in those days between heathens and Christians.
Justin Martyr does not quote by name from any New Testament writings. He does use the phrases 'it is recorded' and 'it is written,' when quoting from the 'Memoirs of the apostles' or simply the 'Memoirs.' These 'Memoirs,' Justin tells his non-Christian readers, were called the 'Gospels.' He mentions that in Sunday services of worship, "the Memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read for as long as time permits."
Three works of Justin have been preserved:
His First Apology (or "defense"), written around A.D. 155, was addressed to the Emperor Antoninus Pius and his adopted sons. He defended Christianity as the only rational creed, and he included an account of current Christian ceremonies of Baptism and the Lord's Supper.
The Second Apology is addressed to the Roman Senate. It is chiefly concerned to rebut specific charges of immorality that had been made against the Christians. He argued that good Christians make good citizens, and that the notion that Christianity undermines the foundations of a good society is based upon slander or misunderstanding.
The Dialog With Trypho the Jew is an account of a dialog between Justin and a Jewish rabbi named Trypho. The two men talk about the Jewish people and their place in history, and then about Jesus and whether he was the promised Messiah. The Dialogue with Trypho the Jew is the oldest known apologetical work against Judaism. Trypho was probably a historical person, a learned Rabbi of some note who openly debated with Justin at Ephesus between A.D. 132-135. The Dialogue lasted two days, and was written around A.D. 155 as a record of the earlier disputation.
Here are some significant excerpts from Justin Martyr:
Chapter 7 THE WORLD PRESERVED FOR THE SAKE OF CHRISTIANS
Wherefore God delays causing the confusion and destruction of the whole world, by which the wicked angels and demons and men shall cease to exist, because of the seed of the Christians, who know that they are the cause of preservation in nature. Since, if it were not so, it would not have been possible for you to do these things, and to be impelled by evil spirits; but the fire of judgment would descend and utterly dissolve all things, even as formerly the flood left no one but him only with his family who is by us called Noah, and by you Deucalion, from whom again such vast numbers have sprung, some of them evil and others good. For so we say that there will be the conflagration, but not as the Stoics, according to their doctrine of all things being changed into one another, which seems most degrading. But neither do we affirm that it is by fate that men do what they do, or suffer what they suffer, but that each man by free choice acts rightly or sins; and that it is by the influence of the wicked demons that earnest men, such as Socrates and the like, suffer persecution and are in bonds, while Sardanapalus, Epicurus, and the like, seem to be blessed in abundance and glory....
Chapter 8 ALL HAVE BEEN HATED IN WHOM THE WORD HAS DWELT
And those of the Stoic school--since, so far as their moral teaching went, they were admirable, as were also the poets in some particulars, on account of the seed of reason [the Logos] implanted in every race of men-- were, we know, hated and put to death,--Heraclitus for instance, and, among those of our own time, Musonius and others. For, as we intimated, the devils have always effected, that all those who anyhow live a reasonable and earnest life and shun vice, be hated. And it is nothing wonderful; if the devils are proved to cause those to be much worse hated who live not according to a part only of the word diffused [among men], but by the knowledge and contemplation of the whole Word, which is Christ....
Chapter 10 CHRIST COMPARED WITH SOCRATES.
Our doctrines, then, appear to be greater than all human teaching; because Christ, who appeared for our sakes, became the whole rational being, both body, and reason, and soul. For whatever either lawgivers or philosophers uttered well, they elaborated by finding and contemplating some part of the Word. But since they did not know the whole of the Word, which is Christ, they often contradicted themselves. And those who by human birth were more ancient than Christ, when they attempted to consider and prove things by reason, were brought before the tribunals as impious persons and busybodies. And Socrates, who was more zealous in this direction than all of them, was accused of the very same crimes as ourselves. For they said that he was introducing new divinities, and did not consider those to be gods whom the state recognized. But he cast out from the state both Homer and the rest of the poets, and taught men to reject the wicked demons and those who did the things which the poets related; and he exhorted them to become acquainted with the God who was to them unknown, by means of the investigation of reason, saying, "That it is neither easy to find the Father and Maker of all, nor, having found Him, is it safe to declare Him to all." But these things our Christ did through His own power. For no one trusted in Socrates so as to die for this doctrine, but in Christ, who was partially known even by Socrates (for He was and is the Word who is in every man, and who foretold the things that were to come to pass both through the prophets and in His own person when He was made of like passions, and taught these things), not only philosophers and scholars believed, but also artisans and people entirely uneducated, despising both glory, and fear, and death; since He is a power of the ineffable Father, and not the mere instrument of human reason.
Chapter 13 HOW THE WORD HAS BEEN IN ALL MEN
For I myself, when I discovered the wicked disguise which the evil spirits had thrown around the divine doctrines of the Christians, to turn aside others from joining them, laughed both at those who framed these falsehoods, and at the disguise itself, and at popular opinion; and I confess that I both boast and with all my strength strive to be found a Christian; not because the teachings of Plato are different from those of Christ, but because they are not in all respects similar, as neither are those of the others, Stoics, and poets, and historians. For each man spoke well in proportion to the share he had of the spermatic word, seeing what was related to it. But they who contradict themselves on the more important points appear not to have possessed the heavenly wisdom, and the knowledge which cannot be spoken against. Whatever things were rightly said among all men, are the property of us Christians. For next to God, we worship and love the Word who is from the unbegotten and ineffable God, since also He became man for our sakes, that, becoming a partaker of our sufferings, He might also bring us healing. For all the writers were able to see realities darkly through the sowing of the implanted word that was in them. For the seed and imitation imparted according to capacity is one thing, and quite another is the thing itself, of which there is the participation and imitation according to the grace which is from Him.
Viewpoint #2 Tertullian
Introduction to Tertullian:
Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus was born about A.D. 150 in the city of Carthage (Africa) where his father was a proconsular centurion. Very little is known about his life. What we know about him comes from writers two centuries later, or from the few personal notes in his works. His father provided Tertullian with the education and training to become a lawyer. When he was about 40, Tertullian was converted to Christianity (some think he was converted by seeing the sight of Christians being martyred in the arena), he married a Christian girl, and began writing in defense of Christianity.
According to Jerome, Tertullian was "a man of impetuous temperament, he was in his prime in the reign of the emperor Severus and Antoninus Caracalla, and he wrote many works which I need not name since they are very widely known." Tertullian was the first Christian apologist to write in Latin. Tertullian resolutely held to the truth, and frequently spoke against the church's conformity to the world and compromise with surrounding paganism.
Tertullian wrote numerous works - how many is unknown. Thirty-one are extant (all written between A.D. 190 and A.D. 220).
Jerome says, "In particular, he [Tertullian] composed against the church the works On Modesty, On Persecution, On Fasting, On Monogamy, six books On Ecstasy and a seventh which he composed Against Apollonius. He is said to have lived to a very old age...." His most important work is the Apologeticum, in defense of the Christians. Another important work is Adversus Praxean, which is the first work clear expression of the doctrine of the Trinity. In this work, he created most of the terminology with which we now express this doctrine.
In his time, the church rejected a movement calling itself "The New Prophecy," and known later as Montanism. The New Prophecy made no doctrinal innovations, but said that the Holy Spirit was calling Christians to a more unworldly position. Tertullian had grown angry at the compromise creeping into the church -- unwillingness to be martyred, willingness to forgive more serious public sins -- so he associated himself with the Montanists. We don't know if he actually left the "mainstream" church, but his later works are definitely Montanist, and one or two specifically attack the "mainstream" church on these points. He was not recognized as a Saint, and his works were all marked in the 6th Century as condemned. Historically, church leaders generally have not liked Tertullian. He did not compromise, and he wrote clearly on Biblical doctrines. He has been called the first Protestant.
Here are some significant excerpts from Tertullian:
The Prescription Against Heretics
Chapter VII.-Pagan Philosophy the Parent of Heresies. The Connection Between Deflections from Christian Faith and the Old Systems of Pagan Philosophy.
 These are "the doctrines" of men and "of demons" produced for itching ears of the spirit of this world's wisdom: this the Lord called "foolishness," and "chose the foolish things of the world" to confound even philosophy itself.  For (philosophy) it is which is the material of the world's wisdom, the rash interpreter of the nature and the dispensation of God.  Indeed heresies are themselves instigated by philosophy. From this source came the Aeons, and I know not what infinite forms, and the trinity of man in the system of Valentinus, who was of Plato's school. From the same source came Marcion's better god, with all his tranquillity; he came of the Stoics.  Then, again, the opinion that the soul dies is held by the Epicureans; while the denial of the restoration of the body is taken from the aggregate school of all the philosophers; also, when matter is made equal to God, then you have the teaching of Zeno; and when any doctrine is alleged touching a god of fire, then Heraclitus comes in.  The same subject-matter is discussed over and over again by the heretics and the philosophers; the same arguments are involved. Whence comes evil? Why is it permitted? What is the origin of man? and in what way does he come? Besides the question which Valentinus has very lately proposed—Whence comes God? Which he settles with the answer: From enthymesis and ectroma.  Unhappy Aristotle! who invented for these men dialectics, the art of building up and pulling down; an art so evasive in its propositions, so far-fetched in its conjectures, so harsh, in its arguments, so productive of contentions—embarrassing even to itself, retracting everything, and really treating of nothing!  Whence spring those "fables and endless genealogies," and "unprofitable questions," and "words which spread like a cancer? " From all these, when the apostle would restrain us, he expressly names philosophy as that which he would have us be on our guard against. Writing to the Colossians, he says, "See that no one beguile you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, and contrary to the wisdom of the Holy Ghost."
 He had been at Athens, and had in his interviews (with its philosophers) become acquainted with that human wisdom which pretends to know the truth, whilst it only corrupts it, and is itself divided into its own manifold heresies, by the variety of its mutually repugnant sects.  What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem? What concord is there between the Academy and the Church? what between heretics and Christians?  Our instruction comes from "the porch of Solomon," who had himself taught that "the Lord should be sought in simplicity of heart."  Away with all attempts to produce a mottled Christianity of Stoic, Platonic, and dialectic composition!  We want no curious disputation after possessing Christ Jesus, no inquisition after enjoying the gospel!  With our faith, we desire no further belief. For this is our palmary faith, that there is nothing which we ought to believe besides.
The Apology of Tertullian
CHAPTER XXII CONCERNING DEMONS, THEIR POWER, AND THEIR WAYS OF OPERATION.
We say then that there are a certain kind of spiritual substances existing in nature, which go by the name of demons, and the name is not of a modern stamp; the name and the thing being both well known to the philosophers, for Socrates undertook nothing without the privy council of his demon. And no wonder, when this familiar is said to have kept him close company from his childhood to the conclusion of his life, continually, no doubt, injecting dissuasives from virtue....
Date: Fri, 14 Dec 2001
Would you tell me the best book or two on speech? I have Teaching the Trivium, in which you recommend books alphabetically by author. Which would be most helpful to me, given the following?
I am planning a March speech meet. I would like to learn the mechanics of developing a standard meet, such as standards for evaluation, evaluation forms, awards, etc.
From your treatment of Oral Interpretation I gathered that event pieces are read aloud. Is this a correct understanding? The Evening of Rhetoric which I adjudicated last year had students sharing memorized speeches, poems, Bible verses. Is there a category for memorized works others have written or did we create a hybrid? I am interested in learning the standard format for these events.
Finally, what is a good book on debate?
Oral Interpretation (sometimes called Interpretive Reading) is where the student reads aloud (sometimes the piece is memorized, sometimes not) a piece of literature that someone else has written. Speech (also called Oratory) is where the student reads (or most times recites from memory) something he has written himself.
A good introduction to Oral Interpretation, Speech and Debate is Chris Jeub's book "Jeub's Complete Guide to Speech and Debate. Also, I would visit the homeschool speech and debate web site.
Some interesting observations from Aristotle in his Politics (3.7, 15):
7 Having determined these points, we have next to consider how many forms of government there are, and what they are; and in the first place what are the true forms, for when they are determined the perversions of them will at once be apparent. The words constitution and government have the same meaning, and the government, which is the supreme authority in states, must be in the hands of one, or of a few, or of the many. The true forms of government, therefore, are those in which the one, or the few, or the many, govern with a view to the common interest; but governments which rule with a view to the private interest, whether of the one or of the few, or of the many, are perversions. For the members of a state, if they are truly citizens, ought to participate in its advantages. Of forms of government in which one rules, we call that which regards the common interests, kingship or royalty; that in which more than one, but not many, rule, aristocracy; and it is so called, either because the rulers are the best men, or because they have at heart the best interests of the state and of the citizens. But when the citizens at large administer the state for the common interest, the government is called by the generic name- a constitution. And there is a reason for this use of language. One man or a few may excel in virtue; but as the number increases it becomes more difficult for them to attain perfection in every kind of virtue, though they may in military virtue, for this is found in the masses. Hence in a constitutional government the fighting-men have the supreme power, and those who possess arms are the citizens.
Of the above-mentioned forms, the perversions are as follows: of royalty, tyranny; of aristocracy, oligarchy; of constitutional government, democracy. For tyranny is a kind of monarchy which has in view the interest of the monarch only; oligarchy has in view the interest of the wealthy; democracy, of the needy: none of them the common good of all.
15 The first governments were kingships, probably for this reason, because of old, when cities were small, men of eminent virtue were few. Further, they were made kings because they were benefactors, and benefits can only be bestowed by good men. But when many persons equal in merit arose, no longer enduring the pre-eminence of one, they desired to have a commonwealth, and set up a constitution. The ruling class soon deteriorated and enriched themselves out of the public treasury; riches became the path to honor, and so oligarchies naturally grew up. These passed into tyrannies and tyrannies into democracies; for love of gain in the ruling classes was always tending to diminish their number, and so to strengthen the masses, who in the end set upon their masters and established democracies. Since cities have increased in size, no other form of government appears to be any longer even easy to establish.
Taken from Eusebius -- Church History Book V, Chapter 1 -- written around A.D. 300
An example of the persecution of the Christians during the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius -- A.D. 177.
"The servants of Christ residing at Vienne and Lyons, in Gaul, to the brethren through out Asia and Phrygia, who hold the same faith and hope of redemption, peace and grace and glory from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord."
Then, having related some other matters they begin their account in this manner: "The greatness of the tribulation in this region, and the fury of the heathen against the saints, and the sufferings of the blessed witnesses we cannot recount accurately, nor indeed could they possibly be recorded. For with all his might the adversary fell upon us, giving us a foretaste of his unbridled activity at his future coming. He endeavored in every manner to practice and exercise his servants against the servants of God, not only shutting us out from houses and baths and markets, but forbidding any of us to be seen in any place whatever. But the grace of God led the conflict against him, and delivered the weak, and set them as firm pillars, able through patience to endure all the wrath of the Evil One. And they joined battle with him, undergoing all kinds of shame and injury; and regarding their great sufferings as little, they hastened to Christ, manifesting truly that 'the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us-ward.' First of all, they endured nobly the injuries heaped upon them by the populace; clamors and blows and draggings and robberies and stonings and imprisonments, and all things which an infuriated mob delight in inflicting on enemies and adversaries. Then, being taken to the forum by the chiliarch and the authorities of the city, they were examined in the presence of the whole multitude, and having confessed, they were imprisoned until the arrival of the governor.
Then all of us feared greatly on account of uncertainty as to their confession not because we dreaded the sufferings to be endured, but because we looked to the end, and were afraid that some of them might fall away. But those who were worthy were seized day by day, filling up their number, so that all the zealous persons, and those through whom especially our affairs had been established, were collected together out of the two churches. And some of our heathen servants also were seized, as the governor had commanded that all of us should be examined publicly. These, being ensnared by Satan, and fearing for themselves the tortures which they beheld the saints endure, and being also urged on by the soldiers, accused us falsely of Thyestean banquets and Oedipodean intercourse, and of deeds which are not only unlawful for us to speak of or to think, but which we cannot believe were ever done by men. When these accusations were reported, all the people raged like wild beasts against us, so that even if any had before been moderate on account of friendship, they were now exceedingly furious and gnashed their teeth against us. And that which was spoken by our Lord was fulfilled: ' The time will come when whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.' Then finally the holy witnesses endured sufferings beyond description, Satan striving earnestly that some of the slanders might be uttered by them also
"But the whole wrath of the populace, and governor, and soldiers was aroused exceedingly against Sanctus, the deacon from Vienne, and Maturus, a late convert, yet a noble combatant, and against Attalus, a native of Pergamos where he had always been a pillar and foundation, and Blandina, through whom Christ showed that things which appear mean and obscure and despicable to men are with God of great glory, through love toward him manifested in power, and not boasting in appearance. For while we all trembled, and her earthly mistress, who was herself also one of the witnesses, feared that on account of the weakness of her body, she would be unable to make bold confession, Blandina was filled with such power as to be delivered and raised above those who were torturing her by turns from morning till evening in every manner, so that they acknowledged that they were conquered, and could do nothing more to her. And they were astonished at her endurance, as her entire body was mangled and broken; and they testified that one of these forms of torture was sufficient to destroy life, not to speak of so many and so great sufferings. But the blessed woman, like a noble athlete, renewed her strength in her confession; and her comfort and recreation and relief from the pain of her sufferings was in exclaiming, ' I am a Christian, and there is nothing vile done by us.'
"But Sanctus also endured marvelously and superhumanly all the outrages which he suffered. While the wicked men hoped, by the continuance and severity of his tortures to wring something from him which he ought not to say, he girded himself against them with such firmness that he would not even tell his name, or the nation or city to which he belonged, or whether he was bond or free, but answered in the Roman tongue to all their questions, ' I am a Christian.' He confessed this instead of name and city and race and everything besides, and the people heard from him no other word. There arose therefore on the part of the governor and his tormentors a great desire to conquer him but having nothing more that they could do to him, they finally fastened red-hot brazen plates to the most tender parts of his body. And these indeed were burned, but he continued unbending and unyielding, firm in his confession, and refreshed and strengthened by the heavenly fountain of the water of life, flowing from the bowels of Christ. And his body was a witness of his sufferings, being one complete wound and bruise, drawn out of shape, and altogether unlike a human form. Christ, suffering in him, manifested his glory, delivering him from his adversary, and making him an example for the others, showing that nothing is fearful where the love of the Father is, and nothing painful where there is the glory of Christ. For when the wicked men tortured him a second time after some days, supposing that with his body swollen and inflamed to such a degree that he could not bear the touch of a hand, if they should again apply the same instruments, they would overcome him, or at least by his death under his sufferings others would be made afraid, not only did not this occur, but, contrary to all human expectation, his body arose and stood erect in the midst of the subsequent torments, and resumed its original appearance and the use of its limbs so that, through the grace of Christ, these second sufferings became to him, not torture, but healing.
"But the devil, thinking that he had already consumed Biblias, who was one of those who had denied Christ, desiring to increase her condemnation through the utterance of blasphemy, brought her again to the torture, to compel her, as already feeble and weak, to report impious things concerning us. But she recovered herself under the suffering, and as if awaking from a deep sleep, and reminded by the present anguish of the eternal punishment in hell, she contradicted the blasphemers. 'How,' she said, 'could those eat children who do not think it lawful to taste the blood even of irrational animals?' And thenceforward she confessed herself a Christian, and was given a place in the order of the witnesses.
"But as the tyrannical tortures were made by Christ of none effect through the patience of the blessed, the devil invented other contrivances, -- confinement in the dark and most loathsome parts of the prison, stretching of the feet to the fifth hole in the stocks, and the other outrages which his servants are accustomed to inflict upon the prisoners when furious and filled with the devil. A great many were suffocated in prison, being chosen by the Lord for this manner of death, that he might manifest in them his glory. For some, though they had been tortured so cruelly that it seemed impossible that they could live, even with the most careful nursing, yet, destitute of human attention, remained in the prison, being strengthened by the Lord, and invigorated both in body and soul; and they exhorted and encouraged the rest. But such as were young, and arrested recently, so that their bodies had not become accustomed to torture, were unable to endure the severity of their confinement, and died in prison.
"After certain other words they continue: "After these things, finally, their martyrdoms for plaiting a crown of various colors and of all kinds of flowers, they presented it to the Father. It was proper therefore that the noble athletes, having endured a manifold strife, and conquered grandly, should receive the crown, great and incorruptible. "Maturus, therefore, and Sanctus and Blandina and Attalus were led to the amphi-theater to be exposed to the wild beasts, and to give to the heathen public a spectacle of cruelty, a day for fighting with wild beasts being specially appointed on account of our people. Both Maturus and Sanctus passed again through every torment in the amphitheater, as if they had suffered nothing before, or rather, as if, having already conquered their antagonist in many contests, they were now striving for the crown itself. They endured again the customary running of the gauntlet and the violence of the wild beasts, and everything which the furious people called for or desired, and at last, the iron chair in which their bodies being roasted, tormented them with the fumes. And not with this did the persecutors cease, but were yet more mad against them, determined to overcome their patience. But even thus they did not hear a word from Sanctus except the confession which he had uttered from the beginning. These, then, after their life had continued for a long time through the great conflict, were at last sacrificed, having been made throughout that day a spectacle to the world, in place of the usual variety of combats.
"But Blandina was suspended on a stake, and exposed to be devoured by the wild beasts who should attack her. And because she appeared as if hanging on a cross, and because of her earnest prayers, she inspired the combatants with great zeal. For they looked on her in her conflict, and beheld with their outward eyes, in the form of their sister, him who was crucified for them, that he might persuade those who believe on him, that every one who suffers for the glory of Christ has fellowship always with the living God. As none of the wild beasts at that time touched her, she was taken down from the stake, and cast again into prison. She was preserved thus for another contest, that, being victorious in more conflicts, she might make the punishment of the crooked serpent irrevocable; and, though small and weak and despised, yet clothed with Christ the mighty and conquering Athlete, she might arouse the zeal of the brethren, and, having overcome the adversary many times might receive, through her conflict, the crown incorruptible.
While these were being examined, a certain Alexander, a Phrygian by birth, and physician by profession, who had resided in Gaul for many years, and was well known to all on account of his love to God and boldness of speech, standing before the judgment seat, and by signs encouraging them to confess, appeared to those standing by as if in travail. But the people being enraged because those who formerly denied now confessed, cried out against Alexander as if he were the cause of this. Then the governor summoned him and inquired who he was. And when he answered that he was a Christian, being very angry he condemned him to the wild beasts. And on the next day he entered along with Attalus. For to please the people, the governor had ordered Attalus again to the wild beasts. And they were tortured in the amphitheater with all the instruments contrived for that purpose, and having endured a very great conflict, were at last sacrificed. Alexander neither groaned nor murmured in any manner, but communed in his heart with God. But when Attalus was placed in the iron seat, and the fumes arose from his burning body, he said to the people in the Roman language: 'Lo! this which ye do is devouring men; but we do not devour men; nor do any other wicked thing.' And being asked, what name God has, he replied, ' God has not a name as man has.'
"After all these, on the last day of the contests, Blandina was again brought in, with Ponticus, a boy about fifteen years old. They had been brought every day to witness the sufferings of the others, and had been pressed to swear by the idols. But because they remained steadfast and despised them, the multitude became furious, so that they had no compassion for the youth of the boy nor respect for the sex of the woman. Therefore they exposed them to all the terrible sufferings and took them through the entire round of torture, repeatedly urging them to swear, but being unable to effect this; for Ponticus, encouraged by his sister so that even the heathen could see that she was confirming and strengthening him, having nobly endured every torture, gave up the ghost.
But the blessed Blandina, last of all, having, as a noble mother, encouraged her children and sent them before her victorious to the King, endured herself all their conflicts and hastened after them, glad and rejoicing in her departure as if called to a marriage supper, rather than east to wild beasts. And, after the scourging, after the wild beasts, after the roasting seat, she was finally enclosed in a net, and thrown before a bull. And having been tossed about by the animal, but feeling none of the things which were happening to her, on account of her hope and firm hold upon what had been entrusted to her, and her communion with Christ, she also was sacrificed. And the heathen themselves confessed that never among them had a woman endured so many and such terrible tortures.
"But not even thus was their madness and cruelty toward the saints satisfied. For incited by the Wild Beast, wild and barbarous tribes were not easily appeased, and their violence found another peculiar opportunity in the dead bodies For, through their lack of manly reason, the fact that they had been conquered did not put them to shame, but rather the more enkindled their wrath as that of a wild beast, and aroused alike the hatred of governor and people to treat us unjustly; that the Scripture might be fulfilled: ' He that is lawless, let him be lawless still, and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still.' For they cast to the dogs those who had died of suffocation in the prison, carefully guarding them by night and day, lest any one should be buried by us. And they exposed the remains left by the wild beasts and by fire, mangled and charred, and placed the heads of the others by their bodies, and guarded them in like manner from burial by a watch of soldiers for many days. And some raged and gnashed their teeth against them, desiring to execute more severe vengeance upon them; but others laughed and mocked at them, magnifying their own idols, and imputed to them the punishment of the Christians. Even the more reasonable, and those who had seemed to sympathize somewhat, reproached them often, saying, ' Where is their God, and what has their religion, which they have chosen rather than life, profited them ?' So various was their conduct toward us; but we were in deep affliction because we could not bury the bodies. For neither did night avail us for this purpose, nor did money persuade, nor entreaty move to compassion; but they kept watch in every way, as if the prevention of the burial would be of some great advantage to them."