by Harvey & Laurie Bluedorn. Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Date: Wed, 10 Apr 2002
Once again, thank you for being so gracious in allowing me to ask you so many questions this past weekend in Indiana. Now that I have been home, I have contacted HSLDA and several homeschool moms in the area regarding how to get around documenting our progress for the year in Pennsylvania. I have not been to successful in finding a way to get around documenting my son's progress without the mindset of formal textbooks for spelling and math. The more I try, the more irritated I get at the state of Pennsylvania dictating to me how I should teach me son. At any rate, you encouraged me to send you an email regarding my circumstance so you could put it out there for other homeschool parents in the state of Pennsylvania.
The question is this: How can I implement your approach to children under the age of 10 in the state of Pennsylvania without doing formal textbooks. I have a son who will turn 8 this August and I have to by law provide a portfolio to them (an evaluator) at the end of the school year showing his progress. I have spoken to an evaluator regarding this subject, especially math, and I keep getting the answer they have to have pages of work documenting his progress!
I would appreciate any help in this area as I have exhausted my resources including HSLDA. They basically said the same thing. Again, thanks for all your help. I know God was paving my way before we even talked last weekend. I think I have been so conditioned through the years (all my high school and college years) of having to do it a certain way. I wasn't able to think out of the box. The thing that stuck in my mind the most is when you asked me how old my son is. When I told you seven, you sighed and said "He is just a baby." You are right, he is just a baby and we need to lay the foundation. He and my daughter have so enjoyed the new approach the last few days. I broke open the books and just read to them. You can see and feel the relief in them. Thank you and God Bless you for your efforts and your boldness to speak the truth.
Date: Thu, 11 Apr 2002
From: Steve and Kathy Craig
Subject: Re: spelling bees
Replying to the question about the national spelling bee. To qualify for the national spelling bee, a child in the 5th through 8th grade must first win their county spelling bee. Then they will be sent to state. If they win the state spelling bee then they will be sent to the national spelling bee. At least that is how it is here in Montana. You could contact your county superintendent of schools to find out when and where the county spelling bee is. It is probably too late however for this year. Our county spelling bee was in February and the state bee was in early April. Our county allows two (or maybe it's 3, I can't remember) spellers from each grade from each school and 1 speller from each grade from each homeschool. Then 1 winner and 1 alternate from each county go to state. You can go to spellingbee.com for more information. Scripps Howard is the sponsor of the spelling bees and they publish study materials. The most important and cheapest is the Scripps Howard Spelling Paideia, a small booklet with words from about 30 categories for study. A local newspaper should be able to sell you one for $1.50. There is a new paideia every year.
Date: Thu, 11 Apr 2002
From: (Sheri Ryken)
message: This past "school year" I have taken a partial dive into following the Trivium. We worked on memorization, copywork, dictation and for the coming "year" I would like to take the full plunge. Reading your book has been extremely helpful but I have a question about reading. My son (9yo) and daughter (7yo) both enjoy reading. Should I assign them books to read with them having to read certain amount of pages each day or should I let them read as much as they want as long as they are reading everyday? Also should I still have them read out loud each day - maybe by helping me read during the 2hours? Sometimes I feel as though teaching by the Trivium should be easier than the way things go in our house. After 3 years of homeschooling I feel I'm still too involved in the school mentality. Does anyone else ever feel like this? How can I overcome this? Finding this website and reading the book has been such a blessing and I look forward to hearing you speak at the IL convention in Naperville.
Since they enjoy reading I doubt you need to assign a certain amount. Encourage them to read a variety of good fiction and nonfiction. Reading aloud seems to be a valuable use of their time since it develops skills they will need in speech and debate. Laurie
From: "Lyn Carradine"
Date: Thu, 11 Apr 2002
Marianne wrote that her 10 year old son is working alone in his room free of distractions but that he still makes many mistakes. I can't imagine any 10yo, especially a boy, who could work alone in a bedroom without being quite distracted. Even when sitting still, which can be difficult for some, the mind will wander. Children this age need to be with their teacher either at the table or wherever comfortable. Our older son continued to need Mom in the room all the way through high school. He did the work himself, but my presence kept him more attentive to his work. If left alone, assignments always took at least twice as long to complete. Our current 10yo is a girl who loves to do most of her school work, but even she works best if I'm in the room. Papers done alone are often filled with doodles, spelling errors, or other problems. Having Mom there fixes all of that even if I'm busy with the other kids. Lyn
Date: Thu, 11 Apr 2002
From: Larry Foster
This is in reply to Vanessa in Georgia.
Vanessa--You have come to the right place. When I read your post I could almost hear you. The heart-wrenching pain of uncertainty. And wanting to do everything right. Most of us have been there at one time or another. First of all, trust God to lead and support you. He knows what you need even before you need it. He had me gathering Saxon books for a quarter at yard sales two years before I knew I was to homeschool my children. Then I flopped all over the place wanting to get the perfect this and the perfect that as far as curriculum. I too thought I needed canned. You can use Sonlight if you like, I really don't know anything about them. But I don't think you 'need' them. Especially if money is a consideration. Harvey and Laurie have an article entitled 10 Things to Do with Your Child Before Age 10. I don't know how many different curricula I purchased before I finally figured out that that article was really all I needed. And it sounds from what you say like you have their book. Judging from the ages of your children, the article is all you need. The fact that you have the book is a bonus! It's for you. Do the things they say in their article and you'll be fine. And one more thing, what other people say or think about your homeschooling program is really inconsequential. God gave those precious babies to your husband and you to raise and teach. When you stand before God for an accounting, now that's going to matter! No one else is going to be there. You will not fail--You love your children. If you can read and you love them, you can teach them. You can do it. But remember what I said at first, trust God, because without Him, you probably can't do much! Praise God!
Date: Sat, 13 Apr 2002
Subject: Re: Handwriting (cursive/spencerian) for a 9 year old boy
To Bluedorns and all list mates,
I am wondering what you would suggest for a good cursive method for a 9 year old boy who really likes handwriting and wants to learn the fancy spencerian type of cursive -- in other words, very beautiful script. (He signed his name under the signers of the Declaration of Independence and has a copy on his bedroom wall!) Complicating matters is that I understand that for tests and other similar things, note taking, etc., children need to be able to write effortlessly and speedily, as well as legibly; in other words, dipping a nib into ink every few words, or paying careful attention to all the flourishes would certainly slow down an adult let alone a 9 year old -- not just for testing, but just also in terms of keeping up with his own thinking while writing independently. I would just assume that Spencerian type hands are slow going!
However, it is clear to me that he would have much less interest in learning a plain, "watered down" style (or even Italic style), such as D'Nealian, for example (if I'm correct that D'Nealian is the simplified version of cursive), and even also Zaner-Bloser (I read that the updated version has a simplified version of cursive), or even Handwriting without Tears. He just wants to learn the old-fashioned way (his dad has a beautiful hand and he learned in public school many, many, years ago, before the modern innovations! Unfortunately, he does not recall the method used to teach him.)
While I suspect that Spencerian may be a stretch (although not something to discourage once a basic but also beautiful cursive hand is mastered), perhaps there is a type of cursive, perhaps old-fashioned, that has a similar sort of beauty while remaining within the reach of a young boy? My question is simply whether there a cursive hand that you could recommend for both beauty and speed as well as ease of execution for a 9 year old boy? And if Spencerian would be not so difficult as I imagine, what method would you recommend, exactly, for teaching it (the basic style of it, not necessarily all the flourishes at first).
I have noticed that he loves to practice his Greek alphabet handwriting and his execution of Greek letters is beautiful and effortless, so I know he will put his heart into whichever style, and I do not want to disappoint him with ball and stick. I just do not know the styles to choose from? Is Palmer the standard? Or are there other models, that are from longer ago (weren't the newer styles, D'Nealian and Zaner Bloser were introduced in the '70s from what I understand)?
Here is a link that has excellent articles by Jan Olsen on handwriting, but it didn't have the answer to my question, but I wanted to share and provide the link for those who may have an interest in this topic and the studies. HandRIGHTing Ink - Handrighting without Tears Jan Olsen teaching handwriting.
About the Greek, I wanted to mention that when he encountered difficulty in copying a letter, I took the pen and he watched while I wrote the letter out a few times, then he tried, then I wrote it out again a couple of times (describing as I wrote where the line began and where it ended), describing how his first attempt differed and drawing his attention to that part, then he tried again. It only took three of those "writing call and responses" for him to learn the way to form the letters, and it STUCK!!!! He had no resistance at all to writing it the correct way after watching me do it, nor to being corrected in this manner! It seemed as if he enjoyed the "rhythm" of the formation of the Greek letters (as I "narrated" the shape while I wrote). Moreover, the writing of the letters helped him to remember them better, whereas just reading them did not stick as well. Just wanted to share this discovery of mine, although it might be actually be a standard practice that I stumbled upon. Jan Olsen writes in one of her articles about the fundamental importance of imitation of the teacher by the student as being the first step, then followed by copying/copywork and then independent writing (upon dictation or one's own thought):
"The benefit of teacher demonstrations cannot be overstated. Research shows that children can imitate writing a symbol (after watching someone write it first) SIX MONTHS before they can copy one (looking at a picture of a symbol and duplicating it)."
This appeared to confirm my experience with my son learning to write the Greek characters. But she also speaks of the teacher as being a coach, needing to closely observe how the children form the letters and offering help as needed.
Any feedback to this "cursive quandary" of mine would be well appreciated!! Thank you all in advance. In Christ, Judith C.
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 2002
From: Scott/Carol Bertilson
I wanted to thank you for your latest advice. I did what you said and had Regina spend an hour a day on math. At first I set aside time to be with her while she worked on it, but very soon it was apparent that she needed me less and less, and I started to plan other things to do at the same time, while still being available if she had questions. She has steadily gotten better at her math by doing it daily and consistently.
Scott's idea of requiring her to get all her studies done each day in order to get to have the privilege of going to choir and other outings has worked marvelously. She has changed from a girl who could while away the hours accomplishing nothing to one that has consistently done her studies every day without fail. I have not had to remind her, and she amazed me by finishing her math book earlier than my ideal schedule! We just had a party for her tonight to celebrate her accomplishment.
I did have to have a talk or two with her about how her unhelpfulness has hindered our household. She still has a weakness to overcome in that she avoids many types of housework, such as doing dishes and cleaning up her messes. She loves to do anything involving making messes, though!! I really could use some ideas as to how to work with her on this area.
I have a question regarding Building Thinking Skills, book 2. Both Regina and Gabriel have trouble coming up with answers for the verbal part, and often don't get it right, and I'm wondering what to do. All I can think to do is to tell them the right answer. But what is the point of that? How did you correct their work, and what did you do when their answers weren't adequate? How much should I expect? Sometimes it's just a case of lack of knowledge. But by telling them the content, I'm virtually telling them the answers.
How is the cooking and kitchen cleanup divided up in your household? Carol
Building Thinking Skills Book 2 is for an average 10 year old, in my opinion, although the publisher says it's for grades 4-7. The verbal parts of the BTS series are always more difficult than the figural parts. If you are having to give them the answers to more than half of the verbal parts, then perhaps it is too difficult for them. You could go through the book doing just the figural parts and later do the verbal parts.
One thing I might mention that could help you is that when sometimes there was an overwhelming amount of things to do around the house, I would tell everyone to pick up and put away 10 things. After everyone accomplished that and there was more to do, then everyone took care of another 10 things. And we continued with that until I was satisfied that everything was done. Picking up 10 things at a time is much more manageable to a young child than to tell them to "clean the living room." Laurie
Date: Sun, 21 Apr 2002
From: goodjunk@....... (janice)
message: I think your website is absolutely insane. These are no longer the days of little house on the prairie. Women are no longer servants to men. I think you deserve a visit from the switch yourself.
From: "Vanessa Strohmeyer"
Date: Thu, 25 Apr 2002
Dear Mr. & Mrs. Bluedorn:
Your book and website have been a breath of fresh air! Combining the trivium with Vision Forum was exactly what we needed!! Thank you so much. My question is concerning what to do this fall with our 5 1/5 year old. We began phonics this year with Phonics Museum from Veritas Press which I was pleased to discover completely covered your suggestion for what a phonics program should be! I've only recently read your book, and like the idea of not "formally" educating at this early stage but concentrating on obedience (which we do about every 5 minutes!!), memory work, narration, etc. but I feel I need something structured for ME to follow and was wondering what suggestions you may have. Since we have 3 children at this point, and by God's grace we'll have more, I would like to have some sort of general guideline or goals for each individual year (realizing of course that each child is different and will excel in different subjects). Any suggestions or recommendation you have would be greatly appreciated! Trusting in Jesus, Vanessa Strohmeyer
If you are looking for something more structured, I suggest Five In a Row or one of the other unit studies curricula such as Konos.
Date: Fri, 26 Apr 2002
From: Samantha L Blythe
I have a friend here and we would like to ask a question about her situation.
She has a son who is 13 years old, and for most of his childhood they have been "radical unschoolers" and he has not yet mastered some of the more basic skills of reading and writing. They have since left the unschooling philosophy behind and are trying to catch him up. Since he is 13 and beginning to think in a more "logic stage" way, how can they encourage his natural tendencies at this age, while attempting to make up for lost time in the basic academic areas?
In order to help him catch up, but yet not overwhelm him this first year, I suggest that he do some reading every day (good literature -- plus Mom and Dad should be reading aloud to him 2 hours a day), some writing every day (use a curriculum if necessary -- he may need to start at the copywork level), start a math textbook (use a placement test to find out where he is), and you might also want to start him on an easy logic curriculum such as our new book The Fallacy Detective. I would also suggest that he do all the things on our 10 Things to Do Before Age 10 list.
Taking Pop-culture for Jesus
By Stephen Johnson
For several years, I played in a praise band. At a previous post I held, we had a knock-down, drag-out, rock & roll revel at 8:30 every Sunday morning. We were good too. All the musicians had some talent. You know, I think some of you here would be surprised at how I can tear up a piano keyboard.
One of things that used to amuse us in rehearsals was when we were able to connect praise and worship choruses up to secular counter parts. It was not difficult to do. You know "Shine Jesus Shine" is really Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline." We used to use an introduction to that song which was a direct quote from Pat Benetar's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot." The chorus "All Honor" is really Kenny Rodgers, "Lady." "You are my All in All" is like the Bette Midler tune "From a Distance." And the list can go on.
Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) always defines itself in terms of the pop culture. The pop culture sets the trend and the CCM artists follow along. Almost every Christian group has a secular counterpart. Recently, I was listening to a CCM station in my area and I could swear I was hearing Alanis Morissette singing about how she loves Jesus. Well, it was not she of course, but boy was the likeness uncanny. She had that little girl, breathy quality and the contrasting gutteral abrasive quality; I mean it was all there. She made her voice sort of squeak at the end of phrases just like Alanis does. By the way she sang about him, you would have thought that she and Jesus were romantically involved.
CCM is the secular culture gone to church. We Christians have compromised with the world on this one. I have heard the claims that CCM is going to "take rock and roll for Jesus," but just the opposite has happened. Not only have we adopted the stylistic approaches of the secular popular culture, we have mirrored it almost to the point of being cheap replications. Replications because we have copied; cheap because it has already been done by more innovative and often more talented musicians than CCM has to offer. Furthermore, what message is it that CCM claims is "taking rock and roll for Jesus?" Unfortunately, our theological categories have been eroded away by our lust for the pop culture. When I listen to CCM I hear hardly any Gospel, and what little I do hear is only a passing reference. There is nothing in CCM about original sin. There is nothing about the atonement. There is nothing about confession, absolution, the sacraments, justification, bearing one's cross or the character of God. Now when I say nothing, there are exceptions. But they are very few and far between. And if a song references any of these things it is likely done with inadequate understanding.
CCM does not teach as Colossians 3:16 says we are to do with our music. CCM does not preach in the sense of revealing God's Word and Christ to our souls. CCM in no way functions as the Word of Christ dwelling in us richly. Oh, CCM does dwell in us. Very easily so. The melodies are trite and the chord and rhythmic structure simplistic beyond description. The words, vapid of significant truth, focus on the immediately accessible. If fast food is unhealthy as a steady diet, CCM is the McDonalds of church worship. It may taste good and may be quick and easy, but it has very little spiritual nutrition. It is popular because it is so much like the world. Besides, the themes tell us things we want to hear. CCM tells us that God understands our weakness and is our therapy to get over it. It tells us that we can contribute to our salvation and sanctification. It promises self-improvement and that Jesus will help us. It give us an outlet to "express ourselves" to Jesus. But it does not help us understand scripture, nor does it teach us the deep and important truths of our God, or our faith and salvation. It is a diet that erodes our theological sensibilities and makes us fat with an easy unchallenging Christianity that is foreign to the scriptures.
I would almost rather that young people buy CDs and listen to groups from the popular culture instead of CCM. Because the pop-culture tells us who they are. If they are sadists you know it up front and you can listen as an informed consumer. If the song is about wanton sex, at least they are saying so outright. Our sons and daughters, taught right and wrong in the home, can learn that secular values are wrong, even if they do like certain secular groups. CCM claims to be doing something it is not. It claims to be giving people Christ and it is not. Young people who listen to the therapeutic, moralistic and theologically errant messages present in CCM are apt to adopt a different gospel than the Biblical one. They are apt to be grossly misinformed about themselves and their sin condition as well as their God, and their salvation. Appreciating the styles of certain secular pop-culture musical entities might be far less of a concern than the spiritual damage CCM can cause.
When Christ comes again to judge the living and the dead, nothing will burn up faster than late 20th century popular culture. Yet, many churches lust after it, evidenced by their anxiousness to bring it into their worship services. They say they are trying to convert the culture. But it cannot be converted in this way and time has shown that efforts to do so can actually hurt us. The American church is about as anti-theological and carnal as it can be. Yet, CCM still claims to be conquering secular music in the name of Christ. When are the blinders going to come off?
Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2002
From: Marianne and Gerald Vanderkolk
Subject: Difficulty in copying
I am writing for your help and suggestions. My second child, Reuben is ten years old and has enormous difficulty copying. He has done it for a number of years now. He has copied poetry, narratives, and Bible passages. However in about 30 words, he usually will get 8- 10 wrong. He says he tries to concentrate but his mind wanders. He is writing in his own room, free from as many distractions as possible and every 25 -30 minutes he changes task. I tried to say,"As long as you have concentrated in that 30 minutes, we will move on and not go back on your work" -requiring good effort. However, now I find that in that time only 3 sentences are written or a few maths problems done. It isn't that he hates to hold his pencil and I think that he is trying, but his mind still wanders. I want desperately to help him to become more independent since I have 5 others to also work with. Yet I am running out of ideas. I have never looked into whether he was ADD. I would prefer to work out a solution with his effort...I don't know. His eyesight is fine. Thanks for your time and comments, Marianne in Sydney
Our two boys at age ten were like this also. At this age I suggest that you sit with him on the couch or kitchen table as he does his copywork, math, grammar, and other intensive seatwork. He needs help in keeping his mind on the task. What you describe, I believe, is perfectly normal behavior for a ten year old, but he needs training in how to pay attention to his work. That training will last, perhaps, till he is twelve. Laurie
Date: Sat, 27 Apr 2002
From: (Deborah Gammack)
message: I had the pleasure of first meeting Laurie several (perhaps many) years ago at a Saturday meeting for homeschool moms hosted in the home of the Egland family, in West Liberty, IA. Our paths have then continued to cross at various homeschool events.
This could get quite long, so I'm going to try very hard to stay on point, so the short of it is that having discovered your web site and having spent the last week reading everything there, I realize that I have finally 'grown' into your philosophies. I especially appreciated the distinction you make between Classical education and Christian Classical education; knowledge, understanding, and wisdom hit an instant chord with me. (In light of the question I am going to put to you it may be helpful for you to know that we have been homeschooling nine years a 14 yod and an 11 yos)
My question digresses from the homeschool arena but deals with the trivium. If we agree that the trivium is a logical method of learning for children, would you think that a 'baby' Christian, although adult, would benefit from this same learning method? I came to know the Lord as an adult and have struggled for close to twenty years to understand so many Biblical principles; especially the foundational principles regarding the promises of a Loving Heavenly Father. While I understand the 'ought' and 'ought not' rules, I continually stumble over the principles governed by mercy, love, and grace because those were not necessarily part of my childhood experiences and I have no model for them. This I have known for a long time, with no solution. Until today, while talking with my son, who was explaining a Sunday School activity. There are two adults in his class - one actually teaching and the other, observing because he is a 'baby' Christian. My son explained that this man was doing the activities right along with the children and that's when it occurred to me: when an adult comes to know the Lord they are plugged into adult SS classes taught by and for mature adult Christians and these poor 'babes' are befuddled by what they hear because they have not the proper foundation to put these ideas on, compared to most mature Christians who grew up from childhood hearing the Bible stories as well as being taught about the love of a Heavenly Father, probably by Christian parents who were able to a greater or lesser degree to model this for the children. Do you think there is any merit in beginning the growth of a 'baby' Christian at the same point we begin with our small children? Of course, they would arrive more quickly at the understanding point, but could you perhaps give me your thoughts on how long you think it might take an adult to go through the process of the trivium?
I so appreciate the clarity with which you approach these ideas that when the question came to mind I thought of you instantly. There are so many new adult Christians around me and while I realize they are not ready to understand all that I have learned, I am at a loss to know how to get them on the right track, and existing SS classes just don't work in most cases, because like me, they're trying to apply Biblical principles to their worldly viewpoint which lacks models of mercy, love, and grace. I would appreciate any thoughts you might have regarding this issue and look forward to hearing back from you.
The Trivium applies as a model and method for learning -- at all ages. The opposite of the Trivium is Outcome Based Education -- or, in this case, Outcome Based Religion. Even adults who have been thoroughly educated in "religion" -- and afterward are converted -- need to go back to the basics and rebuild their understanding on the solid foundation of true regenerate faith. Outcome Based Religion produces a shallow Christianity. Harvey
Date: Mon, 29 Apr 2002
From: (Cindy Corcoran)
message: I have searched the internet for a copy of the book "Letters on the Education of Children" by John Witherspoon, but have had no success. Do you have any recommendations as to the best way to find this book? Also, I would like to begin having my children memorize passages in Latin. How do I go about finding passages (with English translation provided) to use to this end. I'm afraid that I find the whole process overwhelming. Looking forward to your response. Sincerely, Cindy Corcoran
Letters on the Education of Children can be purchased from MacArthur Institute (309-796-1485). An interlinear Latin Bible would be useful to you. It will have the Latin text along with the English translation. Does anyone know where we can find these Bibles? Laurie
Date: Tue, 30 Apr 2002
Subject: Documenting homeschooling in Pennsylvania
I live in PA and have 5 children; 14 yo, 12 yo, 9 yo, 7 yo and 5 yo. We are classical homeschoolers. I have complied with the PA law for years now. First, relax. ;-)
Now let's talk about the law. According to the law, you are required to keep a log; defined as "made contemporaneously with the instruction, which designates by title the reading materials used," and a portfolio, which consists of "samples of any writings, worksheets, workbooks or creative materials used or developed by the student." The law does not dictate what type of curriculum home educators must use. The law does not say that you even have to put a sample from each "subject" into your portfolio. Please read the law for yourself and do not take a friends' word or even your evaluator's word on what it says. I have read a half a dozen "Guides to the PA Homeschool Law" that the authors have put their own interpretations or standards into the guide books, causing much confusion, stress and over-compliance in PA.
Your evaluator looks over the log and portfolio to see if appropriate education has taken place. Appropriate education is defined as, "A program consisting of instruction in the required subjects for the time required in this act and in which the student demonstrates sustained progress in the overall program." (Please note the key words "overall progress".) If you don't use a book for math, tell your evaluator what "creative materials" you do use. You may wish to include a page in your portfolio as explanation of the games, projects, etc., that you use to teach math. This may sound harsh, but if this does not suit your evaluator, then find a different evaluator. A good evaluator does not dictate a learning style or documentation style for your home education program. They are to encourage you, not police you to some public school institutional standards or methodologies.
As an additional note, we are in the process of trying to update the PA Home Education law. HB2560 has been introduced, and if passed, will reduce the amount of burdensome regulations on homeschoolers and increase their freedoms. God Bless, Maryalice Newborn
From: "Julie Larson"
Subject: Help- just beginning this approach
Date: Wed, 1 May 2002
Dear Harvey and Laurie,
I ordered your book from Elijah and am anxiously awaiting its arrival. I am so excited! This is our 2nd year of home schooling and for both years have used ABeka. We didn't know any better when we started. When I see a pattern of my girls crying (ages 6 and 9, who are not characteristically cry-ers), because they are under so much pressure to perform and measure up to a certain standard, and because they are only done with 1 worksheet and they have 4 more to go, I knew something had to change. I was not enjoying it at all either and would also often find myself crying. And everybody knows if Mom's not happy, it is very difficult for everyone else to be happy. My daughters are very book-smart, but I have come to see that that's not what matters most, especially at this tender age. I want to instill a love of learning and a love of reading in them that I never had growing up. I absolutely hated reading as a child and never completed a book from front to back until I was an adult. Reading was never modeled in my house and my parents never read to me and my siblings when we were growing up. I didn't know the importance of reading until after I had children of my own.
I have been doing a lot of research and looking into different approaches of home schooling. My husband and I went to a Carole Joy Seid seminar and my eyes were opened. I feel a gentle tugging or a pull from the Lord in this direction. Reading! Reading! Reading! I really believe this is the direction we should pursue. We have quit doing our entire ABeka curriculum and have just been reading. We have been reading the Little House books aloud and are on the third one. The girls love them. We continue to have our Bible/ devotion time in the morning, but we've put everything else on the back burner for now until I see their minds and hearts are no longer numb and their love of learning is revitalized.
We have a garden and enjoy the outdoors very much. The garden has been a wonderful teaching tool over the years for us and our children. There are so many biblical principles that go along with that. The sowing and reaping, the weeding so as not to choke out the good seed that has been planted, the watering, and being patient while waiting for your harvest to come in, and many other wonderful things that are rooted in the Word.
Maybe this is the "classroom" teacher in me creeping in, but what do I do about math, spelling, writing, etc.? I have a phonics program that I have used for both of my daughters already. Am I done with phonics since they both can read, or do I continue doing something with my 6 year old? My husband won't completely agree to this approach unless we have a "structured day" (with the three R's included). I know we can have a structured day without buying a prepackaged curriculum, but I don't know how to do it. My husband would say I'm more creative than I give myself credit for, but how creative do I need to be in putting together and planning a structured day? What do I include in it? What do I wait on until later?
Any advice or help you could give me would be extremely appreciated. Thank you so much for your service unto the Lord and everything you do to help fellow home schoolers to prosper in what we do.
I suggest following our list of "10 Things to Do Before Age 10." You can download that article from our web page. Also, in our book is a suggested daily schedule. For those who wish to have more structure than our "10 Things" list, we recommend the Five In a Row or Konos curricula.
You asked whether you should continue to teach intensive phonics to a child who is a good reader. That's a very hotly debated question, but I tend to be on the side of those who say you can drop phonics once the child reads well. A formal spelling course will pick up where phonics left off. Laurie
From: "Maria Lugar"
Subject: Question about Mathematics
Date: Sun, 5 May 2002
Hello Harvey and Laurie,
I just wanted to let you know that your book has been a blessing to me. I know the Lord lead me. The things that I have read in your book about the practical aspects of the Trivium learning method has been encouraging. It has confirmed and given more explanation on what the Lord has been leading me to do.
I have been doing a lot of research and I am now finding a workable plan. My question about math would be, I have seen information on the Ray's Arithmetic as a classic way of teaching math. I have tried to find out information about it. I have read just the captions that are advertised, but I want to know if anyone has practical experience with it. I would like to know if you have heard of this product, or if anyone on the email loop has. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Maria Lugar
Ray's Arithmetic is a very old math textbook which has been reprinted. I've never used it, although I once had a copy of one of the old ones. I'm sure it would be fine for you to use. Ray's Arithmetic is not any more "classical" than the other math curricula. Perhaps someone on this loop can give us more specifics. Laurie
Date: Mon, 13 May 2002
Subject: Muffled pronunciation
From: "Elton D. Kearney"
I have an 8 year-old boy who reads well, but is muffled in his speech. How can I teach him to speak clearly? It turns out he also does this when talking, but I am most aware of it when he reads to me. I am grateful to anyone who can give me ideas on this. M'Lynn Kearney
Perhaps you can start practicing oral interpretation and schedule "performance nights" once a week for the whole family. In the index of our book Teaching the Trivium and on our web page we list numerous books that can get you started in oral interpretation. Oral interpretation will help children with articulation, inflection, proper breathing, quality of voice, and loudness. Laurie
From: "Kendra Fletcher"
Subject: More chore help for Carol
Date: Sun, 26 May 2002
This might be off-topic for this particular loop, but as the question was posed regarding chores for young children, I though I'd mention the method that has been most helpful to us.
Our children are young: 9, 7, 4, 3, and 1. We have found the quickest and most thorough method to be what we call a "room by room". We (all of us) start in the master bedroom and proceed to pick up and clean each room together. In this way, I do not lose any would-be stragglers (the 4-year-old), can keep an eye on the wigglers (3 and 1-year-olds), and can train the workers (9 and 7-year-olds). We can complete our 1700 square foot home in around an hour's time, especially if we're not doing any specialized or deep cleaning. This system has become my sanity, as I am one of those moms who find it difficult to teach anything amidst a messy home. Hope this is helpful, Kendra Fletcher
Date: Mon, 27 May 2002
From: Wendi C
Subject: Re: speech therapy; clean up ideas
To the lady with a child with some articulation difficulties:
Straight Talk, available from NATHAN, is an excellent program for parents to help their children overcome articulation problems. I highly recommend it (We have had two with articulation problems, and one who is totally nonverbal).
If you do decide to pursue speech therapy, one thing that helped us was to screen our speech therapists on the phone before we ever went in. In our case we had a totally nonverbal child (she is profoundly retarded), and often precious time would be wasted discussing public school. So we learned to _always_ explain up front, before we ever had an appointment, "We are homeschooling, and public school is not an option. It has been our experience that a few therapists are not comfortable with that position. We know how busy you are, and we want to be respectful of your time, so if this would be a problem for you, it would be a more productive use of both our time if we went elsewhere." This worked great. Once or twice somebody said we'd be better served elsewhere. Otherwise, we made it clear up front that we were firm about what we were doing, and the subject wasn't ever an issue.
Another suggestion if you go the therapist route: You can see a therapist as a therapist, the usual route, which involves frequent visits, more time, more money, and more involvement.
Or you can request to see the therapist on a consultation basis. This means fewer visits (the number will be up to you and your therapist, but it might be three or four times a year). At those visits, the therapist will see how the child is doing and what she is doing exactly to cause speech difficulties. Then the therapist will tell _you_ the therapy exercises and you do the therapy at home. You check back in periodically to note progress. One added benefit of this method is that the best therapists are almost always booked- but they will often squeeze in a parent wanting consultation services because this tells them you are motivated, and they love to work with motivated parents, knowing they will produce the most success.
Clean-up tip: I got this idea from another list, but I can't remember for sure where or from whom. It has been wonderful for us. In addition to regular cleaning chores, we have clutter patrols through out the day. I set the timer for five minutes, scream "Clutter Patrol!" at the top of my lungs, and everybody scrambles to pick up for five minutes. On bad days, we have one every half hour. Wendi, mom to seven lovely blessings from 3 to 19
Date: Fri, 31 May 2002
message: Actually, I wanted to comment on something. When I saw Sylvan commercials and visited their website, a great idea came to my mind, which may or may not be true, and it made me think of your ideology about OBE vs. the Trivium. Isn't it amazing how illiterate people are? It seems the schools, however, move on people regardless of mastery in specific subjects. This is not how things should be. I believe if people don't have mastery in a part of a certain subject, they shouldn't move them on. They put people in grades and in different levels of a subject, assuming they have the same body of knowledge. This is not true. The building blocks should be strengthened before they move on. This would probably require more teachers and maybe even getting rid of the grading system. Who needs the grading system if one has mastered a body of knowledge? It should be about mastery, not competition. One should not move on to multiplication and division without mastering addition and subtraction. I do not have your Greek books and I'm beginning to learn Greek, but it is foolish to assume one can just move a class on without learning the Greek alphabet sufficiently. Or in my case of learning Latin, I was pushed on with the rest of the class with just the basic understanding of how to translate the words, not why they were like that. And when I didn't understand an earlier concept, I had to ask. I'm not sure if what I'm trying to say is clear here, but even though I'm in school, I can see where homeschool or self-teaching is better then public school because any wise person would strengthen his blocks before moving on to new material in a subject. The public school just pushes people on, regardless of whether or not they mastered a concept, as long as they have some understanding of how it works and then perhaps they wonder why some students fail out or why they are still behind trying to learn those concepts. I'm approaching my last year of high school, but more then anything, I want to home school. And if I don't get that chance, at least I will teach myself something, like Greek, to make a career out of.
Date: Mon, 3 Jun 2002
Subject: Independent Learners
From: Eugene B Sedy
Okay, as a mom of 7 children aged 3-13, I've been finding that the more I can get the children working independently on their school work, the saner I feel. I especially need to have my two 7th graders and my 4th grader working independently as much as possible so I can concentrate my time on my developing readers. I'd appreciate suggestions! I'd especially like suggestions regarding an English grammar program that could be considered self-instructional. Rainbow Resource Center describes both "A Journey through Grammar Land" for grades 5-7, and "Jensen's Grammar" for grades 7-12 as being self-instructional. If anyone has used these programs, I'd appreciate knowing what you think of them. Does anyone know of any other programs that work well for self-instruction? I think sentence diagramming is important, so I prefer using a course of study that includes this. Currently I am using Abeka's "God's Gift of Language" for the 7th graders. I have no beefs about this program, except that it's not really self-instructional.
Also, does anyone have any suggestions for a self-instructional spelling program?
I really got going on this self-instructional mode when the 7th graders began using the Artes Latinae CD-ROM with great success. They love the independence, and have enjoyed the confidence booster of being able to teach themselves. I think both English grammar instruction and spelling instruction would lend itself well to the programmed incremental approach that the Artes Latinae program uses. So far, I've not found any such programs available--anyone out there with some computer programming experience, perhaps there's an opportunity to develop and market something!
Here are some of the things we're already doing to encourage self-instruction.
I have printed assignment sheets for the children with the days of the week going across the top, and school subjects going down the side. With the name of the school subject, I've also indicated how much material should be covered, and an approximate time that the assignment should take. As the children complete each subject, they are to write in the appropriate block what pages were covered, and a blurb about the subject matter. I don't want to nag them to do their work, so we've implemented a system of rewards and penalties. Previously, we had awarded the children points for getting perfect papers. They get one whole point for a perfect paper, .75 for one mistake, and .5 for missing 2. No point percentage is given for more than 2 wrong. Points are doubled for tests. Whole points are worth approximately $1 and can be traded in for items or privileges, but not cash. Now with the assignment sheets, each block completed earns them .1 point. If they were to fill in each block for each day, the 7th graders could earn 5 whole paper points. (The younger children can earn 3 whole points). This represents quite a bit of work, and I really don't expect them to finish every subject every day. Math, Latin, and Grammar must be done every day (Mon-Fri). The rest of the subjects need to be done at least 3 times per week. If these requirements are not done, then they have to make it up on Saturday--that's the big penalty!
When the children work through their subjects, I have them read through the lessons, study the teacher's manual, do the work, then check the work with the answers, and then go back and figure out mistakes. When they come to new rules, they copy them into their notebooks. If they make mistakes with their Grammar or Spelling program, correcting the mistake also involves re-writing the rule next to the mistake. At the end of a unit, they take a test--if they score 90% or above, they may move ahead. If their score is 85% or above, they must re-take the test. If below 85%, they are required to complete additional practice sheets, or re-do the unit, depending on the subject. We just started using Apologia science by Dr. Jay Wile. He has written his text in a narrative style, and it is self-instructional. I have them outline the text as they read. I've not found history to lend itself well to self-instruction in a programmed sense. That's okay, because we enjoy discussing it together. I do have them read and outline the basic text. We also use the Famous Men Series, so occasionally they read a unit from that, and then I go over the discussion questions with them. Of course, there are time-line entries to make which we do together, and map assignments. We enjoy reading aloud historical fiction, and the Henty novels have been great for that.
Any other suggestions? Thanks for reading!
Date: Thu, 6 Jun 2002
message: I would like to drop a line in hopes of some help in dealing with my 7 yr. old (the oldest of four). We have been tackling a classical Christian education for the last year or so and have found the Bluedorns book of immeasurable value…. thank you by the way. Our biggest challenge lately has been peer involvement. We are convinced beyond all doubt that the family ought to be the environment in which we train our children and also in every avenue which a child ought to be trained. What now? How to undo all we have done. .sigh We are now facing the due repercussions of 7yrs of rather worldly "socialization" though our children have never been to school. We have always been strong supporters of our congregations bible school which is little more than a glorified baby sitting service as it closely resembles the age segregated, gender mixed, large classroom public schools. We have begun having our kids join us for the adult bible class while giving them a little activity to do. Our bible class follows an hour of worship so this was needed as we believe 2hr, of sitting is rather daunting for 4 kids under 7. We have been given some grief about this but for the most part people don't really care. My question is with regard to the sulky attitude I have seen creeping out of the 7. My 4 understands and seems pleased to be welcome with his parents once again but 7 has had too much time with peers to appreciate the family togetherness that we wish to glean from this experience. "When do I get to be with my friends?" seems to be resounding through the halls of our home all too often lately and I wondered if anyone had any good ideas. This concept of developing good appetites has weighed heavy on my heart this past while and I see all too clearly how true it is. Even a few hours with friends (especially when apart from the rest of the family) seems to be creating such a strong appetite in this boy, it's almost scary! Why does this world have so much pull. We spend 90 per cent of our time together yet this oldest one seems rather discontent. Anything I could do to smooth things over? I don't want to come across too hard nosed so that being part of the family is a chore but I do feel the need to be swift in my action. Is there any room for friends?
One other quick ? if you don't mind, we are really good friends with another family who we have always spent a lot of time with. They don't believe in homeschooling and think we are a bit extreme but we love them just the same. . .my point? They have a girl who loves to spend time with me (missing some of her own mom I think) and I worry about the friendship she has with my boys. Could this be dangerous ground? She comes to play occasionally and sometimes sleeps over with her younger brother. I never thought much of it as she is older by a few years than my boys and has always liked helping out with my baby girl. Thank you for reading at length! Striving for what's right, Laura
You probably see your oldest child at age 7 as being "old," whereas I, whose youngest child is nearly 19, see a 7 year old as being a "baby." He is so young that it should be relatively easy to correct any mistakes you have made in child training. From your letter is seems that the bonds your son has with his friends are stronger than the bonds he once had with his mommy and daddy and brothers and sisters. So your job will be to weaken those peer bonds and strengthen the family bonds. Perhaps you could severely limit or even eliminate peer contact for a season, and then in a few months or so invite a like-minded family over to your house for supper and games ormusic. Like-minded family socialization is much to be preferred than peer socialization.
Concerning your second question -- I would like to just make one comment. I would avoid sleep-overs, especially for young children. Laurie
Date: Thu, 6 Jun 2002
From: (Meko White)
message: You guys are marvelous, brilliant and a gift from God. Your writings help keep my brain from turning to toddler mush (we have four children under four). Thank you.
Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002
Subject: How to determine what books or portions are appropriate
I and my boys will be starting in the Ancients next year with our history studies. As I have a son entering into high school, how do I know what primary source "books" are appropriate if I haven't had the opportunity to read them. This may have been discussed before but I can't seem to find it in the archives. In Teaching the Trivium you stress that just because it is considered a classic doesn't mean that it is acceptable to the Lord. I heartily agree. Is there, by any chance, a source list somewhere that can help me with this? I don't know Herodotus, from Henry Ford? How can I hand over his Histories and feel confident in what I am giving my kids to read? My second big question would be: is it necessary to have them read the entire book of all of these oldies? Are there some of these that they should only have to read portions of to get the idea without spending a semester reading the entire thing? I have some slow readers. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I am trying to get all my ducks in a row for Sept. I also need a recommendation on a text for an outline of history, just to give us an overall view of our time period. Anyone??? In Christ, Cathy Sanders
Our book An Historical Guide to Ancient Literature should help you with this. We hope to have it printed some time this year. Here is an excerpt:
Marcus Vitruvius Pollio (fl. late 1st century B.C. and early 1st century
A.D.) Common name: Vitruvius
Vitruvius was a Roman writer, engineer, and architect for the Emperor Augustus. He also served as a military engineer during the civil wars and Caesar’s African wars, and was well educated and well traveled. His "On Architecture" has remained a fundamental handbook of the classical principles of architecture. His is the only antique work on architecture to have survived.
On Architecture covers the history of architecture; city planning and civil engineering; construction methods and materials for buildings of all kinds; Ionian, Corinthian, Doric, and Tuscan capitals; floor paving and ornamental plaster work; water supply and aqueducts; military engines
1.2.1-7 of what things architecture consists
1.4.1-7 choosing a site
1.4.9-12 on inspecting the livers of animals for testing the quality of the air
1.5.1-4 on the foundations of walls and the establishment of towns
5.8.1-2 on acoustics
7.7.1-5 on natural colors
7.11.1-2 on blue and yellow
7.13.1-3 on purple
8.1.1-7 on finding water
8.4.1-2 on testing water
10.9.1-7 on measuring a journey
Date: Sun, 30 Jun 2002
From: Barbara Cheney
Subject: Speech & Debate
We attended some of the events during the recent national speech & debate contest in Tennessee. It is interesting how one can walk into an event and "know very little" and, observing for a few hours, "learn something by watching." Our younger son and I attended, and we felt the same way we did when we attended our first chess tournament many years ago - a bit overwhelmed. For those of you who are involved in debate, we are wondering:
1. Have you observed your children being more capable now of making a reasonable defense for the faith since they became involved in speech & debate?
2. Have you observed them grow to be more gracious in their speech habits and conduct around peers, adults and siblings?
3. Have you observed more self control in their speech having learned ways to organize and present their thoughts?
4. Have you observed their conduct around others of the opposite sex to be pleasing, as they use their speech skills?
5. How have your children grown in wisdom and understanding since becoming involved in speech & debate?
We have not entered this path yet but we are interested in hearing from parents who have.
Date: Tue, 2 Jul 2002
Subject: math question
I have been using no math curriculum for my 6 yo ds, however, we did run into something that my father had told me about when I was in high school. It is called Chisanbop. It is an Asian finger calculation method which converts your hand into a portion of a Japanese abacus. Since my father had been an engineer, and had really thought this would be a good idea for me to learn (though I thought it odd to learn to count on my fingers when I was studying trigonometry, so I didn't pay any attention then.....ouch!), I thought I would finally honor him and investigate this calculation method with my then 5 yo ds.
We had already learned about place value while playing the good shepherd. He also had verbal addition with cookies, napkins and etc. We had even investigated subtraction a little before we found Chisanbop. After learning to count with Chisanbop, we informally investigated addition little by little.
The results astound me. My son is adding columns of multiple digit addition (and we didn't work on this daily or anything), as well as borrowing, skip counting with double digit quantities, working problems such as 14x4 in various ways to discover mathematical principals, etc. Since that time, I have learned more about 'Asian' math. I also found out about a woman who studied Asian math and wrote a method incorporating some western math as well. It is called Right Start Math, and can be found at alabacus.com. Following current Asian thought, this woman did not incorporate Chisanbop, but only uses the Japanese abacus instead. The method is bothered by drilling of facts, but does work with them regularly with the abacus, and games and because we have developed a written language for math, some paper work is involved.
My question is this, have you heard of Right Start Math? If the learning is gentle, would you find it problematic for young children to be working with these types of mathematical concepts? Do you know of any other questions I should be asking about this method?
Thankyou in advance for any input you may have.
I've never seen Right Start Math. Perhaps one of our subscribers can help. Laurie
From: "Michael and Ian Dodds"
Date: Sat, 6 Jul 2002
I have a question for those who know about speech therapy and/or the book, Straight Talk, from NATHHAN. My daughter is 10, almost 11. She speaks quickly and garbles her sounds together. She also leaves out syllables sometimes. When you pronounce the word and make her say it correctly, she can do it, no problem. She is very difficult to understand and doesn't take seriously the fact that she needs to slow down and pronounce sounds correctly. What I am wondering is, is this the type of problem that the book Straight Talk helps with? If so, which book. I looked at the NATHHAN website and there is a Straight Talk 1 and a Straight Talk 2. I always thought speech therapy was for people who had trouble pronouncing sounds correctly even when they tried to do it correctly. She can pronounce correctly, but she is in such a habit of pronouncing poorly that some sort of help is needed but I'm not sure what. If it isn't the type of problem for speech therapy, perhaps the interpretive reading would help. I tend to think that she would pronounce carefully for the reading and then go back to her regular patterns when speaking with others. Any insights would be helpful.
Melvin G. Peterman
Insight Technical Education
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A review of Teaching the Trivium by Karen Andreola as found in the CBD summer 2002 catalog:
The Bluedorns have a family vision. They are pro-homeschool and believe that "the family is at the heart of God's plan for restoring Christian culture." Their high ideals of teaching by way of the classical model of the trivium require careful study, yet they make this style of education sound so doable, so appealing, even homey.
All three stages of the trivium (grammar, logic, and rhetoric) are explained. Then the Bluedorns answer "how-to-do-it" questions they have received over the years, relating their experience with their own children. Their interpretation of classical education shares similarities with the Charlotte Mason philosophy. For instance, good books and narration are essential to both. Although the Bluedorns (who first met in college Greek class) encourage us to make the teaching of Greek and Latin a priority in the elementary grades, they are not, on the whole, advocates for early formal academics. On the contrary, they suggest we delay teaching "formal" math and are in favor of "informal' math and English grammar until the age of 10, which is in keeping with Miss Mason's advice.
If you're like me and teaching Greek and Latin is not your preference, you won't want to miss the other riches the Bluedorns have to offer. You will glean useful ideas for teaching a range of other subjects to children of all ages.
Date: Sun, 7 Jul 2002
Subject: independent learners
I have also been working with my 13 yo ds in the area of independent learning. This is a difficult challenge (more than average) for him because of a learning disability. We use a notebook similar to yours (though with less deadlines, and less detail). We also are teaching him to develop outlines to help him set daily goals that move him towards larger goals (the first one was in music: Immediate goals: ie for new pieces; learning notes, then dynamics and interpretation, rehearsing with accompaniment, maintaining chosen repertoire.... Long term goals, playing for church, learning Irish music, etc.). He is from that required to develop outlines for other subjects. There is one now for essay writing (which is a slow process for him, but he is able to produce excellent essays given time). (In the notebook, he would list which music goal he worked on, by listing the Roman numeral, Capital letter, and etc. that corresponded with that goal in his outline. He would list the name of the piece(s), and an approximate amount of time involved.) We hope that he will internalize these outlines, but with his particular form of LD, know that he will always have them to fall back on if he is unable to. Besides, they are a valuable tool for anyone.
Most importantly to me, now that my son is 13 yo, I am no longer the one my son has to answer to. My husband has been supportive enough of this endeavor to take on that responsibility.
>Okay, as a mom of 7 children aged 3-13, I've been finding that the more I can get the children working independently on their school work, the saner I feel. I especially need to have my two 7th graders and my 4th grader working independently as much as possible so I can concentrate my time on my developing readers. I'd appreciate suggestions!
Marilyn Howshall believes in instruction leading to independent learning. Her first book of note, and the best place to begin with her writing is _Wisdom's Way of Learning_ (WWOL). Her friend Barbara Shelton is more the 'how to' side of Marilyn's work. She has a website that discusses WWOL, and supports parents in the 'how-to' of this ideology.
I personally am most influenced by WWOL, but believe that the Bluedorn's work provides invaluable tools (as Marilyn would call them) to help our children have not only an enjoyable, disciplining education that pointed them toward serving God and Christ's church, led by the Spirit, but also an education with exceptional depth.
>>>>>I'd especially like suggestions regarding an English grammar program that could be considered self-instructional. Rainbow Resource Center describes both "A Journey through Grammar Land" for grades 5-7, and "Jensen's Grammar" for grades 7-12 as being self-instructional. If anyone has used these programs, I'd appreciate knowing what you think of them. Does anyone know of any other programs that work well for self-instruction?
I am unfamiliar with AJTGL, but am familiar with Jensen's Grammar. I am planning on using it this year. I have a friend who felt she needed to teach this directly last year. My particular son and I will go through this together this coming year, but after an initial run through, believe that he will be able to apply the principles excellently with no further review (just plenty of practice analyzing various sentences we find that don't work....from our own hands or others' hands).
>>>>>I think sentence diagramming is important, so I prefer using a course of study that includes this. Currently I am using Abeka's "God's Gift of Language" for the 7th graders. I have no beefs about this program, except that it's not really self-instructional.
Just a side note on diagramming. I read something which caught my eye on this subject in _Understanding Writing_ by Susan Bradrick, a K-12 curriculum which utilizes writing to teach writing. She says that diagramming is valuable as a tool to analyze a sentence that is not flowing properly. Using diagramming as a tool for awkward sentences, structural errors are much clearer, so better sentence structure is more easily accessed. She does not believe in diagramming for diagramming's sake.
In application, if your son has a written assignment, and in the grading process you find an awkward sentence, you would ask him to diagram that sentence. If by diagramming the sentence, he found a solution, that would be the ideal. If he did not find a solution, you would analyze the diagram together to help him develop the skills necessary to create flowing sentences from seemingly awkward ideas. This is in itself an excellent exercise in logic (though not the most advanced logic, excellent logic).
Hope that helps.
Date: Sun, 07 Jul 2002
From: "Mark G. van der Hoek"
Subject: logic loop #30 - Fallacies found.
"Pepsi has a billboard up in my state reading, "Hey Washington, more people prefer the taste of Pepsi!" Clearly, the fallacy here is "ad POPulum."
Did you catch the other 'fallacy'? The sentence... isn't. It does not express a complete thought. "More people"? More people than WHAT? More people than horses? More people than frogs? More people than....what? If you have a "more", you must have a "than". No-one will prove Pepsi guilty of false advertising. They didn't say anything. It's very much like the deceptive, "Compare at $9.99!" It's a non-sentence, but it fools the majority.
From: "Larry and Patricia Maxwell"
Date: Mon, 8 Jul 2002
In response to the socialization for younger children--just want to relate our experience. We took our oldest two out of school (small, private Christian) at ages 9 and 10. One was a son, the other a daughter. They had experienced years of being in age-segregated settings, as I worked full time before they were school age. They thought they only could play with someone the same gender, same age, and balked at the idea of only having each other for a social life. Well, I never joined any groups, they were stuck with each other--at first it was not easy, hearing how I had ruined their lives. Our church had children's church during the main service--we also took them out of that and kept them with us in church. However, as time went on, they not only began to play with each other, but also with their new baby brother--they became very close friends. Just want to encourage you--7 is not too young--over time, your children will become very close, and your family will be the better for it.
Date: Mon, 08 Jul 2002
From: "the Canadian Boswell's"
In my discussions about homeschooling, folks often ask "But didn't Jesus go to school?" The argument that they are trying to make is that if Jesus' parents sent him to school and he "turned out" (obviously), then they may also send their kids to school. I realize the idiotic reasoning in this argument and massive differences in schools today and schools then, however the discussion we are talking about is primarily "who has jurisdiction biblically to teach our children?" We believe that parents alone have this jurisdiction. The question is . . if in fact Jesus did attend a school away from mother and father, then did Joseph and Mary make an erroneous choice with regard to his education? People will bring up just about anything to justify getting those kids out of their house for the day. This has been the latest arrow fired.
I guess you would first have to establish if Jesus did indeed attend a "school." Does anyone have information on this subject? Laurie
Date: Tue, 9 Jul 2002
Subject: Reading Question
I have a problem/question I haven't seen addressed anywhere. We are starting our 9th year of homeschooling. My children are a 14yos, and 12yod and 10yod. We have always used a living books approach but are new to classical education. Since we have used living books for school so much, my children are beginning to act like all books are school books and they don't want to read anything but what I call fluff (Box Car, Nancy Drew, etc.) or periodicals (my son gets a W.W.II magazine that does still interest him) when they are offered "free reading time." The children are not rebellious and will read what I ask them to (school or free reading), but are not developing their own personal love of great literature. Any suggestions?
Sandia Park NM
Maybe they're just going through a lazy summer reading phase. There were times in my children's lives -- usually in the summer for the library's reading program -- when they read some fluff. Helena read through some Nancy Drews, Ava read some Jeanette Oak, and Nate read Hardy Boys. I would tolerate it for a spell and then talk them into reading something better. Listening to good books on tape will help develop the appetite for the better literature. Right now we're listening to Uncle Tom's Cabin. It's one of my most favorite books (have I said that before?). Speaking of good books, we finished reading The Robe this year. Wonderful piece of historical fiction. Laurie
From: "The Fields"
Subject: curriculum question
Date: Wed, 10 Jul 2002
I am sure this question has been asked a dozen or so times but... I was trying to pick a curriculum to use with my second grader. I want to use a unit study type curriculum. I want something fairly organized or structured may be a better word. I need something that will be easy for me to follow and implement! Difficult? Hmmm. I am a brand new baby homeschooling mom! My son has *not* done well in school at all. He has been miserable each successive year. He was so ready for Pre-school to end by January! He was reading prior to Kindergarten but then got confused and suddenly couldn't read. I bought the Tatras Phonics and reading program and in no time he was reading again. Then came First grade. He HATES to read. So we decided to Homeschool and THANK God I found the Trivium Pursuit. I have read part of the book.
Basically in a nut shell I am looking at three different curriculums. Rod and Staff, Christian Light Education and Five in a Row. I like CLE's set up, how everything is packaged in a whole unit format for the entire year...I don't have to wade through and pick and choose. However I don't want to be locked into a curriculum that doesn't work either! I was really looking over Five in a row but don't I need other studies? For instance the others have separate books for math, spelling, English etc. It is my understanding that Five in a Row covers all of this. Is that correct? Or am I missing something. So I need some help and recommendations. I am pregnant and don't have tons of energy right now, however am VERY committed to making this work for both of us. My little boy is Mr. Squirmy and hates sitting and doing endless worksheets. He is very hands on and very visual as am I. He seems to have few problems when I explain things to him but in a classroom he just falls to the wayside.
Lori Mom to Joshua and little one due Jan 15th.
I think Five In a Row would be just right for you, keeping in mind that you don't have to follow every assignment but can adjust it to fit your needs. Laurie
Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2002
From: (Corinna Dobek)
Dear Mr. & Mrs. Bluedorn, Please allow me to introduce myself. I have recently purchased your book and would very much like to choose this route of teaching my children. Also, your book is the most profusely saturated homeschool book on scripture! Thank you!
Thus far we have two children (girls aged 6 and 20 months) and I have been schooling the oldest via a traditional method. It does not work well (to say the least). She reads now, so I accomplished something, (smile).
The question I have is this: I am somewhat at a loss as to how to start to teach history. There are different views on starting from Genesis vs. starting with Am. History first. I thought perhaps I could use a guide, such as Streams of Civilization and use that as springboard to read literature books relating to a specific time period. Streams of Civilization starts with Ancient History. Then I thought I could use the Teacher's Guides from Beautiful Feet, or the Student Texts from Bob Jones and use those (one or the other) as guides to read history through literature.
As mentioned above, there are different view points on teaching history. Some advocate beginning with Ancient History starting in Genesis, others say interest directed is better during elementary years, etc.
What did you do? Or perhaps, - what would you do if you had to do it over again? I need advice of were to start. I value your opinion and advice as you are the elder. From your readings, I can see the fruit of you labor and how your children turned out. Thus, I found in you a source I feel I can lean on.
Thank you in advance for helping me.
Cordially, Corinna Dobek
With children under the age of 10 I would study history in an interest directed manner. Do lots of reading aloud of historical fiction and biographies (incorporate their oral narration with the reading), keep up a timeline, do projects together that involve costumes (your oldest girl will love to learn how to sew capes and shawls and such), take field trips that are of an historical nature (museums), have them memorize poetry or prose of an historical nature, and some of their copywork can be historical.
One of the goals of studying history in the grammar stage is to develop a love of history, and sometimes following a structured, strictly chronological study of history might not meet that goal. Laurie
From: "Kendra Fletcher"
Date: Sat, 13 Jul 2002
We have five children, ages 9,7,4,3, and 1. Several years ago I read Steve and Teri Maxwell's book, "Managers of Their Homes", and found that implementing a schedule similar to those outlined in the book took many of the pressures and frustrations of the day away simply because we had a plan. My children argued less because they rotated spending time with one another throughout the day. Chores were finished because they needed to be before moving on to the next thing. Items such as Scripture memory and piano practice which often fell by the wayside when there was not a schedule in place were now being accomplished on a regular basis. And I could find time to read for pleasure or make imperative phone calls because I had scheduled those things in for myself.
I believe that Teri Maxwell communicates very well our need to put our goals before the Lord and ask His guidance before forging ahead. In this way, a husband and wife can decide what things are priorities for each person, and which things can be done less often.
That said, our day never looks like the schedule on paper. Never. Inevitably the baby spits up or the dogs destroy something in the yard or we can't find our math book (this happens incredibly often, whether or not we tidied up the schoolroom the night before). Some days the rain puddles in the cul-de-sac are so inviting that I chuck the afternoon schedule and let the children have a grand time splashing about. Same goes for the days our neighbor invites us to come swimming. Despite these interruptions (or, life), I have our goals written down in the form of a schedule that I can fall back upon without having to think. That's really the kicker for me; I don't have to constantly think, "What comes next?" or, "What should we be doing right now?" I can glance at the schedule and tell each child what they should be doing.
A schedule can be an incredibly handy tool when one is training toddlers and cannot be interrupted. In those moments I can tell the older children that I really need to work on the behavior of the particular wee one and that they need to be doing x at that moment. Often they know the schedule so well themselves that they can go right up to lunch having accomplished all they ought to without being told. What a blessing!
Another benefit we have seen is that relationships have blossomed between the 9yo boy and 3yo girl simply because he has a half-hour each day to play with her. The 7yo has taught the 4yo how to rollerblade in their time together. And the baby gets time alone with mommy everyday, something that may or may not occur if we were just winging it from day to day.
If it might bring peace to your home, then by all means try it. Each family has a uniqueness about it, and making the schedule work for your family might bring a peace and sense of accomplishment you hadn't known before. Blessings,
Date: Mon, 15 Jul 2002
Subject: Re: Ancient Literature and Histories
From: Eugene B Sedy
Cathy wrote: "I and my boys will be starting in the Ancients next year with our history studies. As I have a son entering into high school, how do I know what primary source "books" are appropriate if I haven't had the opportunity to read them. "
Until Bluedorns get that book published, get reading! I really think it's important to at least preview books before handing them over to my kids. We've been working through ancient history for almost 2 years, starting from Creation. As my children have grown more mature, we go more in depth, and with more difficult readings. We are now at 431BC-404BC, the Peloponesian War. Well, that's where the kids are, I'm currently at about 310 BC, with Alexander's Empire fragmented, and now I'm beginning to read 1 Maccabees to cover that part of history between the Old and New Testaments. I've been reading like crazy to keep myself ahead, and the more that I've been reading and studying, the more fascinating I've been finding it all. I'm just amazed how ignorant I was of so much history--so much for 12 years of school, and 4 years of college!
Anyway, as for a time line of events and people, we use "The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia." I have the children (my 7th graders) outline each 2 page spread as we go. Then, I fill in with other works of nonfiction books and historical fiction which I chiefly find at the library. When we came to the point where the Greeks came on the scene, I added the Greenleaf Famous Men of Greece book and study guide. I wish I had discovered these Greenleaf guides earlier, because I'm sure the Guide to the Old Testament would have been enriching to our studies. The Famous Men books give short stories of important people, arranged chronologically. These books would probably be very basic to your high school student, but he probably would enjoy them nonetheless. The study guides give you discussion questions and ideas for deeper study, and a few composition ideas.
I started reading Herodotus when we were learning about Leonides at Thermopylae. I backtracked a bit from there, became hooked, and then finished the History to the end. I didn't read the first part, but there wasn't anything in there that would be offensive for anyone over 12 to read. (There is mention of some violent, gory events that might disturb younger children). I didn't think it was necessary for my children to read the whole thing, but I found excerpts that I thought were worthwhile for them to read, then we discussed the reading.
I found Herodotus fairly easy to read, and interesting because he goes into quite a bit of detail about the culture. When I finished with Herodotus, I began Thucydides--now that's a bit more challenging--I find I have to read carefully, and also make notes in the margin as I read so I can keep track of who he's talking about. He seems to get into the politics in great detail, so it's easy to get quagmired in details. I found several speeches that I think are worthwhile bringing to the attention of the children. Anyway--it's probably not necessary for a high school student to read the whole thing, but if you start reading it, you will find what you think would be important for him to read, and you'll be in a better position to discuss it with him intelligently. I know it takes time--all my spare time is spent reading--but it's worth it, both to you and to your students.
Some books I've found helpful: Lion in the Gateway, by Mary Renault. This author wrote several historical novels and one biography of Alexander the Great, and this one children's book. This book covers the first and second Persian invasions of Greece. We really enjoyed it. Now here's why you don't just hand books to your kids: Renault's other novels are written for adults, and while not especially explicit, sexuality is mentioned frequently, and because homosexuality was the "norm" for much of Greek society, it is mentioned frequently. I just finished reading "Funeral Games," about the death of Alexander, and the subsequent breakup of the empire. I am planning to read it aloud to the older children, skipping the few mentions in that book of sexuality. Her other books are so full of references to sexuality, I'd be skipping through great sections, so those are out the window.
Don Nardo's nonfiction books are especially well written for the Junior High-aged reader. His books in the "World History Series" published by Lucent Books are nicely laid out with maps and side bars of sections from ancient writings.
Not all publications of the ancient writings are created equal. I found two books at the library that I liked so much, I decided to purchase copies of my own. The first is "The New Complete Works of Josephus" trans. by William Whiston, with commentary by Paul L. Maier. His commentaries reveal him to be a believer, and he often notes the inadequacy of Josephus' theology as compared to the Bible. The second book I really found helpful is "The Landmark Thucydides: A Comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War," edited by Robert B. Strassler. This is full of many helpful notes and maps. Anyone have a favorite "version" of Herodotus?
As for the Ancient Playwrites and Philosophers, I'd be wary
Anyway, I hope this helps. I really do think it's important to try to read ahead of your students. You'll be amazed by what you learn--after all, homeschooling is for parents, right?! My major goal after I graduate all my students is to win on Jeopardy! Blessings, Janet
Here are some significant excerpts from Herodotus' History of the Persian Wars (taken from our new book):
Book I, sections 29-33 How Solon visited Croesus at Sardis; 95-106 Early history of Persia; 107-130 Birth and rise of Cyrus; 131-140 Customs of the Persians; 171 The Carians -- subjects of King Minos; 190-191 The taking of Babylon; 195 Description of Babylonian clothing
Book II, sections 2-5 The Antiquity of Egypt; 14 Farm labor in Egypt is easy because of the Nile; 19-28 The Nile Flood; 35-38 Manners and Customs of the Egyptians; 68-76 Egyptian crocodiles and the hippopotamus; 86-88 How the Egyptians embalm their dead; 95 Egyptian Mosquitoes; 124-128 The Building of the Pyramids by Cheops
Book III, sections 39-43 The Ring of Polycrates; 80-97 The Persians reject democracy Darius’ state; 122 The Carians --subjects of King Minos
Book IV, section 196 Phoenician trade with Libya
Book V, section 49-51 Aristagoras at Sparta; 58 The Phoenicians gave the alphabet to Greece; 66-77 How Athens was given a democratic organization by Clisthenes and triumphed over her neighbors; 97, 99-103 Aristagoras at Athens and what came of it; 102-106 How the Persians came to Marathon
Book VI, sections 56-58 The two kings of Sparta: their privileges in war and peace, their dinner, jurisdiction and funeral; 102-117, 120 The Battle of Marathon
Book VII, sections 1-7 Darius dies, ascension of Xerxes; 22-24 Mt. Athos;
33-56 Bridging of Hellespont; 60-83 The contingents and nations in Xerxes’
army; 100-105 Dialog between Xerxes and Demaratus; 118-120 How the Greek towns were forced to entertain Xerxes’ army; 138-144 How Athens resolved to face the Persians, and how Themistocles interpreted the adverse oracles; 145-147 How Xerxes dealt with the Greek spies; 175-177 The Greeks decide to take a stand at Thermopylae by land and at Artemisium point by sea; 196-234 Battle of Thermopylae
Book VIII, sections 40-43 The evacuation of Attica and the mustering of the Greek fleet; 74-86, 96-99 Salamis; 118 The Persians’ devotion to Xerxes; 143 The answer the Athenians gave the Persian envoy before the battle of Plataea
Book IX, section 52-70 The Battle of Plataea; 82 Persian magnificence and Greek simplicity
Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2002
Subject: Very Young Children
Mr. and Mrs. Bluedorn,
I have a 2 year old, an 8 month old and one on the way. We are already reading to them as much as we can and am confused already on what I should allow them to listen to. Do you have any recommended reading lists for this age group. It is hard to find information until they are officially being homeschooled. Please let me know of any resources you might have. What are your thoughts on the book Honey for a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt?
Thank you and God bless,
Honey for a Child's Heart is a good resource, although I don't know if I'd recommend every single book she recommends -- I haven't looked at it for several years.
You are looking for a book list for the very young child. I don't know of one that has been compiled. How about if I and others on this list send in their recommendations? I'll start off with the books I have on my shelf:
Books by Tasha Tudor
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
Animal Babies by Harry McNaught
Corduroy by Don Freeman
The ABC Bunny by Wanda Gag
My Teddy Bear by Patsy Scarry, illus by Eloise Wilkin
Butterflies and Moths by Joanne Mattern, illus by Roseanna Pistolesi
Do You Know Colors by J.P. Miller and Katherine Howard
Birds by Jane Werner Watson, illus by Eloise Wilkin
Wild Animals by Arthur Singer
500 Works to Grow On by Harry McNaught
Obadiah the Bold by Brinton Turkle
White Snow Bright Snow by Alvin Tresselt, illus by Roger Duvoisin
Thy Friend, Obadiah by Brinton Turkle
Curious George books
Noah's Ark by Peter Spier
The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader
A Apple Pie by Kate Greenaway
Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert
Books by Beatrix Potter
The Baby House by Norma Simon
The Little Bear books by Else Holmelund Minarik
Busy Day Busy People by Tibor Gergely
The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey, illus by Gustaf Tenggren
The Little Red Caboose by Marian Potter, illus by Tibor Gergely
Scuffy the Tugboat by Gertrude Crampton
We Help Daddy by Mini Stein, illus by Eloise Wilkin
Lentil by Robert McCloskey
Four Little Kittens by Kathleen N. Daly, illus by Adriana Mazza Saviozzi
The Little Book by Sherl Horvath, illus by Eloise Wilkin
The Boy With a Drum by David L. Harrison, illus by Eloise Wilkin
Busy Boats by Peter Lippman
The Biggest Bear by Lynd Ward
Wheel on the Chimney by Margaret Wise Brown and Tibor Gergely
and, last, but not least, our daughter Johannah's newest book My Mommy, My Teacher. We just sent this book to the printer today, so it should be ready to sell in 5 weeks. Laurie
From: "clyde furlong"
Date: Wed, 17 Jul 2002
We've been homeschooling for almost 5 years using every conceivable method from textbooks to unschooling. i have always been intrigued by the grammar, logic, rhetoric model. i'm enjoying your book and can't read it fast enough. i appreciate the fact that your ideas come from scripture. the things we struggle most with are a schedule (my husband works very erratic hours) and family worship. family worship seems so contrived when we try it. also, we could never have a regular schedule for it with my husband leading because his schedule varies so much. i know you're busy, but thought i would email on the off chance you could answer me. thanks in advance for your time. sharon furlong - montgomery, alabama. p.s. my children are age 5 and 13 (almost).
We have a booklet (On Family Worship) and tape (Leading the Family in Daily Worship) on the subject of family worship. These will give you ideas on how to get started. Picking a time for family worship is the most difficult part. It all hinges on two things: 1. Father being convicted of the need for family worship -- when the Lord convicts Father of its necessity then he will make time in his busy schedule; and 2. Mother allowing Father to take the lead in this issue and making sure the family schedule allows for family worship -- don't keep everybody so busy that Father has a hard time fitting it in even when he has time. Laurie
Date: Thu, 18 Jul 2002
From: Lyn Carradine
Subject: Did Jesus go to school?
>I guess you would first have to establish if Jesus did indeed attend a >"school." Does anyone have information on this subject? Laurie
Alfred Edersheim in Sketches of Jewish Social Life explains that following the time of the Macabees, elementary schools were established by the priests for boys from age 6 or 7 and older. The schools were located in the local synagogue and were funded by the congregation. The purpose of this education was strictly religious and began with the book of Leviticus moving through the Scriptures at the child's own pace. At age 10 the Mishna (Jewish commentary on oral law which the rabbis consider inspired) was introduced, and by age 15 the student must be ready for the Talmud (yet another Jewish commentary). Advanced pupils would spend 1/3 of their day studying Scripture, 1/3 on the Mishna, and 1/3 on the Talmud.
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia lists a compulsory attendance law dating from 130 BC. Josephus also reports on schools and in Jerusalem alone there were 480 synagogues each with its own school in Vespasian's time (the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD).
Jesus could have attended such a school, but his early education would have had to take place at home since boys were expected to arrive at school able to both read and write Hebrew. Also if he was instructed in Mishna or Talmud, his later teaching clearly shows that he was not impressed with either. Lyn
Date: Thu, 18 Jul 2002
From: (Dawn Tyrrell)
message: I think your website is highly informative and it was exciting for me to find. I decided to homeschool my children this past spring, after being repeatedly disappointed with many areas of their public schooling, the most important of which was the moral caliber of the other children in their classes. Can you believe we had violence and a suspension in a kindergarten class? I have somehow always thought I was missing something regarding my children's upbringing and have sought old-fashioned texts and literature for my own reading to help me create an "old-fashioned" upbringing for them. Was I excited to read Laurie's essay on the ten things to do with your child before age ten. Wonderful! I plan on sharing this with my husband when he gets home tonight. However, one of my three children, at age four, has a serious language processing disorder and has been receiving Exceptional Education intervention by a specialist that began last spring. The only way he can receive this is to go to school for six hours in a small class within the public school. He loves it there. I am feeling guilt and doubt in myself for wanting to send him, because I want him to benefit from staying home with his mother and sisters and learning while being loved. But I believe school is helping him and I have so far found it impossible to do what his teacher does -- she has several advanced degrees in early childhood learning disabilities and has over 20 years' experience with little ones like my son. This causes doubt in myself for not wanting to send him, as I may be depriving him of the best way for him to gain skills and work on his thinking at this stage in his development. I envision using this special expertise as a tool to help my son develop his abilities to the point where I can successfully teach him at home. There is question of whether he would ever be "successful" in a regular classroom. At the age of 4 he has social and verbal development of an 18 month old, but he has many, many other skills, two of which are excellent musical ability and what may be a truly photographic visual memory ( he can see just one small part of a car, such as a grill or bumper and tell you what kind of car it is, even if it is a car from the sixties -- he just has to have been told what kind it is one time). He has no ability to grab abstract concepts of any sort that other kids of his age seem to understand(the word "because" answering a simple "why" question. The question "Why do we sleep?" (because we get tired and need to rest) might be answered by him as "For a bed." He also has about a five minute attention span and has not yet gone past the "parallel play" stage of the toddler. My question for you and your circle of people who embrace classical education is: are there ever times when a child is even briefly, better served by being educated outside of the home? I am unsure of what best to do for this special boy. I hate to think that I am "getting rid of him" so I can peacefully teach the girls at home, but he is an extremely Dawn Tyrrell
We'll see if any of our subscribers can help.
I would like to make just a few observations.
Government schools get more state money for each enrolled child who is diagnosed as having a learning disability.
Does it really require six hours a day? Does it really require a classroom?
Does it really require a specialist? Or might it only require some diagnostic tests and a little training for the mother so she can do a little one-on-one tutoring?
Late bloomers do happen, especially with boys.
Four-year-olds are still in the process of bonding with Mommy and Daddy and brothers and sisters. Put a four-year-old in a classroom with lots of his peers and the bonds will develop in the wrong directions. You mentioned that he loves it in the class -- that probably means he has started to bond with his teacher and his peers. Laurie
From: Jay Wile
Sent: Thursday, July 18, 2002
message: Hi Nathaniel (and Hans),
Thank you for sending me your book, THE FALLACY DETECTIVE. I thought it was VERY well done. I liked how you blend easy-to-understand examples, humor, and Christian thinking together and at the same time teach the reader many of the standard terms and propositions of logic. Also, the thought questions you have at the end of each chapter are very good. Also, I hope I am not being too bold here, but in the discussion of ad hominem attacks, I think I see some of my biology course coming through. That really gave me great pleasure to see that you could use some of what you learned in that course to teach logic!
From: "Frank Rogers"
Subject: TATRAS & Alphaphonics
Date: Fri, 19 Jul 2002
For Mrs. Angelia Matthews,
Reference your query about the difference between the TATRAS and Alphaphonics reading programs.
I can understand why you are perplexed in looking for a reading program! Every mother looking for a "Reading Program" should understand that there are four ways that phonics can be taught: Vertical Phonics, Horizontal Phonics, Linguistic Phonics, and Special Symbol Phonics.
To help perplexed mothers TATRAS has prepared a sheet explaining the difference between these four methods, the names of some of the more popular companies that use each and a brief discussion of each method. These are listed in the free four-page TATRAS brochure, "Choose a Phonics Method---Then a Reading Program."
Alphaphonics is not basically "Horizontal phonics," it is "Linguistic Phonics." Linguistic Phonics program are based strongly on rhyming words and word families. The brochure makes the following comments on Linguistic Phonics type programs.
1. Word lists for linguistic reading programs require the use of words that fit into word "families." This criteria results in long core word lists and the inclusion of many infrequently used words.
2. Because of this the student is deprived of being able to focus on the Most Often Occurring (MOO) words. For reading and spelling, students should learn to instantly recognize MOO words at the earliest possible time. Limiting the word list being studied to the very essential words allows slower children to quickly start reading text. (Schlafly's First Reader tosses in about 200 children's names to further dilute her long word list.)
3. The use of columns of "family" words lets student use short term memory instead of acquiring the phonics habit i.e. they get the first word on the list and the rest are no challenge. The phonics habit, the ability to go from left to right and sound a word out, is a crucial skill.
4. Not learning the phonograms "in isolation" may also hinder the child from naturally learning the spelling of words in the course of his reading. (Spelling is enhanced by instantly knowing phonograms.)
I might add at as a postscript that typically Linguistic type programs are boring, boring, boring. (Have you read stuff like, "Sam, the ram took the ham and clams and scrammed.")
For further information you may get this brochure by asking TATRAS for the "tan sheet." It also has a chart showing the "TATRAS: Six Steps of Reading Progression." The importance of this chart is to stress that no matter what phonics program a child uses, when that program is finished he must read out loud to an adult for a fixed period each school day until he becomes competent. And then he must be required, until he starts reading for pleasure, to read a library book for a fixed period each day. All reasonably able children must get to the point where they read for pleasure. The speed with which a child starts reading for pleasure will depend on the effectiveness of his reading program, the child's ability and the parent's motivational ability.
Mrs. Matthews, does this help?
R'spy, Frank Rogers, TATRAS
(And the TATRAS Program is Multisensory!)
A Review of The Fallacy Detective by Nathaniel Bluedorn and Hans Bluedorn reviewed by Martha R. on HomeschoolChristian.com
The Fallacy Detective offers a simple and straightforward study of informal fallacies. Subtitled "Thirty-Six Lessons on How to Recognize Bad Reasoning," the book seeks to teach one "to recognize logical fallacies which you meet every day in the street, in the newspaper, or in your work." The authors are the grown sons of Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn of Trivium Pursuit and were trained via the Bluedorn's vision of classical home education.
Nathaniel and Hans Bluedorn present the book from a Christian perspective. The introductory chapter explains the importance of logic for Christians, and examples throughout the book use issues, such as abortion, conservation, and politics, that concern conservative families.
Lessons are brief and simple, lasting only a few pages. Each one addresses a particular fallacy and explains examples of that type of fallacy in detail. For example, in the "Propaganda" chapter, the following exercise is presented:
'Gun manufacturers should do something about all those guns we have lying around. My grandson was brutally murdered last summer by another child with a gun.'
Another example in the "Generalization" section is as follows:
'No matter what they say, all salesmen don't care a bit about the people they sell to. They just want your money.'
These exercises and examples are designed to generate thought and discussion. An answer key is provided in the back of the book.
Recommendation: The Fallacy Detective offers a beginning look at one part of informal logic or "critical thinking." This book does not teach formal (deductive or inductive) logic. Written with the Bluedorns' more relaxed style, this product offers a pleasant way to begin logic studies.
The authors recommend the book for ages 13 and up. The informal writing style used is sure to be appealing and understandable to children even younger, but because of the issues discussed in the exercises and examples, I would respect the Bluedorns' recommendation on the age range.
The content as well as the cover illustration of Toodles, the fallacy detective dog, by Johannah Bluedorn, make The Fallacy Detective a memorable book and a nice addition to your dialectic aged student's curriculum.
Subject: WHO Radio Interview
Date: Mon, 22 Jul 2002
Nathaniel and Hans
I just wanted to say what a joy it was to hear you on Jan Michaelson!! Our sons are 5, 3, and 9 mo and I'm excited for us to get to the logic stage in about 7 or 8 years because it seems you two have made it fun to learn and not drudgery as I thought it would be. Thank You!! May the Lord continue to Bless both of you as you pursue Him!! Mrs. Vanessa Strohmeyer
From: Anthony and Chrystal Mowery
Sent: Sunday, July 21, 2002
Subject: question for Mr. Rogers of TATRAS
Does your program discuss when to teach sight words? If so, does it cover how and what sight words to teach? Thank-you, Chrystal Mowery
Hi, Mrs. Mowery.
"Sight Words" has varied definitions. Tell me what your definition of "sight words" is and I can better answer your question. R'spy, Frank Rogers, TATRAS
Hello. I guess I'm referring to the Dolch sight words. Once the child finishes up TATRAS, will there be a need of any other phonics based instruction?
Hi, Mrs. Mowery.
There are two definitions for "sight words."
One definition says that a sight word is a word that cannot be sounded out so it must just be memorized. It usually implies that sight words can be learned before the student learns the phonograms that might be in that word.
College trained reading teachers will very often say that a sight word is an irregular word.
The Dolch words are the traditional sight words. I have a box of the Dolch words here and the instruction sheet that accompanies it says don't let the children play with these words by themselves or the might try to sound the words out!!!
Several articles in teachers professional journals have pointed out the weakness of the Dolch words.
TATRAS says that sight words are words that a student has decoded (using phonics) so many times that the word is instantly known, hence a "sight word." Adults no longer sound words because out they have a huge vocabulary of sight words. The most valuable words for children to learn as (TATRAS) sight words are the MOO (most often occurring) words. Just 300 probably account for half the words in most adult-level literature. (The 220 Dolch words are said to account for about 65% of the words in the common childrens' readers) In fact, the TATRAS manual teachers the 500 MOO words. There's a second benefit of (TATRAS) sight words. When a child has decoded the word 40 times using his phonics knowledge, he will then to be able to spell it easily. And, theoretically, half the word he will want to use will be off that MOO list of 500 words. Basically we can spell words because we are visually familiar with them. Having learned to read the words using phonograms greatly facilitates the visualization process.
Most individuals that I work with who cannot read age-level books for pleasure have one (or more) of the following problems: (1)The don't know their phonics facts instantly (the sounds represented by the 68 phonograms), (2) They don't know how to systematically use their phonics knowledge to go left to right to unlock the word, or (3) they haven't developed a large enough sight word vocabulary to make a story flow for them.
Once you have finished the TATRAS program there will be no need to use any other phonics program. TATRAS offers the most comprehensive phonics program available. However, periodically children who have completed the TATRAS program should be brought up to speed again on both saying and writing the phonograms. (See the TATRAS "tan sheet" the for five steps that lead to reading for pleasure.) This should be done even if the child is reading for pleasure. As I said, instantly knowing the phonograms may facilitate recalling the way a word is spelled.
The Saltmine and Hifwip Manual specifically teachers 837 words. Five hundred of those are the MOO words, the rest are listed for various reasons but they include all the irregular words down to the 3000th MOO word.
Often university-trained teachers will say, yes I'm going to teach phonics, but later, first students must learn 200 sight words. Teachers texts often discuss how many "sight words" should be taught before phonics is started. The tragic thing about this is that the more "sight words" that are taught without reference to phonics, the more difficult it is to later teach the student left to right decoding (the phonics habit). Typically such students just guess at words.
Thanks for your interest!
R'spy, Frank Rogers, TATRAS
From: "Donna Vail"
Subject: FW: Five Kids and Peace
Date: Tue, 23 Jul 2002
To the Bluedorns,
Due to the latest messages in your e-letters regarding paying children to do schoolwork as well as the parents constant interest in improving work flow and peace in the home I thought I would forward the below message. It may seem lengthy but the information is very useful. I had read this a year ago and we decided to implement some of these suggestions. Just recently a friend sent this to me and I realized that we had implemented several items described which was a good reassurance that we are working and succeeding to our goal. Yet we do see many more thing to work on. When working with several little ones it is good to write down your goals then review a year later. You will realize that you are making headway, there is much work when they are so young. Keep in mind when you read this that the children are older however it is working side by side the little ones, modeling, that they become peaceful, older, respectful children.
Peace of Christ to all of you and yours, Donna Vail
Five Kids and Peace
By Elisabeth Elliot
The house was large, white, set well back from the street, and surrounded with lawns, gardens and beautiful big trees--the sort of place that could easily keep a full-time gardener busy. It was nearly suppertime of an autumn afternoon, and as my hostess, who had met me at the airport, took me through the side door and into the kitchen, I could smell beef stew and wood smoke, just the sort of things I wanted to smell in a place like that. We went through a large hall with a beautiful staircase and into a small sitting room where a fire burned and three boys were sprawled prone on the floor, two of them playing a game, one reading.
"Boys, I want you to meet Mrs. Leitch." All three were on their feet at once, coming toward me to shake hands. Not only were they not reluctant or surly, they acted as though they were sincerely glad to see me.
After I was shown my room I joined Arlita, my hostess, in the kitchen to help with supper. She set about making biscuits while I cut up apples for Waldorf salad. A few minutes before supper was ready a couple of the boys appeared and in no time had set the table, poured the milk, carried in the food.
The dining room had an elegant fireplace and mantelpiece, a bay window filled with plants, and an enormous round cherry table. Joe, who is a doctor, sat opposite the fireplace with his wife at his side. I sat across from them and between us the four sons and one daughter, ages nine to sixteen. We all clasped hands for grace. Conversation ranged from schoolwork, the church, the neighbors, the old house a few blocks away where I used to live, to mathematics and the meaning of a passage of Scripture. All participated. All also took it upon themselves to see to the comfort of their guest, passing me the biscuits, the jam, the salt, asking if I'd have another bowl of stew, filling my water glass. It seemed that each child understood that he was on the entertainment committee. The fact that I was a contemporary of their parents did not absolve them of gracious responsibility. They were even eager to look after me, eager to hear what I had to say.
The dining room doesn't have an observation window with one-way glass to which I can take certain parents I can think of to observe this model family, seated around the cherry table, alert yet relaxed, disciplined yet hilarious, attentive yet at ease. And of course the family would object very strenuously to anyone's holding them up as a model. Yet they are. All families, in the last analysis, are models--of something. Some of cosmos, that wonderful Greek word which signifies order and arrangement. Some of chaos, its opposite--disorder and confusion.
At the end of the meal everybody sang. I can't remember what gospel songs they sang, but I remember the hearty way they all joined. Then Joe read the Bible. They talked about what it meant. The youngest son was asked first to explain what he thought it was all about and was then challenged, corrected and encouraged by siblings and parents. Joe asked for prayer requests and each child thought of somebody he wanted prayed for--a schoolmate who seemed hungry to know God, a Jewish lady whose husband had died, a kid on drugs. When the prayers were finished Joe and Arlita and I went to the sitting room to talk by the fire. All was quiet. I was dimly aware of movement in the other rooms--the table being cleared, dishes washed. Later I heard a piano and a flute. People were practicing, homework was undoubtedly being done, but all of it without strife, without one interruption to the parents who, so far as I noticed, had issued no instructions to anybody when we got up from the table.
Later in the evening I noted the stillness.
"Are the kids in bed?" I asked.
"What time is it?" Arlita said.
"Then they're in bed. Usually we say goodnight to them, but occasionally when we have company they don't come down."
This almost took my breath away. I've visited in a good many homes where the going-to-bed routine takes the better part of the evening, with wheedling, threats, pleas, prolonged negotiations and eventual capitulation. How, I wanted to know, do you do it? Such order, such peace, such fun as everyone seemed to have, and such smooth running of oiled wheels. I grew up in a family where the same things could have been said, but that was another generation, another day. Walking still occurred to people as a possibility if they had to get somewhere, and it was still acceptable simply to sit on the porch some evenings and not go anywhere. So how, in this day and age, did Joe and Arlita do it? They looked at each other as though the question had not arisen before. Arlita smiled.
"Well . . . " she hesitated, trying to think how they did do it. "I'm sure we did just what you did. We decided how we wanted it to be and then we did it that way. Isn't that right, Joe?"
"That's right. In fact, we decided before the children were born how we wanted things to be. The going-to-bed business, for example. I don't want to hate my kids, and if I had them in my hair all evening, if I had to fight to get them down and fight to get them up again in the morning, I'd hate them. So after they've reached eight or nine years of age we don't tell them when they have to go to bed. We tell them when they have to be at the breakfast table. We give them each an alarm clock, and if they know they have to be washed, dressed, combed, in their right minds and in their places at 7:30, they soon figure out for themselves when to go to bed and when to get up." It worked. Next morning, which was Saturday, the children were downstairs to do their appointed tasks. At 7:30 we sat down to sausage, fried apples, scrambled eggs, coffee cake, orange juice and coffee. Arlita had not cooked the breakfast, the kids had. They had organized things so that the whole job was done in a quarter of an hour or so. The table was set, the food on it, hot and appetizing, on time. Does the system ever break down? I wanted to know. There are lapses, Joe and Arlita said, and privileges sometimes have to be withdrawn, but there's a lot of camaraderie in doing the jobs, and everybody likes to see it work. I had never seen a more beautifully ordered home, and neither had I ever seen a better-adjusted, more likable and outgoing bunch of kids. There must be a connection.
A house the size of theirs needs a lot of maintenance. Nobody comes in to cook, clean or garden. The whole family works. A list of special jobs is posted every so often--woodcutting, window washing, floor waxing, the sort of jobs that aren't done every week--and the children sign up for whatever they're willing to tackle. Then each child makes out a three-by-five card for each job and puts down the time he spent at it. The card is then submitted to a parent who inspects the finished task and signs the card if he approves the quality of the work. If he does not sign it, the child does the job over on his own time. Cards are turned in at the end of the month and the children are paid the going rate. With the money he earns, each buys his own clothes, except for the youngest, who puts half his money in the bank against the day when he too must take the responsibility for buying clothes.
"We're all working for each other this way," Joe said, "each taking responsibility as he's able. They're not paid, of course, for daily jobs like bedmaking and tablesetting and dishwashing. But last month we paid for 125 hours of 'special' jobs."
Stravinsky in his Poetics of Music refers to "the anguish into which an unrestricted freedom plunges me." Unrestricted freedom--anguish. Their opposites, discipline and serenity, characterized the home I've described. But it took thought. It took vision. It took courage to lay the burden on the children, strength to support them in it, humility to submit to the rule of life, and an ear tuned to a Different Drummer from the one the world hears.
From: "karen smith"
Subject: Special needs children
Date: Tue, 23 Jul 2002
We have seven children (3,5,7,7,9,11,and 13 (almost). We have always home schooled and I just read Teaching the Trivium this summer. I realized that even though I have been using other curriculums as a framework, I have really been going more the direction that you have described in your book. Your developmental "stages" are right on! What a relief to know that we are very normal! I am excited this year about adding Greek, Latin and Logic.
We also have a child that is delayed in speech, language, motor skills and other areas due to a genetic disorder (NF1). He also has a seizure disorder that requires medication that can also affect mental processing. When this all came to the surface four years ago (Amos was only 3), I was told by numerous doctors that he would benefit from being placed in the Early Educational Program in our public school system. ("It's free!" they kept explaining). We knew that we did not want to do that, so we simply told them that we were pursuing private resources. I immediately began to educate myself by reading books written for "special ed" teachers and talked to family and friends that had any kind of experience in these areas. I found out that, even with multiple degrees, these teachers must work one-on-one with each child to see what works with that particular child. Sounds like home schooling! One area that I knew I would need outside help was with speech therapy. After much prayer and searching, I found a speech therapist at a private Christian school who was willing to work with Amos once a week and allow me to sit in so she could explain to me how to work with him at home. She was going to do this for a minimal fee, but after working with Amos for a month, she loved it so much that she wants to bless us by offering her services free of charge.
We have decided that the best approach to Amos' education is to educate ourselves in how best to help him. Yes, it is more time consuming, but this child at age 7 (developmental age 5) does not need hours of school a day! An hour a day in addition to the time I spend on speech (30 min a day) is all he needs academically. There are other things that are so much more important, such as the confidence and security he feels by being in a loving, accepting environment where he is not made fun of or required to perform in areas that he is not developmentally ready. Doctors and friends at church are amazed how loving and confident he is, despite his obvious delays. Most children that have to deal with these problems develop anger and bitterness because they feel that they are not worth anything. Our priority: to see that Amos knows he is loved and that God has a special plan for his life and that we are going to help prepare him to accomplish God's will for him. That is the role of the parent, isn't it?
I recently spoke with an educational consultant at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston where Amos is enrolled in a research program. They evaluated him free of charge for their research and have offered free consultations as needed to the educators (in this case his parents). At the end of the conversation, she asked me if I had an education degree, and I told her no, just years of experience as a home school mom. She told me she was very impressed with all I was doing and she wouldn't change a thing. She was extremely supportive, and said if I ever have any questions just to call her. She taught special ed in public school for 20 years, and she felt home was the best place for Amos not only academically, but also because he is protected in a loving environment!
I share this just to encourage those with special needs children (like the woman in Florida - loop #266). God gave us our children and He will equip us to teach, train and disciple them. He will provide the resources you need! This message is already so long, I won't list all of the resources that I have found, but anyone can e-mail me. I have found many former educators who are now home schooling their own children and are wanting to help families who are struggling in this area. He is Faithful! Karen Smith - San Antonio, TX
Date: Wed, 24 Jul 2002
From: Tim and Tori
Dawn, In regards to you "having" to have your son in the EED program to get special services or therapy for your son.
You might want to take a look at your state law, at the actual wording, to see that the school is interpreting the law correctly. The law may state that all children ages 3-21 are entitled to special services and can not be discriminated, or does the law say, "all publicly educated children". Therefore, you should have access to the therapist at the school, without your son attending the school, but it will depend on the law specific to your state. Also, you would have to take your son to the school for the appointments, which may bring up different issues. You might want to check out having your son seen by a speech and language pathologist and/or occupational therapist by consultation privately and paid through your insurance. Consultation means that the therapist would evaluate your child and give you activities to work on with him. You would see the therapist periodically (maybe weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or even semi-annually)to have your son re-evaluated and then activities updated. This way you can understand the specific areas he needs to work on and then you can be given ideas on how to help him achieve improvement in those areas. Another possibility would be to hire the therapist that he sees at school to come to your house and see him privately at your home after school, even 1X a month. I think a good resource for you would be Home School Legal Defense Association(HSLDA). They would be familiar with your state laws. The exciting thing about home schooling this little guy is that you know him better than anyone else and so who better to see that he gets ALL of his needs met? And the other nice thing about home schooling is that you don't have to worry about "success in his classroom". He'll be learning how to be successful in life! And his siblings will learn patience and understanding as you all work together. Tori
From: "alegna b"
Subject: Suggestion for Dawn Tyrrell
Date: Fri, 26 Jul 2002
From: Angela Bowden Williamsburg, VA
You should check out the NATTHAN web site since NATTHAN is an organization for "Families Homeschooling Special Needs and Disabled Children."
The magazine these people produce is my favorite homeschooling magazine. Laurie
From: "Frank Rogers"
Date: Sat, 27 Jul 2002
>Do you have experience teaching your method (TATRAS) to children with dysgraphia? Lorraine
I have never worked with a child in a situation where the parents have stated to me the child has "dysgraphia."
1. Labels are not very precise. A student with dyslexia can manifest his language problems in many different ways. Those that I have worked with, we can help. "Autism" is similar. Some students with autism we can help; some we probably can't
2. More important than the label, in working with children with special problems, is finding a method that is simple, logical, and that allows very slight progress to be measured and of the nature that parents can see the ultimate goal. Measuring progress is a great morale booster for both student and parent. Time you have; but you must be able to concretely measure and record progress.
3. TATRAS has a 30-day money back guarantee. For special learners we offer 60 days.
4. I have no doubt that there are situations where the simple logic of TATRAS will be of no avail. Although I have never seen such a case. But before a student is written off or subjected to odd-ball training strategies (that have been described in education journals) or committed to extremely expensive programs, often away from home, TATRAS should be given a try. Very sophisticated medical institutions are often no more aware of the power of systematic phonics than are our college-trained Elementary Ed teachers.
R'spy, Frank Rogers, TATRAS
Date: Sun, 28 Jul 2002
Subject: math in VA
Ed and Angela,
Just thought I'd mention something that I was hoping I could get input on from others, but I believe is well worth investigating. It is called Right Start Math. It is very gentle, yet moves the student to explore the nature of quantities. Their primary premise is the Japanese abacus. I have used Chisanbop/Chisenbop (take your choice if you surf the web about it) is something I ran into when I decided to not use curriculum. Right Start Math works in much the same way as what I did with my kindergartener last year. What he learned is quite remarkable, and I had wondered if it was the method I used, or the student. Since I read about Right Start Math, and the results they expect at the end of 1st grade, I was quite confident that it was the method, instead of simply the student.
At the end of the year, when we didn't even do math every day, he was working columns of multiple digit addition, borrowing, skip counting (with double digits here as well), reassociating various quantities when skip counting (8 x 3 is the same as 5 x 3 plus 3 x 3 ::::: and 12 x 5 is 10 x 5 plus 2 x 5). He also divides using reverse skipcounting. This is with Chisanbop. Right Start Math, following the lead of oriental schools, chose to not use Chisanbop (though oriental schools have traditionally done so) because using a frame abacus that is based on the same premise is more visual to most students, yet still kinesthetic, and not overwhelming to any that I have heard of. It just needs to be taught slowly after other ideas have been mastered fully enough. (I will probably continue to use Chisanbop instead of the abacus, because we are doing fine, but find the reasoning for the oriental school's switch compelling).
I had asked the Bluedorns if they knew anything about this curriculum, but they did not have any experience with it. I really have not seen this, but have spoken with the author over the phone, and since I knew about Chisanbop, I knew the premise of the system she has modified. She knows math history, and most importantly, the nature of math, not just the goals of an academic test. I respect her work from what I know of it.
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002
From: (Sharon Tayloe)
message: Dear Harvey or Laurie,
I have been struggling with your philosophy and the Well Trained Mind. If I follow your recommendations will my child be prepared to enter college? On the Well Trained Mind's message board Susan Wise Bauer made the following statement, "The Bluedorn plan is not designed to meet college entrance requirements (college is a second-best option in their philosophy), whereas the WTM high school curriculum is laid out with an eye to college admissions policies (it is a college prep program -- I am a college professor and am very pro-university). This accounts for some of the differences." Has she interpreted your philosophy accurately? Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. Sharon
>Has she interpreted your philosophy accurately?<
Yes and no.
Our suggested course of study for the high school years would be considered "college prep."
For ages 16-18 (briefly):
Family Worship (family Bible study morning and evening, personal devotions and studies in theology, memorization)
Reading Aloud (parents continue to read aloud 2 hours per day, oral narration)
History and Literature (read classics, written narration, memorization, history notebook, study history chronologically if possible, use primary sources)
Rhetoric (reading, composition, oral interpretation, speech, debate)
Government, Economics, Law
Languages (Greek and Latin, Hebrew optional)
Logic (3 years)
Mathematics (through calculus, if desired)
Science (biology, chemistry, physics lab courses)
Art and Music
Correct us if we are wrong.
>college is a second-best option in their philosophy<
We think campus residence education can be an inordinately expensive, time-wasting, culturally and spiritually perilous, and educationally dubious approach to higher education. If we can get a reputable law degree inexpensively by correspondence while testing out of much, not piling up years of debt, living at home, and attending our home church, then we would need some very strong reasons to choose another approach. We devote a large part of a chapter in our book to this subject.
From Susan Hoffmann:
I'm including in this letter a list of our selections for memorization for the past 2 years:
The Lord's Prayer (Mt. 6:9-13)
David's Speech to Goliath (1Sam 17:45-47)
10 Commandments (Ex 20:1-17)
The Shema (Duet 6:4-9)
Young Washington by A. Guiterman
A Song of Harvest Home by Charles Dickens
The Whole Armor of God (Eph 6:13-17)
Stonewall Jackson's Way
Star Spangled Banner
America the Beautiful
1 Thess 5:18
Sledding Song by Norman C. Schlichter
1 Cor 10:33
2 Thess 2:15
1 Cor 9:19, 22
Prov 10:1; 17:6b
1 Peter 2:9
1 Tim 3:15
1 Peter 3:15
The Chickadee by R.W. Emerson
Try, Try Again by T.H. Palmer
The Sun's Travels by R.L. Stevenson
The Archer by Clinton Scollard
10 Mealtime Rules (Prudence and the Millers)
Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening by R. Frost
The Charge of the Light Brigade by A. Tennyson
The Months by C. Rosetti
February Twilight by Sara Teasdale
Bad Men by Anon. (from Texas Rangers)
The Marine Corps Hymn
Written in March by W. Wordsworth
April by Sara Teasdale
Tis Merry in Greenwood by W. Scott
The Presidents and dates
The Cloud by P.B. Shelley