Best of Homeschooling with the Trivium Newsletter Year 2002-Part 1

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Date: Sat, 1 Dec 2001
Harry Potter

I have been reading with curiosity all the post on Harry Potter. Christian telling mature adult parents (other Christians) what is right and wrong! What foolishness we enter into. Ground that is not ours to interpret. What is liberty for one is bondage and sin for another. Let each man do what is right for his household.

I like what St. Augustine says “Love God and do as you please.” Some people are mature enough to handle Harry Potter and some aren’t. Our job is not to tell Christians a list of do’s and don’ts. Jesus said “by this I know you are God’s disciple, that you have love one for the other.” The real deception here is not Harry Potter, it’s one persons convictions being pushed to the whole world, a problem that is always in the church making it like a “click.”
By “love God and do as you please,” Augustine meant that if you love God, then your only pleasure is to do what pleases God. “If you love me, then you will keep my commandments.”

As mature in Christ, we are no longer under childish “touch not, taste not, handle not” type of rules. All things are lawful for us, so long as we use them lawfully. There may be lawful uses for Harry Potter.

I quite agree that application may differ between households. In the right context, Harry Potter may be useful as an example of the subtle methods of deceit, of the prevailing moral neutrality, of the vacuum of spiritual discernment, etc. In another household, it may have greater potential for doing harm. The liberty of the gospel requires that we make mature and discerning judgments in our particular circumstances.

From: Todd Shadburn
Date: Fri, 4 Jan 2002

> message: How can I apply the Classical model to a child with special needs such as high functioning autism?

I am homeschooling my 7yo ds who we highly suspect has Asperger’s. We are waiting to be officially evaluated in the spring. I don’t know how old your child is, but for me the Bluedorn’s ideas for age 10 and under are PERFECT for ANY child. My ds has MANY obsessions (this is a characteristic of Asperger’s for those who are wondering). Luckily, one of his obsessions is history. So, I feel he’s getting a good foundation in that area. He also can memorize well (sees it, remembers it), so he has memorized lots of scripture and will begin the Hebrew alphabet when I can figure out HOW to teach him this. He can spend hours reading on his own. BUT he has so much trouble with paying attention to someone else who is reading unless there are lots of pictures. So, the reading aloud that the Bluedorn’s suggest (I read aloud a lot, but not as much as they suggest, yet) is wonderful for him. Asperger’s children have high I.Q.s (another characteristic) so I think he will enjoy the challenge in the later years of learning Greek, Hebrew, Latin and the extensive history study. My ds has picked up some Spanish from some tapes we have here. I think languages will be easy and enjoyable. He also already ask some pretty deep questions about the bible, that I feel I need to know EXACTLY what Hebrew word was used. He really makes me question “why” I believe what I do and makes me want to be able to prove what I believe. He is going to be the type who likes this type of thinking, so he will enjoy being able to read the original Hebrew and Greek words and “just see for himself”. He’s never going to be one to just take someones word for it, he’s going to have to prove things for himself. I think these type kids are perfect for a classical education. They LIKE to think. Lea
Date: Sat, 05 Jan 2002
Subject: Ancient Writings/Primary Sources during Paul’s time
From: Debra Hiffernan

Hello all,

We plan to study Paul, his life/times and his books/writings in the New Testament. Any ideas for additional ancient writings/primary sources to include in our study? I’d be so grateful for any suggestions. Blessings, Deb
Lives of the Twelve Caesars — Claudius 30 (This section describes the reign of the Roman emperor Claudius.)

Here’s how you read the above site: The name of the author is Suetonius; the name of the literary work is “Lives of the Twelve Caesars”; the section from this work which I am referring to is the section entitled “Claudius”; the specific part of that section is “30.”

Annals 11.14 (A short history of the alphabet – Claudius adds 3 letters which are later disused.) Annals 11.13, 23-25; 12.23-24, 53 (the reforms of Claudius)

Letter of the Emperor Claudius
Select Papyri (Loeb) vol. I, p.212 (A letter from Claudius to officials in Alexandria concerning the Jews in A.D. 41)

Lives of the Twelve Caesars — Nero 20, 31 (This section describes the reign of the Roman emperor Nero.)

Annals 13.15-17 (Nero murders Britannicus – an example of the sort of crimes Nero perpetrated.) Annals 13.31, 50-51 (More on Nero) Annals 15.38-44 (The great fire at Rome in AD 64 and how Nero blamed the Christians for it and punished them.)

Cassius Dio
Roman History 62.16-18 (The great fire at Rome)

Epistles 7 (Seneca’s opinion of the arena.)

Essay on Providence 4 (Seneca writes on how a Stoic should react to hardship.)

Discourses 1.1 (An example of how a Stoic reacted to calamity) Discourses 1.14 (Examples of Stoic teachings on how all things are under the divine inspection) Manual 33 (examples of Stoic teachings)

Histories 1.2 (The state of Rome in A.D. 69)

Lives of the Twelve Caesars — Vitellius 13 (The gluttony of the emperor Vitellius in 69 A.D.)

Lives of the Twelve Caesars — Vespasian 1, 4-5, 7-9, 16, 18, 25 (Life of Vespasian)

Jewish Wars 6.236-270 (An account of the Jewish Wars AD 66-70) Jewish Wars 7.3 (triumph in Rome over the completion of the Jewish War) Jewish Wars 7.9 (The destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD)

Pliny the Younger
Letters 6.16, 20 (The eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD) Letters 4.13 (Pliny writes a letter to the historian Tacitus asking him for help in finding teachers for schools Pliny wants to fund)

Pliny the Elder
Natural History 3.9; 36.24 (Description of the extent of the city of Rome and some of the buildings at Rome during the first century A.D.)

It is my opinion that all Greek and Latin primary sources should be pre-read by the parent.

Date: Mon, 7 Jan 2002
From: Steve and Elizabeth Bird
Subject: Unplugging the television

People used to think we were weird because we home school -since we unplugged our television, people think we are crazy! We turned off the TV about six months ago. Allow me to share with you some of the blessings God has brought forth from our TV-free lifestyle. We spend more time praying, conversing, playing games, and walking our grateful Labrador retriever. Our daughters, ages 5 and 7, still argue, but the frequency and intensity of their squabbles has diminished. The girls’ attention span has increased, the 5 year old has started reading, and we have completely escaped the detrimental effects of advertising. My husband has suddenly found time to do a peace-making devotional Bible study with our girls – he acquired the materials almost a year ago, but with the distractions of the NFL, NBA, and the NCAA, he just never “had time” to do it. As for me, my weakness was movies; even though I knew it was unproductive, I would watch a movie I had seen several times already. Since unplugging the TV, I have made progress toward two of my long-held dreams – I’m taking Biblical Greek and have plenty of time to do my homework, and I’m teaching free English-as-a-second-language classes as an outreach ministry – again, I have plenty of time to prepare. For people who have considered unplugging their television, but haven’t, consider this. I recently became friends with Michelle, a lovely 36 year old Christian woman and exemplary wife, mother, chef, friend, musician, and evangelist. She grew up as a missionary kid in Africa, with no TV or radio. While my sister and I were watching “Gilligan’s Island” and listening to KC and the Sunshine Band, she was spending time in true fellowship with God and with others, and developing into the fullness of godly womanhood. Her lack of knowledge of pop culture doesn’t make her weird. Her intimacy with the Lord and her refreshing innocence make her a joy to be with. May we all be more like Michelle – who is more like Jesus! I know that being TV-free is moving our family toward the abundant life that is ours in Christ. Elizabeth in North Carolina
Date: Mon, 7 Jan 2002
Subject: RE: Understanding Writing curriculum
From: David & Rita Holets

Harvey and Laurie,

I am so enjoying your book, although it is taking me awhile to get through it. I am finally to the appendix. After hearing you speak, and talking with you on the phone, getting the e-mails for the last two years, and now reading the book, I am thoroughly “immersed” and convinced that we took the right direction when we gave up the heavy academic stuff in the early years. There is more peace and contentment and less frustration in both mother and boys since we made these changes. My younger boys are not showing the signs of stress that were evident in my older ones at the same age. I am so grateful I took the plunge! I echo the sentiments of others that have expressed that giving up the early math workbooks is a good thing. I noticed that you are in favor of Susan Braderick’s program Understanding Writing. I was really happy to see that you recommended it because I have used it for about four years now and find it superior to everything else I had tried before. I especially like that it is all in one binder – all ages, all grades, and the thoroughly Christian approach to writing as a ministry to others. I do have a couple of questions that I thought you could answer. First of all, I began using it with an older child (about level 5). However, I noticed when I tried it with my first and third graders (boys allergic to pencils, you know) at the time that it was very tiresome and difficult to use because it required them to do so much independent writing. Would you just skip it altogether with those first few levels and then plug them in when they are closer to ten and ready to begin writing? This is what I have ended up doing. Also, they give you two choices for levels 7 and 8 grammar – Easy Grammar and A Beka Composition II and IV. The literature says they recommend the A Beka books for “college bound” students. At the time, I definitely considered all my boys to be college bound, so I chose A Beka. These are 8th and 10th grade books and although very thorough, proved to be a bit difficult for my son who was 12 and 13 when he used them. Now that my next son is almost twelve and approaching level 7, I am asking myself which books would be more suited to our purpose. We have changed our approach considerably in the last two years (from an aggressive, accelerated style to more in line with the trivium approach) and we also no longer consider college a “given” for our boys. Which of the grammar programs do you recommend? Blessings and thanks, Rita Holets
I would wait to start Understanding Writing till age 10 or so. We used Easy Grammar for a couple of years long ago, and I was happy with it. But I’m sure ABeka would be fine also. Perhaps you could use a lower grade. Laurie
Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2002

>Lives of the Twelve Caesars — Claudius 30 (This section describes the >reign of the Roman emperor Claudius.)

My question is how do we know where to find these works? Sandy
Where to find the texts of Ancient Literature:

1. Large public libraries or college or university libraries

2. Purchase from catalogs:

You can purchase all the following books from Veritas Press

Books you should have in your own personal library:

The Histories by Herodotus
History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides
The Complete Works of Josephus
Alexander the Great: Selections from Arrian
The Annals of Imperial Rome (selections from Tacitus)
Cicero: Selected Works
Early History of Rome: Books I-IV of the History of Rome from Its Foundation (selections from Livy) Plutarch’s Lives
The Twelve Caesars (selections from Suetonis)
The History of the Church (selections from Eusebius)
The City of God by Augustine
Confessions by Augustine

3. On-line sources:

Web sites for English translations of the classics: The Internet Classics Archive by Daniel C. Stevens– a list of 441 works of classical literature by 59 different authors. Mainly Greco-Roman works (some Chinese and Persian), all in English translation. The MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive–an integrated collection of over 1000 biographies and historical articles of a mathematical nature. The Internet History Sourcebooks Project by Paul Halsall–collections of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts presented cleanly for educational use. Includes ancient, medieval, and modern history The History Guide by Steve Kreis–created for the high school and undergraduate student who is either taking classes in history, or who intends to major in history in college. The purpose of The History Guide is to better prepare yourself for your history classes and to make your time in class more enjoyable and proficient. The History Guide contains the complete content of three undergraduate courses in European history which will certainly be of use to those of you studying such topics at the college level or in A.P. European history classes. Upon its completion, The History Guide will contain more than seventy lectures in European history from ancient Sumer to the fall of Soviet-style communism in 1989. Parents engaged in home schooling their children will find much that is of interest and I urge you to contact me if there are any details I can help provide to you. This site has been developed in the Socratic spirit of wisdom and knowledge. The Perseus Digital Library The Internet Public Library – numerous online texts The On-Line books Page – search their 12,000+ listings – publishes online quality works (30, 180 of them) in arts and humanities History Central Catalog Classic Christian books in electronic format Fine literature digitally re-published Athena – nearly 10,000 links to books on all subjects

From: Anne Calvert
Subject: reversing letters
Date: Sun, 13 Jan 2002

>Hi all, I have a question. My five year old daughter often reverses letters >and numbers. I was always under the impression that this is normal and not >related to dyslexia until they are older and still doing it. My mother in >law insists that she is dyslexic. I do not agree and think that she will >grow out of it. SHe also has trouble pronouncing r’s, k’s & L’s Could this >be related or just normal childhood stuff? Thank you, Jean Kennedy

When my son was about 6 years old, a friend from church came over one day to my house and saw my son’s handwriting in one of his books. Many of his numbers and letters were printed backwards. She, being a second grade teacher for many years, took a great interest in looking at his writing and commented on the fact. She said that so many parents get angry and frustrated at their children for this, but that it is so common and is very normal for children that age. It can be very traumatic for a child to have overly anxious parents and friends upset or worried about it. It was obvious that she had a real love for children and a good quantity of wisdom in teaching them. By the way, my son now writes his letters the right way, and I have to remind him to be patient and not criticize his younger siblings for writing their letters that way. Usually pronunciation will improve with maturity also. Blessings, Anne
Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2002
Subject: review “Teaching The Trivium”

A review of Teaching the Trivium which was written for “Family Times,” edited by Dave and Bev Hewitt of Ft. Wayne, IN, and Dave and Karen Pratte of Antioch, IL. This is a resource which is designed for homeschoolers among churches of Christ.

reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

A new resource is now available for homeschoolers. It is called “Teaching the Trivium” Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style.” The authors are Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn of New Boston, IL, who are the parents of five children, ages 18 to 26, who have always been homeschooled. The Bluedorn family operates a homeschooling business known as “Trivium Pursuit,” and they are proponents of what is commonly called a “Classical Christian Education.”

Before going any further, it might be good to explain the concept of “Classical Education,” because the term means different things to different people. There are those who advocate a type of education based on the Renaissance classical curriculum derived from ancient Greece and Rome, which includes reading Homer, Plato, Caesar, and Virgil; studying the philosophy of Aristotle and Seneca; and learning to speak like Demosthenes and Cicero. The Bluedorns identify this as a Classical Humanist Education.

However, using a similar model, there has arisen a movement, especially among those from a Reformed background, to establish Classical Christian Schools. Also there is a Classical School movement among Catholics as well. And there are homeschool programs based on these concepts as well. The Bluedorns define their concept of a Classical Christian education more narrowly to include that which is of good form and lasting value (classical) and which conforms to a Biblical standard within a Biblical worldview (Christian).

In 1947 Dorothy Sayers delivered an essay entitled “The Lost Tools of Learning” at Oxford University. In it, she advocated that education return to what had worked int he past, and specifically applied the three subjects of the formal medieval Trivium– Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric–as an educational model or philosophy and as a teaching medium or technique. Rather than studying the actual classical curriculum, the model suggests that each child passes through these three stages of development and the method indicates that each subject can be taught through these three stages of development.

The Bluedorns then show that this Trivium model/method is actually based on Biblical principles. “For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6). The grammar stage, which involves the accumulation of facts, is knowledge. The logic stage, which involves seeing the relationships between facts, is understanding. And the rhetoric stage, which involves the practical use and expression of what has been learned, is wisdom. They generally identify the stages of child development with grammar through age 12, the logic being ages 13-15, and the rhetoric being ages 16-18 (others divide it slightly differently).

The book investigates different methods and approaches to homeschooling in the light of the Trivium and makes suggestions as to various activities that can be pursued during each of the stages of child development. In addition to discussing several other issues that are of special interest to homeschoolers, the book has two appendices. One consists of a number of very interesting articles on education, and the second is a resource list for those who are interested in pursuing a classical style of homeschooling.

Cathy Duffy, author of “The Christian Home Educator’s Curriculum Manual” (two volumes, one for elementary grades and one for junior/senior high), wrote, “The Bluedorns are true pioneers in classical Christian education. For years, they’ve been sharing what they’ve learned through their research as well as through their experience teaching their own children, and through interaction with thousands of other parents across the country.

“They share a growing enthusiasm for classical education, but they temper their enthusiasm with cautions about pagan content. Rather than buying into the ‘Great Books’ model of classical education, the Bluedorns apply the methodology while carefully selecting resources that support a biblical Christian worldview. Some of those resources are among the Great Books while others are not.

“The Bluedorn’s philosophy of education is presented at length in the first part of their new book, “Teaching the Trivium.” However, they also address broader issues such as government control of education and its conflict with biblical principles, problems with classroom-style teaching, arguments for teaching Latin, Greek, and Hebrew (as well as some ‘how-to’ information), charts showing ‘classical’ sources for teaching ancient history for each time period, and discussion of various homeschooling methods and how they can be adapted (or not) to classical education. This is one of the rare places where the contrasting ideas of Dorothy Sayers and Charlotte Mason for elementary education are addressed. All through this section, I especially appreciate the Bluedorn’s flexibility; they suggest numerous ideas for content, presentation, and timing but leave it to parents to decide what makes sense for their own children.

“Chapters eleven through fifteen get into very specific suggestions for teaching the various subjects at different age levels. Also, flip back to the last forty pages of the appendix for extensive resource lists that identify curriculum and resources that fit the Bluedorn’s methodology. In addition to the resources list, the Appendix features sixteen articles that address more specialized topics such as Dorothy Sayers’s ‘The Lost Tools of Learning;’ ‘Ancient Education: Hebrew, Greek, and Roman;’ and ‘The Trivium in Scripture.’

“‘Teaching the Trivium’ is a valuable contribution to the discussion regarding classical Christian education. The Bluedorns have been writing, speaking, and sharing online for years, but it is wonderful to have so much accumulated wisdom finally collected in one volume. This is an opinionated book, reflecting the strong convictions the Bluedorns have developed over the years. They approach their subject from a serious Reformed perspective, relying on Scripture as the ultimate authority. Even those Christians who might not share the Bluedorn’s theological perspective should find this book helpful if their goal is to use the classical model of education by drawing from it that which is worthy, while staying true to biblical principles.”

I purchased the book at a special pre-publication price, but it lists for $27.00. There are other resources for a classical style homeschool education, such as “The Well Trained Mind” by Jesse Wise and Susan Wise Bauer (though not from a biblical perspective), the Covenant Home School Curriculum, Veritas Press, and the Sept./Oct., 1997, issue of “The Teaching Home,” among others. Even if one does not specifically plan to follow what is generally identified as a classical model for homeschooling, there is much worthwhile information in this book that he should find interesting, relevant, and beneficial. The address is PMB 168, 139 Colorado St., Muscatine, IA 52761, although I am beginning to see the book listed in homeschool catalogues now.

Here is a quote from the Bluedorns that itself is almost worth the price of the book. “Those Christians who have resisted Homeschooling look at it as a short-lived aberration in history. They smirk, and wait for homeschoolers to wake up and join the real world. They will be waiting until the end of the world. Homeschooling is an even more fundamental philosophical culture-shift than what took place when the parochial Christian school movement began in the 1960’s. Homeschooling is here to stay, because it answers questions that Christians have been asking ever since God began to put the desire in the hearts of parents to pass on their faith to their children.” To which I add a hearty AMEN!
From: “Josh & Christa Dittmar”
Subject: homeschool blues…
Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2002

I have a question for everyone. I’ve been using the Ten things to Do before age 10… schedule with my 5 year old son. We begin after chores with memory work (usually one verse a week) practicing reading, then do some copywork and handwriting practice (a letter a day) then I read aloud out of such chapter books as Dr. Dolittle, at which point he can color and draw as I read. While things tend to go rather smoothly, I feel discouraged as I sense him dragging his feet and sighing that “we have to do school…” I love learning…and watching him as he reads extremely well and is making great strides. Every day I conscientiously try to sound as bright and cheerful and matter of fact as I can about our routine…and assure him that playtime will come. Is his “aww, school” response normal? Am I not doing something I ought? Doing too much? I do so want him to love learning…any tips on how/what I can or should communicate to him in response? We really only go for about an hour to an hour and a half…while his siblings (ages 3 & 2) play upstairs and join us for some coloring. Thanks for any input! Christa Dittmar, an American in London, England
An hour a day for reading and phonics practice, copywork, memory, and narration doesn’t seem like too much. Are you spending enough time reading aloud to the children? My guess is that it is the copywork and letter writing he likes the least. Maybe he is one of those little boys who is allergic to pencils. Perhaps you could limit the copywork and other activities where he must hold a pencil to 10-15 minutes a day. Laurie
From: “Kevin Mathews”
Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2002

Dear Bluedorns and Loop Members,
I would appreciate your opinion concerning my 7 1/2 year old son. He is not reading books on his own, should I be concerned? We have been using the Writing Road to Reading and Tatras. I give him the 3 McCall-Crabbs comprehension tests per week and he consistently scores in the 5th to 6th grade level. We listen to many books on tape, but my reading out loud varies with the business of our schedule. He is the oldest of 5 the youngest is almost two, so life here is busy!! Does anyone have any tips on how to get a child to read books on his own? I would appreciate your help. Thanks, Rose
Our oldest child Nate was like this, only he was fully ten years old and still didn’t read books on his own. Do you know what I finally did? I let him read some Hardy Boys mysteries. That got him used to reading whole chapter books, and then I weaned him off those kind of books and onto more difficult books. It didn’t take him but two years and he was reading unabridged Charles Dickens. Laurie
Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2002
From: (Julie Davidson)

city: Lakewood
state: CO
message: Mr. and Mrs. Bluedorn,
I just wanted to thank you for all the time and effort you put forth on your book”Teaching the Trivium.” It is very rich and I have not digested it all yet but what I have implemented has truly made our homeschool a joy. My kids have blossomed right before my eyes since I have put “grammar” time first. (Well, actually Bible time is first and last in our day. My husband has started evening devotionals but we are not doing it every night yet.) We started the Greek Alphabetarion doing one letter a week and the girls SING through the lesson while they write. They love it. We do history/reading in the afternoon with maybe 15-20 minutes of math instead of 45-60 minutes of pulling teeth to get a lesson done. The main thing I wish to thank you for was showing me how far I have drifted into learning “things” instead of the importance of learning to live well. I have also started “Imitation of Christ” which goes along quite well with your book in my opinion. If we don’t learn how to live well for Christ what else is going to matter really? I guess part of the changes are changes in me–thank you for being a tool to help me open my eyes and my heart for change. Please keep me on a list for any new material you write.

Oh, I bought a copy of the Alphabetarion for my mother (we do a long distance class thing so she can be a part of our school) and she has enjoyed it very much. Thank you for bring our family together in many ways. Peace be with you, Julie Davidson
Aulus Gellius

Attic Nights 7.3

Tubero in his Histories has recorded that in the first Punic War the consul Atilius Regulus, when encamped at the Bagradas River in Africa, fought a stubborn and fierce battle with a single serpent of extraordinary size, which had its lair in that region; that in a mighty struggle with the entire army the reptile was attacked for a long time with hurling engines and catapults; and that when it was finally killed, its skin, a hundred and twenty feet long, was sent to Rome.
Quintus Curtius

History of Alexander 4.4.1-5

At this point Alexander from utter weariness had determined to raise the siege and go to Egypt. For after he had overrun Asia with great speed he was lingering around the walls of a single city, thus losing the opportunity for so many mighty exploits. But he was as much ashamed to withdraw baffled, as to delay, thinking that his reputation also, by which he had overthrown more than by his arms, would be impaired if he should leave Tyre as a witness that he could be defeated. Therefore, in order to leave nothing untried, he ordered more ships to be brought up and the best of his soldiers to be embarked upon them. And it chanced that a sea-monster, of a size never before seen, rising even above the waves with its back, brought its huge body up to the causeway which the Macedonians had built, and striking the surges asunder as it lifted itself, was seen by both sides. Then from the peak of the causeway it again plunged under the sea, and now rising above the surface with a great part of its bulk, now hidden as the waves dashed over it, it disappeared under water not far from the walls of the city. The appearance of the monster gave joy to both sides; the Macedonians interpreted it as showing the direction in which to go on building up the work; the Tyrians thought that Neptune, as an avenger of the usurped sea, had brought the monster against the causeway, and that it would surely soon fall in ruins. Rejoicing in the omen, the Tyrians turned aside to feasting and loaded themselves with wine, and still under its influence at sunrise, they embarked upon ships wreathed with flowers and garlands; so over-hasty were they to perceive, not only an omen of victory, but even an occasion for celebrating one.
Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2002
From: (Elyse M. Catton)

city: Holt
state: MO
message: This is my 3rd year homeschooling my sons. They are in 2nd, 5th, and 6th grades. I have been slowly trying to incorporate some of the principles of Classical Education into our homeschool effort. For example, we have begun the study of Latin this year. I am increasingly concerned that I have ‘missed’ doing the grammar stage properly with my two oldest sons. Is there any way to assess gaps they might have, and ‘catch up’? Thank you for your web-site and your time. Elyse Catton
I’ve heard people discuss this topic, but could never quite understand what people meant by “gaps.” Do they mean that they are worried because their children didn’t study rocks in the 3rd grade like most public and private school children do, or that they didn’t study the planets in 4th grade? We’re talking here about children not learning the facts in a certain area of study by a certain age level. I think lots of people worry about this. One person I once talked to was quite concerned because her 10 year old child knew nothing about the Depression of the ’30’s, and another mother felt like a failure because her son couldn’t recite all the states and capitals by age 12. These types of worries could drive parents crazy, especially if they stop and think about all the minute facts their child probably doesn’t know, and the even greater number of facts he learned but immediately forgot. Now, I have a confession to make. We never studied rocks. Never. In fact, we never studied earth science at all. But that’s OK, because I plan on studying the subject with my grandchildren when I have more time. I’m actually looking forward to it.

Classical education is not like the education we parents got in the public school, where we memorized a bunch of facts, took a test, and then went on to the next subject. Classical education is about training minds and developing proper appetites. It’s developing the imagination and creativity. It’s having time to play and explore in the old fashioned way. It’s encouraging a love for learning. It’s building a firm foundation in the child’s mind with memorization and narration. And it’s about learning to obey and serve our heavenly Father. It’s a way of life. So, memorization of facts is important, not necessarily for the particular fact that’s being put in the memory, but for the work and process of putting that fact in the memory.

But perhaps, the gaps you are worried about are the skill type gaps and foundational knowledge that are important to learn in the early years — things such as basic formal English (and other language) grammar knowledge which could be started at age 10; the basics of formal mathematics which also could begin at age 10 (and informal math at earlier ages); and intensive phonics instruction which should begin as soon as the child is ready. Other things that are important are allowing plenty of time to read aloud to the child and giving children time to develop their creativity. These all are foundational stones to the building you are constructing, and any gaps here would need to be repaired. Perhaps you could read our article on Ten Things to Do Before Age Ten( We go more into this subject in that article. Laurie
Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2002
From: “the Canadian Boswell’s”

I have a question concerning how much time given each day for play. I have a 6, 4, 2, and 6mo and even my six year old is always saying “can’t we just play”. Even when I read aloud he complains “but I would rather play army guys with you” He is always asking to play monopoly and lately has been really sulky about it all. He does his chores and even practices reading when I ask him and I rarely have to ask twice but lately he has been sighing long sighs and letting out a big “ooo kkaayyy” like he is really heart broken. I don’t know what to do. He is the most well behaved of all my kid’s and this seems to be really bothering him. He will do whatever is asked but with a heavy heart. He isn’t at all snobby about it, he just looks like he is on the verge of tears. We do very little school work and when we do I am very careful not to push. Any suggestions? He also has been asking more and more for computer and t.v. time and shrugs “fine” when I politely object. What’s a mom to do? Should I spend more one on one time with him? Laura in Canada
Just a couple of suggestions:

I would suggest that a 6 year old not be given the option of having computer and TV time. They don’t need it, it interferes with the development of proper appetites, it is an activity that not even the best of books can compete with, it distracts the child’s attention, and I believe it is down-right addictive to certain children.

Do you allow him to play quietly with his toys on the floor near you while you read? Some children just need to be “doing something” with their hands, and they can actually concentrate better if they are allowed to play with toys while listening to someone read.

But your question was, how much time should a child be given to play? I have to reach far back into my memory to remember how much of the day my little children played. Does 4-5 hours per day for pure play seem like too much? Perhaps some of our readers who have little children could set us straight on this. Laurie
From: “Jennifer Epstein”
Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2002

Here is a thought for the lady with the reluctant 5 year old son: If it seems like such a young boy is already reluctant to “do” school, I would definitely back off for now. There is no need for boys, especially, to be pushed into academics at such a young age. Try things like NEVER giving him specific copywork or handwriting assignments, and watch and see what he writes on his own. He might not be ready for any writing yet. If he desires to write something, take a sincere interest in helping him as much as he wants. Although doing arts and crafts during read aloud time can be great, and we do it often, my son loves nothing better than to sit on my lap (for hours) looking at the pictures while I read to him or, as he learned, to follow along reading with me. Make sure all boys get plenty of physical exertion and whatever you do, don’t quench a love of education at ANY age! God Bless You, Jennifer Epstein
Date: Fri, 1 Feb 2002
Subject: Non-reading 7 year old
From: Eugene B Sedy

Rose wrote, concerning her son, “I would appreciate your opinion concerning my 7 1/2 year old son. He is not reading books on his own, should I be concerned? ” I also have a 7 1/2 yo son who is not a fluent reader. My oldest 2 were early readers, both learning at the same time: Leah was 5, and Joe, 4. My third child, Catherine, taught herself to read between the ages of 6 and 7. (That was a challenging time for our family–we had little kids, and I was pregnant and nursing. I just never got around to really teaching Catherine myself. Leah and my friend helped her with alphabet activities, and she worked through Phonics Tutor CD-rom on her own.) Since my older children learned to read at young ages and were quite self-motivated, when Mike was 6-ish, I was concerned that first Mike didn’t seem to have any interest in reading, and second that he seemed to have trouble remembering the sounds of letters and sounding out words. I put away the phonics for a year, and we worked on math and handwriting. He also enjoys listening to me read and stories on tape. I brought out the phonics again this year and he’s doing so much better. I’m glad I waited. In teaching the older children, I’ve identified a couple of factors that seem to determine when a child begins to “take off” and will start reading on his own (I call this “fluency” in reading). First is time. My children have taken about 2 years from when they first start a phonics program until they are reading fluently. The second factor is confidence. Help your child to build confidence in his reading abilities by having him read to you everyday. Let him pick the material. We use the Bob Books for much of our reading practice. My kids usually will pick something really easy, and they want to read that particular thing every time. Just about when I think I will scream if I have to hear, “Mat. Mat Sat. Sam. Sam sat.” one more time, Mike will decide that he’s bored with that book, too, and he’ll move on to another. Dr. Suess books are also good for reading practice. At the early stage, I have the children read the words they can and I’ll read the rest.

Most times they tire before the book is completed, so I’ll say, “Read to this page, then I’ll finish.” Mike enjoys Curious George, so we’re reading through those stories together. Which brings me to the fourth factor, interest. Mike was not self-motivated to want learn to read. Mike did want to join Cub Scouts this year. Daddy put a little fire under him by telling him, “To do your best as a Cub Scout, you have to be able to read.” Mike immediately asked me to start teaching him phonics again! Additionally, as kids gain confidence with their reading skills, they begin to realize that a book is great entertainment. You always have something you can do! As early readers, my children have enjoyed Thorton Burgess’s Mother West Wind books, Amelia Bedelia books, and Encyclopedia Brown books. All of these books have short chapters, and Encyclopedia Brown books also have a mystery to solve with each chapter, which helps to build comprehension in a fun way. Just continue doing what you’re doing, and be careful not to push. If your son doesn’t seem internally motivated to want to read, give him a reason to learn. For example, perhaps your son likes building models: “Well, you need to be able to read the directions to build this model.” Help him set a goal. Work on reading little by little, and in the meantime, work on memorization, handwriting, science, etc. One thing I’ve noticed with my kids, the desire to memorize seemed to decrease as they became fluent in reading, so use this pre-reading time to its fullest advantage. Blessings, Janet Sedy
Jan of the Windmill: A Story of the Plains by Mrs. Juliana Horatia Ewing (1876)

We just finished reading this very sweet book about a young Dutch boy who grows up to become an artist.
From: Mkbaxley54
Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2002
Subject: Theology

I am new to classical homeschooling. I have heard a lot about reform theology lately and was wondering if they are one in the same with classical education. Is your book from the view point of reform theology? I am studying this theology because as of a few days ago I had never heard of it. We are Southern Baptist, but very fundamental in our beliefs. I am looking for a classical education book from a Christian point of view, but I don’t know about reform theology. I have read The Well Trained Mind and the author’s statement of faith as posted on the website bothers me. I hope my questions are not imprudent. I am simply looking for a book that supports my Biblical view point of “Saved by Grace” and instructing our children to live a Godly life in Christ Jesus. Katie
>I am new to classical homeschooling. I have heard a lot about Reformed
>theology lately and was wondering if they are one in the same with >classical education.

My answer is probably more than you are asking for, but I don’t know how to show you what I want you to see without taking you down the trail with me.

There are several different ways to understand the expression, “Reformed Theology.”

1. From a strict historical perspective, “Reformed Theology” would refer to theological positions held by a certain group among the Protestant reformers in the sixteenth century who distinguished themselves from the Lutherans. The Reformed differed from the Lutherans on their view of communion, saw less distinction between the law and gospel, allowed less independence to the role of the civil magistrate, and they emphasized the doctrine of God where Lutherans emphasized the doctrine of salvation. The Belgic Confession (1561, revised 1619), the Heidelberg Catechism (1563), and the Canons of Dordt (1619) are a good summary of Reformed theology.

2. In a more modern sense, “Reformed Theology” might refer to theological positions which prevail among “Reformed” and “Presbyterian” churches today. These are not necessarily the same as the theological positions of the sixteenth century, though most of them would be derived (or at least claim to be derived) from that tradition.

3. In a looser sense, “Reformed Theology” is commonly used as a label for belief in God’s sovereignty in salvation — otherwise referred to as “the doctrines of grace” or “the five points of Calvinism.” The Canons of Dordt are actually the earliest systematic expression of what has come to be known as “the five points of Calvinism.” These “doctrines of grace” are only a part of traditional “reformed theology,” and other denominational-traditions hold to these same doctrines of grace, so they are not uniquely “reformed.” Nevertheless, the doctrines of grace have become a “rallying flag” for those who call themselves “reformed,” and they consider these doctrines to be an integral part of their beliefs, so they sometimes loosely refer to people who hold to the five points of Calvinism as “reformed” in their theology.

4. Finally, some Reformed and Presbyterian personalities like to use the expression “Reformed Theology” to refer to whatever they happen to believe, regardless of whether it is a traditional belief, or a modern prevailing position.

So you have 1) the older tradition of “Reformed Theology,” 2) the modern positions of “Reformed Theology,” 3) the rallying flag of “Reformed Theology,” and 4) those who want to capture the flag of “Reformed Theology.”

What is the connection between this and classical education? Well, if you are one of the “capture the flag” Reformed theologians, and you happen to believe in a classical style of education, then you might claim that classical education is “Reformed.” That’s something like saying, “I’m an American, I like broccoli, therefore liking broccoli is American.” Well, it may be nice that I have such a loyal attachment to America, but I really have no right to push myself off as THE American, projecting my specific preference for broccoli upon all others of the same general classification. Maybe most Americans like broccoli, and maybe most “reformed” people like classical education (I doubt both propositions), but I don’t think we can honestly make that strong of a connection.

I suppose someone might think this way: “Classical education is Biblical. Reformed theology is Biblical. Therefore classical education must be Reformed.” We will lay aside the questions of which form or what part of classical education, or of Reformed theology, he might be referring to, or whether any of these is actually Biblical. We only want to point out the error in reasoning, which goes something like this: “Oranges are fruit. Apples are fruit. Therefore oranges must be apples.” Well, the only legitimate conclusion is that fruit includes oranges and apples.

Historically considered, because the Roman Catholics have adhered to a form of “classical education” more closely than anyone else, “classical education” might be considered more Roman Catholic than Reformed. So should the Roman Catholics claim “classical education” as their own? I don’t think so, though perhaps there are some forms of it which are more closely associated with Catholicism.

In my estimation, all such claims are rather carnal and childish (First Corinthians 1:12; 3:1-4), and create unnecessary barriers and unfair pigeonholes. The only important question is whether a classical form or style of education can be brought into conformity to Biblically revealed truth. We are satisfied that the classical Trivium can be made to conform with Biblical truth. If it is made to conform, then it will be in resonance with anything else which conforms to Biblical truth, including anything in “reformed theology” which happens to conform to Biblical truth. We think there are OTHER parts of what is traditionally considered “classical education” which DO NOT agree with Biblical truth, and therefore will NOT be in resonance with other things which DO conform to Biblical truth, including anything in “reformed theology” which happens to conform to Biblical truth.

So the answer to your question is: No, classical education and reformed theology are not one and the same, but there are parts of each which are compatible. Those who claim a close connection would seem to be overly zealous for their cause.

> Is your book written from the viewpoint of Reformed theology?

I believe that those who hold to some form of “Reformed theology” will find much resonance and agreement with our book, not because we are strictly “reformed” — because we are not — but because we agree with “Reformed theology” on many things, hopefully because we both agree to the same Biblical truths (though it is possible that we both agree to the same unbiblical errors, yet I hope not.)

You will notice that in all of my answers, I want to bring the matter back to the Bible. I believe it is unwise to compare ourselves with ourselves (First Corinthians 10:12). We must compare ourselves to the one true standard. It doesn’t matter whether we are Reformed, or classical, or whatever the label, but whether we are honestly following the Word of God.

> I am >studying this theology because as, of a few days ago, I had never heard
>of it. >We are Southern Baptist, but very fundamental in our beliefs. I am
>looking for a classical education book from a Christian point of view,
>but I don’t know about reformed theology.

We would agree with reformed theology regarding the fundamentals — full inspiration and authority of Scripture, trinity of God, deity of Christ, justification by grace through faith, etc.

We would agree with reformed theology regarding the sovereignty of God in all things, including salvation, and regarding the unity of the people of God of all ages.

We believe that the reformed doctrine of the church and of the covenants is not fully consistent with Scripture — not that we have it all sorted out ourselves and we have somehow arrived at a full and mature knowledge of the truth. In our estimation, Reformed theology teaches some things with more confidence than Scripture warrants. Scripture is the rock foundation upon which we must carefully build all other truth, deductively, brick upon brick. Scripture is not a launching pad from which we may project our speculations, inductively, imagination upon imagination. Men can spin some beautiful doctrines, but beauty can be deceitful, and is no sound test of truth. Truth must be deduced from other truth which can eventually be traced back to the only source and test of truth — Scripture. Whatever is speculatively induced from truth can never be tested for its truth value unless it is brought back and deduced or disproved from Scripture. Otherwise, no matter how beautiful it may seem, it is simply imagination, vain philosophy, and the doctrines of men after the elements and traditions of the world, and to build upon them is to build upon sand.

>I hope my questions are not imprudent. I am simply looking for a book
>that supports my Biblical view point of “Saved by Grace” and
>instructing our children to live a godly life in Christ Jesus.

We are in complete agreement with salvation by grace alone, and we hope our book is consistent with the goal of instructing our children to live a godly life. We are open to any suggestions as to how to improve our book in pursuing this goal.

Harvey Bluedorn
From: “Keen Mom”
Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002

Dear Bluedorns,
I have bought your book, Teaching the Trivium, and this has been the “needed” puzzle piece to fit my homeschooling “curriculum” puzzle. I have tried all kinds of approaches with this and that curriculum, but always feeling something was missing, not quite together. I started reading another book last year and loved the classical approach, but something was still missing. It was your book which made me feel like I shifted from “drive” to “overdrive”. The Christian foundation is what I have always felt was important in our schooling. And after reading Proverbs 2:6, I knew I was on to something wonderful with your book. Sherri
Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002
From: Daniel Kirk

How much time for “play?”
I am a full-time student, working, ironically, toward a credential rather than an education. This limits the amount of time I have for teaching and learning, so your mileage may vary. We have two sons, ages 3 and 5. Our “formal schoolwork” takes place at the kitchen table, usually after breakfast, depending on my schedule. We begin with the 3yo. He reviews his Bible verses and works on the current verse, and then wanders off to play. We don’t require him to do any learning, but offer to include him so he doesn’t feel left out. It takes less than 5 minutes. Then his brother gets a turn. We review his AWANA verses and work on the current verse. Then we sing the Greek and Roman alphabets, count to 20 in English and Spanish, review the poems he has memorized, work on the current poem, sing a hymn, and then do a little phonics and math. Total time: 20-30 minutes. The rest of their waking hours are for fun. Of course, we think learning is fun, so there is no clear line between education and recreation. Sometimes they play alone, sometimes they play together, and sometimes I play with them. The boys build with Legos, “help” with dishes, laundry, and house-cleaning, and play with their stuffed animals and toy trucks. Together, we wrestle, pretend to be lions or horses, make toys and games out of empty boxes and containers, read about science and do experiments, or just curl up with a good book. I can’t tell exactly how much we read, but a year’s worth of reading in the Sonlight catalog would last us about a month. We don’t force anyone to sit and listen, we just say, “Who wants a story?” Usually one or both boys do, but if they don’t that’s OK. We read short selections or chapters from each book, and stop when they get tired. About TV: we allow 30 minutes of video per week, except when I urgently need some quiet study time. Even then, we try to keep it to a minimum, and the boys are pretty good at entertaining themselves without it. We will re-evaluate this when I graduate next year. While I am working on a credential, I am also trying to get an education, which at this point, means about 30 minutes a day working on Latin Book One by Harry Fletcher Scott (c)1938. I’m on Lesson 58 of 98.
From: “Kendra Fletcher”
Subject: Playtime
Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002

Our children (3 boys, 2 girls) are 9, 7, 4, 2, and 9 months. They “officially” play 3-4 hours, but sometimes I think they believe that anytime is playtime; chores are done playfully, mealtimes can get silly, and listening to me or their father read gets those creative bodies moving. In other words, their free play time is limited to a few hours per day, but they go about their blessed little lives with so much joy most of the time that I think it qualifies as play. Blessings, Kendra Fletcher
From: “Craig Steinlicht”
Subject: response to the Canadian Boswells
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002

Some ideas for your 6 year old who wants to play more. You may already be doing these things but I just thought I would throw out some ideas for you. I learned a trick from my sister in law about circulating the toys and learning materials. We try to have a variety of materials out and available to the kids (7,4,3, 1) at all times so they can just “play” whenever they are done with their chores and other structured times. They love to explore different art mediums, costumes, puzzles, books, musical instruments, and other thinking toys. We keep about half of the items in another room off limits and every month or so we put away the old and bring out the new. Keep doing this and they always have fresh ideas and are glad to see some old favorites when the toys get circulated again. I think kids need a lot of play time to rehearse and synthesize what they are learning. It is fascinating to observe their play at different ages and stages to hear the content of their vocabulary and see the different levels of play development that they go through. We also try to have chores and special helper jobs that encourage the preacademics we are working on but allow the kids to ham it up as much as they like. A favorite with our kids is junior chef , hostess, and clean up team. The kids get to take orders like in a real restaurant, write out the menu on a special board, and take part in the grand finale of being on the clean up team. We rotate this too so no one has too much “fun” in one job for too many consecutive days.
In Christ, Katie
Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2002
From: (Nickey Haywood)

city: Pierce
state: CO
message: I wanted to thank you for your article “The Seven Undeniable Truths About Homeschooling”. It is a wonderful piece, written well and to the point, on the reasons why the job of educating our children belongs to us parents. I am the mother of two children, a 20 month old boy and another baby due in May. My husband and I both decided on homeschooling any children we might have before we were married. Aside from the obvious corruptions of the government schools, I have seen that Deut. 6 instructs all parents to be their children’s educators. Thanks, Nickey
From: Betsywrite
Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2002

>But your question was, how much time should a child be given to play? I >have to reach far back into my memory to remember how much of the day my >little children played. Does 4-5 hours per day for pure play seem like too >much?

I’ve never really calculated the hours, but my 4yo daughter plays most of the day. She has a few chores in the morning, spends about 30 minutes with me doing what she calls her schoolwork (in order to be like big brothers :-), and reads with me and then rests for about 1 1/2 hours in the afternoon. Aside from meals and occasional pick up she plays the rest of the time.

At 6 I might be spending 30 minutes with them on phonics and writing and then reading to them for at least an hour, although not at one setting. Aside from chores in the morning, they really just play the rest of the time.

I don’t often play with my children. I will enter into a tea party (there is a cup and saucer at the computer right now as a matter of fact!) and I will help start play with blocks. Mostly, they have played with each other or alone. My oldest son tended to follow me around and do what I did or pretend on his own.

How much time is the 6yo in the original post given to play? Although he’s the oldest in the family, he’s still a very little boy. An occasional Monopoly game might be a great non-traditional math lesson 😉 Betsy
From: “Lyn Carradine”
Subject: appropriate reading materials
Date: Tue, 26 Feb

I’m currently struggling with what kinds of books to assign my 9 and 10 year old readers. They both read avidly, but I want to encourage a healthy diet as it were. If given the choice, my 9 yos would read mostly Eyewitness or similar styles of books about Star Wars, weapons, and other military type themes. My 10 yod prefers Mary Poppins, Paddington, and similar fiction. However, both of them now read these types of books in 1 to 2 hours over the course of a single day which tells me they may need more challenging literature. Would the McGuffey readers be a good idea? I do hesitate to go to something like that since I like seeing them read whole books. Is there a list of good books by grade or reading level you could recommend? Or does someone have another suggestion? BTW, we do read aloud from good literature for an hour or two each day, so they have that exposure as well. Thanks! Lyn
Have you seen our two reading lists: Hand That Rocks the Cradle (fiction) and Lives in Print (biographies)?

Here are a few suggestions for your age level:

All of a Kind Family by S. Taylor
Five Little Peppers by M. Sidney
The Blind Colt by G. Rounds
Swallows and Amazons by A. Ransome
Toby Tyler by J. Otis
The Borrowers by M. Norton
Strawberry Girl by L. Lenski
From: “Joseph Ring”
Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2002

Here is a suggestion that has been a blessing to our family which I would like to pass along. My husband is a computer manager which means old and obsolete machines tend to end up in our house. At first, I found this alarming since I don’t like a lot of clutter. My husband, however, had other ideas. Over a year ago, someone gave us an old oscilloscope. When I saw it come in the door I was a bit upset, but a few days later came downstairs to find my husband and our 4 little blessings taking the thing apart. He was explaining to them how vacuum tubes worked and had a wonderful example of a cathode ray tube – a history and science lesson in one! After the dissection, he let them each keep a few parts and threw the rest away. The same thing has happened with other computers and cast-offs. Recently I went to the freezer to find it covered with computer parts and my two sons and husband talking about computer hardware. A day or 2 later they had it back together enough for him to show them how to program in DOS. Whenever he gets old equipment, he tries to find homes for it, but often much of it is too outdated to be of any use. So, he takes it apart and uses it as a lesson! He has even done this with an old internal combustion engine. Now admittedly, he is skilled in this sort of work already, but he got his start in exactly this same way. His wise mother would let him take his toys apart (not when they were new, of course) and then challenge him to put them back together. She also encouraged him to work with wood at a tool bench during summer holidays. His father (who owned a towing business) would get old cars for free and the 2 of them would work to put them back together, get them running and then sell them. They never made much, if any, money from this, but my husband can fix almost anything to do with a car (including body work). The added benefit is that he and his dad have a close relationship to this day. So if you have a toaster, or iron, or even an old computer that is broken and don’t know what to do with it, why not give it to your children and help them investigate what’s inside. (We never do this kind of thing without adult supervision) Hope this is an encouragement. Sharon Ring P.S. His parents got tool boxes (real ones) for our boys’ 8th or 9th birthday and add tools each birthday and Christmas. By the time they leave home, the boxes should be full.
Date: Fri, 01 Mar 2002
From: “Kristina Haines”

My name is Kristina Haines, and I teach Parliamentary Debate and Speech to homeschool families in Missouri and Kansas. I would appreciate it if our organization’s site could be added as a link on your resource page. Thanks! Our info: Name of Organization / Acronym: P.S.A.L.T. (Parliamentary Debate and Speech Association of Logical Thinkers); Contact Name: Kristina Haines; Description: P.S.A.L.T. is based in the Greater Kansas City area. Founded by Kristina Haines, a homeschool graduate; students learn Parliamentary Debate and Speech in an encouraging environment. This program is geared for students ages 12-18. Whether you love public speaking, or have never experienced speech and debate firsthand, P.S.A.L.T. can work for you! Please visit our site to learn how P.S.A.L.T. can serve your family.
Subject: Streams of Civilization
Date: Wed, 6 Mar 2002

Dear Bluedorn Family,
I am so happy to find your website. My children are young and I am just beginning to homeschool. I am so thankful for the many Christian pioneers of the modern homeschool movement from whose wealth of knowledge I am now benefiting. Thank you for “paving the way”. My question is about the Streams of Civilization history books I found on your website. I am looking for a good history book to read aloud to my “first grader”. I am partial to living, whole books and plan to incorporate narration. I would like to start presenting an overview of world history from a Christian perspective. Would you say Streams of Civilization would meet our needs? Is there a chapter or sections of text that I could read online to evaluate the literary style as well as depth of content? Do you know of any other history books that you would recommend for this age level? Thank you for the information. I look forward to your reply. In Christ, Angela Knight, Springdale, AR
I wouldn’t get a standard history text like Streams of Civilization for a 1st grader. Streams of Civilization is more for ages 10 and up. Perhaps what you want is a narrative history text, such as A Child’s History of England by Dickens (out of print), The Story of the Romans and the Story of the Middle Ages by H.A. Guerber and edited by Christine Miller.

Actually, my favorite way of studying history with young children is to use biographies and historical fiction. Christine Miller has compiled a huge list of these types of books in All Through the Ages. Laurie
Date: Wed, 06 Mar 2002
From: Leslie George

This is a reply to “Newbie” in Southern Calif.:
I have been home schooling for two years. My children went to public school through 2nd and 5th grades. They too were excellent academically and often bored. I have found teaching the multilevel easy, in that, I adjust the older child’s work to suit his level, and I have them do the same lessons when we can.
They do the same Latin, history and science. My older child does his own math, writing and spelling. I read aloud to both of them. My son is also peer dependent. He is struggling more with it than my daughter, probably because he was at school longer. It helps to keep him busy at home with work, doing “fun” things at break time and lunch time and involving him in after school sports. That way he is with kids at least an hour of so of the day. My daughter is blessed to have her best friend right across the street and she is busy with dance classes and theater, which gets her together with friends. I would like to add that any struggles you have with this will diminish with each passing day and to keep heart. It is such a blessing to see them grow beyond the nonsense of public school. I hope this helps. Leslie George
Subject: Overwhelming my 10 year old
Date: Wed, 6 Mar 2002

Dear Harvey and Laurie,
I came down with chronic fatigue syndrome late last summer, and consequently we have had a very “lite” school year. My question is this- My oldest child will be 10 this coming September, and I feel the need to really begin him with somewhat heavy academics. He will be in fifth grade, and the years up to now have been minimal school work for him. How can I ease him into a more structured school load than he has had thus far without overwhelming him? How many hours a day for lessons are appropriate for a 10 year old? He especially hates to write, and this year I have only had him do one sentence a day for copywork because he was developing very sloppy writing habits in a hurry to get his writing done. For some reason I see fifth grade as having alot of writing. Please advise me on how best to “break him in” to more academics. Thank you!!! Joanna in northern Ca.
Building Thinking Skills Book 2 would be a good place to start with him — you could do many of the exercises orally. You might increase his copywork assignments and also add dictation if he is ready for that. Does he write letters to Grandma and Grandpa? I would assign one letter per week. He could also start learning the Greek alphabet (Dad might want to help out here). Age 10 is a good time to start the study of formal arithmetic.
Date: Thu, 7 Mar 2002

message: Dear Nathaniel and Hans Bluedorn, I write you in the first place to express my sincere thanks for your website on logic from a Christian perspective.
May I introduce myself, in a nutshel? I am 48, single and work at the municipality of Bruges (bookkeeping and administration). With respect to my religious quest (which was and still is painful): I was raised as a Roman Catholic; I got very interested in Jehovah’s Witnesses (through family of mine) and left them; then I tried to reorient myself via all kinds of religious communities: baptist, united protestant, charismatic, Pentecostal, some smaller communities, in Belgium and Holland. Finally, I found some rest in the Reformed Church of Ghent. One of the items that are necessary with regard to any study is LOGIC (as you say). Several times, I have tried to begin to study logic, but in vain. I have tried it in my first year at the university; I have tried it at home with the book of Copi; I have the materials from Sproul and Geisler and others, but with no result (frustration! …) Currently, I am studying theology by correspondence with Ligonier Ministries (R.C. Sproul). Also here I experience the need of logic.
At last, I discovered your website. I must say, the more I read about the homeschooling movement, the more I like it, as an adult. Personally I received a classical education in a Roman Catholic school, but after discovering some aspects of the homeschooling movement, I begin to think that this way would maybe have been a better way for me …

Here is my first question: does there exist something like a homeschooling movement for adults? With regard to continuous education …

My second question: at your website you mention everybody should have a lifetime logic notebook. How do you conceive such a notebook: form, content … Do you have some good ideas?

My third question: I would like to rehearse/review my English. I am searching a good English grammar and a dictionary (both college level). The grammar must have a big section on the English verb system. Can you recommend me some titles?

My fourth question: I am trying to study Biblical Hebrew and Greek (I am currently using the materials of Zondervan, among others the grammar of Mounce). But I would also appreciate your advice and possible recommendations with regard to study material from your homeschooling background.
Thank you for answering my letter. I wish you a lot of success and blessing from the Lord in your work.

Sincere greetings.
In Christ.
Subject: Re: Where to Start?
Date: Fri, 1 Mar 2002

Hello Laurie,

This is where I find myself at. My daughter is fifteen, and I realize that it is probably impossible to incorporate all the elements of the Trivium. I am encouraged by the above quote from ‘Teaching the Trivium’, but where, and with what would you suggest I start? Celeste, has not been ‘raised by the government school’, and we have not had a television in our home for 7 or 8 years. She is an avid reader. Any advice you care to share would be welcomed. Self motivation is not one of her strong points. Does she like to learn? Yes, but she does not have a hunger for learning. Does she obey? yes but not always enthusiastically. She seems to enjoy languages. She has a little knowledge of Japanese and German, but particularly enjoys French. Likes to read, in fact is a voracious reader. But her reading tends to be for enjoyment, not for learning. Hope this helps a little. Sincerely, Peter, Ireland
I would suggest getting her started in a logic course. Our new book The Fallacy Detective by Nathaniel Bluedorn and Hans Bluedorn might be just right for her. It is an easy start to logic. Is she studying a full French grammar course? If not, perhaps you can find one that is self-teaching and she can make it her goal to study French well enough to take the national French exam next year (see our book Teaching the Trivium appendix for info on that test). Does she like to sew? I would get for her the Amazon Drygoods and Pickling Works catalog (address in our book) and she can get started on costume sewing and then maybe you can incorporate that into a study of history. Is she artistic? If so, then there are numerous things you can do. Help her think of something she can produce and either sell or give away, such as an illustrated children’s book, or bookmarkers, or miniature paintings. Try to incorporate academics with real life. Laurie
Date: Tue, 12 Mar 2002
Subject: Reading Scripture
From: Eugene B Sedy

Samantha wrote >>> are we really to “protect” our child from the very knowledge of these things, even from young ages, if they are found in the Word of God?<<<

Personally, I’ve always felt more uncomfortable refraining from reading certain parts of scripture, than just going ahead and delving into it, although sometimes I feel pretty uncomfortable with some of the things I read aloud. Even so, I’ve consistently found that those parts of scripture than I might feel uncomfortable reading to the children seem to go right over their heads. Eventually, they do ask, but by then I feel they ARE ready for a deeper explanation. I’m thankful for having the Biblical context right there to explain some of the more delicate issues, and these discussions usually turn out to be real blessings. We have always encouraged the children to read through the Bible as soon as they are able, and I did find it a bit disturbing that Judges was a favorite of my oldest son. However, that too has been okay, it has sparked many discussions about the wickedness of those times in comparison to these of the present age. Really, you could be sensitive about so many areas of scripture. I remember Leah reading Luke the Christmas just before she turned 6. She had been reading the part where Gabrielle announces to Mary that she will give birth to God’s Son, and then Leah read, “‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a Virginian?'” After a good laugh, I corrected her, and Leah said, “Well, I know what a Virginian is, where do Virgins come from?” My explanation that a virgin was an unmarried woman was enough for her at the time. Maybe you had to be there, but it was a funny moment! Blessings, Janet
From: “Lyn Carradine”
Subject: taking apart computers
Date: Wed, 13 Mar 2002

“Recently I went to the freezer to find it covered with computer parts and my two sons and husband talking about computer hardware. A day or 2 later they had it back together enough for him to show them how to program in DOS.”

When our older son was 13, a friend who worked in maintenance at a hospital was asked to “get rid” of a large number of old, broken computers from their store room. He didn’t want to just throw them out, so he brought them home to give away. Not many people wanted broken computers, but our son was thrilled to get them. He took several apart and then began putting pieces of different systems together. He eventually cobbled together a working computer and learned a great deal in the process. Later on, grandpa brought him a computer that the store had said couldn’t be fixed. Three hours later it was up and running. He sold those systems and took the proceeds to a computer show where he bought parts for a really nice system which he built himself. By the time he was 15, he knew enough about hardware to get a job as a computer tech at a local store. He got the job over a college trained applicant because part of the interview process was to build a custom system from scratch. The college grad took several hours. Our son finished in less than 30 minutes. Hands on training, even with old broken machines, made all the difference. Lyn
From: “Joseph Ring”
Subject: Spelling Bee
Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2002

Our precious daughter (13 yo, 7th grade) has just won the local spelling bee and is qualified to go to the National bee in May. Does anyone have some study tips they could give us? She already has the “Paideia” booklet learned and is working through the “Vocabulary from Classical Roots” series. We are well into the level 1 program of “Artes Latinae”. Our biggest challenge is how to detect the correct spelling for a schwa sound in the middle of an unfamiliar word. Any suggestions? Thanks, Sharon Ring
From: “Josh & Christa Dittmar”
Date: Fri, 15 Mar 2002

Dear “Dennis,”
I’m replying to your post about Sonlight and English for your 14 yr old. I’m a former high school English teacher (still certified) who’s now homeschooling my children with Sonlight and other good books. But I can remember having several boy students who weren’t into grammar. It’s understandable! I think in the grand scheme of life, diagraming sentences is not going to be something that will pop up too much. In light of that, I wouldn’t spend myriads of time upon it. But since he’s much more into maths etc, I would try to relay it to him in terms of math. Diagraming is basically turning your sentence into an equation! Each word of the sentence has a function and fits into the equation of the diagram…subject and predicate. I always thought they were sort of like puzzles and were kind of fun. The value of diagraming lies in helping us see in a visual format the structure of our sentences and writing. It should also reinforce our understanding of the parts of the sentence. When we build sentences in writing, the words we use each have a function…and should be able to be plugged into their proper compartments.
Another thing that I did with my students to make grammar more fun was to invent sentences that pertained to their lives with their own names and those of friends, their interests, sports teams and activities used in the illustration sentences. You don’t have to strictly use the sentences out of the dry old grammar book! You could also let him invent the sentences then diagram them. If he doesn’t have the preconceived opinion that diagraming is boring, you may be surprised that it could provide a refreshing change from some of the other grammar exercises. God bless, C. Dittmar
From: “Oveja”
Subject: Timeline dates/Kingfisher
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2002

Hello there all you knowledgeable “triviumites” I am beginning a timeline on our wall. Where do I get appropriate Old testament dates ( Flood, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Exodus). Is Kingfisher as big a deal as its price would deem ( I have no intention of paying $100-$225 but I was curious)?? What would you all consider to be a similar, reasonable and adequate world history resource? I am beginning to start Hillyer as a read aloud for my older ones (7 & 8 yo) (minus the first 2 chapters), I know NOTHING of world history, so I’d like a good resource for me too take a look at for my own education and to flesh out anyplace of interest with a bit more detail. Thank You!! Clara in Miami
For the past two years I’ve been studying the different views for the old testament dates, and I can tell you, there are certainly lots of differing opinions even among Christians! But I think I have finally settled on a system that seems logical and Biblical. These dates are based on the research done by David Rohl in his book Pharaohs and Kings and others on the New Chronology mailing list at

Biblical History —
Creation 3958 B.C.; Deluge 2303; Dispersion 2201; Abram born 1950; Abram called 1875; Isaac born 1850; Shem dies 1800; Jacob born 1790; Jacob established in Egypt 1660; Moses leads Israelites out of Egypt 1445; Conquest of Caanan 1405; Period of Judges 1399-1051; Saul rules 1050-1010; David rules 1010-970; Solomon rules 970-930; Kingdom divided 930; Rehoboam rules 930-913

Egyptian History —
Amenemhat III 1678-1632; Dudimose 1448-? (this is the pharaoh of the exodus); Hyksos period 1445-1200; Ahmose 1194-1170; Amenhotep I 1170-1150; Thutmose I 1150-1139; Hatshepsut 1131-1116; Akhenaten 1022-1006; Haremheb 989-960 (this is the pharaoh who gave his daughter to Solomon;) Ramesses the Great 940-873 (called Shishak in the Bible)
From: “Frank Rogers”
Subject: Cognates
Date: Thu, 21 Mar

Hi, Mr. & Mrs Bluedorn,

Here is an item of personal experience you might want to include in the loop:

A particularly easy way to get a student interested and involved with a foreign language is through the use of materials that emphasize the use of cognates. “Cognates” are words from two languages that are related and are either identical or similar in two languages.

A German language series that uses this technique is the Peter Hagboldt series. Book 1 “Allerlei” is about 55 pages and is available from used book sellers on the internet for as low as $7.00. All five books in one volume, the “Elementary German Series” is available for as low as $12. The series books published after 1958 have all stories in standard type. Books 2 through 5, with older copyright dates sometimes are printed in the older, more difficult to read old-English type font.

Here is a sample from Allerlei. “Der Sommer is warm, der Winter is kalt. Das Wetter ist im Sommer oft warm and gut. Das Wetter ist im Winter oft kalt und schlecht. Sommerwetter ist warm. Winterwetter ist kalt. Eis und Schnee sind kalt, das Haus und der Ofen sind warm.”

I used this series in a junior college course and learned a small vocabulary and correct German pronunciation. The Hagboldt series was supplemental material to a standard college German text. Having learned nearly nothing about English grammar in high school, my German grammar instruction went right over my head. But I enjoyed the Hagboldt readers and took them with me when I joined the Air Force. Then I signed up for a college correspondence course in German and finally began to understand what grammar was all about.

I thank the Hagboldt readers for sustaining my interest in German studies to the point where I finally learned English grammar! And I might thank them for my wife. Within a year after entering the Air Force I was assigned to Germany. There I met a pretty Bavarian girl who didn’t speak a word of English. I eventually proposed, in German, and we were married.

A Trivium Pursuit mother in New York, at my suggestion, purchased the series for her Austrian husband to use in teaching German to their five year old son. She said it exactly met their needs at that point and they are enjoying Allerlei.

Spanish and French “cognate” readers exist, for those interested in those languages, but I can’t supply the titles. Perhaps your readers can.

R’spy, Frank Rogers
From: “P Pesci”
Subject: Latin or Greek
Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2002

I have been doing my homework for the past year trying to decide if I thought teaching Latin to my children will be worth the time and effort. I don’t really expect they will read the classics in Latin. I would be doing it for the grammar benefits mostly. I also realize it would make learning any other language easier. What about Greek? Does it have the same benefits as Latin? Or more? Because then we can read the New Testament in Greek? But what will that benefit, if I am just going to translate Greek back into English. Does Greek have the same grammar benefits as Latin? Is Greek more difficult to learn than Latin? Lori
Our book Teaching the Trivium has an entire chapter on this very topic. Briefly, the main benefit to learning Greek for the Christian is that you can read the scriptures in the original language. Among other things, in the process of translating Greek to English you will find that some English translations of the Bible are better than others.
Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2002
From: (Alejandro Fernandez)

city: Cali
state: Valle
country: Colombia
message: Hello:
I am a doctor from Cali Colombia and since 9 years ago I manage an homeopathic software project called Trivium. This name was chosen because I consider homeopathic education was conceived having Trivium methodology in mind. On it doctrinal philosophy supports medical thought and practice and practitioner and encouraged to see by himself his patient instead of prescribing using official protocols. On seeing both activities Trivium Education and classical Homeopathy many similarities had taken to light. My software is a tool for helping homeopaths in every step of their work and self education. This is an open project, until now in initial stages. In some weeks I hope to have a website to distributing it. I need your licence for using your Spanish version “Que es el Trivium?” (with some spelling corrections), and a link to your main page.
Best regards.
Alejandro Fernandez H M.D.
Homeologica Ltda.
YOU ASK ME WHY? (written in 1979)

by Virginia Birt Baker — Home-schooling mother of four, 1972-1987

You ask me why I teach my children at home with Christian textbooks and Christian values?

Well, now, that’s a good question. I know what you’re thinking. The public schools have better facilities and trained teachers, and there may be some private school nearby. So why all this fuss and bother of setting up a separate school in my home? Why not teach the children religion at home and in church?

But, you see, you’ve asked me something that gets right to the core of the meaning of life. If a home-located alternative learning arrangement meant simply tacking on a prayer each day, or an extra course in Bible study, it wouldn’t be worth all the time and expense.

I teach my children at home because I believe that all of life is religious. God is at the center of everything. He made all things. He guides and controls them, and He demands that we, His creatures, honor Him as Lord and Savior in everything we do. Of course, that includes our studying, as well as our everyday work. It includes every part of life, without exception. It means that I can’t be satisfied with submitting my children to Christian training at home and church only. As a parent, I’m responsible for those thirty or more important hours that they spend each week in school. Some of the most significant training of my children takes place in the school atmosphere. How can I leave God out of the picture here?

But, you say, what’s the difference if my child studies arithmetic, history, literature, or English in a public school or in a home school? Much. I want my child to learn, from his parents, that all of life belongs to God and was made for Him.
— In science, I want him to know that he is studying God’s laws for the universe and God’s concept of origins. Honest scientific research does not teach theory for fact but supports God’s word and a young earth.
— In history, I want him to see the unfolding of God’s plan for the ages and the redemption of His people in a world which is totally meaningful, and in which every event moves in terms of God’s purpose. “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set,” the Proverb states.
— In arithmetic and mathematics, I want him to learn that there are absolute truths, and that mathematics is a cumulative development beginning with a strong foundation of arithmetic that is a part of the whole of knowledge. By developing his capacity to do critical thinking and logical reasoning through concrete mathematical problems, he will acquire confidence in his own powers of understanding this physical world.
— In literature, I want him to test other writers by Christian standards so that he will appreciate what is good and true and beautiful, and discern what is false or dishonoring to God.
— In reading, I want him to learn the phonetic principles of our language in a systematic, sequential manner. Our English language is made up of letters that represent sounds, and it is absolutely imperative that beginning reading starts with phonics.
— In English, I want him to know the history behind our mother tongue, the precise grammatical structuring of our language, and its effective and graceful expression.
— In civics, I want him to know that true government is ordained of God and that great political movements have powerful religious inceptions.
— In economics, I want him to learn Christian moral standards in the marketplace, placing emphasis upon the individual. I want him to learn the principles of honesty, integrity, politeness, respect, co-operation and fair play, because these are rules that God has set up for the ordering of our lives together.

All this is a big order. It can’t be accomplished in fifteen or thirty minutes a day. It takes everything we’ve got to instill in the hearts of our children that true fear of the Lord which is “the beginning of all wisdom.”

Moses said it thousands of years ago. He told the people of Israel then how to bring up their children: “Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be a frontlet between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”

Jeremiah said: “Learn not the way of the heathen.”

And Paul told the Ephesians: “Grow up into Him in all things . . Walk not as other gentiles walk . . being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them . . Neither give place (opportunity) to the devil . . and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness . . Understand what the will of the Lord is.”

This means Christian education — in all of life. This means training for eternity.

Expensive? Yes, of course, in both time and money. We pay our full share of taxes for the public schools, and we support our own school in addition to this. But we count it a privilege to have this wonderful opportunity, in a land of freedom, to dedicate ourselves and our children entirely to God.

Ginny Baker
From: M…@
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002

Dear Mr. Bluedorn,

Wow. Concerning the answer to the person’s question about reformed theology and everything your family prints.

As a previously unchurched child, a product of the public school, and sometimes emotionally unkempt woman…these homeschooling, parenting and Christian walk roles sometimes blow me away to the point I want to escape into TV fantasy land and other such pursuits that I was raised on. My boys are 7 and 5 now and have been subject to my every whim in the homeschooling arena. I tried ABEKA first at age 3. That didn’t go over well. Then we relaxed a bit and played for 3 years. Then I got interested in the unschooling ways. (Sometimes I wonder if my confusion and fear latched onto that as a way out of my job?) Lately it has been classical. I read the Well Trained Mind, checked out the Logos school, Veritas Press, Canon Press….and various others. I think I always knew something was missing in my way of thinking and desired a classical education for myself. I like philosophy and intellectual pursuits but feel that I have no critical thinking, don’t know how to study the Bible and have trouble discerning what is right for me and our family.

I recently read “Reforming Marriage” by Douglas Wilson and thought it was great. Then a friend of mine said that it was probably written from a Presb. perspective and would be different from, say, a Southern Baptist view. It just made me realize that I don’t know what I’m doing. In fact, my understanding of the basic foundations of Christianity probably came from Hank Henegraff of the Bible Answer Man and not a true study or understanding of the Bible.

Can you give me some advice, or something? God forgive me, I just feel like I’ve been floating around on the winds of everyone elses information and don’t know much for myself. Speaking of God, I think I’ll send him this note too.

Perhaps some introductory principles in Hermeneutics — how to interpret the Bible — will serve you — and perhaps others. Lord willing, scattered among the next few newsletters (we’ll see what time permits), we might be able to supply a few lines on Hermeneutics.

General Principles for the Interpretation of Scripture

Hermeneutics is the name given to the science and methodology for interpreting (determining the meaning of) Scripture. Exegetics is the name given to the science and methodology for critically analyzing, explaining, and expounding Scripture.

If there is such a thing as truth, and if it is important to know the truth, and if the Scriptures are the truth, then it is important to know and understand what the Scriptures mean.

If we all chose our own private way and took anything to mean whatever we desired it to mean, then how often would we agree? And why would we agree? We would agree about as often as we happened to have the same desire.

But if we all understood and followed the truth, how often would we disagree? And why would we disagree? We would disagree about as often as we failed to understand and follow the truth.

The bottom line is, if we all agreed to follow the truth of Scriptures, then the differences among us would be due to our ignorance or misunderstanding of the meaning of Scripture. So ultimately, our unity depends upon our having the same principles of interpretation. He who determines how the Scriptures are to be interpreted, determines everything. Who should we entrust with telling us how to interpret Scripture? How about entrusting this to the Scripture itself? Who can speak with authority on the interpretation of God’s Word greater than God Himself?

With this in mind, let us examine a few things which the Scripture says about Scripture.

Principle #1
The Scripture is infallible.

John (Very Literal)
10:35   . . . the Scripture is not able to be broken.

John Gill wrote: “. . . and the Scripture cannot be broken; or be made null and void; whatever that [Scripture] says is true, there is no contradicting it, or objecting to it: it is a Jewish way of speaking, much used in the Talmud; when one doctor has produced an argument, or instance, in any point of debate, another says, . . . ‘it may be broken’; or objected to, in such and such a manner, and be refuted: but the Scripture cannot be broken, that is not to be objected to, there can be no confutation of that.”

The Bible was inscribed by about 40 different men over a period of about 1,500 years, but every word was inspired by God. God cannot lie nor contradict Himself. Therefore the Scripture cannot be broken.

Corollary 1:
The Scripture is the source of true propositions from which alone one may deduce all other necessary truths. We cannot deduce absolute truth from falsehoods, nor from any statement which carries the slightest degree of doubt.

Corollary 2:
If any place Scripture seems to contradict another place in Scripture, then the interpretation of at least one of those places must incorrect and open to another interpretation.

Principle #2
Every word – every letter – is inspired and useful.

Second Timothy (Very Literal)
3:15     and that from a babe thou-hast-known the sacred [/sanctified] letters,
which sacred letters are-able to-make- thee -wise to salvation
through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
3:16     Every part of Scripture [/context: each and every alphabetic character of sacred Scripture]
is God-breathed [/inspired by God]
and is useful [/beneficial /profitable]
for teaching [/doctrine /instruction],
for conviction [/proof /refutation /rebuke /demonstration from evidence \lit. a trial to prove or demonstrate something],
for correction [/rectification /improvement \literally: straightening up again],
for discipline [/education /training /chastisement] which is in righteousness,
3:17     in-order-that the man of God should-be properly-formed [\lit. exactly fitted or fully adapted to its purpose],
having-been-fully-equipped [/formed] for every good [/excellent /noble /profitable] work [/deed /act].

The Scriptures are sufficient as a guide to determine what we believe, to evaluate our experiences, and to determine our actions. We do not need any other source than Scripture for authoritative guidance.

Principle #3
Spiritual truth can only be spiritually discerned.

Natural understanding is not enough. Interpretation is a spiritual exercise, requiring spiritual faculties (John 3:3). One must be born of God before he can believe and understand and properly interpret the Scriptures to his benefit.

First Corinthians (Very Literal)
2:9       Rather, according as it stands [/has been] written,
Things which the eye has not seen,
and which the ear has not heard,
and which have not entered into the heart of man,
these are the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.
2:10     But God has revealed these things to us [?apostles] by His Spirit:
for the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
2:11     For who among men knows the things of a particular man,
except the spirit of that particular man which is in him?
In the same way also, no one knows the things of God,
except the Spirit of God.
2:12     Now we have not received the spirit of the world,
rather, we have received the spirit which is from God;
in order that we should know the things which are freely granted by God to us.
2:13     Which things we [?apostles] also speak,
not in words taught by man’s wisdom,
rather, in words taught by the Holy Spirit;
explaining [/combining] spiritual things with spiritual words.
[/explaining things of the Spirit with the words of the Spirit.]
2:14     But a mere natural man does not receive these things from the Spirit of God:
for they are foolishness to him [– to his understanding]:
and he is not able to know such things,
because they are discerned spiritually [– not naturally].
2:15     But the spiritual man indeed discerns all things,
though he himself is discerned by no one [– except his own spirit [verse 11]].
2:16     For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Who shall instruct Him?
But we-ourselves possess the mind of Christ.

The natural man is able to understand the words, but he is unable to receive the spiritual things which are conveyed by the words. He can believe the historical fact of Christ, but he cannot truly believe on or place his trust in Christ, which is a necessary ingredient to receiving all of what Christ speaks by the Spirit in the Scripture.

(This text also supports the previous principle because it teaches that the very words of Scripture are chosen by the Holy Spirit.)

Not only are the Scriptures sufficient (Principle 2, Corollary), but the Scriptures are also necessary as a guide to determine what we believe, to evaluate our experiences, and to determine our actions. Without the Scriptures, we are left without guidance.

Harvey Bluedorn
Date: Mon, 25 Mar 2002
Subject: Konos-Math tests in OR
From: Michael Bergstrom

We are currently using a section from Konos Vol. 1. I actually used it for a springboard for a unit study on Kings/Queens and the Middle Ages. I have an 8 yr old boy and a 4 yr old boy and this is working well for both of them. For copy work (for the 8yr old) he copies the Bible verses suggested in the Konos curriculum as well as others I found that apply. For read aloud times I read the books listed for the unit (the ones I could find at the library) and others along the lines we wanted to follow. For the projects we asked Dad to help with some, an uncle to help with another and another friend to help us research a project. The boys have been able to work with more than just Mom (me) in different areas (woodworking, building an architectural model, etc.) Best of all it’s something both boys have been interested in and my 4 yr old has learned a lot just by being in the room with us.

I don’t intend to do unit studies all the time; just here and there to give variety and improve enthusiasm and interest for all concerned.

On another subject- We live in OR and my oldest will soon be tested for the 1st time. I’ve had some concern with the math portion and how to help him pass this with out formal math instruction. Last year I thought we needed to do some formal instruction so we did Saxon 2. It was a lot of work, even though we didn’t do all the paper work called for. I didn’t press learning the addition, subtraction, multiplication and division tables. So he knows very few. We found a solution that I think will work. He will draw a number line on his test page to use for addition and subtraction. For multiplication and division he will draw dots and groups of dots to help him solve the probs. He does know how to carry and borrow. So I feel relatively certain he will pass the test satisfactorily.

Just thought someone else might be able to make use of this information.
From: AGRheins
Date: Mon, 25 Mar 2002

This is in response to Clara regarding history timeline for 7 & 8 yr old. I also went into this school year with very little history knowledge and wanted to begin my 7yo daughter with ancient history. We have found the program we use to be very effective although it takes a considerable amount of preparation time on my part (probably due to my lack of knowledge base in this area). I have sort of combined use of several resources to make a program custom fit for us. For the timeline itself we use the picture cards from Veritas Press catalog, (Old testament and Ancient Egypt set) (the first in the series). Events we want to include that are not in this set, my daughter makes her own (just a picture of event) with a title (sometimes a picture she colors from Bible coloring book. We don’t have dates posted with this “timeline” but she knows they are all “B.C.” and she knows the order of events even if not specific dates for each (that can come later I think). She also has a simple hand motion for each event helping her to remember them. Even her 5 yr old brother now does the hand motions too. Some of the hand motions we got from a program presented at our church called “Walk through the Old Testament” which includes hand motions for adults to remember Old test. events in order. We have omitted many of the cards too but have a total of 29 events taking us from creation to birth of Christ. We also use the teacher’s guide that accompanies the cards but not much (too advanced). We also use Diana Waring’s elementary activity guide (“Ancient Civilizations & the Bible) and Child’s History of the World. I, too, am very interested in other read alouds. I’ve found it hard to find good historical fiction on ancient history appropriate for early elementary. I did happen upon a couple of historical fiction books on Old testament events that we loved: King Nimrod’s Tower and The King is in my Garden both by Leon Garfield. He has others too , but not at my library ( I think there’s one called The Writing on the Wall). I’ve gotten a great history education – hopefully my daughter has too 🙂 Sure hope this helps. Anne
Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2002
From: Scott/Carol Bertilson

> Is there another book besides Hillyer’s Child’s History of the World, that > would be good as a read aloud??

I would highly recommend the book “Augustus Caesar’s World” by Genevieve Foster as a read aloud history book for ages 8 or 9 and up. Younger kids may enjoy it, too, depending on their experience and ability to listen, if they have something to keep their hands busy. It is unusual in that it tells all the major people and events happening around the time of Christ all at the same time, which I found fascinating. She has a way of tying it all together. Also, she covers a lot of the background history leading up to the time of Christ (like Egyptian, Chinese, Indian, Greek and biblical, etc.) so it really is a good beginning text to start with if you want to go through history chronologically. I read A Child’s History of the World first to the kids and surprisingly found that the book didn’t tie together the different people’s and events in my mind as well as Foster’s book did. I found that I even couldn’t remember what I had read to the kids in Hillyer’s book. Maybe others’ experience will be different, though. But I would express a caution about her religious perspective. She is definitely coming from a liberal, “religious studies”, viewpoint that asserts that religions evolved from “primitive” animalistic religion to polytheistic, then to monotheistic religion. When I came to parts that were teaching this I would tell my kids I didn’t agree with it and didn’t want to read it to them. Surprisingly, my son would always insist on hearing it, and I would read it and then explain what her assumptions were, and what the Bible actually taught about it. It became our best read and discuss book because of that. We had great worldview discussions because of it. Genevieve Foster also wrote Columbus and Sons (covers Renaissance, exploration and reformation time), George Washington’s World, Abraham Lincoln’s World, and others which interrelate events happening at the same time around the world. We haven’t read these aloud yet. Also she has fascinating drawings and maps which help kids (and me!) to understand history. If you feel like you would not be well-equipped to discern the portions which are propagandizing the unbiblical viewpoint, but like to use the book (I found it taught me more about history that I had always wanted to know than any other book we’ve read for history) I would be willing to skim through the book and send a list of pages that contain biased portions, and/or help with explaining the issues to your kids. If you have younger kids, I would advocate reading good quality history picture books, like the D’Aulaire books, and other books from “All Through the Ages” first for the littlest kids each day, then finish with a chapter from a longer chapter book, while the kids draw (ideally in a history notebook, copying from pictures in the books you’re reading). Carol Bertilson
Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2002
From: Marianne and Gerald Vanderkolk
Subject: Difficulty in copying

Dear all,
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


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