Best of Homeschooling with the Trivium Newsletter Year 2004-Part 2

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Peace After a Storm

by John Newton

When darkness long has veil’d my mind,
And smiling day once more appears;
Then, my Redeemer, then I find
The folly of my doubts and fears.
Straight I upbraid my wand’ring heart,
And blush that I should ever be
Thus prone to act so base a part,
Or harbour one hard thought of thee!
Oh! let me then at length be taught
What I am still so slow to learn;
That God is love, and changes not,
Nor knows the shadow of a turn.
Sweet truth, and easy to repeat!
But when my faith is sharply try’d
I find myself a learner yet,
Unskillful, weak, and apt to slide.
But, O my Lord, one look from thee
Subdues the disobedient will;
Drives doubt and discontent away,
And thy rebellious worm is still.
Thou art as ready to forgive,
As I am ready to repine;
Thou, therefore, all the praise receive;
Be shame and self-abhorrence mine.
Ancient History from Primary Sources: A Literary Timeline by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn

This is an excellent text, and if read and studied in a thorough manner (including reading the original texts included on the CD) would give a student an extensive education in ancient history. Over 1200 individual works on the CD! Timelines that make sense! Interesting writing style. Highly recommended.

Book Evaluation in the 2004 PMA Benjamin Franklin Awards Contest
From:  Summer Sears-Galbraith
Subject: Question on memorizing in Latin
Date: Tue, 06 Jul 2004

A question for your loop: As part of teaching myself Latin, I would like to begin memorizing psalms in both English and Latin. Does anyone know of a good parallel Latin/English Psalter or Bible? The one I found online at uses the Vulgate for the Latin, but the Douay translation for the English. Having read the information given on the Douay I am not comfortable with that translation, not the least because it translates directly from the Vulgate rather than from the original languages.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
From:  Linda Spencer
Date: Thu, 8 Jul 2004
In response to the question about Sign Language programs:

We have used a video program called Signs for His Glory.  It is organized in such a way that multiple ages can all use it. We have been very happy with it.

Linda Spencer
Vocabulary Bridges from English to Latin & Greek
Publisher: Trivium Pursuit
Author: Harvey Bluedorn
Illustrator: Johannah Bluedorn
Reviewed By: Rachel Haney

Why do we need a bridge from English to Latin and Greek? Because as much as 80% of English vocabulary is derived from Latin and Greek and by recognizing these aspects of our language, we understand English vocabulary better. Understanding Greek and Latin Roots… gives us the advantage of: 1) an increase in working Vocabulary. 2) greater refinement in the choice of words. 3) greater accuracy in the use of words. 4) greater appreciation of the way words are constructed. 5) greater accuracy in spelling. 6) ability to decipher the meaning of unfamiliar words. 7) preparation for the formal study of Latin and Greek grammar. Vocabulary Bridges teaches 50 Latin Prefixes and 60 Latin Roots; 50 Greek Prefixes and 80 Greek Roots. All of the major Prepositions of Latin and Greek are covered. 2,000 English Vocabulary words are examined. The workbook contains 100 pages and is designed for students ages ten through adult. Its basic format requires the student to research the origins of the words in a dictionary and record his or her findings in the workbook. This program is comprehensive and will help the student familiarize him or herself with these classical languages.

Reprinted with permission, the Eclectic Homeschool Online – A complete homeschool magazine for creative homeschoolers.
From:  Mike and Kim Wheeler
Date: Thu, 8 Jul 2004

Response to Teaching Sign Language:

I picked up a copy of The Joy of Signing by Lottie Riekehof at a used book sale for $5 and my 6 year old daughter and I use it to learn sign language to worship songs. Not only is she learning sign language but it adds another dimension to worshipping the Lord. We even took it a step further and choreographed a dance with sign language to one of my husband’s favorite worship songs for Father’s Day. Just pick a favorite worship song and start looking up some key words in the lyrics to sign.

What is your opinion of the chronological bibles such as The Reese Chronological Bible and The Narrated Bible?

We’ve read various articles about the benefits of reading the Bible in chronological order and was wondering what your thoughts on the subject were.

Thank you for your time.

Steve and Kristina Solid
I think studying the chronology can be very valuable. The Bible was not compiled in strict chronological order — either by the Jews, or by the Gentiles. Even some portions of historical books seem, at least to some persons, to be out of chronological order. There are numerous chronological issues which seem to be unresolveable on the basis of Biblical data, so they require presuppositions and speculations just to come up with theories. If you use a chronologically arranged Bible, you will often be following someone’s theories which are not adequately, if at all, explained, and you often won’t be able to separate the sound chronology from the speculative chronology. That’s okay, as long as you understand this before you begin. I would supplement this with a couple of books on chronology so you can at least appreciate the complexity of the issues and different attempts at resolving them.

Walk a Little Slower

Walk a little slower Daddy,
Said a little child so small.
I’m following in your footsteps,
And I do not want to fall.
Sometimes your steps are very fast,
Sometimes they’re hard to see.
So, walk a little slower, Daddy,
For you are leading me.
Someday when I am all grown up,
You’re what I want to be.
Then I will have a little child,
Who’ll want to follow me.
And, I would want to lead just right,
And, I’d know that I was true.
So, walk a little slower Daddy.
For I must follow you.

Unknown Author
From:  Mary Churchman
Date: Sun, 18 Jul 2004

I just finished first grade with my first child. My other two are still preschoolers. I, too, researched for a long time before it was actually time to start. Several of my friends kept talking about the classical approach, and every time they described it I came away thinking, “Gee . . . that sounds really HARD!!” It wasn’t until I really began researching it that I realized it is EXACTLY what I want for my children . . . I just didn’t realize it has a name, and it’s what they were describing all along. There are many good resources about “what it is” – but from my point of view, it challenges a child to reach for the stars, to achieve his best.

My very very very favorite part of the classical method is teaching history in a 4 year cycle, in 3 rotations. It works especially well for me because my oldest and youngest are 4 years apart, with the middle child being 3 years younger/1 year older. When Daniel is in the 5th grade and starting the history cycle for the second time, my youngest will be in 1st grade, doing the same history schedule. I plan to delay my middle child, Sarah, in history so that she and Elizabeth can study together, and Daniel, at a more advanced level, will be able to help teach them. Essentially they’ll all be “on the same page” so when we do field trips, they will apply to everyone. I had a very poor education in history myself, and I’m loving every minute of teaching it to my son. I learned more history in his first grade than I learned in my previous 39 years! I especially enjoy learning about events that were contemporary but extra-biblical – for example, I never knew that the Great Wall of China was being constructed during the lifetime of Christ!

I had never read a homeschooling magazine but received a complimentary subscription to Homeschooling Today. It wasn’t until I read it that I realized it has a distinctly Christian and classical basis. Some of the biggest names in the Christian and classical worlds write for the magazine, so it’s like reading the best of the best. The magazine is owned and operated by a homeschooling Christian family with extremely high standards, so the content of the magazine is really high quality. You won’t find any twaddle in it. The writers aspire to challenge the reader to strive for the best in everything – not only education, but also biblical family values and child training. Training the heart of the child is everything; education is nothing without a right heart, and that philosophy comes through loud and clear.

I would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Mary Alice Churchman
From: Sylvia D Ross
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 2004

Dear Nathaniel and Hans,

Fantastic! Wonderful! Can’t wait to get The Fallacy Detective.  I am a former practicing trial attorney and USMC Judge Advocate. Now I practice the law of the jungle and negotiate peace treaties, territorial disputes, and every other wild and crazy issue my two boys cook up…Granted they’re only 6 and 9, but they might as well be 66 and 69. Great tool for a stay at home mom to pass her afternoons…God bless you two young men, and go hug your mother….
From:  Don Potter
Subject: Leonard P. Ayres’ Measuring Scale for Ability in Spelling
Date: Tue, 20 Jul 2004

Dear friends,

I would like to make you all aware of two recent publications on my web site. The first is a paper that Geraldine Rodgers presented in 1983 to the National Institute of Education Competitive Hearings on Research Projects. Gerry proposed that the government give the Ayres’ Spelling Test to 70,000 students in the same 84 schools that the original test was given in order to enable us to compare students’ abilities. A comparison of the two eras would have allowed policy makers to make informed decisions concerning the relative merits of modern methods (look-and-say/whole language) and the supplemental phonics methods then popular when Ayres wrote his study. Sad to say, no one showed any interest in the proposal. Maybe the time is ripe for such a project.

Donald Potter, Odessa, TX

Geraldine Rodgers:  To Urge the Repetition of the Ayres’ Spelling Test of 1914-1915 to Confirm the Existence of Massive Present-Day Reading Disability and to Establish its Cause and Cure.

Leonard P. Ayres: A Measuring Scale for Ability in Spelling
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2004
From: Minerva
Subject: Chronology

Dear Harvey and Laurie,

In the last e-loop letter, you responded about using chronological bibles. I appreciate the information that you gave, which brings me to another question: What are the books on chronology that you would recommend to supplement a chronological bible?

Thank you,
Sharl Champagne
Here is a small sampling of our Chronology Resources listed in the appendix of Ancient History from Primary Sources:

Anstey, Martin. Chronology of the Old Testament.
Beechick, Ruth. Adam and His Kin.
Beechick, Ruth. The Language Wars and Other Writings for Homeschoolers.
Down, David. Searching for Moses.
Fairbairn, Patrick. The Imperial Bible Dictionary.
Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History.
Jones, Floyd Nolen. Chronology of the Old Testament.
Mauro, Philip. The Wonders of Bible Chronology.
Pierce, Larry. In the Days of Peleg.
Rohl, David. Pharaohs and Kings.
Ussher, Archbishop James. The Annals of the
From:  Debbie Gottlieb
Subject: Re: Sign Language
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 2004

As a sign language interpreter for the Deaf I am always happy to see people interested in teaching sign to their children. Many people are not aware that there are several sign systems in use in the US in addition to American Sign Language which, with its own grammar and idioms, is far more than just using signs for English words.

Because signing is three dimensional, it is difficult to accurately learn signs from a book. Unfortunately, I have occasionally seen this result in errors which would be very embarrassing to the signer if he/she realized what was truly said. One way of avoiding many of these would be to learn from videotape. There is a ministry in Wheaton, IL, called Deaf Video Communications, which offers the video version of The Joy of Signing for free to both Deaf and hearing users. All they ask is that you return them promptly so that others may use them. This ministry also has other tapes of signed praise songs for children, music for the whole family in sign, and also Christian videos and lessons and sermons. You may contact them at (Although all videos are free of charge, this worthy ministry could really benefit from any donation the Lord would lead you to send.)

I hope many of your will enjoy these resources as you help your children learn to use this beautiful language to enhance their awareness of others and even their own worship. Remember, even if you learn the signs themselves, there is much more to the language of the Deaf for one who wishes to use it regularly in the future with Deaf people or to become an interpreter . For information on programs to teach more in depth for high schoolers or adults, please feel free to contact me for more information.

Debbie Gottlieb (IL)
From:  Keith Zacek
Subject: Re: Math Roadblock in high school
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2004

I’m new to the loop and to classical teaching in general. This will be our 7th year homeschooling. I have 6 children whose ages are 15, 13, 11, 6, 2 & 8 mos.

My only concern at the moment is for my 15yo son Ryan. He started school at a private, Christian school using A Beka. He went there for four years and received mostly A’s and some B’s. When he began 4th grade we began homeschooling, attempting to use the method taught by Raymond and Dorothy Moore, though I know we didn’t quite follow it as well as we should have/could have. We did not delay math since he’d already been doing A Beka math for 4 years in the Christian school and had no problems that we were aware of, other than not being able to quickly give us correct answers to basic addition and subtraction facts. Since he was getting excellent grades, we didn’t think much of it. We figured he just needed more practice with those facts. He was also almost 10 anyway when we began homeschooling, which is about the middle of the time they recommend beginning math. But, although we didn’t intentionally delay it, we really didn’t do much of it that first year of homeschooling. I had bought Math-It with the intent of using it exclusively until 8th grade. We did the Add-It and Double-It games from Math-It, and basic practical math that came with using the Prairie Primer, which was our focus as a family that 1st year. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen Math-It. Basically there is a board with a grid and all the answers to that  game’s  questions are in a square. There are also little cards with the problems on them. The goal is to place each card on the box with the correct answer on it and get through them as quickly as possible. My boys managed to memorize that  3 + 7  goes in this box here – as in  the 2nd row down, 3rd box from the left,  rather than  the 10 space.  So instead of reinforcing their basic facts, they just memorized the location of the answer on the board. They still couldn’t always quickly or correctly answer those basic addition and subtraction facts.

We didn’t begin Saxon 54 with Ryan until he was in 5th grade, nearly 11 years old. About a year and a half ago he hit a roadblock in math. Fractions, decimals, percents, and then (horror of horrors) negative numbers. I ended up stopping where we were (we have been using Math-U-See) and using Key To Fractions to get that fixed. He did fine with that, although he still has issues of knowing what to do when – when the answer should be in a mixed number or improper fraction, when to make it a decimal or leave a fraction. I’ve tried explaining to him that it’s simple depending on what is asked for (in a word problem) or what form are the original numbers? (If you start with mixed numbers, you end with them.) Sometimes I think he’s decided that he just can’t do it and refuses to try. I also see in him a trait I had – thinking TOO much and confusing himself. Also, when we went back to Math-U-See he was able to understand negative numbers, he apparently needed a break.

All that to give background for my question. What do I do with him this year? He is going to be in his 2nd year of high school and still isn’t ready for Algebra. He has only 4 lessons left in MUS Advanced and the next book is Algebra. We tried a few weeks ago to deal with solving for an unknown and order of operations and he had the deer in the headlights look on his face. I was hoping to get him through the book so he could start with Algebra in Sept., but I’ve decided to drop that idea. At this point I’ve pretty much decided to do some consumer math and economics using a book for teens by Crown Financial Ministries and the Uncle Eric books. I have read in a few places that sometimes the brain just isn’t physically mature enough to handle Algebra until the upper teens or early 20s. I thought that if we give him a year to relax a bit and deal with more real math, maybe handling our home checkbook and budgeting, etc., the myelin can get another year to cover those nerves that he needs. After reading about the problems of early formal math I’m thinking there are some wires crossed, even though he managed to get A’s in the early years. The hardest part for both of us is that his 13yo brother is only about 5 lessons behind him in math and will be (barring any unforeseen roadblocks) doing Algebra this year. I’ve also debated on switching back to Saxon for Algebra rather than MUS. We started homeschooling with Saxon 54 and Ryan went halfway through 65 when we switched to MUS. He hated Saxon. But after reading Teaching the Trivium, I’m planning on following your recommendations with my 6yo and delaying the math until he’s older and using Saxon again. For the older ones I’m planning on letting them finish the MUS books they are currently in and switching to Saxon when they’re done. So…does my plan for him this year sound reasonable, or should I try something else?

I sure wish that I’d stopped at your booth the first year I’d homeschooled. Though I still agree with the Moores, the information in Teaching the Trivium seemed to complete my desired approach to homeschool.

Thank you for your help.

Cheryl in IL
I think your plan sounds reasonable. Sometimes in our zeal to finish the book we forget the real reason for doing the book in the first place — understanding and internalizing the math concepts as opposed to just memorizing procedures.
A Review of TruthQuest History by Michelle Miller
PO Box 2128
Traverse City, MI 49685-2128

­Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece
­Ancient Rome

These two study guides, which can be used by students of all ages, contain short, concise historical commentary along with exhaustive book recommendations (both in-print and out-of-print) for every key person and event covered. Also included are writing exercises placed throughout the commentary. These guides, which are thoroughly Christian in their worldview, can be used as your sole history curriculum for these time periods, or as a supplement to any other history curriculum. I love the cautions that Mrs. Miller gives us. At numerous points she suggests that we be careful in our study of ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman civilization, and she shows us which books would not be appropriate for young children or even some older students. There is just enough commentary throughout the books to guide us and keep us on the correct path so that we won’t leave out any important historical events or people. A family is free to spend as long or as little time at each stop on the timeline as they wish. Mrs. Miller recently revised these two guides including: citing our Ancient History from Primary Sources book/CDs set and showing when to use it; adding more ancient writers and more in-print spine books; numbered the sections and subsections; included more Ambleside Online spines/books/resources; and there is a corresponding Table of Contents which makes planning and using the guides easier. With these additions, Mrs. Miller has made a wonderful curriculum even better. I wish my children were young again so we could use it.

From:  Consuelo
Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2004

Someone suggested doing business with YWAM. I would suggest that before you buy their books, you go to their web site and do some research. Some of their wares are very troubling, plus their theology is questionable. I will add that a number of sources for home-school material sell the series of biographies of Christians that includes John Chapman/Johnny Appleseed. I assume you know he was a follower of Swedenborg. I am so disheartened by the lack of knowledge of people selling this series.
From:  lisa romeo
Date: Wed, 11 Aug 2004

Hello. My question was at what age is good to start a second language? I have a 6 year old and almost 5 year old, and am thinking about trying Polish or Latin. Some say not to do Latin because it’s a dead language. What is your view?

Thanks bunches, Lisa
If you are talking about learning the alphabet, pronouncing and writing words and sentences, and learning basic vocabulary, then the earlier the better. As soon as a child is able to learn to read and write in English then he is able to learn the alphabet of a foreign language — and after he learns that alphabet he can advance to pronouncing and copying words and sentences and learning basic vocabulary in that language. We would suggest, though, that you wait till age ten to teach the formal grammar of that language.

There are lots of reasons one must consider when deciding which foreign language to teach your child. In our book Teaching the Trivium we discuss the arguments for learning Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, but perhaps your family has a special need or desire to learn Polish. There is no law of classical education that dictates which language you teach your child, so don’t be swayed by classical peer pressure to learn a language you don’t need (perhaps Latin, in your situation) to the exclusion of a language you do need (perhaps Polish, in your situation).

Handy English Encoder Decoder
Publisher: Trivium Pursuit
Author: Harvey Bluedorn
Reviewed By: Jean Hall at

The subtitle of this slim volume is All the Spelling and Phonics Rules You Could Ever Want to Know. I second that! I wouldn’t exactly call this a good read, unless you need to lull yourself to sleep some insomnia-laced night, but it is not meant to be entertaining. It is an excellent reference. The author maintains that nearly anyone who applies diligence to learning the general spelling rules and who consults his dictionary regularly can be a good speller.  He adds that phonics rules help spelling and spelling rules help phonics.  (Did you know there’s a spelling rule that says no word can end with the letter j? I was only halfway through the introduction and already I had learned something!)

Helpful chapters include  Commonly Confused Spellings and Word Pairs;  prefix and suffix rules; hyphenation (my own personal nightmare); and dictionary rules of syllable division, which, as the book explains, are not always the same as the natural division of syllables in common speech, or how we say the word. No wonder I struggle in this area! My dictionary is my closest confidante when it comes to dividing words, but if I memorize this single page of rules I might be able to fly solo. Having a short list of rules at my fingertips is a start to conquering the difficulty.

A large portion of the book is given over to the phonics rules. I admit I found the symbols, meant to allow easy generalization, annoying. Algebra was never a strong point of mine, as it substituted letters for actual numbers, and this book works the same way, using symbols where you can substitute any number of letters in their place. Thankfully the explanation of the phonics symbols and rules is bolstered by a hefty number of examples for each rule.

In the appendices you’ll find two spelling games and a phonics game, both designed to help you begin to make use of this book, and finally a list of homophones. Tell me, how many times have you confused stationary and stationery?

This book will make a fine addition to the reference section of any homeschooler’s or writer’s library.
What is the Latin phrase printed on the U.S. dollar bill, and what does it mean?
From:  Gena Mayo
Date: Mon, 23 Aug 2004

Hi Laurie,

I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate The Hand that Rocks the Cradle that your son compiled (books that you recommend for reading aloud to children). My four children are 3 years old and younger (one still in-utero), and I’ve been taking this opportunity to read many of the books on your list which I had never read before.

I was curious if there was a particular reason why you didn’t include any Jane Austen or Bronte books.
I was also wondering if you or anyone else has looked at The Phonics Road to Spelling and Reading by Barbara Beers ( I know you advocate intensive phonics at an early age but waiting to teach grammar when they’re older. I just wanted to know if this program fits within those views or not.

A question was asked in the TPRTSAR pamphlet about the difference from The Writing Road to Reading by Romalda Spalding. The answer is that the Phonics Road comes with DVD training and a more complete notebook for the mom/teacher. It says “The criticism of the Orton-Gillingham method, the Spalding method, and the Riggs method, even by those convinced of the need for a multi-sensory phonics approach, has been the extensive teacher preparation of 60 hours in training and then more weeks in preparation of their notebooks to understand and implement these curricula.”  There are supposed to be four levels of The Phonics Road to Spelling and Reading. Only the first level is ready now. The others will come out in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Barbara Beers also wrote The Latin Road to English Grammar.

Thanks so much for all the wisdom and encouragement, Gena Mayo (Mundelein, IL)
I didn’t include the Austen or Bronte books in Hand That Rocks the Cradle because I never read them to my children. My girls read the books on their own when they were in their later teens. It is my opinion that some of the Bronte books should be left to read when a student is a bit older. As for the Austen books, I read them to myself when I was first married and, at the time, was entertained by them, but now probably wouldn’t be quick to recommend them. There is only so much time in the day and, in my opinion, there are other books more worthy.

From:  Sharon Ericson
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 2004

The Liberty Bell Museum offers reasonably priced feather quill pens, as well as parchment paper. Their website is:

They’re really quite easy to use, only requiring the lightest of touch. My daughter and I found that having a bit of calligraphy helped with the overall experience of using a feather quill pen. Possibly, you could offer a mini-calligraphy course while waiting for your materials to arrive. My daughter would much prefer to use a feather quill to her pencil.

Sharon Ericson
Date: Tue, 24 Aug
From: Jilia Lima

You gave me a new meaning for the word Education, the real meaning! (English is a second language for me, please sorry for my grammar!) I read all of your articles at your website, specially the one that talks about that Education is a parents responsibility order by God, and discuss it with my husband. We now understand better the hidden agenda of the Government Education System and why is so important to keep our little girl apart from the System. We now understand that the Education of our daughter is my responsibility with God, and that Education is teaching her to love and obey the law of God. Thanks, and God bless all of your beautiful family and your wonderful ministry.

Jilia R. Lima, Loiza, PR
From: Cr8td2praise
Date: Wed, 25 Aug 2004
Subject: Parchment paper and quill pens

I did a small unit study on the colonial period last year and I was able to find all the above mentioned items at Hobby Lobby. You can also find many options on-line that show you how to cut your on pens (which is what we did). I also found the parchment paper at my local office store.

Good Luck!
Bringing Up Baby

Once upon a time there was a raccoon named Mr. Pippin. . . and so begins the true story of how one happy summer we raised a baby raccoon. Trivium Pursuit is pleased to announce the release of their newest children’s picture book The Story of Mr. Pippin by Johannah Bluedorn. Detailed watercolor paintings bring this tale of love and friendship to life, making the book certain to appeal to children of all ages and to the young at heart.

In award-winning illustrator Johannah Bluedorn’s Tasha Tudor style, Pippin’s early nurturing and later antics are minutely recorded to reveal what it is like to bring up a baby raccoon. Toys and teddies, honey bears and hollyhocks all play a part in Pippin’s pampered childhood, until later, when “the call of his wild home was stronger than his love for us.”

About the author/illustrator: Bluedorn, a self-taught homeschooled artist, won her first art prize at age 14 and published her first book at age 17 . She has illustrated several other children’s books, including Alphabet for Biblical Hebrew, Alphabet for Biblical Greek, Become a Civil War Reenactor, My Mommy, My Teacher, The Lord Builds the House (all published by Trivium Pursuit), and From Dark to Dawn: A Tale of Martin Luther and the Reformation (published by Books on the Path). She also designs and sews 19th and early 20th century costumes and raises Jersey cows and Quarter horses on her family’s farm in New Boston, Illinois.

Title: The Story of Mr. Pippin
Author/Illustrator: Johannah Bluedorn
Publisher: Trivium Pursuit
ISBN: 0-9743616-8-2
Price/Pages: $18.00; Hardcover, 32 pages, all full color
From: ShangriLewis
Date: Thu, 26 Aug 2004
Subject: 7 and 4 year old boys, History Alive

I have three boys ages 7, 4 and 1 years. The oldest turn 8 and 5 in January. I would love to hear what others are doing for their children. We have been pretty relaxed since removing our oldest from school in January. He was in 1st grade.

We have done 2 units from Konos Volume 1. That was enjoyable, but I’m not sure it has the meat I’m looking for. I’m considering History Alive or Tapestry of Grace right now. (I would love suggestions or comments on these curriculums.) I’m going to try and find someone near me who has them.

I just started reading Teaching the Trivium and I’m on chapter 3. I read another book on classical education before and did not like it. I do not think that my young boys should spend all day in school. I adore learning and I adore teaching and facilitating. Teaching the Trivium is really an enjoyable read. I’ve actually been on this list for a quite awhile and everyone seems very kind.

Does everyone have goals for their year? What have you successfully completed with young boys of this age? Some days we feel like if they are pretty much clean and fed and put to bed we have made it. Since my dh has started working at home we are implementing our new schedule. Albeit it’s not very tight. Anyway…I guess that is somewhat of an introduction.

Washington State
Mother of three sons and a Border Collie (my hairy son)
Date: Wed, 25 Aug 2004
From: Patricia Christianson

Hello, Bluedorn Family!

To prepare for beginning our family’s homeschool lessons for this year, I used the Encoder/Decoder. I went through the spelling side and coupled the rules with spelling word lists and a sentence to diagram (sometimes from the Noah Webster Speller). I will use this for spelling, grammar, and handwriting (I don’t have a computer at home, so I wrote it out by hand). I still have to photocopy it for each of my children. (May I have permission from the author to use this material this way?)

Each child will keep a spelling notebook. When he is writing and asks or looks up the spelling of a word, he will record the word in his Spelling Notebook under the applicable spelling rule or rules. He will write correctly that word and any words that he misspelled from his spelling lesson, five times–once a day for five days. At the end of the week I will test him by pronouncing his word list. Any misspelled words go on his list to write once a day until the next test, until they are spelled correctly. (This idea came from a book Orthography and Word Analysis.

My hand written rule book will also serve as a copybook.

When I get it photocopied, I will send a copy to you, too.

Thanks for the great resource!
Patti Christianson
From: morrissey4
Date: Wed, 11 Aug 2004

I just bought your book. I really enjoyed it. We have homeschooled for 7 years, we have two daughters ages 9 and 12 and we also live out in the country on 5 acres. My question for you is about socialization. I know that Home schooled children have plenty of chances to socialize; I am just trying to choose which groups they should be involved with. We have decided not to let our children do Youth Group this year at our church. What kind contacts did you allow your children to have to develop friendships? My oldest daughter is so shy and has very few friends, even though we are involved in many activities. She is very modest, like to use her head and does not seem to have a lot in common with other girls her age. Can you suggest something that worked for you, or perhaps you did not have that problem. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Susan Morrissey
When our oldest was almost seven years old, the Lord moved us to the country — there was only one neighbor. For those first two years we only had one car which my husband took to work six days of the week, so that pretty much determined that we weren’t going to do much socializing. At first I fretted about the situation, sure that my kids were going to grow up socially inept since they had so little contact with other kids their age. The only socialization we had were the once a month homeschool support group meetings — back in the ’80’s support group meetings were family affairs and LOTS of fun. In addition, about twice a month we invited like minded families over to our house for dinner. Once a week we drove Harvey to work, and I and the children took the car and did our  town stuff  — library, nursing home, garage sales, grocery store, another library, playground, errands, another library, visit grandma and grandpa, and maybe another library. And then we picked up Harvey at work and went home.

Over the years, that was pretty much the extent of our socialization, adding: 4-H and the activities that included; speech and debate classes in our home for a number of years; private music lessons twice a month; private swimming and racquetball at the YMCA for a few years. There were probably other things we participated in, but I can’t remember them all now. I do think that inviting like-minded families to your home on a regular basis for dinner or other activities has been the most useful source of positive socialization.

Things we did not participate in: youth groups or SS; homeschool co-ops (tried it one year, but didn’t find it useful); team sports (Hans did Little League for two summers, which, again, we found not useful and wouldn’t do again).

And what has been the result of our living what most people would consider a  sheltered life  — our children are best friends with each other, and though all five of them up to their teen years were considered by most everyone we knew to be quite shy, would now be capable of and love to converse with anyone and everyone. Our two sons even love to give seminars in front of hundreds of people — and I remember when as 10-year-olds they hid behind me if there was a crowd of people in the room. Being shy as a young child doesn’t always work out to a shy adult.

Are your daughters unhappy with your level of contact with other children? If they are content with playing with each other and with a moderate amount of supervised contact, then I wouldn’t rock the boat, but if they have too much idle time on their hands, I suggest that you find them other things to do rather than more children to play with. I suggest involve them in more arts and crafts type activities and projects, such as sewing and other needlework, gardening, raising animals, volunteer work, or business ventures.

The principle is:  You become like the company you keep, so choose your friends, and don’t just let friends happen to you — you may become the victim of someone else’s friendship. You don’t develop character in a crowd, so don’t look for group socialization, look for individual well-behaved children in well-supervised situations where you know the parents share your values and concerns.

August 27, 2004

Burial services were held today for Miss Rosa. Miss Rosa was buried in a white shroud next to her mother Honey. Miss Auralea and Miss Pippin attended the services. Each kicked a little dirt into the grave. At one point, while the grave was being filled, Miss Pippin jumped in and started digging, but Miss Auralea maintained her composure. After the burial, Miss Pippin sat quietly by the grave for a long time. Miss Rosa’s grave is marked with her collars placed around a stick.

Miss Rosa had lived a long life, but nevertheless her death came unexpectedly, possibly brought on by the stress of hot and humid weather or the trauma of a thunderstorm. (Thunderstorms would deeply affect her.) She was last seen on the afternoon of August 26. She was noticed missing the morning of August 27, and a thorough search was made for her. Finally, she was found beneath the front porch, and when she didn’t respond to calls, our worst fears were confirmed.

Miss Rosa was a beautiful golden retriever, a faithful and friendly dog who very much enjoyed the company of people. She would regularly come to the front door early in the morning and bark for someone’s attention. She will be missed most for the way she would walk quietly up to a someone, sit down and look up at him with an expression as if to say, “You look like you need to give someone a nice pat on the head. Here I am, you can pat me.”

We thank the Lord that He allowed us to have Miss Rosa for fourteen years. She will be missed by many, but especially by her devoted friend, Ava.

Harvey Bluedorn
There are 3 Latin phrases on the dollar bill:

1.  Annuit Coeptis  = He has favored the new beginning of our country
2.  Novus Ordo Seclorum  = New Secular Order
3.  E Pluribus Unum  = Out of many, one.
From: Robert Bigelow
Subject: Dyslexic Child
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 2004

Do you have any basic advice in addition to phonics for a 10-year old, homeschooled boy who is dyslexic? Any resources or contacts?

Thank you,
Bob Bigelow
Tacoma, WA

Hi, Mr. Bigelow.

You asked for basic advice, in addition to phonics, on how to help a boy showing symptoms associated with dyslexia.

If I were talking to you on the phone, I would first ask you, what kind of phonics are you using?  Because that is crucial to this young man’s successes. Are you using Vertical Phonics, Horizontal Phonics, Linguistic Phonics or Special Symbol Phonics. That decision will probably determine how easy it will be to work with him and the eventual outcome of his reading instruction. There will be a temptation to get the most expensive program available because you probably will do anything to help him with his academics. Or to send him to Sylvan Learning until you feel his progress isn’t justifying the cost. Don’t do either one until you have tried the very economical TATRAS program. Here is what we offer.

1. It is especially important in working with children that can be expected to have reading problems that you have a means of measuring and documenting very slight increments of progress on a meaningful scale. TATRAS offers methods of doing this. Just very slight progress shown over a period of a week or two weeks may be terrible slow for child without language problems but it’s a great motivator for the slower child and his instructor. Research has shown the students shown the results of weekly tests respond by being even more eager to apply themselves.

2. You can expect to have to use an extremely high amount of repetition to make this slow progress. The problem with slower children is to keep them motivated and have the will to hold up under what to them might appear to be endless repetition. TATRAS offers features to help mitigate the unavoidable repetition. Four of these are:

a. Our lessons our short, and each lesson is broken down into four distinct parts, so we have variety..

b. We use a form of mastery training (not Levin’s and John Hopkins Mastery Training) that only allows a child to move on when he has mastered that to which he has been introduced. We don’t decode any words until the sounds of each letter (or phonogram) are known thoroughly. We don’t set a time table for progress.

c. Scant research available shows that the average child probably knows a work instantly after he has recognized it (whole word memorization or phonics) forty times. Many perfectly normal students do it with far less repetitions some require many more. But the Dyslexic or autistic child may have to decode it 300-400 times (no research available) until it becomes quickly known. So the trick is to teach him the words that are most important to him. Just 300 words account for probably half the words an individual will read or spell in his life. Doesn’t it make sense to concentrate on those words. In fact, TATRAS teaches the 500 most often occurring (MOO) words plus 337 words that are need for practical or cultural reasons. (i.e. choir, Bible, apostle etc.)

d. These students do not want to go back and read 1st or 2d grade primers. We show you how meaningful poems (not Shel Silverstein) can effectively be used to give the slower student a real sense of accomplishment. Good poems bear reading over and over and each time they are read the student will find them easier and he’s not always being challenged by encountering words that he finds time consuming to decode. And it usually builds up his vocabulary. We offer specially selected poems to give you an idea of what is needed.

3. For the past 20 years we have offered free assistance over the phone. Hopefully we can provide it another 20, but that is unlikely. It is also important that whenever you are dealing with a remedial reader that you call TATRAS and have us give you a briefing on what to do before you start. You must have full confidence in what you are doing and you must be able to convey that confidence to the student.

4. There is no doubt in my mind there are poor readers out there that TATRAS will not help. I have not personally met any. There are also many very expensive services available where, from the meager information in their literature appear to be gold-plated editions of what they are using in the schools i.e.  scientifically tested  reading approaches. I have not attempted a survey but there must be effective organizations out there somewhere to help children with special neurological conditions. Or you can rotate through the many reading programs offered in magazines, on the internet and on radio/tv. What I usually suggest is to try TATRAS first. If you have bought the package (we give parents of special students a 60 day trial period) and if we have had discussions over the phone and you don’t feel you’re having success, then try something else.

You might send me your address and a SSAE and I’ll send you our tan sheet which gives a better explanation of the four ways that phonics can be taught. TATRAS offers a critique of each.

I hope this short reply is of assistance to you.

R’spy, Frank Rogers, TATRAS
From:  Don Potter
Date: Thu, 26 Aug 2004

Take look at this magnificent TR! It is a Greek reference Bible from 1873. Like the Nestle text, it has the Eusebian Canons for locating parallel passages in the Gospels. The cross references are excellent. I wrote Hodge once that I was disappointed that the Majority text lacked a good cross reference system like the Nestle text. How did they hope to compete with the Nestle text if they left out the cross references? At least that is the way I felt. This is a beauty. I wish I had a copy for a study Bible.

By the way, the Athens text that I have has a magnificent cross reference system that includes the LXX. You won’t find that anywhere else. It is a bit difficult to use because the reference code is in Greek. I figured it out and produced a key for my own use.

Harvey, Louis is allowing me to publish an mp3 file of his audio recording of the entire book of Ephesians in Scrivener’s 1894, 1902 TR. I should have it on my web site by the first of next week. His pronunciation leaves nothing to be desired. He is a man of great faith, and meticulous scholarship. We are making it available for free on my web site. He is also willing to sell a higher audio quality CD wave file edition for $5.00.

From: d.hoffman
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 2004

Hi Laurie! Can you recommend a computer course? I have too much to do, and popping in a cd would be wonderful! Any suggestions?

I’ve been thinking of you a lot lately. I still remember your kind comment about the boys’ trapping activities. You said, If I was a boy, that’s what I would want to do!

Henry wrote a letter to Nature Friend Magazine about how trapping is not cruel. In it he included his address. He’s received 10 responses from all over the U.S., and has started correspondence with a couple of the boys that had written. It was really fun to go to the mailbox and find yet another letter.

Somehow, I think you deserve some credit for all our fun, probably because you have been so encouraging to me.

I hope you are all well. We are, and are planning a last hurrah before we begin school. We are going to the Boundary Waters to canoe, camp and fish. Pray for nice weather!

Let me know if you can recommend a beginning computer course.

From: La Vera Moore
Date: Sat, 28 Aug 2004

My family and I are really enjoying your book (The Fallacy Detective). Even my youngest son, who is eight, enjoys attempting to answer the questions.

Your book was a great introduction to another program that I had purchased. Going directly into that program probably would have bored my children to tears but now they are interested in the concepts of logic.

My children became instantly attracted to the program because of the comic segments but later couldn’t put it down.

LaVera Moore
Clinton, MD


From:  Ken Barnett
Subject: math facts question
Date: Fri, 27 Aug 2004

I believe in delayed formal math. I have a 10yo that proved that to be correct to me. However, I have a 7yo girl that insists on doing math although it’s not part of our daily routine. She finished last year’s textbook (before I was committed to delaying math) on her own. She is asking me to teach her multiplication b/c it’s in that book!! For 1st graders! She is in second grade now and I am trying to figure out what to do next, I don’t like abeka math and am considering mathusee or singapore (what I used for the 9yo last year.) However, I am thinking that this 7yo should learn the math facts well before going on, since she seems to really want to go on. My oldest never did learn them well. So, I am guessing she should learn addition and subtraction facts now. Does anyone have a recommendation on how far we should go with these before she does multiplication tables? So you go as far as 16 minus something before you start on multiplication? And what methodical way is there to do this? I tried flash cards today but it seemed really disjointed.

Thanks for any insight. I am NOT a math person like this little girl seems to be.

Brandy in AL
From:  Don Potter
Subject: Ephesians mp3
Date: Sun, 29 Aug 2004

Dear Harvey,

Here is the most meticulous recording of Ephesians I have ever heard. Dr. Tyler is a friend of mine here in Odessa, TX. You are going to love this expressive recording. This is from the Trinitarian Bible Society text, the same one Jay Greek uses in his Interlinear. Dr. Tyler is fluent in Greek (Modern and Koine), German, French, and Spanish. He has over 25 years experience preaching in Spanish. He is a man of great faith and enormous ability. It is a great honor to be able to help him make his years of research and ministry available to the believing community. The rest of Ephesians will be available in a few days. Louis and I have a number of projects in mind. Maybe we will put the Sermon on the Mount online in Greek to give the students of your Homeschool Greek a little more practice listening to the Greek in their Reader. Doctor Tyler is about done recording the Majority Text by Nelson, but they want him to pay royalties for each CD he sells. He is trying to get them to publish his CD. I figure we would be better off self-publishing with the TR. I don’t think Erasmus and his later editors are going to expect any royalties!!!

I might mention that I am starting to enrich my Spanish web page. Since I am teaching Spanish I to AAP (Advanced Academic Placement) and regular students at the Bowie Junior High here in Odessa, I am starting to publish material for learning that language. I have a couple of Spanish audio Bibles there already.

Don Potter (Now a Spanish teacher)
Odessa, TX
From: Jen Kelly
Date: Fri, 03 Sep 2004

Hi, I am teaching my 2 girls (6 & 8yo) Greek with the help of a Greek friend. What are the differences between modern and ancient Greek that we need to be aware of in this situation?

Jen Kelly
The letters of the alphabet are the same, but the diacritical notation is a little different — Modern Greek has dropped the different accent marks (acute = oxia, circumflex = perispomeni, grave = varia) and retains only the oxia.

Modern Greek does not differentiate several of the vowel and diphthong sounds — it makes many of them sound alike. Each letter and diphthong originally represented a distinct articulation of sound, so the further back in time you go, the more articulated the sound.

The Modern Greek vocabulary has many cognates of ancient Greek, but it has also developed new words and changed the meaning and nuance of many words.

Modern Greek is greatly simplified in grammatical forms when compared to ancient Greek grammar.

From: Andrew & Jocelyn James
Date: Sun, 5 Sep 2004

Dear Bluedorns,

I have enjoyed The Hand that Rocks the Cradle as well. I think having something to read written by a male was useful for me. I have always done a lot of reading but came from a house of girls where Jane Austen was considered more of the normal fare. It has been a useful guide for adventure stories with which I was previously unacquainted. I have appreciated that the suggestions are based on books that were actually read by Nathaniel or in the family.

Thank you
Jocelyn James
Date: Sun, 05 Sep 2004
From: EricaHenry
Subject: RE: Math facts question

In response to Brandy in Alabama about teaching/delaying math:

I have found a very successful math strategy with my 7-year-old daughter who also has an interest in mathematics. Last year I began using Professor B’s Mathematics with her. This math program presents mathematics in an exciting and sequential manner that makes learning very natural for young children. To prevent math scald, I slow down or stop teaching math completely until her interest returns. For more information, please see the Professor B website at and visit the Homeschool section.
Date: Sun, 5 Sep 2004
From: Amber Ortega-Perez;
Subject: In response to: What to do with 7, 5 and 1 yr old boy

Hi Heather,

I have one 7yr old boy (and a 1yr old girl), and we have been homeschooling with TTT since he was 5.
We have not used a curriculum and I don’t think we ever will. Since our son was 5, he has been studying the following:

Handwriting, copy work
History (right now Old Testament and some Egypt)
Memory work (bible verses, poetry, catechism)
Reading Aloud, audio books
music (listening and violin lessons)
Nature Journal
Some art mostly nature drawing

We usually finish studies by 12 or 1:00pm. Our only goal has ever been that he learns how to read and write and steadily become closer to God, for us that is the most important right now. We don’t care too much to keep national standards for his age and we don’t rush him through books or curriculum so that he will finish on time.

We do however roughly use books and materials for his age group suggested by Veritas Press. We receive their catalog once a year and I peruse it to see if there is anything interesting in his age group that I think would be good for him to read or learn. We also roughly use Ambleside.

That is what we do right now in his primary years. Our school year goes from Jan to the end of October and this coming January we are going to purchase him an abacus and some math-type games to play. We also live in Texas where homeschools are the same as private schools so we have the freedom to dismiss standards and things of that sort.

I hope this helps some in your search to find what the best path is for your sons.

San Antonio, TX
Have you ever seen a 5-gallon container of freshly extracted honey — golden brown, deliciously sweet — just waiting to be spread on your morning toast?

Have you ever seen a 5-gallon container of honey fall over in the middle of the night, slowly spreading out to cover the pantry floor before oozing under the basement door and dripping down steps to cover the cement and all the many objects stored there? Honey is silent and slow as it moves — sort of like a lava flow — covering all in its path, including curious crickets and spiders.

Have you ever seen a mother who discovers a honey flow first thing in the morning? The sight isn’t pretty — of the mother, I mean. LB
Date: Sun, 5 Sep 2004
From: Lynn Hackbarth

I agree with your views on socialization and it makes sense with a family. But I am wondering about your views when the Lord has only blessed a family with a single child. We have one 5 year old daughter and we live in the country with no other children within walking distance. My daughter plays well by herself and she loves to do things with my husband or me, but when she spends a lot of time at home she will cry and say that she doesn’t like to  play lonely.  Obviously parents do not play on the same level as other children. How much interaction does a single child need with other children?

From:  Michael Harman
Subject: Socialization
Date: Wed, 8 Sep 2004


A quick blurb on socialization. Yes, we are called to be in the world but not of the world. We pick up social skills from those around us: homeschooling affects social skills. Which do you want your children to pick up most of their social values from:

A) the babysitter / government school agent;
B) the uncivilized children their own age;  (even those in church youth group)
C) the (pop) culture around you;
D) civilized adults

Assuming you view yourself as civilized, I think I know which one you would choose. ;+} With VERY few exceptions, homeschoolers have good manners that are different from government schoolers, and you have to chuckle at a society that thinks civilized children are the oddballs. Better a close family and few good friends influencing God’s precious loan of our children to us than dozens of less-than-wise sources. If there ARE _good_ influences outside of your family that you can avail yourself to, do so by all means! But don’t fall for the logical fallacies of “bad socialization is better than none.”

Michael and Rhonda Harman
Newell, IA
Proverbs 12:26
Date: Fri, 10 Sep 2004
From: Curtis F Knapp

Thank you so much for taking time for all of us who ask you questions! I will be on the lookout for some Christian School Edition McGuffey’s Readers. Have been able to find four of the art literature readers by Lester – you were right, they are beautiful! And the kids like them, too. A little sweet thing – our oldest is six and learned to read in this past year. We got each of the girls one of your children’s books, and tonight she was busy reading,  My Mommy, My Teacher  to her little sister (4). She likes the pictures and the story so well, and she persevered! I helped a few times, like on exceedingly, but I was pleased for her, and blessed she chose that book to read all on her own initiative.

Catherine Knapp
From:  apex
Subject: Making Lapbooks work for Classical Kids…..
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 2004

Just a follow-up to an earlier post which mentioned lapbooking, as folks were unfamiliar with the term (which is actually trademarked by Tobin’s Lab)….so what is a lapbook?

Lapbooks differ from notebooks in that a child can sometime be overwhelmed at having to fill a normal size sheet of paper….but lapbooks may NOT be as intimidating…..because the child does not write their learned facts down on a normal 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper but rather on mini books which are mounted on a file folder refolded into a shutter style. Just one little mini book (folded in a variety of appealing, fun ways) at a time, not daunting for a child, and soon they have written down a great deal of information which can be presented in a very attractive fashion and read (and reviewed) to extended family and friends…..

If you are looking for a method to consolidate learning, to give children ownership of the time era they have been reading, you may want to check out the following links for making lapbooks

Two book titles to get you started: Dinah Zike’s Big Book of Books /and The Ultimate Lapbook Handbook (by Tammy Duby).

Simply in Him,
From:  Don Potter
Subject: Phonics
Date: Sat, 18 Sep 2004

Dear Harvey,

Here is a link to what I consider the best and most Christian phonics web site on the Internet:

Elizabeth Brown has just gone Online with her phonics program. All of the information there is correct. Her use of the book of Romans as a Reader is the most brilliant thing I have ever seen in the area of reading instruction. I needed to update my Quick Time program to view her movies. She is still working on completing the lessons. We all should join hands around God’s throne asking His richest blessing on this zealous worker for the Lord.

Don Potter
Odessa, TX
From: Cassie Hale
Date: Sun, 19 Sep 2004

city: Kokomo
state: IN
I am praising God that I found your website. I very much wanted to do the Classical Education method in our home, yet I found that other books didn’t hold to the Christian principles we wanted to instill in our children while educating them. I had grown rather restless when I read about the alternative–CHRISTIAN Classical Education. I’ve been checking out your site here and there and I’m finally at peace that this is the method we will be implementing. I just purchased Teaching the Trivium and I can’t wait to get started! We’ve naturally included so many elements of a Classical education in our home without even knowing it! I do need help, however, in the area of disciplining our children (5, 3 1/2, 1 1/2). I find that I’m constantly frustrated and suffer from feelings of inadequacy in this area. If you could lead me to some resources on this topic I’d greatly appreciate it. Otherwise I’ll assume this topic is thoroughly covered in your book,  Teaching the Trivium.  Keep up the wonderful work! Again, I feel so blessed to have found this site! Several friends mentioned it to me, and Terry Maxwell, from also mentioned it.

Most Sincerely and to the Glory of God, Cassie Hale
The best book we have read on the topic of discipline is The Mother At Home by John Abbott. You can get this book from
From: Clara
Subject: Review of The Story of Mr. Pippin

TITLE: The Story of Mr. Pippin
PUBLISHER: Trivium Pursuit
SUMMARY OF STORY: A baby raccoon is orphaned and finds himself adopted by a gracious young lady. Enjoy the adventure of watching this mischievous little fellow meet and make new friends and grow up during one special summer.
HOW YOUR FAMILY LIKED IT: All 5 (13 months-11yrs) of my children enjoy this book. Once again Johannah has created a book that is a treasure as well as a joy to read aloud. The story is told in the form of a tender recollection of a special summer. I cannot say enough about the illustrations. Warmth and the sense of tender memories is conveyed on every page. The paintings are detailed with such depth and richness. It is a real treat for nature study, for it is filled with flora and fauna that children and parents will love to admire and identify.
POSITIVE CHARACTER QUALITIES MODELED: tenderness, joy, gentleness, kindness
ESPECIALLY OF INTEREST TO BOYS OR GIRLS: Girls and nature loving boys
CATEGORY OF BOOK: Animal story
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Johannah Bluedorn was homeschooled by her parents and is self-taught in art. She is the author and illustrator of the children’s book My Mommy, My Teacher /and had illustrated several books for her family’s business, Trivium Pursuit. In her spare time, she raises Jersey cows, trains her horse, and enjoys many types of handwork. Johannah lives with her parents, two brothers, and two sisters in New Boston, Illinois.
I am Clara in Miami. I am married to a precious man of God and I am mommy to 5 blessed bibliophiles from the Lord. We have always home educated. My oldest is 10 and she’s been read aloud to all her life as have been her siblings.
From:  Mia
Subject: Latin and Greek definition dictionary
Date: Mon, 6 Sep 2004

I purchased a dictionary on Latin and Greek definitions to use with Vocabulary Bridges. It is hit and miss though. Barns & Noble booksellers didn’t have anything in stock and they ordered this one for me. I was wondering if you could recommend a specific good dictionary which will suit our need? I also wanted to thank you AGAIN for Teaching the Trivium, although I have not reached the very end of the book yet. We started our 3rd week of school yesterday and I have been busy re-reading parts I’ve already read, trying to implement them in our school. I have been on basically the right track all these years (this is our 6th year of homeschooling) but this book brings all the little gut feelings I’ve had together and gives me so much resolve and ways in which I can improve. As the kids get older, we have been getting more criticism from concerned people. I’ve suggested that they read your book or any number of other books I could suggest, but I have yet for anyone to take me up on my offer. I’m beginning to wonder actually how concerned they really are if they’re not even willing to LOOK into it and educate themselves. I’ve seen that regardless of my explaining, reasoning, and even showing wonderful results, I’ve yet to satisfy anyone. I could have my kids tested and the results sent out to everyone but I see that NOTHING I do could begin to satisfy anyone, so I’m not going to even begin to waste my time. I have children to raise and educate – not outside adults. I LOVED how you said in the tape  The Seven Undeniable Truths…  how EVENTUALLY, the grandparents are so won over by the results that they may even go so far as to take credit that ‘homeschooling was THEIR idea’. I am also excited that on my next order, I plan on buying our 26 month old Delaney My Mommy, My Teacher for Christmas. We have 3 boys; Dillon 11, Dalton 9, Duncan 6 and we are expecting another sister, Drew in December. It sounds as if the book were written FOR Delaney. She LOVES doing school with her brothers and scoots her chair up to her oldest brother along with the younger two boys while they all practice memorization together. She is careful about not missing her turn (Now MY Turn ) and sits up so straight and proper, taking it sooooo seriously. She bobs her head up and down as she is working so hard on repeating the phrases her brother calls out to her. She also pulls her chair up to me along side her brother as we practice Duncan’s ABC flashcards. First he says it, and then she looks at the letter and repeats the letter and its sound. I see the truth that Mr. Bluedorn speaks of in the tape when he says homeschooling is for parents.  ….. The most I learned from public school was that I wasn’t smart. I have learned in your book WHY I did not do well in school. Being able to raise and homeschool my children has been God’s way of healing ME. I get to learn and experience everything I never got to earlier…… My being uneducated and having to stay home to care for the children has been such a BLESSING in disguise because I would have never evolved to this position otherwise. Just as Mr. Bluedorn said in the tape, I have to sharpen myself while I sharpen my children. Thank you for writing this book. I have been reading bits and pieces to my husband. …. Thank You, Thank You! I cannot WAIT to meet yall in person the next time you are at a local homeschooling seminar.

Mia Fraser
Concerning the Honey Flow:
From:  Pothoven Family
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 2004

Dear LB,

Oh no! With my vivid imagination, I see the honey flow… I’m sorry!!! I wish I could come over and help you clean it up!

Mary Pothoven
Plant City, FL
From: wpbogard

Regarding the honey,

Oh I’m so sorry that happened and someone had to clean it up. The only thing remotely close was the one gallon of expensive white paint knocked over by one of the kids and spilled on the ugly, dirty garage floor-today. The site of me wasn’t pretty either. Needless to say I quickly used it to paint something in the garage that was supposed to be painted anyway and scooped up the rest back in the can. Maybe you could have brought in the cow, the dog and whatever else in to lap it up??

Sincerely, P. Bogard
Date: Wed, 22 Sep 2004
From: Richard D Cali

Dear Laurie,

Thanks so much for sharing your delightfully written, terrible honey story. Little did I realize as I read it and gasped (with a quick Listen to this!  to my dear one) what a great source of encouragement it would be to me. Just 8 hours later as I was washing the dishes and my little ones (all but one) were busying themselves with morning chores, the baby found something to occupy himself, a five-pound jug of honey. Who knew how quickly little finger could unscrew the cap and peel back the seal?! Thanks to you, I could laugh and feel grateful that it was only 5 lbs. and not 5 gallons and take delight in his sweet, excited babble. His speech is still developing, but there was no doubt what he was saying this time,  Mama, mmmmmmmm! Mama, mmmmmmmm!…  The floor is still quite sticky.

With true empathy,
Debbie Cali
Tampa, FL
Date: Sat, 25 Sep 2004

The word picture of your honey flow left me grateful for my sticky, little honey jar. My heart goes out to you for that early morning surprise. What a memory!

Thanks for your e-letters, always look forward to them.

Debbie Warning
Minooka, IL
From:  kathy shann
Date: Sat, 25 Sep 2004

Dear Laurie,

I had to chuckle at your honey story. I’m sorry, but it truly put my story into perspective. I just spilt have a pint -jar of honey on our counter. Who would have thought that kind of mess could come from such a small amount of honey? I was whining terribly as I had to wash off two stacks of rummy root flash cards and several, several pieces of important papers. Honey, I don’t have nothing on you! (excuse the pun) I can’t even imagine how long it would take you to clean up a mess from 5 gallons!

Bless your heart.
Thanks for sharing, Kathy Shann-OK
From:  Steve and Lisa McCullough
Subject: Thank you for the laugh!
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 2004

My husband and I got a great chuckle from Laurie’s note about the honey at the beginning of your last email! Sometimes I need to be reminded that a) I am not alone and b) no matter what unexpected events do happen to me, it seems there is always another mom who has dealt with much worse! Thanks for being real.

A response about timelines:

I have found the absolute best timeline characters! Amy Pak, an artist and homeschooling mother, has recently completed four sets of timeline characters. These characters are lifelike, rather than cartoon-y , and include a brief narrative. Best of all, the characters are reproducible! We have several poster boards laminated with timelines hanging on our wall. One character goes there. Then, each child has their own 3 ring binder with 8 1/2 X 22 paper (punched on the edge and folded over into the binder). On the paper is drawn two lines so that two rows of characters can fit. I reduce the image to about 75% and each can color and place a character in a personal notebook. There are characters for most every event and person we have come across in our homeschooling during the past 2 years. Her website is She shows some examples of how she has used the timeline characters to make lapbooks. Look under timeline helps on her site.

Date: Wed, 22 Sep 2004
From: Curtis F Knapp

Does anyone have ideas for good magazines for children ages 2, 4 and 6?  We have Grandparents interested in giving such as gifts and as there are some not-so-great options (ie either the fast food type or with an underlying evolutionary / humanist worldview) we are eager to make suggestions that will be profitable for homeschooling. Nature Friend is the only one we have come across that has a Christian worldview and lots of good information.

There must be others…… Thank you, Catherine
The Home Schooled Girl

by Chris Davis of The Elijah Company

She lives in a small town in Tennessee, or in a subdivision in North Carolina, or on a ranch in Montana.   She may be 15. Or, she may have graduated from college. Either way, the odds are no boy has ever paid much attention to her. She may wonder if she will ever get married. She is lonely. What’s her problem? The answer is simple: She is different. She doesn’t particularly like being different. She may tell you that she doesn’t care; but she does.  Her peers think she is a snob. Her mom says the reason other girls don’t want to be around her is because they are jealous. That doesn’t help much. So she tries to be friendly and kind but that doesn’t help much, either. She may be shunned by other girls and ignored by boys.  She is different. And who wants to be different? Nobody likes others who are different and nobody likes being different.  I have met hundreds of homeschooled girls like this around the world.  Each girl thinks she is the only one who is having these experiences.  But, there are thousands just like her. If they ever find one another, there would be a huge group hug. And, yes, probably lots of tears.  They would finally have found others like themselves who aren’t interested in what girls normally think or talk about. Their talk wouldn’t center around boys or movies or how stupid some other girl is. They would talk about their families and about what interests them and about God and about Jesus. They would pray together and for one another.  That girl from Tennessee who is 15. She’s actually 15 going on 21. She seems to have skipped the teenage years altogether. The girl who has graduated from college without meeting her future husband has been told many times not to worry.  Mister right is just waiting somewhere in the future. She struggles to believe it and to trust God for her future family.  These girls are different. Not because they wear Christian hairdos or clothing. It really has little to do with externals. But it has everything to do with their Father and what He has done inside them.  They are just different, whether they like being different or not.  Everyone can tell.  One day I was trying to understand this regarding a young girl who was a friend of my son. All at once the Lord showed me a kind of vision about this girl. Here’s what I saw:  The girl was in her Baptist Sunday school class. All the kids were sitting in a circle. Just then I saw Jesus open the door to the room.  He walked directly to this girl and held out His hand to her. She took His hand and got up from her chair. Then Jesus took her out of the class and closed the door. I understood Him to be saying, This girl doesn’t belong in the same way other people belong. I have made her exclusively Mine. I knew this didn’t mean she would never have a family or always be by herself. But the Lord made me understand that He is using the homeschooling movement because it is the easiest context in which to raise young people who can be truly different. Why do I keep using the word, Different? It is because of the origin of that word. The word different is the most exact translation of the Greek work, HOLY (hagios). These kids are different in that the Lord has placed in them something which makes them holy unto Him. They are not really trying to be this way. It’s something He has done. He has separated them from the kind of things normal young people find important. They may struggle with what God has done. They may be terribly lonely. But they ARE different and it is the work of God, Himself. It is not easy to encourage these girls. Loneliness is no fun and being different can be a real bummer, too. Telling someone to have faith can sound pretty shallow, even though it’s the truth. The girl who graduated from college and never had a boy who was a friend ended up meeting the man of God she had always dreamed about. They are married now. Another is still waiting, praying for faith to believe it will all turn out as her heart hopes it will. This is a holy generation. It is a generation set apart unto Him. It is a generation of young people the world has not seen in so long it doesn’t remember what real holiness looks like. The purposes of God rest on our children being willing to walk in the world but, at the same time, separated from it. The world waits for a people to show them that a relationship with Jesus isn’t a religious put-on, but is worth giving their lives to, too. Our girls have been created by the Lord to show everyone what the Bride of Christ looks like, sounds like, acts like, believes like. It can be a burden, but it is precious. We need to deeply respect our girls for what they have been called to be. They need to be encouraged to understand who they are to a world (and, yes, even to a Church) who desperately needs to see the kind of Lady Jesus is returning for. We need to give them a vision for who they are that is deeper than simply saying to them, the other girls are jealous of you.
Date: Sat, 25 Sep 2004
From: Ernie and Deidra Roberson
Subject: biblical basis for teaching academics at home

Hi Bluedorns,

I have been inspired by the information on your website and have ordered your book. It should arrive next week. I have a question that has been ‘plaguing’ me for a little while. While I agree with the scriptures that have been given here and in other books about God holding parents responsible to teach their children I am failing to see where God is holding parents responsible to teach their children academics. I know that we are to teach our children about God and His ways and living the Christian life, etc. The reason I am asking is because my husband seems to feel that if our children go to (public) school they will get the academics but what we teach and live at home as far as loving the Lord is what they will learn also so why the necessity for teaching academics at home? Personally, I enjoy my children and I want to give them a loving, Christian, unpressured atmosphere to learn in as long as I can. For some reason my heart breaks when I think of sending them off to public school. I feel like I’m putting them into the hands of people I don’t trust. I currently homeschool a 3 and 5 yr. old. But my husband continues to comment on when our children will attend public school, like maybe this homeschooling thing is just a phase I’m in. But I really don’t have an answer for him scripturally to support God wanting us as parents to teach academics as well as living and upholding a Christian lifestyle at home. Do you have anymore insight/scriptures on this?

Deidra Roberson
Our Seven Undeniable Truths of Homeschooling (soon to be available on DVD; we hope soon to put in book form) develops many of the arguments for homeschooling. Teaching the Trivium, Chapter Two addresses the question of whether the state has jurisdiction to educate, and Chapter Three addresses the question of whether the classroom is preferable.

To address your specific question — We cannot divide academics off as some separate part of education — parents can teach children to love the Lord, and public school can teach academics. Christians have been trying to do this for scores of years, and guess whose education is having the greater and greater impact and whose education is having the lesser and lesser impact? All education is essentially religious in nature, and the public school more and more teaches the religion of humanism — God is irrelevant, man is the measure of all things, and each individual must determine his own value system. Putting aside the fact that in general, public schools do a poor job of teaching the mechanics of academics (if the student learns it well, he learns it at home or on his own), the fact is that every academic subject must be taught from certain philosophical presuppositions, and these subjects are taught in public schools from the perspective of naturalism and humanism. The God of the Bible is ignored all day long, while alternately man or nature are exalted as idols for worship. I was in elementary school in the 1950’s when things weren’t nearly so bad. I am now in my fifties and I am still rooting out the lies I was taught to believe in public school  academics.  Academics in some private classroom schools may be better, but then we get into the question of classroom schools over homeschooling.

Thank you Harvey for your reply. Your answer has confirmed some things I was feeling in my own heart. I too have JUST realized (and I grew angry at this) that no one ever connected for me when I was in school that God and academics go together. I am 38 years old and just realized this in the last two weeks. That was such a revolutionary revelation to me, and I was stunned for a minute but I know that I don’t want my children to grow up having the two separated. I just didn’t know if there were any scriptures that addressed this. There is one that blessed me that says all things originate with God and exists because of Him and all things are for Him. (Rom 11:36) So I’m still being educated myself by the Spirit of God and I thank you for giving me another perspective to take to God in prayer.

Deidra Roberson
From: SonKist49
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 2004
Subject: biblical basis for teaching academics at home

1 Samuel 13: 19-20, 22 reads as follows

Now there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel: for the Philistines said, Lest the Hebrews make them sword or spears: But all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his share, and his coulter, and his axe, and his mattock….So it came to pass in the day of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people.

In the time of Samuel, God’s people had neither blacksmiths nor weapons because they sent their tools to the Philistines for sharpening. Today we send our children to secular schools to sharpen their skills for life. Could we be disarming ourselves just as the Israelites of Samuels day did? In the day of battle, will our children, having neither sword nor spear, be spoiled educationally through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ? (Col.2 v. 8) The comparison of secular schools to Philistine blacksmiths may at first seem extreme but the definition of the word secular suggests the validity of the analogy:secular : from seculum, the world 1. pertaining to this present world, or to things not spiritual or holy: relating to things not immediately or primarily respecting the soul, but the body, worldly… By omitting God, secular education undermines the faith of children because it divorces each subject from its source and origin, end and purpose in God.

The above article was found in a pamphlet published by F.A.C.E. on how we must build upon the biblical principles of education…

submitted by Keisha Kain
From:  Beard
Subject: The Civil War
Date: Fri, 1 Oct 2004

Hello! My oldest son and daughter, ages 12 and 10, are interested in learning about the Civil War. I was educated in the Canadian public school system and therefore have a very limited education in American History. I am looking for some good read alouds that would appeal to this age group and would also be interesting to my 7 year old. I am also looking for a couple of books that would give me some background information on this war. Thank you for any help you can give me.

Jody Lynn Beard
I Want My Sunday, Stranger by P. Beatty
Rifles for Watie by Keith
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Stowe
From:  Don Potter
Subject: First Lessons in Arithmetic
Date: Sun, 3 Oct 2004

Dear Harvey,

I just finished publishing my 1878 arithmetic book, First Lessons in Arithmetic. It is a masterpiece that every home school parent will want to have. It is available for FREE download. Children who study this book will never need to count on their fingers to do their calculations.

Don Potter
Odessa, TX


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