Best of Homeschooling with the Trivium Newsletter Year 2004-Part 3

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From: Don Potter
Subject: Ruth in Hebrew
Date: Mon, 4 Oct 2004

Dear Harvey,

I just published Dr. Louis Tyler’s recording of the Hebrew text of Ruth. This will be great for home school parents teaching their children to read Hebrew. Bible College and Seminary students will relish this expressive oral rendition of Ruth. I put them into mp3 format for quick download. Just go to the Religion page on my web site

Donald Potter
Odessa, TX
From: Don Potter
Subject: Article by Charles Walcutt
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 2004

Dear Friends,

I recently located a hard-hitting article by Dr. Charles Walcutt, The Reading Problem: Its Roots and its Fruits. It was published in 1965 in the Michigan Quarterly Review. I have made a link to the article so visitors to my web site can have easy access to the article. It is well worth the read. He maintains that the most important step is the first from A to Z.

On my Education Page, I grouped it with my materials on Walcutt’s Through the Phonics Barrier.

Don Potter
Odessa, TX
If you’re looking for something you can confidently recommend to a new homeschooling family or even to those who have been homeschooling for several years, then you’ll want to look at the new book, Mary Pride’s Complete Guide to Getting Started in Homeschooling.

This book says it all and has it all — everything important to get someone started in homeschooling: the 6 classic reasons why anyone would want to homeschool; short, concise answers to basic questions people have about homeschooling; ten things you need to know before you get started; answers to objections to homeschooling; the top ten books every new homeschooler should read; where to shop for curriculum, including a complete resource guide; a large section on popular homeschool methods, including a chapter on the classical approach where she discusses the main proponents of this approach; and much, much more.

I especially love Mary’s accurate history of homeschooling entitled Who Are These Wacky Homeschoolers, Anyway? And, since Mary Pride was actually there in the 1970’s when homeschooling started to take off, you can believe it.

There are two other volumes planned for this series: one on resources for preschool & elementary, and one on resources for middle school & high school. Used together, these three volumes will be a complete, self-contained encyclopedia of homeschooling.

Laurie Bluedorn
From: Sharon Ericson
Subject: Button Sampler – Great Project for Little Hands!
Date: Sun, 10 Oct 2004

I just ran across a site that has a wide variety of hand-stitching projects. The little “button sample” was just too cute to not pass along!

Happy Stitching

Sharon in NH
Date: Thu, 7 Oct 2004
Subject: Re: Biblical basis for teaching academics at home

Concerning teaching your children at home, the following notes from John Piper on parental responsibility for teaching children may be insightful. The whole sermon may be read at the following address. http:///

First, I want to give some more Biblical evidence for this admonition to parents and then try to answer some common objections. The most important text from the Old Testament is Deuteronomy 6:4-9. The most important commandment in all of Jewish Scripture is: Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Jesus said that was the first and great commandment. And every Jew knew, just like I want every one of you to know, what comes next in this great text. ‘And these words which I command you shall be upon your heart and you shall teach them diligently to your children. The first assignment a parent has after loving God is to store God’s Word in his heart and teach it to his children. These same two priorities (to your own heart and to your children) are also commanded in Deuteronomy 4:9: Take heed and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children’s children. (A word to grandparents too!) And again in Deuteronomy 11:18,19: You shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul … And you shall teach them to your children. God’s design for the preservation of historical revelation is the family. **Within the Christian community the main link between what this generation knows and what the next generation will know is the link between parent and child**. Joel 1:3 puts it in a nugget: Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation. When we come over into the New Testament, there is not much talk about parents and children. But the importance of parental instruction about God shines through. Jesus rebuked his disciples in Matthew 19:14 when they tried to send the children away. Instead, he received them and blessed them, and in doing so, commended the parents for their concern. One of the implicit lessons of that text is: Parents, bring your children to Jesus. Today the way to Jesus is through his Word. Therefore: Parents, make Jesus known to your children through his Word.

Then when the apostle Paul instructed parents and children how to relate to each other in a Christian household, in Ephesians 6:1-4 and Col. 3:20,21, he simply reaffirmed the Old Testament pattern: Children obey your parents; fathers bring up your children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. So I conclude from these scriptures that it is God’s will that the family be preserved and that parents assume primary responsibility under God for getting Biblical and doctrinal knowledge into the heads and hearts of their children. Evidently when Judges 2:10 says that another generation arose who did not know the Lord, it is because many parents had neglected their God-ordained responsibility. The result was that the new generation forsook the Lord and brought judgment on itself. It is clear then that if we parents neglect this duty, we serve not only the ignorance and unbelief of our children, but also their destruction………

I close with two admonitions and a promise. First, parents, ponder seriously how close the connection is between teaching your children about God and teaching them to obey you as God’s representative over them. Second, and this is the main point of the message., it is the solemn duty of parents to teach their children about God and the greatness of his saving work. Their salvation may hang in the balance, but so does your joy. And so I close with a promise from Proverbs 23:24,25. The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice; and he that begets a wise child shall have joy in him. Your father and your mother shall be glad, and she who bore you shall rejoice.

I pray this may encourage you to press on!
Ann Voskamp
Date: Thu, 07 Oct 2004
From: Ernie and Deidra Roberson
Subject: Re: biblical basis for teaching academics at home


Thank you for responding to my question about teaching academics at home. The God we serve is sooooooooooooooo good b/c through my study and endless asking God to show me from His word FIRST(not from a book first-I am one who used to pick up a book someone wrote before inquiring of God from the bible) He gave me the very same understanding as you speak of from this book you mention Kathleen. I inquired of the Lord after I first wrote the Bluedorns and I now have 2 pages in my notebook of the God speaking to me on this issue. To keep in short one scripture I have found that was powerful to me is from Prov. 3:6. It says that we are to acknowledge God in all of our ways. Now I’ve read that scripture for YEARS but just now realized that one ‘ way’ is academic studies. God wants us to learn about His creation. I believe it delights Him for us to learn the mathematical/physical laws that govern this earth and the history behind what God has done, etc. but He never intended on this knowledge to supercede our knowledge or love for Him so it all has to be kept in perspective (biblical worldview). Love/Knowledge of God FIRST, then anything else that is good for our edification. I now understand from reading Teaching the Trivium when is discusses how the apostle Paul denounced in Athens the pursuit of knowledge and academic studies without God. If we keep it in the RIGHT perspective with our minds (and our whole beings) being submitted and subjected to Christ then we can attain to the wisdom in James 3:17.

This has truly been a journey for me: from the decision to homeschool, to finding out my thinking needed adjusting so I can teach my children correctly and hearing God speak to me on this issue just blessed my heart. I thank God for the Bluedorns for sharing what they have learned from the Lord and their experience in homeschooling. I will look into the book ‘Total Truth’, Kathleen. Thanks for referring it.

The next adventure is going to be learning Latin and/or Greek!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! None of which I know. I took Spanish in school but not these 2 but I am relying on the Lord for my brain to ‘kick in’ and understand what it is I need to teach!!!!

Thanks for sharing and caring!!!

From: Laura Gaddy
Subject: penmanship
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 2004

I was wondering what you might suggest as a course of action for the 10 yo boy who despises handwriting. While I understand that some of this is just the age, I’m not sure if I should continue to require writing and if so how much. It’s a very tedious process often ending in frustration and tears. His handwriting is actually pretty good, but he hates cursive and would rather print as cursive takes “so much longer”. Currently I require one page of italics lesson – it’s very brief and averages about 8-10 words/letter combinations, 1-2 sentences of copywork, and whatever writing is required in the Understanding Writing and grammar curriculum (a lot of grammar we do orally). Narrations are done orally and occasionally on the computer. Letters to friends and family are also done on the computer. Thus far this year we have been of the opinion that practice makes perfect and thereby easier. All opinions and suggestions are appreciated.

Thanks in advance
Laura Gaddy in NV
I guess the question is: My 10 yo boy hates anything to do with writing — how much actual time per day should I require him to hold a pencil (art, handwriting, workbooks, composition, math, etc.)? Let’s take a survey. How much time per day does your 10 yo boy spend actually holding a pencil and writing or drawing (computer writing doesn’t count)?
From: Tom Kearney
Subject: reading
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 2004

I want to share some things I’ve learned over the past 4 years that may help some other parents who are struggling with the same issues. When my second child was 6, I began to teach her how to read. I got out the program I used for my son, but this daughter was not getting it. From all I had read, I decided she wasn’t ready, put the program away, kept reading to her and waited 6 months. I then got another program my sister-in-law had told me was very easy and simple and we tried that. After about a third way through that program she got stuck and very frustrated. Things weren’t sticking and most sessions ended in tears. I put that program away, waited again and repeated this process a couple more times until she was eight.

She began complaining things were blurry so I had her eyes checked. They were fine, so I began researching dyslexia. The things she struggled with seemed to fit the symptoms of a dyslexic. I thought I now had the answer, read the Gift of Dyslexia, got their program for the home but it was all still a huge struggle and many more tears shed, along with a lot of frustration. At this point she is past 9 now, reading but not without it being very challenging. She could not endure reading on her own past 15 minutes. Her eyes became very strained, the pages would still get blurry and reading was not enjoyable. Since 8 she was becoming more and more self-conscious because not only was reading hard, but spelling and math too.

At 10, with pages still blurry on and off, I had her eyes checked again. Still no problem. Yet I knew in my gut that my daughter had issues and it’s not that she was just a late bloomer. I had tried between 5-7 phonics-based programs, each claiming it could help the dyslexic. But with every program, by the time we got about a third into the program, she just got so frustrated. I would get blank stares like what we were covering that day was something she saw for the first time, yet it wasn’t.

I continued to pray and do more research, looking at nutrition too. I learned of Dianne Craft’s website and the things I read on her site made a lot of sense. We planned to see her but Dianne got very sick, had to cancel all her consultations for an indefinite period of time. We were back to praying for God’s guidance, because now along this journey, my third child was showing signs of problems too.

Years ago I heard of Vision Therapy, but heard more negative than positive so I didn’t look at it as an option. I met a woman from our church who had spent 9 months in Therapy with her son and had tremendous results. We decided to have our daughter (12) and son (9) checked. I was amazed at what I watched. My daughter struggled to follow the Dr.’s pen, blinking incessantly to keep focused, causing her blurred vision. They call it tracking problems, explaining why she struggled to keep her place, not being able to store words, etc. because she is using so much energy to try and make her eyes do what they need to do to read, yet developmentally they couldn’t.

My son, just being 9, I wasn’t sure if he was just going to be a late bloomer or were there really problems. It was even more amazing watching his exam. He was unable to follow the Dr.’s pen from left to right without his eyes fluttering up and back again at least 4 times. The Dr. also showed him different words on pages and asked if he ever saw words like that. He related to 3 out of 6 of the pages. The Dr. showed me the pages and I was in tears. My son was seeing letters blurry, swirling and only partially there on pages. The letters that were blurry were the most normal for him. Yet his vision is 20/20. This explained why he would see a word like man in one sentence, see it again in the next 3-4 sentences and have to decode it every time. With his eyes not working together properly, so much energy was being used trying to get them to do what he wanted and making it almost impossible to store things in his memory.

As I watched further testing being done, I saw how each of them learned to compensate with their bodies to try the best they could to read. When I would teach them, I was sitting alongside them and never noticed the things they were doing. My son has learned to use one eye more than the other by turning his head slightly to block out the left eye and then lean his body as he would read along. She also picked up on him having issues with reversals of letters. Here I thought I just hadn’t taught him well enough and the therapist told me that isn’t it at all. Somewhere in their development their eyes didn’t fully finish developing causing issues with tracking and the letters blurry and swirling for my son.

I now know why all those phonics programs weren’t helping. Because their eyes aren’t able to do what they should. Until the eyes learn to track properly and do what they should, there isn’t a phonics program out there that will help. We are blessed to have found a clinic that is half the cost of most, doesn’t require you to sign a 6 month or year contract, works with us as homeschoolers and gives us a lot of the work to do at home.

I share this lengthy email, because it’s been a long four years trying to find the answers. We now believe our daughter can someday have the ability to sit and read a book for an hour or more without it be completely laborious. Our therapist said that it’s hard to determine if there are other issues until the issues with the eyes are cleared up. Once they are working together properly, then we can see if there are other areas that need to be addressed, but many times this clears up those other areas.

We as parents know our children the best. If you have that gut feeling that things aren’t right, then learn to listen to that. I like the Moore’s and their philosophy of better late than early, but for my two children this is not an issue of being late bloomers. As I said, my daughter can read, but without help I don’t believe she would ever love to read and it would always be something that is just very laborious and not worth the effort. She would learn to just get by and I want more for her than that. Our therapist also has some special techniques to help them become better visual learners that will help with their spelling and math too.

We are so thankful for God’s guidance and the answers we finally have. If I can be of help to anyone with similar issues, please feel free to email me.

From: MHarrin11
Date: Sun, 17 Oct 2004

To the Bluedorns:

Since my homeschooled children are now grown, and I needed to earn a little extra money, I got a job substituting at an excellent Christian school. The staff at this school frequently stops and prays with one another, or students. When there is time, the students, who are happy and polite, will talk to you about their desire to walk with the Lord. Very open and I have no criticism whatsoever of any of these people or their particular school.

However, last night (Friday) as the week closed, I was wondering why I still had that uneasy feeling. I had bonded with so many of them, students and teachers alike. But, I finally realized that what was troubling me were the comments that so many students, and even one mother, made about the amount of homework they do. The high schoolers are often up until 1 or 2 am finishing assignments! These were not the complaining type of students; they were good children. I wondered what their lives would be like if they had had the opportunity to be homeschooled. Yes, they get ‘some socialization, not much with 3 minute breaks between classes (with which I totally agree). But to sit at desks all day and then spend all evening on homework? The material is given so quickly too, that there is little time for discussion on any topic. Some students do independent study because their class size does not warrant hiring another teacher, and I think they would do better at home. However, I will continue substituting there, seeing where the Lord will give me an opportunity to minister, and I enjoy that very much.

I am writing this as an encouragement for you to continue on with your high schoolers. Even the very best school, which I believe this one is, is a poor substitute for real learning and the pacing which you can offer at home. Persevere!
Date: Mon, 18 Oct 2004
From: Matthew P Henry
Subject: Re: The Civil War

My son’s favorite read aloud book on the Civil War (he was 9 when we read it) is the Henty book With Lee in Virginia. Most Henty books are no stoppers for us meaning we can’t put them down. But this one was especially one of those. Being from Canada, we have just finished ready together the Henty book With Wolfe in Canada. I’ve learned more about the French and Indian war and what role the Canadians played then I ever knew. There’s also a Blue & Gray series that’s been republished by Mantle Ministries that we have read and the last two have been republished. They are awesome books as well. Be careful though, I’ll warn you, they don’t teach the Civil War the way most PBS, History Channel or Public School programs teach it. These are historical novels that get you in the action.

Date: Mon, 18 Oct 2004
From: Monica Chute
Subject: Re: Civil War Read Alouds

Most of what you will find will be from one point of view… Northern.

Here are a few others that will round out the point of view:

Brave Deeds of Confederate Soldiers, Philip Bruce; From Bull Run to Appomattox, Hopkins; Among the Camps, Thomas Nelson Page; Iron Scouts of the Confederacy, Lee McGiffin
Date: Mon, 18 Oct 2004
From: Patricia Christianson

In reply to the 10yo boy/writing time: Thirty minutes minimum per day spread out over several areas of study.

Patti Christianson
From: Kendra Fletcher
Date: Mon, 18 Oct 2004

Our 11-year-old spends 1- 1 1/2 hour per day with pencil in hand at the very most. This includes copywork, math, essay-writing, history projects, and his own drawing for fun. Our 9-year-old spends maybe, maybe 20 minutes with pencil in hand. About once a week he draws while I read, but his pictures take him about 10 minutes to complete. If the world were void of writing implements, our 9-year-old would neither notice nor care.

Kendra Fletcher
From: LivNLrn3R
Date: Mon, 18 Oct 2004

Having raised 3 boys, the ‘worst of whom is now an avid writer at 15, I can only say one thing that really helped me. In my own mind I had to separate writing composition out from penmanship. Composition, writing from his head and from scratch, could be typed. Voila! That solved 80% of the problem right there. It greatly lessens the pain of draft after draft.

I got one of the software packages that reproduce Getty Dubay italics (which is what we were using at the time for penmanship) and typed up copywork for the week. It was scripture or poetry or hymns or Christmas carols generally. You even could print dotted lines for those who still need that. The length was according to their ages. It had to be done neatly, but it was completely separate from their writing composition. For 10 years old, I’d say about 15 minutes on a daily basis.

Hope this helps. Get them typing accurately with 10 fingers early, or they will establish wrong habits that are hard to break!

Becki in CA
From: David and Tarnya Burge
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2004

Our 10 year old boy spends about one and one half hours 6 days a week with pencil in hand.

helpmate to Dave
Mum to 6
From: SelahDream
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2004

All of my boys loathe handwriting. And none of them have very good penmanship, but I require it anyway. My oldest simply didn’t like it — there were no disabilities associated with it. My next son has dysgraphia, dyslexia,, and my youngest two boys have autism and major fine motor skills issues. But I make them write anyway. They don’t like it and they aren’t very good at it, but you know what? Tough. There are plenty of things I loathe and don’t like to do, either! (Such as scrubbing toilets for one!) Life is FULL so FULL of things we don’t like to do! Handwriting is not torture — it’s not cruel and unusual punishment — and it’s not going to kill them! (Oh, I know they THINK it’s going to, but it really won’t!)

I’m so glad I’ve gone ahead and pushed my second child with the dysgraphia to do his copywork in spite of the fact that neither of us can read it very well. I have to admit, at times I wondered if I was expecting too much, but something inside of me said that this child will need this skill his whole life and he needs to know how to do this without depending on a computers. The reason I’m glad I didn’t excuse him from the copywork is that he has improved little by little over the years! Now, admittedly, I didn’t really do any formal school work with him until he was nine years old (he was was also a very late reader). But I just hate to see kids with these disabilities not pushed a bit to do the required writing because with practice, even though they don’t like it, they do get better! And now I rarely hear him complain about it — he knows he’s getting better, too. His dyslexic gift makes spelling his most difficult subject, but still, even with these struggles and constant gentle pushing he is doing better. I will say, though, it takes plenty of consistency — not hit and miss! This is something we have done day after day on a consistent basis. Copywork is something we do the very first thing after devotions. I also require handwritten journal entries each day as well as other written work in other subjects. Having said all this, I know that each child is very different. I’m not saying it will work for everyone else, I just wanted to share my own experience. I hope this made some sense — I’m typing to the tune of a very loud and boisterous skip count tape! LOL.

Karla in Indiana
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2004
From: Wendy Everett

My 10 yob, who hates writing, spent about 20-30 minutes/day writing (dictation, copywork, notebook page, etc.), plus perhaps 30 minutes 2 x/week for math (the other days I held the pencil and we worked orally), plus varied large amounts of time (sometimes 1-2 hrs/day) drawing, which he always loved to do – go figure! 🙂

This year he is 11. He spends 30 minutes/day writing (I try to give him short (8 lines of a poem) writing assignments, but sometimes more than one. I generally let him choose what he will do for writing; copywork, dication, thank you note, letter to friend, etc.) and 20-30 minutes/day on math (with oral work perhaps 1 or 2 times every couple weeks, if he seems particularly tired and distracted.) He still draws quite frequently and sometimes for long periods.  I believe he is progressing in both form and attitude. We just take it slowly and I push him along, asking his to do more than he’d like, but trying not to frustrate him. This is a child with perfectly beautiful handwriting. What he does, he does very well and in his fine writing he does take some pride. We display his work and guests always comment on his penmenship.

Wendy Everett
From: glutenfreefamily
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2004
Subject: Vision Therapy – Results

I just wanted to post a message regarding the results of vision therapy and encouragement for those who have children who are dyslexic. I don’t have children who are dyslexic. But my sister is dyslexic. She had a lazy eye, needed vision therapy, and heavy tutoring with phonics from 3rd-6th grade. It wasn’t until my sister was in second grade that they realized she couldn’t read anything. The teachers kept telling my mom she was crazy even though my mom a teacher educated in reading therapy KNEW there was a problem. Finally she had a teacher tell her there was a problem. After years of therapy and tutoring my sister is brilliant! She graduated Magna Cum Laude from college in 4 years! She took 2 years of college Greek just fine. She reads fervently now and has only slight issues that she catches because she is aware of them. I wanted to encourage people, I know that sometimes it seems lonely and there seems to be no hope. But I have seen a person struggle, learn, compensate, and grow as a person. It is possible to read, study, and do well even with dyslexia.

Teresa Nguyen
Riverview, FL
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2004
From: Patrick Murphy


This is in response to your question about read-alouds about the War Between the States. Christian Liberty Press has several good titles: Iron Scouts of the Confederacy was one we all loved. They also have terrific biographies of Stonewall Jackson, J.E.B. Stuart, and George McClellan. Two other enjoyable historical fiction books were Across Five Aprils and Charley Skedaddle.

Linda Murphy
From: SelahDream
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2004

I would like to hear more from Marty about her children’s tracking issues. Where did she get her children tested? By what type of clinician? Is there a label for this type of thing so that we can communicate with our doctors about this more effectively?

Karla in Indiana
From: The Hamiltons
Subject: 10 yob writing
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2004

I have a 10 year old boy that used to hate writing. He has just recently begun to write on his own accord. I thought I might mention he has just started learning cursive. I didn’t see any point in teaching him cursive if he could hardly print well enough for me to decipher. We also have begun using Handwriting Without Tears as well. The program focuses on writing a few very neat correctly formed letters rather than many that get progressively more sloppy. I plan to buy a computer program from School Fonts that has the Handwriting Without Tears font on it for copywork.

Date: Wed, 20 Oct 2004
From: William E Mickey

Concerning the 10 yr.old boy on writing. Bravo to SelahDreams reply. We have homeschooled our son since he was 5yrs. old, he turned 13 yrs. at the end of August. We started Classical educating with the Trivium when he was 8yrs.old. He didn’t like to write early on either; we have persevered, and insisted he do so without computer assistance. Presently along with maturity and self disciple, he writes creatively and is quite good at it. Each year he improves in attitude, skill, and aptitude.  He is thought of by others as much older than his years, in both character, discipline, and articulation. He loves his Savior. With God’s guidance we have persevered, and continue to do so. The Bluedorns have been an inspiration to us. I had the pleasure of meeting them some years ago.
From: Laura Gaddy
Date: Wed, 20 Oct 2004

Thanks to all who responded with their experiences with boys who hate writing. It seems as if you have all confirmed my “gut” feeling. He should be required to write “some” but not so much as to cause a deep resentment for handwriting. I think that sometimes in our homes we can all feel a little isolated and overwhelmed with the privilege of educating our children. I believe that the world would be a better place if all parents worried about their children’s future and what they were learning as much as homeschooling parents do. Thanks again so much. I really appreciate the fellowship and support from this group. A special thanks to Harvey and Laurie for your ongoing mission.

Laura Gaddy in NV
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 2004
From: Barbie McNutt
Subject: Optometrist information

I just wanted to give some information to those who are looking for help with visual therapy. Check out this website:  We are just starting on the road of vision therapy.  My 8 yo ds will be going next week for a full evaluation. He went last month and had a basic workup. 20/20 vision, but he is behind in other visual skills (tracking, etc) by about 2-3 years. I am very excited about this step. The website above is where I found my excellent optometrist.

I hope this helps.
From: Julie Cochran
Subject: twins and math!
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 2004

Hi Wise Friends!

I am stumped with my twin 9 year old girls!

Thus far I have successfully used Saxon 65, 76 etc. with my eldest three starting at age 10 (ala Moores and Bluedorns). I have one very bright 9 year old girl…read at about page 40 of the Alphaphonics…excellent speller….great memory..etc. Then I have another very bright, adorable, cuddly, vivacious 9 year old girl who is still sounding out words. Smile. I must admit that I have been holding the one back a bit in some things, enjoying her childhood immensely (!), waiting for other sister to “catch up” academically, so to speak.

Lately, they have both been begging for their own “math book”, seeing everyone else working happily away in their Saxons each morning. I usually have followed Ruth Beechick’s suggestions for grades 1-3 in those cute little booklets she puts out (NOTE: I have a list of the progression that I made up and use if anyone would like it. Will send directly.) So I am looking on the internet here for some Math pages I can give them concerning money and time etc. (which they already know…this would be fun review so they can be “doing” math…) and suddenly it hit me.

By sight…there is NO WAY that my slower learner is going to be able to keep up with my faster learner in Saxon 65. And how am I going to pull that off anyway, with out the slower one feeling, well, slower?!?! Isn’t that bad? So it occurred to me today that, indeed, I need to find another excellent math text book similar to saxon (like exactly would be great!) for one of them. But which one? I think that Saxon is the best. I have looked at Singapore and the abeka and they don’t “move” me, as my grandmother used to say! Any other ideas?

Anyone have (had) twins and made it work using the one book? Was anyone out there a twin being homeschooled in the same kitchen with the same mother learning math at the same time? And you turned out okay? Smile. I realize that they could just take turns using the same book, but I do let my children work at their own pace and I am sure, at this point, that the one would go much faster through the material than the other. So far, with the reading, this DID bother the slower one. But she does other things the other one can’t do…ride a bike first, climb trees fearlessly, kick the ball without getting “out” in kickball, etc. They just turned 9 so I have about a year to decide this, though the one could easily probably start saxon 65 TODAY. Again, I am deliberately waiting with her so they can start whatever I decide to do with them “together”.

Thanks for your insight! I LOVE the Saxon math books! Smile.

Subject: How to use all of that reading time most efficiently…
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 2004

I would be most indebted to hear how other mothers/fathers most effectively spend their read aloud time.

We diligently endeavor to model the Bluedorn recommendation of 2 hrs/day of read aloud time (Truly, Bluedorn’s Teaching the Trivium has been used of the Lord for so much good in our lives…….) and we are wondering what else Mama could be doing/multi-tasking as she reads aloud. It seems a shame that only eyes and mouth are necessary to read while the rest of Mama sits idle….

Any ideas? Does anyone
1. exercise? (using a treadmill/exercise equipment? recommendations? ideas?)
2. cook? peel? chop?
3. knit? handiwork?

With a full day, it would be a tremendous blessing to do something in tandem w/ read alouds…. (the children presently either do penmanship, nature journals, peel vegetables for meals, fold all the laundry (daily), handiwork while they listen to the read aloud)

Trying to figure out how to juggle a book….and something else???

From: Becca Beard
Subject: Math Facts
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 2004

A friend of mine who has a first grader, and me, who has a 4th grader are struggling with our boys who are having a hard time getting math facts under their belts. My friend is at the beginning of the struggle, but with my son being in 4th grade, the struggle has been going on for a little while now. I have definitely been following the slower approach to Math, but thought it was important for my son to learn math facts. We have tried the Calculadder, Wrap Ups, verbal drilling….nothing seems to work. Is there anyone with a suggestion on teaching math facts to resistant boys?

God bless you,
Becca Beard
Flower Mound, TX
Taken from PsychoHeresy Awareness Letter, July-August 2004

Young Children Who Watch TV

Very young children who watch television face an increased risk of attention deficit problems by school age, a study has found, suggesting that TV might overstimulate and permanently ‘rewire’ the developing brain.

For every hour of television watched daily, two groups of children — aged 1 and 3 — faced a 10 per-cent increased risk of having attention problems at age 7.

The findings bolster previous research showing that television can shorten attention spans and support American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations that youngsters under age 2 not watch television. ‘The truth is there are lots of reasons for children not to watch television. Other studies have shown it to be associated with obesity and aggressiveness,’ said lead author Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a researcher at Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle…

The researchers didn’t know what shows the children watched, but Dr. Christakis said content likely isn’t the culprit. Instead, he said, unrealistically fast-paced visual images typical of most TV programming may alter normal brain development.

‘The newborn brain develops very rapidly during the first two to three years of life. It’s really being wired’ during that time, Dr. Christakis said…

Overstimulation during this critical period ‘can create habits of the mind that are ultimately deleterious,’ Dr. Christakis said. If this theory holds true, the brain changes likely are permanent, but children with attention problems can be taught to compensate, he said (excerpted from the Santa Barbara News-Press, April 5, 2004, pp. B1, B2).
From: Pamela Butler
Subject: Greek words using letters alpha through epsilon

First of all, Bluedorns, thank you for everything! My husband and I began to discover the Trivium prior to attending your seminars at the ICHE convention this past summer, and God ripened our hearts and minds to capture this beautiful vision. We appreciate your thoughts and your work, and we’re honored to consider you our homeschooling mentors!

Our 9- and 7-year-olds are learning the Greek alphabet; what a joy to see their Greek penmanship practice pages! I think I’d like them to start using the letters to form real Greek words so they may be encouraged and rewarded in their efforts so far.

Do you have any suggestions for words that use just the letters alpha through epsilon?

Thanks again so much.
Taken from A Greek Alphabetarion (2004 edition) — page 37

Syllabary for Alpha Through Epsilon

When the ancients learned to read, they first memorized the letters of the alphabet forwards and backwards, then they practiced blending the sounds of the letters into syllables. In Greek, every syllable has only one vowel sound. A syllable may begin with a vowel sound, may end with a vowel sound, and may consist only of a vowel sound.

To help you to practice Greek pronunciation, we have created a list of typical syllable combinations. Our purpose is not to list every possible syllable, but to provide a good workout in practicing the pronunciation of Greek.

You may practice pronouncing syllables by reading the rows, reading the columns, or reading the diagonals, backwards or forwards.

[I’m not able to type in the actual syllabary because we can’t type the Greek letters.]
From: Don Potter
Subject: Flesch’s Phonemes
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 2004

Dear Friends of Phonics-First,

For several years, I have been carefully studying Rudolf Flesch’s phonics program as detailed in Why Johnny Can’t Read and what you can do about it. The success I have had with this program spurred me on to dig deeper into his method. His method is somewhat reminiscent of the Hegge-Kirk-Kirk remedial reading drills that Flesch used with Johnny. Here is a chart I made of Flesch’s analysis of the English sounds. I am finishing a detailed explanatory analysis of Flesch’s system that I hope to publish on my web site.

Here is the link to the chart: Forty-four Speech Sounds of English.

Donald Potter
Odessa, TX
I read your article The Logical Defense of the Faith and really enjoyed it. One question I did have, though, was about self-authenticating Scripture. I believe and know the Bible is true, so to me the Bible only confirms itself. But echoing the questions of an outsider, how does the fact that the Bible claims to be inspired by God mean that it was indeed inspired by God? In other words, couldn’t I theoretically write a false bible and have it falsely claim that it is inspired by God? Couldn’t a false bible make the same claims that the true Bible makes? Obviously that wouldn’t make it true. So couldn’t our Bible theoretically be untrue? As a Christian, God has invaded my life, so I need no further proof that the Bible is true. But to someone who doesn’t already believe in the Bible, can I use this argument to prove the Bible? Or is external evidence needed also? I do understand that as Christians we can KNOW that the Bible is true because of what it says, but how can I SHOW that the Bible is true? I understand that, without the Bible, we cannot truly know anything for certain. But that in itself doesn’t necessarily mean that the Bible is true, at least to one who doesn’t already believe its truthfulness. The reason I ask is that I have encountered skeptics who would make this argument: It’s possible that contradicting books can make the same claims, so how can I know for sure that the Bible is true if it’s at least theoretically possible for it to be false?

Mark Arndt
Dear Mark,

Before answering your question, I would like to make a pertinent observation. How you approach this question will be largely decided by what you believe ultimately determines a person’s eternal destiny. There is a fundamental divide over this issue. On the one hand, if you believe that the individual human will is the ultimate determiner, then you place your confidence in every possible worldly means of influencing the individual human will in order to incline it toward making a decision in the direction you want, and to continue making that decision. That’s what politicians and public school teachers and con artists often do. On the other hand, if you believe that the divine will is the ultimate determiner, then you will trust in the means which God has appointed to bring the individual human will into submission to God’s will.

The first approach — that the individual human will is the ultimate determiner — ultimately reduces to the philosophy of Humanism — that man is the measure of all things — man is sovereign. This was the doctrine of the serpent in the garden — men shall be as gods, knowing for themselves good and evil. Knowing means measuring and determining, and good and evil is an idiom for all things, so they shall be as gods, measuring and determining for themselves all things, which is moral relativity.

The second approach ultimately reduces to the sovereignty of God — God is the measure and determiner of all things.

Psalm 115:1-3 Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, But to Your name give glory, Because of Your mercy, Because of Your truth. 2 Why should the Gentiles say, So where is their God? 3 But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.
Psalm 135:6 Whatever the LORD pleases He does, In heaven and in earth, In the seas and in all deep places.
Isaiah 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’
Daniel 4:35 All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him, What have You done?
Romans 9:19-24 You will say to me then, Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will? 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, Why have you made me like this? 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? 22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
Ephesians 1:11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,

I cannot fully explain the interplay between God’s sovereign determining will and the accountability of man to will what pleases God, but though this is a difficult mystery, it is not a contradiction. In an attempt to recast the first approach in more agreeable light to those of the second approach, some have asserted that God’s will and man’s will are equally determinative. But there is no middle position. You cannot ultimately serve two masters, and there cannot be two ultimate masters to serve. If the general’s and the private’s wills are equally ultimate, then guess whose will is actually ultimate? That’s right, the private’s. Why? Because the general is the one giving orders to the private, and the private is the one who is to do the general’s will. If the private does his own will, then he’s his own general. You shall be as gods and generals, determining for yourselves all things. If you hold to the humanist approach, then you approach everything from a skeptic perspective, and since you are the judge of all things, you require whatever evidence you yourself judge to be necessary. But if you approach things from the perspective of God’s sovereignty, then you know that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).

The perspective of skepticism is that everything could be untrue — except of course the claim that everything could be untrue — that claim must be true. But the perspective of faith is that there indeed is truth, and since two contradictory propositions cannot both be true, only one proposition can be true. However, the ability to genuinely discern that one truth — not just the form of truth, but also the substance and power of truth — comes only from God.

We indeed do have many different bibles with claims to inspiration. Though we can apply all of the formal rules for discerning truth, and an honest, thorough, and exhaustive application of this process will eventually eliminate all contenders except one, nevertheless no one will discover and receive that one truth unless God first moves him to seek it.

All kinds of mental obstacles to faith have been erected in men’s minds. With God’s help, we can remove these mental obstacles to faith by various arguments and interpretations of observable evidence. Nevertheless, no argument can implant true saving faith — only God can do that.

Ephesians 2:4-5, 8-9 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), … 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that faith is not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
1 Corinthians 4:7 For who makes you differ from another? [Only the Lord.] And what do you have that you did not receive? [Nothing.] Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? [Salvation is of the Lord, Jonah 2:9]
John 6:39, 44-45, 65 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him [elkO — literally: drags him*]; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. … And He said, Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.

* Bauer Danker Arndt Gingrich Greek Lexicon: elkO — to move an object from one area to another in a pulling motion, draw, with implication that the object being moved is incapable of propelling itself or in the case of persons is unwilling to do so voluntarily, in either case with implication of exertion on the part of the mover

Matthew 16:17 Jesus answered and said to him, Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
Philippians 1:29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him …
Acts 13:48 Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.
Romans 9:16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.
Philippians 2:12-13 … work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
2 Timothy 2:23-26 But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. 24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

<<< I do understand that as Christians we can KNOW that the Bible is true because of what it says, but how can I SHOW that the Bible is true? I understand that, without the Bible, we cannot truly know anything for certain. But that in itself doesn’t necessarily mean that the Bible is true, at least to one who doesn’t already believe its truthfulness.<<<<


Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
John 3:18-21 18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.

<<< The reason I ask is that I have encountered skeptics who would make this argument: It’s possible that contradicting books can make the same claims, so how can I know for sure that the Bible is true if it’s at least theoretically possible for it to be false?<<<

Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing comes by the Word of God.
Psalm 34:8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
1 Peter 2:2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
Luke 16:29-31 Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes ….
1 Corinthians 1:18-24 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.
2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth,

My point is that the Word of God cannot be authenticated by an authority lower than the Word of God, and there is no authority higher than the Word of God, which means the Word of God must be self-authenticating. God speaks to everyone through the Scriptures? Some pretend they don’t hear, and some believe the liars which tell them not to listen, and some don’t hear very well, but all of God’s sheep hear the Shepherd’s voice and follow Him and He gives them eternal life and no one can take them out of His hand.

Great question. Thanks for asking.

Nathan said you might want to look into the recorded debate between Dr. Greg L. Bahnsen and Dr. Gordon Stein


From: Jeff Applegate
Subject: Question of phonics
Date: Sun, 31 Oct 2004

Hello Bluedorns!

I have to thank you for the wonderful materials you’ve published, particularly Teaching the Trivium. I have read this book cover to cover more than once, and each time I find myself picking up some new precious tidbit. Thank you!

I have a question for you regarding phonics instruction. Our 7yo son was an early reader, he currently reads at an advanced level (he’s read all the Narnia books and has no trouble with our KJV Bible). This is our 3rd child, I never taught him to read, he just picked it up listening to me teach his oldest brother. I’m now slogging through 1st grade phonics with him (we’re using the Explode the Code books) because I am concerned he will have trouble spelling later if I don’t do some sort of instruction. I completely agree with your recommendations on later rather than sooner grammar, spelling, math, and so on, and am using that approach. The problem is, he’s bored with phonics instruction and so am I! Is this type of work necessary for a child who reads so well? He spells single syllable words well verbally, but I rarely ask him to write (other than copywork) so I don’t know if he is translating what he is reading into concrete spelling skills. Am I making our schoolroom into a battle field for naught? He is an obedient but independent child, very bright, he constantly complains about the simplicity of his work and is becoming a very reluctant student. I’m wondering, should I put away the phonics instruction, other than periodic review to reinforce the vowel/consonant/blend sounds themselves? (I believe he already has these decoding skills, based on his ability to sound out unfamiliar words while reading aloud) I’m not an obsessive mom by any means, my inclination is to put this subject aside until he’s ready for spelling in a couple of years, but I don’t want to short change him in the long run.

Thank you so much for wading through my educational angst, I appreciate any advice you can offer!
Thanks again, have a great week; you’re a blessing to families like ours!

Diana Applegate
It sounds like perhaps he has had enough of the phonics instruction and in a couple of years can start with formal spelling instruction. That sounds like he needs some hands-on projects to work on. Here is an excerpt from an article we wrote some time ago. Perhaps it will give you an idea or two.

1. Make use of the child’s one or two chief interests. Use them as avenues to other things. (e.g. Link guns to the second Amendment, to the Constitution, to principles of sound government.) Start him in his own business which involves his interests. For example, if the child’s interest is fencing with a sword, then you might suggest that he give fencing lessons to other children, develop a web page on fencing, write a newsletter on fencing, do a display at the library on fencing, write an introductory booklet on fencing, produce fencing equipment, do a fencing seminar for 4-H. He can become the homeschooling expert on fencing.
2. Give him lots of physical work to do — regular household chores and special jobs.
3. If possible, allow him to raise animals or plants — raise rabbits, goats, or chickens, display these projects at the fair, obedience train your dog and show at fairs, raise earthworms to sell or for your garden, raise berries to sell or barter, raise some specialty animal such as a certain breed of horse, and become the local expert on this breed, practice carpentry skills by rebuilding a small shed or outbuilding.
4. Involve the child in community service (visit the nursing home every week for an hour, cook meals for the elderly, do repair work for the elderly, pick up the trash around your neighborhood, make small wooden toys and give them to children in the hospital, make greeting cards and give them away, write letters to relatives or others).
5. If possible, have Dad take him to work once or twice a week.
6. Do unit studies instead of the traditional academic textbook approach.
7. Involve him in history re-enactments (Civil War, Buckskinners, Medieval, WWII), make costumes and equipment, and attend events.
8. Teach him to hunt, fish, or trap.
From: Julie Cochran
Subject: singing the psalms
Date: Sat, 30 Oct 2004

I know you guys have a tape of psalm singing. Does it have the words written out so we can sing along? Is it metrical? (Which after an hour of research tonight on the internet by this NON music person I am understanding means that the psalms were re-written in English so as to rhyme.) I think I am looking for exact words of psalms….to help us memorize them too! While worshipping!  I am also looking at the Cantus Christi hymnbook sold on the Canon Press website. Anyone have it? I think we would need a CD to go along with it hearing someone/a bunch of people actually carrying the tune. We don’t read music that well YET!

Thanks. Julie
Yes, we produce a Biblical Psalms tape. It is a tape of Harvey and me singing (chanting) the King James Version of several of the Psalms. We are working on a booklet with the words and music written out, but it won’t be ready for some time yet.
From: Kendra Fletcher
Subject: Reading aloud and…
Date: Sun, 31 Oct 2004

Hi Ann-

We read aloud on average 2 hours per day, although broken up and we have several books going at any given time. I prop the book on the table or on my knees anchored by the table, then I knit (and knit and knit and knit). It’s the only thing I’ve found I can do while reading aloud, and my children are used to hearing, Just a sec, guys. 4, 5, 6, …ok back to where we were. They’re used to me stopping to consult my pattern every once in awhile, too.

I’m hoping that they’ll all have sweet memories of mama reading and knitting.

Kendra Fletcher
From: MHarrin11
Date: Sun, 31 Oct 2004
Subject: Re: twins and math and Saxon

Dear Julie,

Yes, my twins were homeschooled and very very different and we used Saxon math. The boys seemed to have totally opposite strengths. One was good at reading; one at math. One was athletic, one was level headed and logical. You name it, and one had the quality and the other did not.

We went ahead and used the same books, and I constantly reminded them that they were each strong in different areas. They accepted that, and were fine with it. No hurt feelings– David is the one who is good at math, or Doug likes to read a lot.

They are grown now, 28, and the strengths that they had then are not the same as today. Doug ended up being the chemistry major, and David is a writer. (Well, they are both Marine officers, but that’s another story.)

I think you should go ahead and use the course you like, and just emphasize that their differences are fine. Both are equal but different.

From: melissa calapp
Subject: Math
Date: Sun, 31 Oct 2004

I usually have followed Ruth Beechick’s suggestions for grades 1-3 in those cute little booklets she puts out. I am interested in finding out how you or anyone else teaches math without a set curriculum through ages ten. I’d like details please =). I have a 6 yos, last year we did Saxon 1 which I liked and he learned a lot from but it just took way too long, I tried doing a little more laid back approach this year, but I am not very good at including him in real life things unless it is a part of some plan to remind me. Lately, I am almost doing no math with him accept answering his occasional math questions and I’m afraid if I keep this up he won’t be prepared for a formal curriculum in the later grades. Thank you guys for your advice and experiences.
Date: Sun, 31 Oct 2004
From: Beth Manautou
Subject: Teaching Latin to my 1st grade boy

Thank you for this terrific connection and opportunity to get insight from like-minded friends. I have a 5yo boy who is very advanced for his age and loves to learn. I would like to know if anyone is familiar with a Language Program for teaching Latin to primary grades? My son loves to read and has an interest in what scientific or Latin names mean. I admit I have not researched this and would listen to any advice that anyone has. I feel that this is something that I should pursue with him but not sure where to start. Any suggestions from anyone who has done this would be very appreciated. I am looking to start it next year when he would be considered in first grade. I would really like to find something that teaches a background of the meaning of prefixes and encourages in language development skills. Any advice? Thank you in advance for your time in responding. This loop is so very helpful!

From: glutenfreefamily
Date: Mon, 01 Nov 2004

We multitask reading by eating lunch and reading. We have been doing this for months. This is the main way we work through chapter books. One chapter a day. Right now we are reading through The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and the children sit captivated as I read. This also gets them to eat better because they are quiet and not talking so more food goes into the mouth &lt;grin. I usually read for close to 30 minutes every lunch time. Beware though: they kids might get upset when you go to take a bite and there is a lapse in reading!

Hope this helps!
Teresa Nguyen
Riverview, FL
From: Laura Gaddy
Subject: twins and math!
Date: Tue, 2 Nov 2004


My two 10 year olds – one boy and one girl are not twins and are 90 days apart, but they have been raised together since the age of 5 and often act like twins. They have their own language and games. There is a fierce competition and a persistent need to have everything fair and equal between them. But the big challenge for homeschooling is that they are completely opposite in everything. My boy is great at math and spelling and seems allergic to a pencil. But my daughter hates spelling, could write volumes all day long and struggles with math. Sadly, we did not start our homeschool journey after the kids had finished the 1st and 2nd grades in public school. Once we started homeschooling we “held back” my daughter as she was struggling with “grade level” tasks. So I started 2nd grade with both children with a pre-packaged curriculum. Only last year did I discover classical methods and started moving my philosophy that direction. I only buy consumables for both kids the “texts” they share. We use Math-U-See for math currently. We have in the past used Miquon for my daughter and a variety of workbooks for my son. Math-U-See is working really well for use right now, because it is individualized to the student. They are on the same level but work at their own pace. Ds is usually a lesson or two ahead of his sister but that doesn’t seem to bother either of them. I really like the format of the video instruction and short lessons.

Incidentally I use Spelling Power for the same reasons, in that each child can work independently. We have a very loose schedule but the routine of it allows time for each child to have their turn at the “book” that they are currently working in. It is often challenging to teach the same information at the same time and occasionally one will have additional free time or a day or two “off” in a subject while the other catches up. This was difficult at first, the one catching up would feel inadequate and the one with the time off would be “chomping at the bit”. But now they seem to recognize that they each have their own strengths and weaknesses and that they do not need to have everything separate but equal. I think that some of it is just that they have reached a higher level of maturity, but also that dh and I have been drilling this fact in their heads for 4 ½ years, lol.

Laura Gaddy in NV
Contest Time!!!!

Identify this person from history:

Oliver Cromwell was, as you have seen, a very remarkable man; but great as he is in history, his secretary ……. is even greater than he. This man was a Puritan of great genius, and so very diligent that he spent all his time in study. When only a college student, he wrote a beautiful poem called Ode…… and after a busy life and much hard work, he spent his old age in writing ……. , one of the greatest poems in the English language. Although he had become blind, [he] would not cease to work; so his daughters sat by him, reading aloud learned works in Latin and Greek. But they could not understand these books, for their father said that one tongue was enough for a woman, and would not let them study more. (This passage was taken from the new book, The Story of the Renaissance and Reformation by Christine Miller, a revised and expanded edition of The Story of Old France and The Story of the English by H.A. Guerber — published by Nothing New Press.)
From: M
Subject: Philosophy of Education — Classical Christian Education
Date: Sat, 6 Nov 2004

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Bluedorn,

I am working on a college research paper. My class is Philosophy of Education. I was hoping that you could help me with a question on the philosophical position of Classical Christian education. Is Classical Christian education built on a philosophy, ideology or theory? If built on a philosophy what are its metaphysical, epistemological and axiological elements? Why does Classical Christian education (CCE) seem to be gaining in popularity among home schoolers and private schools? How does CCE reflect Essentialist and Perennialist views? Do you see any other philosophical view that influences CCE (i.e. Realism, Theistic Realism (Thomism), Pragmatism, Existentialism, Philosophical Analysis (Language Analysis)?

I truly appreciate any input that you can provide.

Student at Liberty University
Shirley U. Jest
Dancing With Death

by Ralph Ovadal

Virtually all Americans, at least those middle age and up, have heard of crucifixion. To many, especially Christians, the mere word brings to mind the vivid specter of a cruel, lingering and hideous death on a cross. Although ancient Rome was not the only civilization to employ this manner of capital punishment, they are the people most identified with it, due to the death of Jesus Christ on a Roman cross. Most people today are unaware that the Romans did not restrict themselves to crucifixion, or for that matter, death in the amphitheater, in their quest for the most punitive measures possible for criminals and those out of favor with the state. One of the least known punishments employed by this great civilization could quite arguably have been the most heinous. Under this method of execution, the condemned was bound face to face, hand to hand, and foot to foot with a dead human body. One can only imagine the desperate, bizarre dance that commenced as the living sought to free himself from his dead partner. In the early stages, as the corpse began to decay, its hapless partner was subject to flies, maggots and an overpowering stench. As decomposition did its work on its dead client, the obviously unwilling and previously healthy actor in this horrendous drama was increasingly polluted by the corrupt flesh held in such close proximity. In the end, what had begun as a healthy, living body, tied to a cold, dead, corrupt body, became simply a mass of rotting, entities which once had nothing in common, and in fact, had once been the extreme opposites of each other, now merged in a putrid marriage of decay and death. The joining of the living and the dead in this manner always resulted in corruption, never in healing. This partnership, this mingling of opposites, always ended in total destruction and death, never in life. As this macabre dance of death played itself out, there was a span of time in which the living would have survived, could have regained his former health, if only he could have secured release from his partner. Eventually, the point of no return was crossed and the result of the union was inevitable. Many words have been spoken and written in an attempt to awaken the American Church to the danger she is in due to our failure in meeting our obligation to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves. In the midst of the innocent bloodshed, filth and tyranny dominating the American scene, the Church is reminiscent of a drunkard in an emergency, struggling to awake from a deep sleep. Many Christians know, or perhaps at least sense, impending doom; yet, they cannot seem to simply wake up and take appropriated action. Why? With respect to the admonitions in Scripture, in light of the great cloud of witnesses that surround us, considering our rich heritage and equally rich resources, why can’t the Church of Jesus Christ in this nation rise to the occasion, heed the call to battle and act appropriately in response to the cruel and filthy onslaught of the enemies of her King? Why? The answer is simple. The Body of Christ in America, for the most part, has been dancing with death. Much of the Church, of its own volition, is locked in a corrupt minuet of destruction with a putrid world, an embrace that will impart to her not life, but death. The Church is not truly evangelizing the corrupt world surrounding her; she is embracing it, refusing to relinquish her grip, even as the stench rises to the nostrils of her God and the death imparting pollution of the world increasingly saps her strength and vitality. Our God has commanded us Be holy for I am holy, and Come out from their midst and be separate…and do not touch what is unclean.” Yet the Church voluntarily clings to her depraved partner.

The world demands Let us teach your children our standards in the public schools; the Church agrees. The world seeks meaning and fulfillment through constant, mindless, materialism and sports; the Church joins in. The world proclaims, We will plan our families; we are in the place of God; we will control who is allowed to be born; the Church breathes an Amen and follows suit. The world demands an end to the patriarchal order; the Church blushes over the mere thought of strong, mature Christian men and quietly removes the word obey from the marriage vows. The world serves up debauched entertainment; the Church consumes it. The world sets standards of fashion, and all too often, regardless of cost of morality, the Church mimics them. The world dictates certain subjects which may not be addressed from the Churches’ pulpits on pain of taxation; the Church acquiesces and sells her integrity to the state. The world commands the Church to accept perversion, tyranny, and innocent bloodshed; the Church does little more than grumble. Scripture describes the Church of the living God as the pillar and support of the truth and yet, few are her leaders who will publicly and unapologetically stand against the deception of the day. So far have we fallen from our calling that one of our number, one honored as a great evangelist and preacher of truth, will grovel before the entire nation at the feet of a brute beast like Bill Clinton and pray his blessing upon him rather than denounce him publicly for the blasphemer and man of blood he is. The fact is, as has been truly stated, there is a lot more world in the American Church than there is church in the world. All too many Christian adults and children talk, act, think and look like the world. We admire the same things, have the same aspirations, and spend much of our time on the same foolishness.  The Church is locked in an embrace of death with the world and we seem incapable of letting go. Unless we fall on our faces before our offended God, repent and submit every area of our lives to His sovereignty, we will eventually be unrecognizable from our corrupt partner and will fully share with him in the cup of the Lord’s wrath. Our present course has made us adulteresses and enemies of God. (James 4:4) We have been dancing with death. The stench is great; the corruption extensive; the end, apart from true repentance, nearer than most believe. How sad that the Bride meant for Christ alone has been locked in the embrace of another. May God grant that we will come to our senses and as Andrew Jackson stated, Fly to the bosom of our God before it is too late. For a spirit of harlotry has led them astray, and they have played the harlot, departing from their God (Hosea 4:12).
Good books to read:

If you’re looking for an exciting book to read on those long winter nights, try Isaac’s Storm by Erik Larson. This is the story of the Galveston, Texas hurricane in 1900. Not only is the story full of intense drama, but you’ll learn a lot about the history of the United States Weather Bureau and about how hurricanes form. The ending is a bit gross, though, as it describes all the dead bodies found after the hurricane.
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 2004
From: Matthew P Henry
Subject: Re: Life Changing Literature for a 5yob


It sounds like you are right on track. We started reading Lamplighter Literature and the Character Classics from Grace and Truth when our children were 1 and 8. We’ve been reading for about two years, so don’t have a 5yob yet. However, we’ve found that most of the two series you mention are really great. Especially the ones Lamplighter mentions are for boys. They have all been great.

Several others that have been great:

Uncle Arthur’s stories, volume 1 through 5 has been reprinted, but we have found several that through used book dealers online and have bought several.

Sugar Creek Gang originals. These stories found on CD or tape at Beloved Books God has used to change my sons heart! They are wonderful stories with life changing themes, but, you have to get the originals. We’ve purchased all the CDs of the originals over time and have bought several of the books as originals on ebay.

There are others, like Choice Stories for children, Tiger and Tom as you mentioned.
From: Amber Ortega-Perez
Subject: Teaching math informally

In answer to the question from Melissa on how to teach math informally to a 6yo:

I have a 7 yo son and we have never done math as a subject. We have involved him in the learning of numbers and counting. He has learned Chisanbop and can count and add fairly well. He keeps an account ledger for the money he earns by doing chores around the house. In his ledger he must add and subtract.  He also has developed an interest in money so we bought him a book about the history of money which he loves. Now that he is entering 2nd grade we are going to purchase him a soroban or abacus. What is most interesting is that he has a cousin who attends a private school and has been studying math as a subject in school and he knows math facts and can count by 10’s, 20’s and so on and he is learning how to multiply and divide and all that, but he does not recognize numbers in the real world. Although our son is learning math at a slow pace and will not study it in earnest until he is 10, he recognizes that math is all around him, he understands that items at the store have varying value based on quantity and quality he researches the price on things he wants and saves his money to purchase those things, his cousin who is only one year older does not understand these ideas as of yet.

Some ways to do math without a textbook or schedules:

open a savings account
include the children in paying the bills
talk to your children about grocery shopping and involve them
play various board games that involve adding or subtracting
purchase an abacus
teach them to count in different languages

I hope these ideas help,
San Antonio, TX
From: Mike and Kim Wheeler
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004
Subject: Life Changing Literature for a 5yob

Dear Beth,

BOTH the Lamplighter Publications and books from the Grace & Truth catalog have wonderful selections for quality character-building. We have 6 yog and I have read MANY selections from both companies to her. They hold her attention and she always begs me to read one more chapter, Mommy. The characters and life lessons in these stories have impacted her forever. Both Lamplighter and G&T do a good job of organizing the books by age and gender to help you make your selections. Just request a copy of their latest catalog.

We have many favorites for little girls but here are a few recommendations for your son as well:

A Hive of Busy Bees
Another Hive of Busy Bees
The Probable Son

From: Amber Ortega-Perez
Subject: Teaching math informally

In answer to the question from Melissa on how to teach math informally to a 6yo:

I have a 7 yo son and we have never done math as a subject. We have involved him in the learning of numbers and counting. He has learned Chisanbop and can count and add fairly well. He keeps an account ledger for the money he earns by doing chores around the house. In his ledger he must add and subtract. He also has developed an interest in money so we bought him a book about the history of money which he loves. Now that he is entering 2nd grade we are going to purchase him a soroban or abacus. What is most interesting is that he has a cousin who attends a private school and has been studying math as a subject in school and he knows math facts and can count by 10’s, 20’s and so on and he is learning how to multiply and divide and all that, but he does not recognize numbers in the real world. Although our son is learning math at a slow pace and will not study it in earnest until he is 10, he recognizes that math is all around him, he understands that items at the store have varying value based on quantity and quality he researches the price on things he wants and saves his money to purchase those things, his cousin who is only one year older does not understand these ideas as of yet.

Some ways to do math without a textbook or schedules:

open a savings account
include the children in paying the bills
talk to your children about grocery shopping and
involve them
play various board games that involve adding or
purchase an abacus
teach them to count in different languages

I hope these ideas help,
San Antonio, TX
From: familyman
Sent: Friday, November 12, 2004
Subject: Familyman Weekly – The Best of Times.the Worst of Times

Hey Dad,

I’m writing to you from sunny Florida. We’ve camped at Ft. Wilderness, been to Disney World, eaten at the Rain Forest Café, and swam up a storm. And Ike (our 5-year-old) swallowed a stainless steel marble (I have the steel marble now – cool).

The thing about vacation is that it would be a lot easier if you went alone. Don’t get me wrong; we’ve had a great time as a family…but vacations also bring out the worst in dads.

I was reminded about the universality of this truth as I sat in Pecos Bill’s Restaurant waiting for Debbie to return with a tray full of expensive, fast-food. As I waited, I observed people. I was struck by how all the parents around me were barking at their children for a variety of reasons. I’d like to piously say that I was not among them, but I think I had three of my children crying at the time. Way to go “Familyman.” Fortunately, children are resilient, and they bounced back quickly after I apologized…but a couple of hour’s later…grumpy dad was back. Why are we dads like that? We pray, we try, but still, we seem to botch it more than we succeed.

If you’re like me, sometimes you feel like you’re not the dad your kids’ deserve or the man your wife needs. Well, let me set the record straight. You are EXACTLY what your wife and children need. God knew that when he made you their father and husband. The truth is, good dads aren’t perfect. They blow it and do things they hate doing…but good dads never throw in the towel. They apologize a lot and keep at it.

It looks like we’re headed to the beach today. Man, it’s going to be fun. We’ll gather shells, dig in the sand, and run down the beach. That said I’m almost positive that things will get a little ugly at some point too. I mean, you can’t mix sun, sand, six kids, and an RV and expect anything less.

But we’re going anyway.

So get in there, Dad. Keep at it. Apologize if you need to (and you probably do), get back on the horse, and never take the easy route.

You ‘da Dad!!!

PS – Before we left Indiana, I smelled snow in the air. You know, Dad, the first snow is a great opportunity to celebrate family. Run to Wal-mart and pick up a few cheap snow gifts…like stuffed snowmen, new mittens, or a goofy winter hat (how about a good smelling candle for your wife?). You might even watch a Christmas video or take a walk in the cold. Know what? You will have just demonstrated that family is a priority to you.

For a few Florida Photos of the Wilson family, go to
This newsletter may be freely copied and distributed in whole or in part
From: Deidra Roberson
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004

I have a 5 and 3 yr. old and a 4 month old. I am in the process of developing a ‘schedule’ for our homeschooling, and I’m trying to integrate a read aloud time in there. I got the book from the library called ‘The complete tales of Beatrix Potter’. As I started reading these stories of Peter Rabbit, etc. I was profoundly bored with these stories, and I think because I was, the children were, too. I was (as a child) and am (as an adult) an avid reader. I love to read but I really never read stories like these. I look forward to reading Treasure Island and the like. I read Heidi as a youngster and Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities, etc. So my question is, will this get better? Just because my interest may not include such ‘classical’ literature should I still read it and expose my children to the literature? Should I use picture books at this age or not? If I don’t use picture books will this help their imaginations develop? I am going to have to get your list of good books to read aloud to children because I have no idea what to read to them that has any good literary style. We have tons of books here at home, but some of them are ‘Cat in the Hat’ style.
As I read your letter, I was taken back to the summer of 1981 — the year our 4th child was born. At that time Nate was 5, Johannah was 3, Hans was 18 months, and Ava a newborn. Up until that time I had been reading only those little picture books to the kids, but that summer I had a great desire to read something more substantial. Treasure Island was one of the books sitting on our bookshelf, and it crossed my mind that perhaps I could read it aloud to the children. Well, I did read it and the Nate loved it. The others weren’t as attentive at first, but they became more interested as they got older. That summer I read through several of Jules Verne’s works, and that was the beginning of the many hundreds of good books I read to the children over the next 20 years.  Don’t abandon the picture books, but go ahead and read to your kids the books that YOU enjoy.

Date: Sat, 13 Nov 2004

To Mr. Don Potter,

Who is this person who so willingly gives us access to math and phonics resources? Thank you, Mr. Potter. I was one of the 1st to hit your website and start downloading after you gave Trivium Pursuit access to it. It took me several days to print (still not finished, but did save the files) thus I forgot about the phonics…so I am glad you posted the stats and gave us a chance to hear about the site again. I enjoy it…and really appreciate you posting all of this. You can count on a donation from me the first chance I am able.

Claudine de Nava
From: Kelly Midkiff
Subject: Karen’s math question & a note about Greek
Date: Sat, 13 Nov 2004


I really like Mastering Essential Math Skills by Richard W. Fisher for algebra prep. Our 11 year old is doing it now because I was afraid he might not be ready to do Algebra 1/2 (ok, maybe it was ME who wasn’t ready! LOL). It is a slim volume covering all the essentials to be able to tackle Algebra. It says 20 minutes a day to mastery and I really believe it.

I also wanted to write in to encourage anyone who finds the idea of teaching your children biblical Greek a daunting task. I have followed the Bluedorn’s advice on teaching (and learning it myself) biblical Greek, first learning the alphabet and then the sounds of each. This week we bought our first interlinear to actually begin READING Greek and building our vocabulary. Wow. We are really doing it!!! Our 11 yo son and I are learning Greek as we go and thoroughly enjoying ourselves. It isn’t nearly as hard as I was afraid it would be. My middle 2 children (6 & 7) already know the alphabet and most of the sounds as we do this together as recitation aloud each morning.

Thank you Bluedorns, for all you have done to change the quality of life in our homeschool family. 🙂

Date: Sun, 14 Nov 2004

I use Saxon math with my children, however one of my daughters is really struggling. She is 15 and about a year from being ready for Algebra. Does anyone have any suggestions of what would be the best program other than Saxon? I need a self directed program that will help build confidence in her math skills. She has a younger sister one book ahead of her, and two other younger siblings in the same book she is in. I would appreciate any suggestions. I tried MUS and the book they suggested she felt looked too childish. With an older child, perhaps a program such as Keys to…… (Keys to Decimals, Keys to Fractions, Keys to Percents, etc.) may help to fill in any gaps in understanding before the child proceeds to Algebra. The program consists of 3-6 booklets on each area of arithmetic which must be mastered before beginning an Algebra program, ie: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of whole numbers, including fractions, decimals, and percents. Each booklet is self-teaching and an answer key is available for checking answers. The booklets and answer keys are very inexpensive. Although, not a comprehensive program, I feel it can successfully be used, as we have done in our home, for review of those vital skills before moving on to an Algebra program. The booklets are recommended for Grades 4-12.

Another program which is EXCELLENT, but not self-paced, is Professor B’s Power Learning for Children. We use this for our main math text. It has given our children superior understanding of mathematical concepts and mastery of important skills. For a 15-year old, who has mastered all addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts, but may need remedial work in fractions, start with the last 1/3 of Book 2. For remedial work in advanced fractions, decimals, percents, and changing fractions to decimals to percents, back to fractions, etc., begin work in Book 3. Again, this program in not self-paced, although an older child simply needing a more thorough understanding of these concepts may move more quickly than a first-time learner. These texts are not graded and can be used at any level.

Jill Richards
From: Laura Gaddy
Subject: Curriculum Question
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2004

In teaching my two 10 year olds I have started this year in moving towards the suggestions of your book. But I’m a little lost in one area – language arts. I’m following Understanding Writing by Bradrick – which by the way is a monumental success and using Spelling Power – as I already had and was using it. My question is then this – do I still do copywork and dictation? If so how much? Both of my dc despised copywork in previous years and we didn’t ever progress to dictation. Also, since they are pretty good readers do I do any additional work with phonics or just confine that to spelling and notebook work? They both read independently a novel of their choice about 1/2 – 1 hour per day – not junk food types but quality literature, currently Treasure Island and Heidi. The rest of the readings I do aloud. They probably could read the sections on their own, but with two the same age it’s faster and easier, plus we all enjoy the read-aloud time, including the my little one who’s almost 3. I also own the Victory Drill Book and wonder if that is worth the time. My ds reads very slowly and I was thinking of using it to improve fluency and speed. But as I’ve noted you to say often in your book and on the faces of my dc towards the end of the day, there’s only so much time in a day. All suggestions are greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance,
Laura Gaddy in NV
I would think that if you are using a prepared curriculum then you wouldn’t need to do extra copywork or dictation — doesn’t Understanding Writing assign this also? I never used a prepared curriculum with my children but have been suggesting Understanding Writing to those who need one (although, today there are several other fine language arts curricula available). Our language arts suggestions in Teaching the Trivium would be more for those who do not use a prepared curriculum. It is my opinion that once a child can read well, then you can drop the phonics instruction, and at around age 8-10 proceed on to spelling. You can also call me if you would like to discuss this more. Laurie
From: Lindsay Potratz
Subject: Classical Biblical worldview history curriculum – early elementary ages
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2004

I desire to teach my young sons (K & 1st grade) chronological history, in 3 cycles every 4 years. This makes perfect sense to me who remembers very little from my history growing up, getting a little here and a little there, all mixed up. However, I have found it very challenging to implement this with a Biblical worldview, without LOTS of time on my part. I purchased SOTW 1 and the activity book. I love the concept of how this is set up (color sheets and map work w/short snippets, review questions and narration examples and audio tapes available), but I am disappointed in how she handles biblical history and that the information is not presented with a Biblical worldview. So I had purchased Diana Warings, Ancients activity book for elementary children. I had also purchased Mystery of History Ancients, more for my own resource (since it is written more for the upper elementary and junior high ages), as my history knowledge is so horrible and I didn’t know how to mesh Waring’s and Bauer’s resources. I like Warnings materials, but I wanted my sons to see how secular and Biblical history weave together and how God has his hand in it all.

Is there any curriculum out there for the younger elementary age that presents Ancient Civilizations and the Middle Ages with a Biblical worldview?

I love what Beautiful Feet has done for the elementary ages, but it is American History. I am also drawn to Truthquest, but the author does not recommend families with only younger children to go through the Ancients and Middle Ages guides.

I would appreciate any suggestions!
History is a large subject with so many different ways to approach it. Today, homeschooling families have numerous history curricula from which to choose. Some time ago we discussed this subject on this list, so you might want to do a search of the archives. I believe we dedicated several entire messages just to the subject of history. My favorite history curricula are:

–Mystery of History
–Adam and His Kin
–Guerber histories
–The Wall Chart of World History
but there are many others which I can recommend to you also:
–Who Should We Then Read (Jan Bloom)
–Timetables of History
–Ancient History Portfolio (Shukin)
–Tapestry of Grace
–Streams of Civilization
–Chronological and Background Charts (Walton)
–Diana Warings
–Beautiful Feet

In addition:

–reading biographies and autobiographies and historical fiction for the time period you are studying
–doing projects on the different people or events in history you are studying

(These last two are the most important.)

When my children were young (ages 10-18), we couldn’t afford to buy curriculum beyond the bare necessities. We spent the few resources we had on math textbooks, a Latin curriculum, and science equipment and textbooks and on good quality art supplies (I wouldn’t skimp on art supplies). I bartered for their piano lessons (cleaned the teacher’s house while they took lessons) and for the logic textbooks (in 1988 I did some basic proofreading for Critical Thinking Press in exchange for books). We used the non-consumable Webster Speller ($8) for spelling and grammar. For history and literature we simply used the library, and we read literally hundreds of books and did many, many projects.  I suppose there are many of you who know what I’m talking about here. Perhaps you are feeling depressed about the fact that you can’t buy all the latest and best textbooks, but I don’t think it hurt our family any. It helps to develop creativity when you are forced to make do with what you have on hand.

Subject: Older students, course of study
Date: Sun, 14 Nov 2004

Hello Bluedorns,

My name is Malia Thain. I am a mother of 9, ages 2 months to 16 years. We homeschool on the beautiful island of Kauai. I really love to read your suggested course of study but would like your suggestions on scheduling your school through the year. Also, I am really wanting to learn more about life at home with your grown children. How much and at what ages did your children make their own schedule. How much did you have their natural interests and skills determine when and how they spent their time? What does your graduation requirement look like? Did they graduate and then they were free to study as they feel the need? I am under the impression that college is not a goal at your house. But do you as the parents continue to suggest or require different courses of study for every year? I would appreciate your thoughts in this regard. Also, there is a lack of maturity and self government that I am not sure what tree we are growing that fruit from and it is discouraging.

Thank you for your time and ministry, Aloha , Malia Thain
… at home with grown children. Ah, yes. Someday we would like to write a book since we are gathering LOTS of material. But it will be a couple of years yet before we can get to that. Harvey has to finish his Greek grammar and I have to wait till this mid-life brain fog clears. : )
Subject: Nonresistance in John 18?

My church leaders are pushing this Non-Resistance thing pretty hard lately. I’m not sure why. The subject is somewhat new to me… it’s not been something I really thought much about until the recent Sunday sermons.

This Sunday the message used John 18 as Jesus’ last teaching on non-resistance. The speaker basically placed anyone who believed anything different as a war monger. I left church that day shaken. Two men in our church asked me what I thought….

I need some help with finding a good answer for myself before I can give anyone else my thoughts.

I can say this, I was uneasy with the message and how hard it was presented.

I’ve never had a problem with military personnel. My Dad retired from the Air Force. I went to an Army military school for 5 years. I have known a Military Chaplin or two. I voted. I believe that God places people in different places at various times for His purposes. I believe God can do as He pleases… I’m compelled to do whatever God wants me to do… if it means non-resistance then that is what I want to do… but something in my spirit is telling me something is wrong.

What would you say God is teaching us from John 18, that I may give an answer to my friends? I never even thought of non-resistance when I read it.
Dear Mark,

Well, I looked at John 18, and just like you said, I never even thought of non-resistance when I read it. I think you have to read it into the text before you can read it out of the text. On a second reading, I found three places where I might be able to read nonresistance into the text.
John 18:10-11 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. 11 So Jesus said to Peter, Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?

I suppose the nonresistance interpretation would be that Peter should not have had a sword because Jesus had taught them not to defend themselves. But I don’t remember Jesus ever having taught them this — unless He did in Matthew 5:39, but I don’t think so. A man is not to pursue private revenge against someone who persecutes him for following Jesus — he is to patiently bear insult or injury on the lower scale of things — slap on the face, taking a tunic, walking a mile. But he may lawfully defend his life and protect himself from injuries and seek satisfaction from major injuries if necessary by appearing before the civil magistrate for a redress of grievances in order to protect, not only himself, but others in the community as well — indeed, it would be his duty to do so, and evil not to do so. We can compare this with passages in Luke and Matthew.

Luke 22:36-38 Then He said to them, But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. 37 For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me: ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.’ For the things concerning Me have an end. 38 So they said, Lord, look, here are two swords. And He said to them, It is enough.

Here was the time for Jesus to object to swords. But instead He advised His disciples to buy swords, and did not object when they showed their swords. I don’t believe Jesus means to raise an army, but that His disciples will be traveling all over and will need the ordinary provisions including protection from assault (Luke 10:30), which was to carry a sword under their garment.

Matthew 26:51-54 And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. 52 But Jesus said to him, Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? 54 How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?

Peter had attempted to defend Jesus and the other apostles by attacking with one measly little sword the whole band which had come out fully armed against them. That’s imprudent, to say the least. It’s a good thing they didn’t choose to respond by slaughtering all of the apostles. But they had another purpose, and were restrained. Indeed, Jesus’ command for Peter to put away the sword may have restrained them from acting. Hence the proverb all who take the sword will perish by the sword — that is, if you engage in sword play with others, then you place yourself in danger of the sword. In this case, were it not for other restraints, Peter’s actions would have invited a massacre. If you don’t believe me, just ask General Custer. Jesus’ words actually may have been meant for the band who came out against him, for that crew would later pick a fight with the Romans, and would themselves perish by the Roman sword in about forty years. Neither Jesus nor His apostles ever told a soldier or policeman to cease to be one. In fact, John the Baptist advised converted soldiers — who served essentially as policemen — to behave respectfully and lawfully.

Luke 3:14 Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, And what shall we do? So he said to them, Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages.

And Paul declared that lawful authorities lawfully bear the sword.

Romans 13:4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.
John 18:22-23 And when He had said these things, one of the officers who stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Do You answer the high priest like that? 23 Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why do you strike Me?

At first I thought this is a good example of RESISTANCE — Jesus is calling them to account for their unlawful actions. But then I thought, Well, since He didn’t call out an army of men or more than twelve legions of angels against these officers who struck Him, maybe this could be taken as NON-resistance. But that’s only if I want to find something here to support my own opinion.
John 18:36-37 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here. 37 Pilate therefore said to Him, Are You a king then? Jesus answered, You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.

If the source of Jesus’ kingdom were this world — established on worldly principles, governed by worldly policies, pursuing worldly goals — then Christ would have gathered a worldly army, Judas would not have been allowed to betray Him, and He would not have allowed Himself to fall into the hands of Pilate. With this argument, Jesus convinces Pilate that He makes no claims to a worldly kingdom.  So Jesus in this situation does not defend Himself with angelic armies or worldly armies. Why? Because this was His hour to die. He had mustered angelic and (willing or unwilling) human armies before in history. We Christians can neither promote nor defend Christ’s Kingdom with armies — by the very nature of the case. We couldn’t do it no matter how hard we tried.  I cannot see what this has to do with individuals or nations defending themselves against calamitous or deadly evil. We might debate what the right course or the best course might be in any given situation, but neither Jesus nor the apostles absolutely eliminated the option of physical force in personal or national self-defense, in fact, they presume its propriety and necessity in many cases.

Harvey Bluedorn
Date: Tue, 9 Nov 2004
From: Rebecca Brown

I am familiar with the basic definitions of deductive and inductive reasoning, but I am completely unfamiliar with inductive Bible studies, and they seem to be very popular right now. Can you tell me what is the difference in inductive and deductive Bible studies? I always thought deductive reasoning is more accurate. Does this not apply to Bible studies?

Rebecca Brown
Deductive and Inductive Methods

The labels inductive and deductive may be applied to several things, including methods of reasoning and methods of studying. A deductive approach moves from the rule to the example, and an inductive approach moves from the example to the rule.

I will first discuss deductive and inductive methods of reasoning (I have discussed these in greater detail elsewhere), then I will discuss deductive and inductive methods for studying.

The Deductive Method of Reasoning

The deductive method reasons from certain premises to a necessary conclusion. It is often described as reasoning from the general to the specific.

Premise: All men are mortal.
Premise: Socrates is a man.
Conclusion: Socrates is mortal.

If the premises are true, and the form is correct or valid, then the conclusion is necessarily true. However, if the form is invalid, then the conclusion is not necessarily true.

Some men are mortal.
Socrates is a man.
Therefore Socrates is mortal.

Though we may know that Socrates is mortal, nevertheless that does not logically flow from the premises of this argument. If we only know that some men are mortal, then Socrates might be among some men who are not mortal. The form of the argument is not valid.

The Inductive Method of Reasoning

The inductive method reasons in the opposite direction of the Deductive method. It begins with specific observations and reasons to a generalization about the observations. It is often described as reasoning from the particulars to the general.

I have examined ten thousand dogs.
Every dog I have examined has fleas.
Therefore, all dogs have fleas.

The conclusion (really, a generalization) may possibly be true there is no observation which contradicts the conclusion but it is not necessarily true there are still more observations which could be made. If, indeed, I had examined all dogs (which, of course, nobody could possibly do), and all dogs examined had fleas, then I could conclude that all dogs do indeed have fleas. Based on my sample of dogs, it appears that all dogs have fleas. But the first dog I found which did not have fleas would contradict and therefore disprove my conclusion. So all that I actually know is that some dogs have fleas.

A Comparison of Inductive and Deductive Methods of Reasoning

The deductive method of reasoning moves toward necessary conclusions derived from correct connections between premises which are all either given or assumed to be true.

The inductive method of reasoning moves toward possible conclusions derived from hypothetical connections between premises (observations) which are selected from among all possible true premises (observations).

Ideally, the deductive method of reasoning is objective in its conclusions (the conclusions are necessarily true), but subjective in its premises (the premises are assumed to be true).

Ideally, the inductive method of reasoning is subjective in its conclusions (the conclusions are not necessarily true), but objective in its premises (the premises are observed to be true).

Deductive and Inductive Reasoning Applied to the Bible

To begin with, if we believe that all of the propositions of the Bible are absolutely true, then we must believe that if we arrive at deductive conclusions by connecting the propositions of the Bible in a formally valid way, then these deductive conclusions are absolutely true. Therefore, deduction from the Bible results in absolute certainty. Many doctrines are arrived at deductively from the Bible, and it is these deduced doctrines which are the most widely accepted doctrines among Christians simply because they are proven (at least to the satisfaction of many if not most persons) and cannot be refuted without rejecting the full authority of the Bible. Secondly, if we selected certain propositions from the Bible and weaved them into a pattern which is not based on necessary connections (that is, they are formally valid), but rather the pattern is based on our Conjectured connections (that is, what looks best to us), then we can place no certain confidence in our conjectured patterns. In other words, induction from the Bible does not result in any absolute certainty. Many theological or dogmatic systems for interpreting the Bible are arrived at inductively, and it is these induced systems which are the most divisive among Christians, creating various schools of theology and denominations simply because different persons prefer different conjectures and are not willing to stay within the boundaries of what is provable.

Of course there are differences of opinion as to what actually is provable from the Bible, but this is not due to any defect in deductive reasoning. Rather, this may be compared to the proverb that computers actually don’t make mistakes, it is the programmers or the operators who make the mistakes. Because the Bible does not (for the most part) come in the form of nicely formulated and completely unambiguous propositions, the element of interpretation is introduced, and this is where we humans often fail. In addition, we often fall into various fallacies deceptive errors in reasoning which lead us in the wrong direction.

Some believe that we can prove the Bible is true with logic. This is an unbiblical rationalismwhich places the authority of reason above the Bible. In order to prove the Bible, we would need propositions of higher authority than the Bible which is impossible by definition. However, if given enough time, we could conceivably prove all non-Biblical systems of thought to be self-contradictory and therefore false, which would leave the Bible standing as the only example of something which has not yet been proved self-contradictory. Nevertheless, we cannot prove the negative. So the truth of the Bible must ultimately be revealed to the individual. The Bible is self-authenticating, but only for those who have been brought within the circle of faith.

Some believe that we cannot prove anything from the Bible. This is an unbiblical irrationalism which denies that reason can be applied to the Bible. Instead, we must add experience and guesswork and take some leaps into uncertainty by faith.

We believe that the correct role of reasoning is as our servant to help us to understand the Bible. The place of logic is in submission as a servant to the Word of God.

Methods of Reasoning Compared to Methods of Studying

A method is a regular way or manner of proceeding with or of accomplishing something. We must make a distinction between a method of reasoning to conclusions, and a method for studying a book or a subject.

For example, consider the inductive and deductive methods for studying a language:

Deductive language learning involves memorizing the various parts and categories of a foreign language and learning how to fit it all together and to us it. In other words, it begins with certain accepted principles of the language, then deduces the language as a whole from the correct combination of the parts and principles.

Inductive language learning involves reading passages in a foreign language, then picking it apart and learning what the parts mean. In other words, it begins with the language as a whole properly connected in all of its parts and principles, then figures out certain parts and principles of the language.

As you can see, we aren’t actually talking about a method of reasoning so much as we are talking about a method of approaching a subject. In the deductive method of study, we take for granted the work which others before us have done in identifying and categorizing various parts and their relationships of language (or any other subject), and we use this to develop our understanding of the whole system and to generate true examples of the language (or any other subject).

In the inductive method of study, what was taken for granted in the Deductive method is here our primary work. We move from the given true examples of the language (or any other subject) and we break it down into its parts and relationships and thereby develop our understanding of the whole system.

In actual practice, though any one method of study may be characteristically deductive or inductive, nevertheless nothing is purely deductive, and nothing is purely inductive, but they are actually used to serve each other.

How Does This Apply to Inductive and Deductive Bible Study?

Used correctly, both inductive and deductive Bible study methods can be helpful in using the Bible to arrive at or to test ones beliefs. Each has its special uses and abuses. I will describe each method below on the basic level, then on the advanced level, pointing out some uses and abuses.

Basic Level Deductive Bible Study

Deductive Bible study on the basic level is simply instruction in Biblical doctrine. A better name for this might be synthetic Bible study [Greek: suntithemaito put together] because it puts together the separate elements of the Bible to form a coherent whole which is more highly developed than the parts. In a deductive study we might examine a previously selected series of Biblical texts in order to gather up Biblical propositions which, when properly arranged, prove such doctrines as the deity of Christ, or the personality of the Holy Spirit, or salvation by the blood atonement of Christ. The Apostles reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead.(Acts 17:2-3) So a deductive study is topical in nature, and someone must first do the work of finding the texts and arranging them to prove the doctrine, then we examine his work, benefit from it, and perhaps even improve upon it. The deductive study saves us much of the work of assembling these texts and building these doctrines on our own. In this way those young in the faith can be quickly edified [built up] line upon line in basic, essential, and important doctrines of the faith.

One common way of doing a deductive study is for the student to examine a selected series of Bible texts, then to answer specific questions about each text questions which will draw out and pull together the logical inferences so that the student can think for himself step-by-step through the logic of the doctrine.

Of course, in deductive Bible study the student must place a reasonable amount of trust in his teacher to guide him through the doctrines. Nevertheless, there are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable persons twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.(2 Peter 3:16) The danger of the deductive study is that, regardless of the teachers intentions, we may be mislead. So the student must also examine for himself the Bible texts in their contexts to see if they say what the teacher thinks they say, and He must test the logical connections to make sure they prove what the teacher thinks they prove. The Bereans were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word [of the Apostles doctrine] with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed.(Acts 17:11-12) Both the teacher and the student are accountable to the Lord, as well as to each other in the Lord.

Religious cults use a deductive method of Bible study in order to keep followers at a more childish level of understanding and thereby dependent upon them for instruction. The ultimate goal of a faithful Bible teacher is to bring his students up to his level of skill in understanding so that they may eventually instruct and correct him. Pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head Christ from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.(Ephesians 4:11-16) We have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a child. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to maturity. (Hebrews 5:116:1)

As long as the doctrine is actually demonstrated by correctly handling genuine and valid proof texts, then this method of study can be very edifying, useful, and fruitful. [A valid proof text is a proposition found in the Bible which can be clearly shown to mean only one thing.]

However, deductive (or synthetic or doctrinal) Bible study should be clearly distinguished from dogmatic Bible study, which is instruction using selected texts as evidence to support a particular model or system of interpretation. [A supporting evidence text is a statement found in the Bible the meaning of which is open to interpretation it might be honestly interpreted to mean something other than what fits a particular model or system. Compare biological and archeological facts which are made to fit both evolutionary and creation models.] Dogmatic Bible study may appear on the surface to be the same as deductive Bible study, but the critical difference is that deductive study carefully demonstrates what the Bible teaches, while dogmatic study shows how a particular teaching might be fitted into the Bible whether it belongs there or not. In the deductive study we are led to trust the teachings of the Bible, while in the dogmatic study we are led to trust a system of teachings or dogma. A particularly dangerous form of dogmatic Bible study is when a special set of interpretations of certain key words, phrases, and passages are imposed upon Bible texts sometimes using a specially invented vocabulary in order to make the texts to fit into an otherwise unproven system for interpretating the Bible. Much time can be spent attempting to disentangle and unravel tightly bound systems of traditions or dogma or opinions which have been imposed upon the Bible.

Advanced Level Deductive Bible Study

At the more advanced levels of deductive study, instead of relying on a teacher to instruct the student, the student himself is involved directly in building and applying Biblical doctrine. A better name for this might be research Bible study. After obtaining a good knowledge of Scripture and a familiarity with how to prove doctrines, the student may take up the work of thoroughly searching the Scriptures and making His own necessary inferences from the propositions of Scripture. He may be motivated by special questions or controversies, or by issues and situations he has encountered which require a decision. His goal is to discover, if possible, the Biblical doctrine or principle which applies or offers guidance. The more tools the student has, the more effective he will be in accomplishing his goal. Topical lists of Scripture, concordances, cross-references, chain-references, and other reference books are valuable here. Used properly, an acquaintance with the original languages and access to language tools can insure a higher degree of accuracy in research.

The danger in research Bible study is that we may weave a web of interpretations which appears to support our own desires or expectations. In other words, we may deceive ourselves by impressing our own thinking into the Bible instead of allowing the Bible to impress its thinking upon us. For this we must always be on guard. Theology textbooks often contain much excellent deductive instruction, but the dogma of the author is always intertwined with his deductive instruction, so it is often best to read the criticisms and dissenting opinions of other authors in order to help to discern what is Bible doctrine from what is the authors denominational opinions or personal conjectures. (Some insist there is a difference between systematics which is supposed to be purely Biblical doctrine and dogmatics which is supposed to be the study of a creedal system of a denomination or a theological model developed by a religious movement. From a practical point of view, it is often difficult to distinguish any real difference.)

Basic Level Inductive Bible Study

Inductive Bible study on the basic level is simply careful instruction in the meaning of the Biblical text. A better name for this might be analytic Bible study [Greek: analueinto undo, to loosen back (to the elements)] because it breaks down Bible texts into parts or principles in order to examine its meaning and relationship to other texts.

In an inductive study we might examine a particular passage or book of the Bible, attempting to understand what the text means within its context. The purpose is not to build doctrine although a little of that will probably happen but the purpose is to build basic knowledge and understanding of the Bible. From childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.(2 Timothy 3:15 – 4:1) So an inductive study is textual in nature, requiring much time in carefully examining larger continuous passages of Biblical texts in order to know what they mean and how they may apply to our lives.

One common way of doing an inductive study is to choose a large passage to examine word by word, phrase by phrase, paragraph by paragraph with a series of such questions as Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? What kind of? How many? which help to draw out some of the meaning of the

1) We begin with the observation level, determining what the text says.
2) We next move to the interpretation level, determining what the text means by what it says.
3) Finally we move to the application level, determining how to apply what the text means to issues of modern life.

This follows the progression of the Biblical trivium:

1) Knowledge of the facts = observation of what the text says.
2) Understanding of the relationships = interpretation of what the text means.
3) Wisdom in applying the understanding = application of the interpretation to life.

One weakness of this method is that someone may become so focused on the details of the text and the immediate application that he may not see the larger picture and therefore he may overlook or even disparage doctrine. In our age, the focus on personal insight and personal application may have engendered an aversion to doctrine. People do have trouble seeing, or even wanting to see the forest for the trees. This imbalance may be corrected with deductive doctrinal studies, and with thematic outlining of larger portions of Scripture.

If inductive study were our only method of study, then we would be less built up or edified in the doctrines of the faith. Inductive study is a good preparation for advanced deductive study, but it is no substitute for it. One who keeps away from deductive study and only does inductive study will withhold from himself the sure and certain knowledge of many edifying doctrines of Scripture. He who does not advance to the solid food of doctrine will remain as a child on milk. Children are more easily misled and are the least prepared to sense danger or to protect themselves or defend others in danger. And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal.(1 Corinthians 3:1-3)

Advanced Level Inductive Bible Study

At the more advanced levels of inductive study, the student gathers information in order to look for patterns or trends in the Bible. A better name for this might be theoretical Bible study. A theory is a system of assumptions, speculations, or conjectures weaved together to explain certain observed phenomena, but which lacks verification either with direct connecting evidence or with proof by necessary inference. If any such inductive theories are then brought into subjection to deductive proof from the Bible, then they can be very useful. But if they are pressed on others without proof, they become false and useless knowledge which generates strife and divisions among brethren. Charge some that they teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.(1 Timothy 1:3-4) If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself. (1 Timothy 6:3-5) Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. (Timothy 6:20-21) Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, who have strayed concerning the truth, saying [speculating] that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some. (2 Timothy 2:17-18) For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

Theorizing is not in itself necessarily bad in fact, it can be very useful but when it takes on a life and authority of its own apart from Bible, it becomes an enemy of the true doctrine and faith of the Bible. We might compare this somewhat to the theory of evolution. Micro-evolution is the shifting of gene pools in a population in order to adapt a species to circumstances. This was originally a scientific induction, but it may now be considered verified as observable fact. Macro-evolution, on the other hand, is the changing of genetic materials in order to create altogether new species. This is a theoretical model which has never been observed and which appears to contradict observable fact (not to mention Scripture). Micro-evolution has proven to be a useful theory because it has since been proven to everyone’s satisfaction. Macro-evolution is a useless speculation which can never be proven true, and which many consider to have been falsified in several ways. Its only useful purpose has been to eliminate that line of reasoning.

Summary & Conclusion

Deductive or Synthetic Bible study gathers propositions from Scripture and arranges them as premises in formal arguments which reason toward necessary doctrinal conclusions which may not otherwise have been stated in the Bible. In this way, it builds Biblical doctrine. On the basic level, the gathering and arranging of Scripture to prove doctrines has already been done for the student. On the advanced level, the student researches these on his own.

Inductive or analytic Bible study examines in detail large passages of Scripture in order to understand those passages in context. In this way, it builds a general understanding of the Bible. On the basic level, the student researches on his own. On the advanced level, the student surveys all or large portions of Scripture looking for patterns, and theorizes about the meaning of what he observes. He then goes back and attempts to prove his theory deductively.

So inductive and deductive study go hand in hand. Inductive study supplies the analytical Bible knowledge and understanding necessary to deductively build Bible doctrine, and deductive study researches and builds doctrine which informs inductive study concerning the wider doctrinal context of Scripture which then enables inductive study thereby to draw out even more meaning from the text. The weakness of inductive study is its limitations in building doctrine, and the weakness of deductive study is its susceptibility to being infected with dogma. The abuse of inductive study comes when theory is turned into dogma, and the abuse of deductive study comes when dogma is mixed with doctrine.

Harvey Bluedorn

From: Dolores & Bryan Lowe
Subject: Church History

I am in need of a good Church History text at the adult level. Is there a particular one you recommend?

Dolores Lowe
There is no one particular church history text we can recommend. Like books about theology, church history texts will reflect the author’s theological persuasions. In our opinion, it is better to read several differing church history texts rather than confining yourself to just one.
I’m new to the list and am slowly and carefully working my way through Teaching the Trivium. I was just recently reading your comments and suggestions on Bible translations, and wondered what your opinion of the relatively recent ESV translation of the Bible is.

Thanks —
Heather Candy
Ashton, Ontario, Canada
The English Standard Version is a revision of the Revised Standard Version.

There are three main criteria to judge a translation: 1) textual base, 2) translation theory, 3) literary quality.

1. Textual Base

Which group of witnesses would you judge to be reliable?

Group 1: A handful of witnesses which all come from one confined location, which appear in history with no ancestors and which disappear from history with no descendants, which are characteristically incomplete, and which greatly disagree with each other in very significant ways.
Group 2: A multitude of independent witnesses which come from many and different sources and locations, which have a continuous history from ancient times until today, which are characteristically complete, and which agree with each other regarding all substance.

The second group of witnesses would conform to the Biblical criteria for witnesses, and the first group would be disqualified as witnesses. Yet the first group of witnesses is used as the primary witnesses in constructing a Greek text for most modern translations, including the English Standard Version. This is combined with modern skeptical methods of textual criticism which were developed for uninspired texts which only have textual evidence of the quality of the first group – methods which would not apply to the second group.

In my opinion, the English Standard Version is defective because it is based on the modern eclectic Greek text which is itself based on the first group of manuscripts.

2. Translation Theory
The English Standard Version claims to be “an essentially literal translation” and to have “sought to be ‘as literal as possible’ while maintaining clarity of expression and literary excellence.”

Below is Matthew 5:13-20 taken from the ESV. I have inserted in the text in double brackets a LITERAL rendering after selected words.

[[+abcxyz]] = a word which the ESV left out and I reinserted.

[[-]] = the previous word is not actually in the text, though it may be understood and be necessary to complete the English sense. The KJV would have italicized it.

[[/abcxyz]] = a more accurate translation, or a translation more consistent with the context. (Sometimes the ESV renders the same word differently within the same context.)

[[plural]] = The Greek distinguishes the singular “you” from the plural “you.” (The KJV uses you, ye, your, yours for plurals, and thee, thou, thy, thine for singulars.) This is often enough a very important distinction, but the ESV makes no attempt to mark the distinction.

I am not saying that an English translation should necessarily note all of the “literalisms” which I am noting. I am only offering the literalisms for comparison.

Matthew 5:13-20

13 You [[plural and emphatic]] are the salt of the earth, but if [[/whenever]] salt has lost its taste [[/may become tasteless]], how [[/with what]] shall its saltiness be restored [[/shall it be salted]]? It is no longer good [[-]] for anything [[\it has potent force for nothing any longer]] except to be thrown out and [[+to be]] trampled under people’s [[-]] feet [[-]] [[/trampled down by men]].
14 You [[plural and emphatic]] are the light of the world. A city set [[/laid out]] on [[/upon /on top of]] a hill cannot [[/is not able to]] be hidden.
15 Nor do people [[/they]] light [[/ignite]] a lamp and put it under a bushel [[/quarter bushel basket]], but [[/rather]] on a stand [[/lampstand]], and it gives light to [[/shines for]] all [[+those (who are)]] in the house.
16 In the same way let your [[plural]] light shine before others [[/men]], so that they may see [[/notice /catch sight of]] your good works and [[+they may]] give glory to [[/honor]] your [[plural]] Father who is [[-]] in heaven [[/the heavens]].
17 Do not think [[/Do not (begin to) suppose /Refrain from supposing]] that I have come to abolish [[/make void]] the law and [[/or]] the prophets; I have not come to abolish [[/make void]] them [[-]] but [[/rather]] to fulfill them [[-]].
18 For truly, I say to you, until [[+the]] heaven and [[+the]] earth [[+should]] pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass [[/one stroke {iota} or one serif {horn} may never at all pass away]] from the law until all is accomplished [[/should come about /should happen]].
19 Therefore whoever relaxes [[/should loose]] one of the least of these commandments [[/one of these minimum {least} commandments (this refers to the commandments which follow as the minimum requirements – the least)]] and teaches [[/he should teach]] others [[/men]] to [[-]] do [[-]] the [[-]] same [[-]] [[/in this same manner – that is, he teaches others in a loose manner]] [[+he]] will be called least in the kingdom of heaven [[/the heavens]], but whoever does [[/should do]] them [[-]] and teaches [[/should teach]] them [[-]] [[+this one]] will be called great in the kingdom of heaven [[/the heavens]].
20 For I tell you, [[+that]] unless your righteousness exceeds [[/should excel (to a level) beyond]] that [[-]] of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter [[/you may never even (begin to) enter into]] the kingdom of heaven [[/the heavens]].
My notes above are probably more picky than is necessary, but they are not as picky as they could have been. Nevertheless, they illustrate that the ESV is not a strictly literal translation. Sometimes it is very interpretive.

They describe their work as an “essentially literal translation” and say they “sought to be ‘as literal as possible’ while maintaining clarity of expression and literary excellence.” In my opinion, more literalness in many places would not have sacrificed clarity and literary excellence, and in some places would have increased clarity and literary excellence. Also, in some places where their translation was very literal it might have been clearer and more literarily excellent to depart a little from the literal. So I really don’t understand what they mean.

If the Bible were a novel, that would be one thing. But it is a legally binding covenant document. It is my belief that the more literal we are, the more we reflect the original logic of the text and therefore the more we allow the Holy Spirit to speak above our own private interpretation. That doesn’t mean it must read like an interlinear. But neither does it need to read like an absorbing story novel. In my opinion, a translation needs to be accurate and readable and it must be compelling much more for its content than for its style.

3. Literary Quality

The ESV claims to have an “emphasis on literary excellence.” Yet it gives no standard other than “eighth grade level,” the use of “theological language,” allowing the “stylistic variety of biblical writers fully express itself,” the dividing of long sentences and the translation of connectives, and a partial accommodation to the “feminist” use of language. Literary excellence is a style, not a committee report. The ESV is not particularly excellent in English grammar or style, nor is it particularly memorizable. The fact is, the ESV is just another translation – better than some, and worse than others.

The ESV may have a new turn of phrase, or a more accurate – or at least different – translation here and there, but it does not stand out as anything significantly different or better. Its “success” as a publication will be determined, not by its quality, but by how it is promoted. Other than that, it is just another version to quote from among over 150 English translations since Wycliffe.

In my opinion, the ESV has a defective textual base, a somewhat defective view of translation, and an average literary quality (which isn’t saying much). It does, however, revive in the margin the very good cross reference system developed by F.H.A. Scrivener in 1910 for the 1881 Revised Version, and this is very good.

Harvey Bluedorn
Where does this quote come from:

Logic! Why don’t they teach logic at these schools?

Name the title of the book (very popular children’s fiction) and the author.

The 8th person to email me the correct answer wins a copy of The Official Book of Homeschooling Cartoons, Volume 1 by Todd Wilson.
Date: Sun, 21 Nov 2004
From: Krista De Groot
Subject: multitasking reading & eating

>We multitask reading by eating lunch and reading.<

We do this too. But I eat *before* I read! The reason I do not mind eating and then reading is because I don’t find myself stopping to take a bite; and my kids are slow eaters–especially at noon, and especially compared to me, and I want to encourage them to stay that way. I am trying to teach them the concept of supping together in holy communion, so to speak, as opposed to snarfing down their food so they can get back to the important things. I have visions of Jesus spending lots of time with his followers eating and talking and building up the kingdom–breaking lots of bread together. And I relish that adventure. We don’t necessarily read Biblical passages, but my children are increasingly eager to eat the noon meal so that they can have another chapter or two of the story at hand.

As Thanksgiving approaches, oh that we might be mindful of and enjoy the fruit of those who went before us in great peril and thank God for His lasting Providence to the faithful during this High National Festival of Thanksgiving here in the U.S.A.

Krista De Groot
From: Thomas Linda Vitale
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2004

city: Elephant Butte
state: New Mexico

We are starting to look for good books to read to our children and want to know how we can tell that a book is the Abridged or Unabridged version. Does it have to state Abridged in the title, for example? We have a copy of Treasure Island and cannot tell if it is the Abridged version or not. We cannot find the word Abridged on the title page, but it states, This edition published by Barnes & Noble, Inc. …2001… Obviously this is not the original publication (in 1883), so does this mean it IS the abridged version and we should not read it to our children? Please advise. Your knowledge and experience is greatly appreciated.
Does anyone know the answer to this question?
From: Stephanie Howey
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 2004

Life changing literature:

We just finished listening to G.A. Henty’s Winning His Spurs recorded by Jim Hodges. My 6yob and 8yob both loved it. My mom (avid historian) was amazed at how intelligently my 8yo could converse about Saladin and Richard the Lionhearted. Henty is always a good choice. Hodges has both tapes and MP3 recordings available.
From: Annie Kruse
Date: Thu, 02 Dec 2004

Using The Fallacy Detective:

I was looking at your suggestions for teachers. I’m also an 8th grade teacher. I had the students create binders. They had a binder grade, fallacy collection grade, class participation grade, and a quiz grade. I had the kids make up fallacies, and I took the quizzes directly from their fallacies. It worked out great! Their fallacy collections could be from the media or from home (personally signed by the committer of the fallacy!). They love Logic and weren’t intimidated or bored by it like I’ve seen in the past. Per your suggestion, we’re in Harnadek’s Critical Thinking 1, and they are plugging away at the difficult parts with zest because they started out loving the subject because of your book!

Annie Kruse
From: Andrew & Jocelyn James
Date: Tue, 7 Dec 2004

Hi Lindsay,

I know what you mean as I have had the same issue with SOTW. In the end, I have used the framework from SOTW and many of the narration Qs, but have also interspersed it with lessons from the Veritas Press Guide for Old Testament and Ancient Egypt as well as the Greenleaf Guide. It may sound like heavy going but I sat down one night and put all the resources before me and worked out a rough plan of what areas I wanted to cover, in what order and then listed the resources which best covered those areas. I now have this master plan in front of me and can quickly reference the materials I need. It hasn’t been perfect and I have changed things slightly along the way but we have been happier since I did it. I now feel that I am not enslaved to any one program but am using the best aspects of the ones we have. I would agree with Laurie about using lots of good books. Living books, as Charlotte Mason calls them, bring history alive for children and often these programs have similar lists. Using well chosen biographies, novels, reference books can make a huge difference to how well they remember people and events in history. I even found that reading some of the stories directly from the Bible was far better than using Adam and His Kin, for example. The children really responded well to hearing the stories directly from the Word and then going through it together. (Mind you, they were starting to wonder if it was ‘Bible’ time or ‘History’ time but that was making a point too!)

Hope this helps,

P.S. Even if you don’t want to use Veritas materials in full, their history cards are lovely. They have paintings of historical events/people on the front and a summary of that period with book references on the back. You could use them with any history program actually.
From: Chadwick
Subject: re: Classical Biblical worldview history curriculum – early elementary ages
Date: Mon, 6 Dec 2004


I am using the Mystery Of History with my 1st grader. I read him the lesson aloud while he colors a picture of the topic (from the Homeschool in the Woods timeline figures). I will periodically ask him questions as I read to help him learn to narrate and to make sure he’s listening :). I LOVE that this program is so focused on a biblical perspective of history. And that it teaches history from the Bible right along with world history. The BEST part is that I get to (re)-learn history! So 4 years from now when we re-visit this time period I will be better equipped to teach it to a 5th grader! This book is great for always pointing to God’s hand in history, and in my experience, can be very successfully used with young elementary kids. I also think I’ve seen a webpage somewhere that lists which SOTW chapters correspond with MOH chapters. Maybe someone has that link.

Hope this has been helpful,
From: Josi Johnson
Date: Wed, 08 Dec 2004
Subject: Re: Church History

I do agree with all that you say here. At the same time, if I had to choose only one, my preference would be Miller’s Church History. I understand that this volume somewhat reflects the Brethren viewpoint. I find it very readable and refreshing.

Josie Johnson
Moreno Valley, CA
From: Nichols
Date: Thu, 9 Dec 2004

Dear Bluedorn family,

I teach my world history course through The Potter’s School. Your website and articles by your family have recently been mentioned through our staff forum. Dr. Jay Wile added to your glowing list of compliments.  Here is a description of the resources I have on line. is a growing ministry aimed to provide homeschooled high school students with information about world history in a Biblical perspective. With over 600 onsite essays and many links to offsite resources, the organization covers the scope and sequence of a year long world history syllabus. The current design targets passing of the College Board’s Advanced Placement World History Exam. In keeping with the exam format, self scoring multiple choice questions, essay writing tips, and scoring guides are offered. All materials are online and free. Thanks so much for your kind offer to post this to your Trivium List.

Mr. Nichols
From: Gwen Sturdy
Subject: math drill
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2004

This is a bit belated, but I just read a letter written earlier this fall about boys having trouble learning math facts. I want to encourage the parents to let their children go forward in math even without the math facts totally nailed down. As the students progress in math, they will need to use the math facts and they will gradually absorb them by osmosis and repeated practice.

I am not saying that facts shouldn’t be drilled, but just that drilling facts can happen simultaneously as the students go forward in math. I would hate to see a child held back in math just because he couldn’t perform quickly enough on a quiz. Math is a wonderful interesting subject, but just like English grammar is only a part of the subject of English, math facts are only a part of math. Incessant grammar drills will turn even a motivated student off English; incessant drilling in math facts will turn even a motivated student off math.

From a mom with 2 degrees in engineering (and more calculus courses than she cares to count!) who counted on her fingers in 8th grade!

Gwen in VA
From: D. Langley
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2004

In the web page regarding fallacies, you have some great examples. However, in the Appeal to Fear section, you use the example of an Italian pizza owner who speaks in an antiquated Italian accent and who threatens his customer with physical injury. You do not use such ethnic caricatures in other examples. The outmoded accent and suggestion of physical intimidation clearly perpetuates the stereotype that Italian Americans are members of organized crime. Such stereotyping is insulting example, and you should not use it.
From: Keith Zacek
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2004

Abridged or not?

Many of the books we have (I bought them before I thought of this being an issue) say something either on the back cover or inside jacket about being an adaptation for early readers or specially adapted version or something similar. A few say nothing and I assume them to also be abridged. Those that aren’t usually say complete and unabridged.

Cheryl Z in IL
Date: Tue, 14 Dec 2004

My understanding is that if a book is an abridged version of the original it will state that fact somewhere on the cover or title page. Otherwise, one can assume that it is an unabridged version.

Jill Richards
Date: Sat, 18 Dec 2004
From: Barbie McNutt
Subject: Could you explain a statement in your book, Teaching the Trivium?

Hello Mr. and Mrs. Bluedorn,

While discussing your book at a recent meeting, a question came up that I was hoping that you could take a moment and answer. On page 190, you state, Though God most clearly moved the prophets and apostles to reinvent their language in order to make new distinctions in meaning, He never moved them to reinvent the language to distinguish the genders in the way which it is being done today. Would it be possible to give some examples of the first part of that statement – when the prophets and apostles reinvented language and meanings? We understood the basic premise behind the statement, but were simply wondering about that first part of the statement.

Thank you.
Barbie McNutt
1 Corinthians 2:13 … which things [freely given to us by God] we [apostles] are also speaking, not in words taught by human wisdom, but rather, (in words) taught by the Holy Spirit — matching spiritual (things) with spiritual (words).

The text above describes the verbal inspiration of the writings of the apostles. The Greek word translated matching [sugkrinO] means literally to judge together, and is elsewhere translated to compare and to combine. The idea is to compare things in order to combine them with weighed and balanced judgment, to sort and match, to fit things together properly. The Holy Spirit taught the apostles how to sort through human words in order to spiritually match the right word — the spiritual word — to the spiritual reality. In this way they were able to convey, in context, a special meaning which the word, standing by itself in non-Christian culture, would not have. Nigel Turner wrote a book entitled Christian Words [Nashville, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1981, xvii+513 pages] which labored to show the special meaning which the apostles infused into the vocabulary of the New Testament. He discusses about 450 Greek words. Though I would not necessarily agree with every conclusion he makes, I agree with the premise. From the dust jacket, Early Christians developed a distinctive vocabulary to describe the life-changing impact of their new belief. New terminology was coined and old terminology was charged with new meaning as they attempted to communicate the significance and wonder of Christ’s mission on earth.

Some of the newly coined words are:

antichristos — antichrist
oligopistos — little-faith
ophthalmodouleian — eye-service
dipsuchos — double-minded
prosopolhpsia — respect of persons

Some of the old words which are given new meanings are:

koinonia — fellowship, communion
parousia — coming, arrival, presence
soterion — salvation
diatheke — covenant
logos — word
ekklesia – assembly

I hope this answers your question.
From: Don Potter
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 2004


You might like to know that Machen’s (Greek) grammar is available in a nice Spanish edition.

I am publishing a new and (beautiful) edition of Florence Akin’s Word Mastery. It has had thousands of hits in its scanned version, but my typed edition will quickly become a favorite with homeschoolers. Glory to God! It was typed in Word. I had to a mix of Times New Roman and Courier New. It is totally impossible to line up the letters in Times New Roman. It may be the standard (default) font, but just can’t be used for precise columns. I am using it right now with a kindergartener who is making dramatic progress into reading with it. There is some interesting historical information at the end of the document. The new homeschool mother at our Church is might happy. She tells me that she never dreamed how satisfying homeschooling her three daughters could be. It is a joy to look over her shoulder. I work with them one evening each week on reading, etc. The third graders just finished Flesch’s 72 Exercises and are now working on M. K. Henry’s Words. I guess it is time to start them on Webster and your Vocabulary Bridges.

Don Potter
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 2004
From: B
Subject: Son’s Military Obsession

Help!! – my 6.5yo son is obsessed with anything military! I was not raised in a Christian home so my experiences of growing up playing cowboys & indians is not good for comparison. My son is an only, his Daddy is not saved and is a WWII-buff. My son has one good boyfriend who is homeschooled and is his only 1:1 playmate. This friend is from a strong Christian family and I value their rules, their parenting, etc. They will not allow their son to play or read anything military or any type of enemy play (even pretending to be animals turns into some of attack with enemies, etc.). I can tell my son is feeling conflicted (as am I) about is his thrill over WWII and current militia (explosions, soldiers, planes, weapons, divisions of services, etc.) okay or not? I know we need to have balance, but recently his free time is consumed with all things military, particularly military aircraft and special attack forces. Honestly I’m happy he’s reading and learning about the different airplane designs and armament, and he even told me why Japan bombed Pearl Harbor! He has a pair of camouflage snow pants that have been worn for 3 days straight.

Maybe it’s a phase, should I not allow him to check out military books from the library? Do I discourage his interest by not paying attention or do I put my foot down and tell him God is about LIFE not destruction and I don’t want him to feed his mind with militia? Is this part of trying to figure out what a man is? Obviously if his Daddy wants to read something to him about WWII that would be fine since he’s the head of the house. I need some help and don’t know where else to turn. Thanks in advance, praying and not sure what to do.
It seems that you are caught between perhaps your child’s excessive interest in the destructive part of military service, and your Christian friend’s perhaps excessive non-interest it the same.

The Bible is a military book. There’s even a book entitled, Battles of the Bible by Chaim Herzog and Mordechai Gichon. Here is something from a review on
“In several places in the Bible, God explicitly tells the Israelites how to negotiate the terrain He created to defeat an enemy. When the Israelites follow God’s instructions, they always win. This is remarkable given the Israelites’ lack of heavy weapons, armor and equipment in the face of enemies with superior numbers and armament. This book explains the great geographical significance of the terrain, roads and cities of Palestine that are so vital to the land but mean so little to us. Place names of little towns is Israel that we skim over in the narrative from Joshua to II Chronicles suddenly become real and alive.  A little known fact: In 1917, during the First World War, the British Army in Palestine under General Allenby found themselves arrayed against the Turks in an obscure little place called Micmash in the Judean highlands. The name Micmash sounded vaguely familiar to a major in the British Army. By candlelight that night, he searched through the Bible he brought with him until he found the reference in I Samuel 14. It turned out that the Israelites had found themselves similarly disposed against the Philistines at the same location at Micmash almost three thousand years earlier. By copying the successful tactics of Jonathan and his armor-bearer, the British achieved the same results against the Turks the next morning.”

I’ve never read the book, so I don’t necessarily recommend it. Nevertheless, not only the Old Testament is full of military, but the New Testament has numerous military references, and our battle as Christians against the world, the flesh, and the devil is often compared to military battle. What I suggest is that you ask the Lord to help you to find the balance point. Explore the matter more broadly: Military discipline. Military submission to rank. Military strategy for victory. Military allegiance. All of these have good Christian application.

Date: Wed, 22 Dec 2004
From: Heather Candy

I’m writing to let you know that I received the Greek Alphabetarion yesterday, and thank you very much. I particularly want to thank you for the copy of Family Reformation magazine. My husband and I have both read it cover-to cover. The article by Selah Helms (A Passion for the Word) was particularly timely, as the decrease in reading by Christians is an issue that has been on my mind for several weeks. (We have been working our way through Helms’ books Small Talks on Big Questions around the supper table for several weeks.) One of the pastors of our church had mentioned to my husband that a friend of his (the pastor’s) had done an informal survey among Christians that he knew. He asked them how many minutes a day they spent reading (aside from a newspaper). The average response was 7 minutes! I realized immediately the implication of this. How can Christians be renewing their minds with only 7 minutes a day of reading? And how much of the 7 minutes is in the Word of God? I plan to give a copy of this article to each of the pastors in our church.

Thanks again,
Heather Candy
From: Darlene Tako
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 2004

city: Temecula
state: CA

God bless you for the hard work you put into this site. It’s almost midnite and I haven’t been able to put my laptop down! This site is full of answers to questions I’ve had. It is so informative and well written. Thank you.

God willing, my husband and I will be adopting an 8 year old (on 12/29) boy from Russia. He just started formal schooling this fall. He stayed with us a few weeks this summer and seems very eager to learn and very bright and inventive. He found ways to communicate with us and dummied down his Russian so we could understand him. But I don’t know where to start. I know he must learn English first, but how, besides us speaking to him. And then where do we go from there? Do I start him at a preschool level? Oy!

Also, is there a curriculum? I’m able to start a project best if it is well defined. Then once I’m comfortable I go off on my own. So I’ll need a plan with books until I get a feel for this. Please help.

God bless you and your family,
From: Beth Manautou
Subject: Bible Teaching Resources for children
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 2004

I am needing insight and direction in the following area:

Teaching the bible to my children. I have a 5yob and an almost 4yob. I need something to help me with the application of the Bible stories we are reading. I want them to learn more than just the story. I want them to see the overall big picture and what it is that each story reveals about God. I am looking for something to go along with our Bible Readings that would work like a guide to help show me what the focus should be of the story. Does anyone have any suggestions? There seems to be so much out there and I would love to hear what has helped you. Also, is there a Bible Atlas that anyone can recommend to go along with reading the Bible?

Thank you so much for your time and responses! This email loop and connection is truly a blessing to us. Thank you Bluedorn family.

From: Beth Manautou
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 2004

city: Clover
state: SC

Dear Bluedorn Family,

Thank you for the work that you have done and providing others the opportunity to learn from your experience and wisdom.

I read that you made art supplies available in your home so that your children could access them readily. I was wondering if you could suggest some things that I could have on hand for my son. He is 5 and loves to draw. He will spend literally hours drawing dinosaurs. I would like to have an area that is accessible to him for his pursuit and enjoyment. What would you suggest for this age?

Thank you for your time and answering my question. God Bless you and your family.

Beth Manautou
We had a small round table with small chairs sitting in the corner of our living room, along with an easily accessible shelf. Some suggestions for what to put on the shelf:

-good quality colored pencils (these will be expensive, but it is worth it)
-discarded wall paper sample books (you can get these at paint and wall paper stores)
-different colored matting scraps (you can get these at places where they do picture framing, like Hobby Lobby)
-different colors and types of yarn
-scraps of different types of fabric
-thread and needles
-cross-stitch aida cloth (with large squares)
-tape (a kind that young kids can easily work with)
-they make some very nice modeling clays now-a-days — these come in a variety of colors
-I suggest leaving the paints for when the children are older.


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