Monthly Archives: August 2016

Hard Words for Homeschool Moms

While teaching my classes online, speaking with customers at conventions, and swapping stories with my son who is also a teacher of homeschoolers, I have observed a troubling tendency among homeschooling mothers of teenage sons, a tendency pervasive enough that I feel compelled to say something. I do not want to unduly offend, but I want to speak to the problem as I see it. Here it is: Continue reading Hard Words for Homeschool Moms

Books I read my children

I recently had the pleasure of listening to Andrew Pudewa, the director of the Institute for Excellence in Writing and a father of seven, speak at an education conference on the importance of reading aloud to your children. As he spoke, I recalled with delight the many hours I spent reading to my four children before they went to sleep. My eldest is about seven years older than the youngest. I would first read the Bible, making sure I at least turned the page every night. We read it all the way through, Genesis to Revelation, over and over again (once we finished it in an airport), occasionally changing the translation. We would pray and sometimes sing, and then I would read a story, alternating each night between the boys’ room and the girls’ room (I tried to keep track by which room my chair was left in, only later learning that my girls would move my chair to the boys’ room during the day so that I would move it back to their room so they could be in their own beds as I read).

I am thankful that I kept a record of the books I read to them. I have listed them below, for anyone who might somehow benefit from knowing the stories that shaped my children (and me). They are listed roughly in the order that I first read them over the years. The underlined books are favorites that I read more than once. No doubt some books went unrecorded (I’m pretty sure I read some missionary biographies, but I cannot recall which ones). You can see that I would sometimes get on a theme. I do not offer these as the best books, and I would not even offer all of them as suggestions (were I to do it over, for instance, I would not read Pollyanna to the girls). But they are all worth considering. Anyway, here they are. Continue reading Books I read my children

A New Year in Logic

This morning I had my first class with my new online Logic students. I am teaching six junior high and high school age students in Class A, with even more auditors joining us on the side. We will be meeting twice a week through Introductory Logic, using Zoom software, which appears to work very well for the larger class size.

I teach using the “flipped classroom” model. The students read the lesson in the text and watch me lecture through the lesson on the video (which allows them to rewind and review), then they work on the exercise for that lesson. Having done that, we all meet together online live, M/Th or T/F morning, where we discuss the assignment, answer any questions, correct any misconceptions, and generally verify that everyone is understanding the material. Then I preview the next lesson and they are on their way.

I encourage you to check out all of the online classes available through Roman Roads Media: Logic, Rhetoric, Economics, Good Books, Poetry, Old Western Culture, and American History.

Fitting Words in Amazon

51+zKZSga2L._SX368_BO1,204,203,200_[1]Have you wanted to preview Fitting Words: Classical Rhetoric for the Christian Student? Well, now you can. The “Look inside” feature is now available in Amazon for this new rhetoric course. See for yourself how pleasant the single column, wide margin text is to read, and enjoy the beautiful artwork of George Harrell.

“While many good college-level rhetoric textbooks from secular publishers are available today, there is a clear need for a complete and robust rhetoric curriculum for high school students written from an explicitly Christian point of view. Fitting Words: Classical Rhetoric for the Christian Student was written to meet that need.” – from the Preface.

“Given the state of our culture, we should want our sons and daughters to be dangerous in the right cause, to possess effective weapons against the enemies of God and His people and know how to use them, because sometimes, fitting words are fighting words.”

– James Nance, Fitting Words

Small Beginnings in China

China marketOur Uber driver chatters at us in Mandarin as he weaves through the crowded streets of Chengdu on a muggy morning after the rains. We pass honking cars, quietly-buzzing electric scooters, and squeaky bicycles loaded with cardboard boxes, heavily loaded garbage bags, and even a refrigerator. With a population of almost 18 million, Chengdu is the seventh most populous city in China. Old men mosey with t-shirts pulled up to expose their warm bellies, and children laugh as they splash in the sidewalk puddles. The usually smoggy air is cleaner than normal — probably by temporarily closing some factories — to impress the leaders of the recent G20 summit, and the locals are enjoying a rare blue sky. They have an idiom in Chengdu: “When the sun appears, the dog barks at it.” We emerge from the car, thank our driver, and walk cautiously along a slippery stone path. Consuming our greasy pork baozi and warm soybean milk, we wait in a closely packed line for the elevator to take us up seventeen stories to a classroom of Chinese college students waiting to learn logic.

Boys in ChengduClassical Christian education is taking off in China. Yes, you read that correctly. I just returned from Chengdu, Sichuan, where (through an interpreter) I taught an intensive, week-long course in formal logic in a small, densely packed room of about forty young men and women. These intrepid grad students are preparing to be teachers of mathematics, classical literature, even Latin, in newly formed classical Christian schools throughout China. They are on fire for Christ and eager to learn. Many of them arrived early from their homes throughout the city for a devotional hour of prayer and Bible teaching. Continue reading Small Beginnings in China