The World (Magazine) of Books

     In last month edition of my free e-mail homeschool newsletter Biblical Homeschooling   ( or ), I had a news note about the Dec. 2, 2006, issue of World Magazine with its articles on "Kid’s Books." The Dec. 30, 2006, issue of World had some letters on the subject. I liked this one. Kathy Lonai of Milton-Freewater, OR, wrote, "Your list of favorite books for children (‘Books that show, books that tell,’ Dec. 2) couldn’t have come at a better time. Our oldest is 13 and it’s becoming painfully clear how many ‘popular’ books out there, at the middle- and high-school levels, are inappropriate. Thanks to WORLD, I can give my kids ideas about good books without worrying about what they’ll be reading." However, Karen Pegors of Auburn, WA, wrote, "I was surprised at how few recently published books were on your lists. As a children’s librarian, I see many new books and, while many are forgettable, some are just as enjoyable as the old classics." Well, yes, I realize that there are some new books for children which are good and as enjoyable as the old classics. But I suspect that the reason why those whom World asked to suggest kid’s books mostly recommended older ones is that the vast majority of "recently published books" for children are pure and unadulterated humanistic trash. When it comes to children’s literature, 99% of the time, older is better, at least based on my own reading experiences of doing book reviews of children’s literature over the past few years.

Leading children to depend on Jesus

     In her Dec., 2006, Mom’s Corner, Teri Maxwell, co-author of Managers of Their Homes, author of Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit, and homeschooling mother of eight children, wrote that ten-year-old Mary came, with frustration in her voice and near tears in her eyes, with her math, having missed every one of her long-division problems. At first, Teri felt herself being impatient with Mary, because she did know how to work the problems, but decided that this was a spiritually teachable moment and began sharing verses such as 2 Corinthians 12:9 and Philippians 4:13, telling her that next time she started math to come and they would pray together about it. The following day, Mary announced that she had gotten every division problem correct. Teri went on to say that we parents can rob our children of a positive, spiritual experience of trusting on Jesus by responding in impatience, telling them just to try harder and be more careful. I suspect that I have done that to my own children at times. Then she said, "What is more important for my child–immediate success in getting right answers on a math problem or learning to develop the habit of crying out to Jesus Christ for help in every circumstance? Rather than viewing the daily problems with my children as trials to be avoided, I can use them positively." You can read the entire article by going to .

Belhaven College

      I received a letter from Belhaven College, 1500 Peachtree St., Box 650, Jackson, MS 39202-1789, which begins, "At Belhaven College we know how important education is to your family. That’s why we have created online programs with home-school family needs in mind. We would like for you to help us further by assessing the programs we are offering and letting us know your thoughts, ideas an interest in our programs." They have a High Scholars program with a two-year high school Worldview Curriculum designed for high school students who want a quality program emphasizing a Christian worldview, including courses in English, Geography, Art, and History offered through the environment of a virtual, real-time classroom. They also will be offering a series of college freshman level classes for high school/college Dual Enrollment. And they offer an Associate of Arts which provides the first two years of undergraduate college coursework and integrates the Worldview Curriculum into each course. For more information, you can visit their website at or call direct at (601) 974-6417.  Many homeschooling families might be interested in this.

Another Homeschooling Magazine

     The Nov./Dec., 2006, issue of Practical Homeschooling, a wonderful homeschooling magazine, contains a lot of interesting and useful information, including Mary Pride’s editorial "Have a Wonderful Real Life!" and the always interesting Sam Blumenfeld’s "Forgotten American History" column entitled "The Purposes of Education." Under "News and Notes" the magazine reports, "In yet another example of why you should keep your kids at home, concerned parents in Nyssa, OR, have begun protesting the current methods of teaching history in the district. As part of their curriculum, students are told to act as Muslims, complete with the corresponding wardrobe and prayers." Parent Kendalee Garner, who objected to the classes, said, "I just don’t understand why Christianity is banned but Islam has free reign. I’m sure people would be outraged if they dressed up as the pope." However, the 9th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeal has turned down cases against this kind of thing before saying that it is just "cultural education." Edward White III, a lawyer who planned to argue the case before the Court, said, "Would it have been ‘just cultural education’ if students were in simulated baptisms, and wearing a crucifix? Why is it okay to teach Islam? Unless there’s an exception in the Establishment Clause, which says you can’t teach religion unless it’s Islam, I haven’t seen it."  Yes, The Old Schoolhouse is my all time favorite homeschooling magazine, but there are other good ones available too.

Something silly

     Not long ago, my wife bought some clementines at the store.  In case you are not familiar with them, they are small, tangerine-like oranges but without seeds.  All the time the box was sitting on the kitchen counter, with the word "CLEMENTINES" boldly printed on the side, I kept thinking of the old song "Clementine" (yes, I watched the Huckleberry Hound cartoon when I was a child).  My father often sang the song, and my grandfather had a set of records with it on them.  I could just about remember all the words, but there were a few blank spots in my mind, so I looked it up on the Internet and found it at

     The note said that although the author and original source for the song are unknown, the words and music of the original version are usually attributed to Percy Montross and dated about 1880.  A note in the UK Ballad Newsgroup says that Montross based his composition on "Down by the River Liv’d a Maiden" by H. S. Thompson of 1863.  The familiar chorus goes–

"Oh my darling, Oh my darling, Oh my darling, Clementine!
Thou art lost and gone forever; Dreadful sorry, Clementine."

The stanzas are as follows–
1. "In a cavern, in a canyon, Excavating for a mine,
Dwelt a miner forty-niner, And his daughter Clementine."
2. "Light she was and like a fairy, And her shoes were number nine;
Herring boxes, without topses, Sandals were for Clementine" (I remember it as "Carrying boxes").
3. "Drove she ducklings to the water Every morning just at nine,
Hit her foot against a splinter, Fell into the foaming brine."
4. "Ruby lips above the water, Blowing bubbles, soft and fine;
But, alas, I was no swimmer, So I lost my Clementine."
5. "How I missed her!  How I missed her!  How I missed my Clementine!
But I kissed her little sister, And forgot my Clementine."

Well, now, you’ve had your homeschool music lesson for the day.

Odds and ends

     Home School Legal Defense Association: The Nov./Dec., 2006, issue of The Home School Court Report published by HSLDA has an excellent cover story by Chairman Michael Farris about how the recent European Court of Human Rights decision to uphold Germany’s ban on homeschooling could affect our freedoms here in the United States, given an increasing amount of American judges’ reliance on "international law" rather than our U. S. Constitution as the basis for their decisions. The magazine also contains interesting legal and legislative updates "Across the States," other useful information related to homeschooling, news about HSLDA staff changes (Scott Somerville has left–sob–but Mike Donnelly has taken his place and will be speaking at the 2007 Greater St. Louis Area Home Educators Expo!), and President Michael Smith’s always beneficial column "The Last Word."

     First Wal Mart, now Sears: On December 7, 2006, Donald Wildmon, President of the American Family Association announced, "Sears Supports Homosexual TV Network With Advertising: Two-minute infomercials sponsored explicitly by Sears helps keep the homosexual network on the air. Sears has thrown its support to the LOGO network. LOGO is the 24-hour cable television network dedicated to programming for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders according to a homosexual advertising website. It is carried on many cable systems around the country. Many of you have been forced to accept it as part of your cable package. Sears is now helping to make it mainstream! Sear’s advertising will help LOGO air shows like ‘Sex 2K Drag Kings,’ ‘The Gayest and Greatest of 2006,’ and ‘Transgeneration.’ Sears advertising (two-minute infomercials) will go to help the fledging network get on firm financial ground. Sears advertising is financing LOGO’s push to legalize homosexual marriage in addition to promoting the homosexual lifestyle. Sears is owned by Kmart Corporation."

     Eragon: The movie based on the book by homeschooled student Christopher Paolini debuted in cinemas across the nation on Dec. 15. I reviewed the book in the 12/04 issue of my free e-mail homeschooling newsletter (Biblical Homeschooling — or ). A condensed version of that review recently appeared in the 12/9/06 issue of the HomeSchoolBuzz newsletter; it is on the HomeSchoolBuzz website and can be accessed at–The-Inheritance–Book-1– .

     Home Educator’s Family Times: The Nov./Dec., 2006, issue of what is called "America’s Leading Homeschool and Family Newspaper" has a lot of very interesting and helpful material, including a wonderful editorial, "Why are you homeschooling? Your answers are important" by Jane Boswell. All of the articles contained useful information, but I especially liked Barb Frank’s "Homeschooling High School the Third Time Around." Also Missouri’s own Sharon Jeffus has an article, "Why is art important?" You can access the articles at .

     Homeschooled Teen Magazine: Homeschooled Teen is an on-line magazine FOR homeschooled girls written BY homeschooled girls ages 12+. It’s a place where girls can share their thoughts, stories, recipes, photos, drawings, articles, and more! Homeschooled Teen also has moderated forums, where the girls can (safely) talk to other homeschooled teen girls about anything from books to holiday traditions. Do you know of a teen who has something to say? Maybe someone who would enjoy seeing their work published in a magazine geared just for them? Then take a look at "Homeschooled Teen" and have them send in anything they’d like to share. To read about it, go to .

     Gravitas Publications: I received a card in the mail from Gravitas Publications, Inc., P. O. Box 4790, Albuquerque, NM 87196-4790 (1-888-466-2761; ) which offers "Real Science 4 Kids," about new products available including Level II Chemistry and Science Connects to Language Level 1; three new informational blogs; and looking for answers to questions concerning Real Science 4 Kids by joining . Their website offers relevant up to date pioneering science information and articles of interest to homeschools, public schools, and charter schools. There is also a 20% discount by using Code D0106 on web and phone orders that expires on Jan. 31, 2007.

     New Ezine for children: The following item was posted on a homeschooling e-mail list. "Stories for Children Magazine is coming Spring 2007! This Ezine is for children ages 3 to 12. Come check us out at: ."

     Homeschool Learning Cruises: I received the following e-mail. "Hi there, I was wondering if you would post information and spread the word about our homeschooling interactive learning cruises. Please let me know if there is a way to do this. Thank you. Mik, Homeschooling Mom. Join us! Homeschool on the Seas Learning Cruises–Many Dates and Itineraries Available, . Departing from ports in Washington (to Alaska), California (to Caribbean), New Jersey (to Bermuda), Texas (to Caribbean), and Florida (to Caribbean). Where Children Learn, Have Fun and Parents Vacation ALL FOR ONE GREAT PRICE!!! Onboard Royal Caribbean’s amazing ships. Get Ready to Sail! Your children will be provided with not only a fun trip with all the amenities aboard Royal Caribbean’s amazing ships, but an educational experience that will provide the basis for studies for years to come! INTERACTIVE lessons and activities are structured to your child’s age group, in Science, History and Current Events. Topics include: ecology, threats to ecology, colonization, political climate, government structure, economy, and culture. Learners and their families can attend group classes, complete independent study projects, and small group projects. Upon arriving at one of the ports of call , families will have the opportunity to complete the ‘HotS Quest,’ a memorable adventure for the whole family. Then how about a little night-time learning, featuring the ‘HotS Star-Gazing Slumber Party’…..get your blankets out!!!!" I responded, "I will put your information in my free homeschooling e-mail newsletter ( or ) and also post it on my homeschooling blog at Homeschool Blogger ( )."

     Homeschooling in World: World Magazine, Dec. 9, 2006, contained the following letter to the editor (p. 46). "I was edified by ‘Plucked out of the burning’ (Oct. 21). As a homeschooling mom I am constantly in need of remembering that Moses couldn’t speak well, Noah got drunk, Peter denied Christ, John Wesley wasn’t a good husband, and yet God used them mightily because they loved Him. Every one of my weaknesses is glaringly apparent in my children and homeschoool, yet I am so thankful that the Holy One will make up for my shortcomings as I pray to Him each day."  How true!

What are you teaching in your homeschool history curriculum?

     In answer to the following question, "How has the Bible been disconnected?" the 12/2/06 Answers Update, a weekly e-mail newsletter from Answers in Genesis, responded, "The majority of Christians today look at the Bible as a book of religion only—a book about salvation, but not a book of history that connects to every area of reality. Christianity, unlike many other religions, is based in real history. If the events of Jesus Christ’s birth, death and resurrection didn’t happen in real history, then how can we be saved? If all people aren’t descended from the real first man in history, Adam, then why are we all accountable for sin? We need to read the Bible as a history book. When we do, we also find the Bible touches on geology, astronomy, biology and so on. This means we need to make sure that our children understand that the Bible connects to dinosaurs, rocks, trees, dirt, stars, people—in fact, everything. Because of the influence of evolution and old ages, many Christians have relegated the Bible to just a book of religion—thus disconnecting it from the real world. That’s why so many Christians lack answers to the world’s false teachings. Most of the church teaches biblical history as just a group of ‘Bible stories’ disconnected from this history. But the majority of students from church homes attend government-run schools where they are taught a history (involving geology, biology, anthropology, astronomy, etc.) that blatantly contradicts biblical history." We need to remember that in order for history to be understood fully, it must be understood as HIS-story.

More interesting items from Reader’s Digest

     An article by Michael Crowley, "Protect Our Kids!" in the Jan., 2007, issue of The Reader’s Digest tells about Randall Crane, a teacher at Jennings Middle School in Akron, OH, who was given a glowing recommendation by the Manchester principal who had helped oversee an investigation when Crane was accused of improper relationships with female students when he taught at Manchester and then was given a two year sentence for having sex with a fourteen year old student; John Mark Kerr, the man who claimed to have murdered Jon Benet Ramsey and who was a schoolteacher; and Daniel Eveleth, who was accused of sexual harassment at an Iowa public school district known as BCLUW, but was recommended to Northwood-Kensett district where he was again accused of having a sexual relationship with an eighteen year old student. In fact, when The New York Times recently investigated pedophiles, it found that "the most frequent job mentioned was schoolteacher." Crowley concluded, "You’d think politicians would be demanding tougher laws, but many shy away from measures like mandatory background checks, in part because they’re afraid to cross powerful teachers unions…It’s easy to say we have zero tolerance for sexual predators in schools, but we haven’t yet passed the test." That, in and of itself, is sufficient reason for parents who want to protect their children to keep them home from schools!

     The same issue of The Reader’s Digest has an article, "A Parent’s Worst Nightmare" by Salley Shannon, about Miguel and Alice Velasquez, whose daughter Liliana actually had osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), commonly called "brittle bone disease," but when some bumps were found on Liliana’s left ribs during a routine four-month checkup, were accused of child abuse when X-rays showed that the ribs were broken. Later X-rays showing a broken wrist and leg were inaccurate but further convinced doctors of abuse. No doctors at either the National Naval Medical Center and Walter Reed Army Medical Center (Alice worked at the Pentagon) did a thorough medical history or "differential diagnosis" to rule out what else could have caused the broken ribs. Doctors , social workers, police detectives, and even a military police officer badgered the couple, and Liliana was finally taken away to foster home, in whose care Liliana actually got worse. Even after a friend searched the Internet and came up with the possibility of OI, especially since Alice had a history of broken bones, authorities refused to have Liliana tested and finally had Miguel arrested for felony child abuse. The Velasquezes reported their concerns about the foster home to social workers and their court appointed lawyers, but nothing was done. They even began taking pictures during their meetings with her to show how bad she was, but the social worker told them they could take nothing but family photos and could not change her clothes. Even after an OI diagnosis was found, doctors took the position that the child still had been physically abused. Finally, after Dorothy Isaacs, a lawyer, agreed to take the case, Liliana was moved to a different foster home and the finding of abuse against Miguel was overturned. It was the first time in state history that there was a ruling which indicated that the Department of Social Services had made an error. Then, Isaacs filed suit in federal district court against the government, and the Velasquezes were awarded $950,000. However, no one at the hospitals or social services was fired or even reprimanded, and the foster care giver was not found negligent. But the judge did say, "I apologize on behalf of the United States government." This is scary stuff! Yes, there is a lot of real child abuse that goes on. And there are undoubtedly some caring people in the social services system who are trying to do their best for those abused children. Yet, even though this may be a somewhat exceptional case, it shows that there are a many people in the social services system who are at best totally incompetent and uncaring, and at worst are anti-family rights. How long will it be before the anti-family, anti-parental rights crowd start identifying homeschooling as child abuse and start putting home educating parents through the same nightmare that the Velasquezes experienced?

Will Smith and Homeschoolin

     I receive Reader’s Digest as an annual gift from my father, but I rarely read it any more because it seems more devoted to pop culture today than the magazine for serious thinkers that it used to be. Therefore, I did not notice this information until it was called to my attention on a homeschooling e-mail list. The Dec., 2006, issue contains an interview with actor Will Smith. Smith says, "The things that have been most valuable to me I did not learn in school. Traditional education is based on facts and figures and passing tests–not on a comprehension of the material and its application to your life. Jada and I homeschool our children…." In answer to the question, "When you say you homeschool, do you mean you actually teach them?" Smith answered, "No, we have hired teachers who teach what we feel is important." If you want to read the interview for yourself, you can go to .  Also, there is another article about Smith which mentions the fact that he and his wife homeschool their children at .

John Locke and Atheism

     I thought that I had posted this item yesterday, but apparently it didn’t take, with all the problems related to the updating of, so I will try again.

     On the New York Times website recently there was an interesting op-ed article entitled "Atheists Agonistes" by Richard A. Shweder ( Published November 27, 2006). The author notes, "Among the cosmopolites who live in secular enclaves, religion is automatically associated with darkness, superstition, irrationality and an antique or pre-modern cast of mind. It has long been assumed that religion is opposed to science, reason and human progress; and the death of gods is simply taken for granted as a deeply ingrained Darwinian article of faith. Why, then, are the enlightened so conspicuously up in arms these days, reiterating every possible argument against the existence of God? Why are they indulging in books — Daniel Dennett’s Breaking the Spell, Sam Harris’s Letter to a Christian Nation, and Richard Dawkins’s God Delusion — in which authors lampoon religion or rail against the devout under the banner of a crusading atheism?" He then makes the following statement. "John Locke, who was almost everyone’s favorite political philosopher at the time of the founding of our nation, was a very tolerant man. In his 1689 ‘Letter Concerning Toleration,’ he advocated a policy of live and let live for believers in many faiths, even heretics. But he drew the line at atheists. He wrote: ‘Lastly, those are not at all to be tolerated who deny the being of God. Promises, covenants and oaths, which are the bonds of human societies, can have no hold upon an atheist. The taking away of God, though but even in thought, dissolves all.’" I thought that this was a fascinating observation.