I am woman, hear me roar

      In the June 11, 2008, issue of the Englewood Independent, a free weekly newspaper from Englewood, OH, near Dayton, a letter read, "The words to the Northmont High School Alma Mater were printed in the Englewood Independent, May 28. It includes the words, ‘See thy sons have risen from thee, Sturdy hearts and pure of soul….’ One-half of the students are ignored in the Alma Mater. There is not one word about its daughters. I suppose the Alma Mater is rarely sung, and perhaps its daughters were taken by surprise by it at graduation. I cannot imagine college women putting up with such a slight. No amount of tradition justifies such discrimination today. I will spell it out. The Alma Mater needs to be revised." The Editor replied. "From the book of Genesis: ‘And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.’ Since woman was created from man, the word ‘man’ applies to both sexes. I suppose next we will have to come up with another word to refer to the female sex so that it does not contain the offensive letters, m-a-n? Give me a break." Hurrah for that Editor!

We always like to hear from homeschool graduates

     Britney C., 17, of Fort Payne, AL, wrote, "I live in an area of Alabama where homeschoolers are not only a minority–they are often misunderstood and looked down upon. People in this area generally think of homeschoolers as ‘dumb,’ unsocial, and, well, irregular, to say the least. But last February, when I took a driver’s ed course at a local college along with a group of public high school students, I was able humorously to affect their opinions of homeschooling. Several of the students were outspoken in support of public schools over homeschooling. One day, surprisingly, I managed to gather the full attention of the entire group for about 20 minutes, and by the time I finished explaining my reasons for homeschooling, why I fully support it, and describing all of the advantages, the other girls (all of whom were older than me), suddenly began to express a change in opinion. I watched each one lose her argument in utter realization that all of their former opinions had been based on faulty beliefs. It is one memory I will cherish forever! I am a homeschool graduate and have full intentions of homeschooling my own children some day. I plan to speak out on behalf of homeschoolers–I am a passionate believer in homeschooling!"

They WANTED them to be traumatized??

     The following item appeared at http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/LessonsinMFW/547032/ . "It seems there is always something in the news that affirms my children are in the right hands…MINE! Read what happened at this California high school last month: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,366104,00.html ." The report said that in Oceanside, CA, on a Monday morning, highway patrol officers visited 20 classrooms at El Camino High School to announce some horrible news: Several students had been killed in car wrecks over the weekend. Classmates wept. Some became hysterical. A few hours and many tears later, though, the pain turned to fury when the teenagers learned that it was all a hoax — a scared-straight exercise designed by school officials to dramatize the consequences of drinking and driving. The plan was to tell the truth to the students at an assembly later in the day, but some of the students became extremely upset, prompting some teachers and counsellors to tell them immediately it was all staged. As seniors prepared for graduation parties, school officials in the largely prosperous San Diego suburb are defending themselves against allegations they went too far. However, at school assemblies, some students held up posters that read: "Death is real. Don’t play with our emotions." Officials at the 3,100-student school officials justified the program. "They were traumatized, but we wanted them to be traumatized," said guidance counselor Lori Tauber, who helped organize the shocking exercise and got dozens of students to participate. "That’s how they get the message." But fifteen year old Carolyn Magos said, "You feel betrayed by your teachers and administrators, these people you trust."

Priceless scribbles

     I saw this story this morning on eSermons.com and just had to share it with you. Richard Fairchild tells about a story that appeared years ago in the Christian Reader. It was called "Priceless Scribbles." It concerns a father who touched his child’s life in an unexpected way. A young boy watched as his father walked into the living room. The boy noticed that his younger brother, John, began to cower slightly as his father entered. The older boy sensed that John had done something wrong. Then he saw from a distance what his brother had done. The younger boy had opened his father’s brand new hymnal and scribbled all over the first page with a pen. Staring at their father fearfully, both brothers waited for John’s punishment. Their father picked up his prized hymnal, looked at it carefully and then sat down, without saying a word. Books were precious to him; he was a minister with several academic degrees. For him, books were knowledge. What he did next was remarkable. Instead of punishing his son, instead of scolding, or yelling, his father took the pen from the little boy’s hand, and then wrote in the book himself, alongside the scribbles that John had made. Here is what that father wrote: "John’s work, 1959, age 2. How many times have I looked into your beautiful face and into your warm, alert eyes looking up at me and thanked God for the one who has now scribbled in my new hymnal. You have made the book sacred, as have your brother and sister to so much of my life." The author of the story, now an adult, goes on to say how that hymnal became a treasured family possession, how it was tangible proof that their parents loved them, how it taught the lesson that what really matters is people, not objects; patience, not judgment; love, not anger. "And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Eph. 6:4). —Alan Smith, Helen Street Church of Christ, Fayetteville, North Carolina; Wednesday’s Thought For The Day, June 11, 2008.

Something else to remember when that social worker comes to your door

      According to The Wichita Eagle, a parental rights advocacy group in Kansas was "floored" when the state child welfare chief admitted his social workers were being "bullied" into falsifying the reports that lead to children being taken out of their homes and placed in foster care. In a meeting with Citizens for Change, Don Jordan, secretary of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, had his comments recorded on tape: "In Sedgwick County oftentimes we end up writing things because it’s what our social workers get bullied by the District Attorney’s Office into writing." Later in the meeting Jordan said, "I am working on our staff that we do our assessments properly and we not get bullied into writing things we don’t believe. But then the reality comes down to, you send a 25-year-old social worker into a room with a 15-year county A.D.A. (assistant district attorney) who is willing to yell at them, cuss at them, scream at them and threaten them." The reports Jordan was referring to, called affidavits, are official permanent records of a child abuse investigation, containing a social worker’s summary of circumstances and interviews with parents, children and others who may have evidence of abuse. Jordan has since sought to modify his comments and the use of the word "bullied," saying, "It was a poor choice of words. … I don’t believe anybody’s asked to perjure themselves or lie." Also, Nola Foulston, the district D.A., called Jordan’s comments "outrageous," and told The Eagle, "He’s left the impression with citizens and individuals in the community that the District Attorney’s Office is doing something we shouldn’t be doing." Of course, the fallout would come at a bad time for Foulston’s office, which only last year came under fire for its involvement in Kansas’ publicized "Tiller the Killer" case. Former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline called Foulston a "loose canon" who "unlawfully usurped" the A.G.’s authority for political purposes during the saga of George Tiller, a late-term abortionist who faced 30 counts of violating Kansas’ abortion laws. Also, District Judge Jim Burgess, who presides over Sedgwick County custody cases, told The Eagle he has heard complaints of social workers getting pressured, but he’s never seen any evidence of it. And Kansas State Rep. Jim Morrison told The Eagle that he’s heard the rumors, too, and that concerns about child custody cases aren’t limited to Sedgwick County. He was one of a couple of state politicians who actually praised Jordan’s candor. "I think it’s good that (Jordan) is as frustrated as a lot of people who are complaining," he said.

Several political items (but somewhat related to homeschooling)

     Change We Can’t Believe In: This is not a political blog. However, there are many political issues which directly relate to homeschooling and to the sincere religious beliefs which many of us hold that are part of the reason that we homeschool. The Democrat Party race for the Presidential nomination has been between Hillary R. Clinton and Barak Obama. Michelle Malkin noted, "Behold the Democratic choices for president: One candidate whose 20-year spiritual guru has an adversarial relationship with America, and another who has a life-long adversarial relationship with the truth." However, we now have a presumptive Democrat Party nominee, Barak Obama. Obama’s main buzzword in his campaign has been "change." A friend of mine sent me the following chuckle. "Subject: Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road? BARACK OBAMA: The chicken crossed the road because it was time for a CHANGE! The chicken wanted CHANGE!" Here is one of the changes that Obama has suggested. Responding to accusations that his campaign has been too quiet on homosexual issues, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) stated his views in detail in one of his most pointed interviews to date. Sitting down with reporters from the "gay" magazine The Advocate, Obama was frank about the major current issues. Here is the Democratic front runner in his own words: "I have actually been much more vocal on gay issues to general audiences than any other presidential candidate probably in history… I reasonably can see ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ eliminated. I think that I can help usher through an Employment Non-Discrimination Act and sign it into law… The third thing I believe I can get done is in dealing with federal employees, making sure that their benefits, that their ability to transfer health or pension benefits the same way that opposite-sex couples do, is something that I’m interested in making happen… And finally, an area that I’m very interested in is making sure that federal benefits are available to same-sex couples who have a civil union… I, for a very long time, have been interested in a repeal of DOMA [the Defense of Marriage Act]." Is this the kind of "change" we want? Any actions on our part which would help to bring about an Obama victory will be in part responsible for this kind of "change"!

     Whom should we support?: On the other hand, the presumptive Republican Party nominee is John McCain. While I greatly respect Senator McCain for his service in our armed forces during the Vietnam War and for the good that he has accomplished during his years in government (the Right to Life movement gives him a very good rating on abortion-related issues), he would not have been my first choice because of my disagreements with many positions that he has taken over the years. A lot of other conservatives and homeschoolers apparently feel the same way and wonder if there is another choice. We do not yet know what Ron Paul will do. He has a small but fiercely loyal and extremely vocal group of supporters. The Constitution Party nominee is Charles O. "Chuck" Baldwin, about whom I know practically nothing except that he is a Baptist minister from Florida and constant critic of George Bush. And former Republican congressional representative Bob Barr is running on the Libertarian Party ticket. Is it time for us to support a third alternative? In answer to the question, "Do we have another choice for president? Is there an Independent or Libertarian candidate who is pro-life and totally against same-sex marriage and unions?" the response (written before the Democrat nomination was secured) of gospel preacher and homeschooling father Wayne Goforth expresses my sentiments exactly. "Bob Barr (Libertarian) says he is very anti abortion and pro life…. however, I heard him in an interview the other night with George Noory on Coast to Coast, and he said that he doesn’t believe the gvt. should be involved in the abortion industry period. When asked ‘so you mean there should be a law AGAINST abortion?’ he then said, ‘no, that would involve gvt…..the gvt. should stay out of it period.’ IOW, it should be a woman’s personal choice with her Dr, and that sometimes people make choices we would not. So, do not be misled when you hear him say that he is adamantly pro life and anti abortion. Remember too that a vote for a Libertarian or independent is a vote FOR Hillary or Obama. Surely we can all agree that a third choice would have no chance, so who would you rather have? Obama, Hillary or McCain? McCain is not my choice either, but I will take an 85% conservative over the 7% and 5% conservative rating that Hillary or Obama have. Just to think about." Here is what I have to consider. We are still suffering from eight years of Clinton judgeship appointees. Liberals know that they don’t have to control the legislative and executive branches of our government to get their way if they have the judicial branch. Liberal judges can just legislate from the bench to accomplish what the left cannot achieve by popular vote. Can our nation stand even four more years of liberal judgeship appointments? McCain has vowed to appoint conservative, strict-constructionist judges. Thomas Sowell also pointed out that we have to be concerned with which one will do better at protecting the interests of the United States in a terrorist-filled world, and that would definitely be McCain. I cannot in good conscience do anything that would aid and abet Obama’s being elected, and voting for a third party candidate instead of McCain (or just not voting at all) will do exactly that.

     Sorry, more politics–Democrats Issue 2008 "Gay PRIDE" Proclamation Supporting Homosexual Marriage: On June 3, the Democratic National Committee issued a 2008 Gay PRIDE proclamation supporting homosexual marriage. DNC Chairman Howard Dean joined Massachusetts Democratic Representative Barney Frank and Wisconsin Democratic Representative Tammy Baldwin in issuing the following Proclamation marking "Gay PRIDE" Month. "Today, on behalf of Democrats across America, we join together in celebrating the contributions that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans and their families make to our society and reaffirm our Party’s commitment to promoting full equality under the law for every American. As leaders of the Democratic Party, we stand proudly with the LGBT community and commit ourselves to working together to build an America that is truly inclusive. Every American has the right to live in dignity, with equal rights, responsibilities and protections under the law. These are our country’s and our Party’s core values. Across the country, at every level of government, Democrats have championed sweeping protections in the areas of employment, housing, domestic partnerships and civil unions, adoption, gender identity or expression, and hate crimes. Despite all we have accomplished, our work is not done. We need to fight efforts to write discrimination into our laws and constitutions. We need to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, pass the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act, and repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ We need a comprehensive, science-based strategy for combating HIV/AIDS. We must address the socioeconomic problems, including poverty and limited access to health care, that increase vulnerability to this disease. To do all of these things we need to put a Democrat in the White House, expand our majorities in Congress, and elect more Democrats at the local and state level across the country. To do that, we need you. Get active, get involved, and join us so we can take our country back." The statement, "We need to fight efforts to write discrimination into our laws and constitutions," is in reference to H.J. RES. 89, the Marriage Protection Amendment of , introduced by Congressman Paul Broun of Georgia, which makes marriage legal only between a man and a woman. The Democratic Party opposes the Marriage Protection Amendment because they believe it is discriminatory against homosexuals.

     Here is the logical conclusion to the push for the homosexual rights "hate crimes" type legislation: The homosexual rights movement is pushing to have homosexual activity included in current civil rights legislation or to enact new legislation guaranteeing homosexual rights and characterize any opposition to homosexuality as "hate crimes." Canada is a little further down the road in this area, and on June 9, 2008, WorldNetDaily had an article entitled "Government to pastor: Renounce your faith!–Now banned from expressing moral opposition to homosexuality" which said that a Canadian human rights tribunal ordered a "Christian minister" to renounce his faith and never again express moral opposition to homosexuality, according to a new report. In a decision dated May 30 in the penalty phase of the quasi-judicial proceedings run by the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal, evangelical minister Stephen Boisson was banned from expressing his biblical perspective of homosexuality and ordered to pay $5,000 for "damages for pain and suffering" as well as apologize to the activist who complained of being hurt. Boisson had written a letter to the editor of his local Red Deer, Alberta, newspaper in 2002 denouncing the advance of homosexual activism as "wicked" and stating: "Children as young as five and six years of age are being subjected to psychologically and physiologically damaging pro-homosexual literature and guidance in the public school system; all under the fraudulent guise of equal rights." While agreeing that Boisson’s letter was not a criminal act, the government tribunal nevertheless ordered him to stop expressing his opinion. The activist, a local teacher named Darren Lund, filed a complaint, and the guilty verdict from Lori G. Andreachuk, a lawyer, was handed down Nov. 30, 2007. The latest decision involved the penalty phase of the trial. Andreachuk noted that Lund, who brought the complaint, wasn’t, in fact, injured. "In this case there is no specific individual who can be compensated as there is no direct victim who has come forward," she wrote. However, that did not stop her from ordering the payment anyway. And as for the future, she wrote: "Mr. Boissoin and The Concerned Christian Coalition Inc. shall cease publishing in newspapers, by e-mail, on the radio, in public speeches, or on the Internet, in future, disparaging remarks about gays and homosexuals. Further, they shall not and are prohibited from making disparaging remarks in the future about … Lund or … Lund’s witnesses relating to their involvement in this complaint. Further, all disparaging remarks versus homosexuals are directed to be removed from current Web sites and publications of Mr. Boissoin and The Concerned Christian Coalition Inc.," the lawyer opined. I realize that Canada is not the United States and that our Constitution has certain guarantees that the Canadian constitution does not have. However, the American left would dearly love to strip some of those guarantees away, such as freedom of speech regarding homosexuality, and given the penchant of many liberal judges to trample individual rights, I am afraid that we have cause to fear, especially if Barak Obama wins the election.

     HSLDA Statement Regarding Obama Campaign’s ‘Joshua Generation’ Project by J. Michael Smith, President: About June 7, the Home School Legal Defense Association learned that Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign may be planning to unveil a major new program to attract younger evangelicals and Catholics, using the name the "Joshua Generation Project" or the "Joshua Generation." HSLDA is the owner of two federal trademark registrations, GENERATION JOSHUA(r) and GENERATION JOSHUA & Design(r). Both trademarks were registered with the U.S. Patent (r) Trademark Office in 2006 for use with "education services, namely conducting programs in the field of civic involvement and providing training for youth in the field of performing civic activity." These trademark registrations are a matter of public record. HSLDA has used these two trademarks continuously since 2003 for various services related to engaging young people, particularly within the Christian community, in civic involvement. Michael Farris, Founder and Chairman of HSLDA, also published a book in 2005 entitled The Joshua Generation: Restoring the Heritage of Christian Leadership and has spoken in many public forums to challenge this generation to rise up and become the "Joshua Generation." After hearing of this possible use of the name "Joshua Generation" by Obama for America, HSLDA’s legal counsel promptly sent a letter to the campaign. This letter provided additional notice of HSLDA’s federal trademark registrations, explaining that the similarity of the "Joshua Generation Project" name-as used with the proposed activities of the Obama for America campaign-is likely to cause confusion with HSLDA’s GENERATION JOSHUA(r) marks. HSLDA also requested that the campaign promptly refrain from using the "Joshua Generation Project" name or any other name that is confusingly similar to HSLDA’s GENERATION JOSHUA(r) trademarks. This letter provided several days for the Obama for America campaign to appropriately process and respond to this request. While HSLDA respects Senator Obama’s desire to reach out to young people of faith, HSLDA is hopeful that the Obama for America campaign will respect HSLDA’s trademark rights and honor this request. (—www.hslda.org . For more updates and information on this case, visit http://www.hslda.org . Michael Smith is the president of the Home School Legal Defense Association. He may be contacted at (540) 338-5600; or send email to media@hslda.org .)

Good Reading

     The May/June, 2008, issue of Practical Homeschooling (#82, www.home-life.com ) has an editorial "Raising Excellent People" by Mary Pride, along with articles on what is happening in California, the book Trading Away Our Future by the Richman family (father, son, and grandson), homeschool yearbooks, the sophomore year of high school, homeschool athletic clubs, and other interesting items.

     The May/June, 2008, issue of Home Educator’s Family Times ( www.HomeEducator.com ) has some fascinating information, including "How Do You Know Your Children Are Learning?" by Jan Hunt, "Private Schools and Homeschools" by Deborah Stevenson, "Careers: A Project for Your Homeschooled Teen" by Barbara Frank, "Things Teens Dislike and Like in Their Parents" by Nigel Lane, and others.

     The Link, which used to be a homeschooling newspaper, is now The Link Homeschooling Magazine: A Journal of Home Learning and Living ( www.homeschoolnewslink.com ). The latest issues has articles on college education by John Taylor Gatto, E-socialization by Diane Flynn Keith, writing by Andrew Pudewa and Emily Adams, socialization by Rachel Gathercole and Moira Bell, friendships between homeschooling and non-homeschooling parents by Krishyon Young, computers in classical education by Brian Millar, geography and ten qualities for successful homeschooling by Molly Mantree, homeschooling sports by homeschool graduate Luke McDonald, Charlotte Mason method and music in homeschooling by Michael Leppert; among many, many others.

     I have to give the May/June, 2008, issue of The Home School Court Report ( www.hslda.org ) from the Home School Legal Defense Association special mention. Wow! Who could imagine that a magazine that is published by what is primarily a "legal" organization could be so interesting! After a couple of special features about HSLDA’s first high school symposium and highlights of homeschooling gains over the last 25 years, there is an excellent feature article, "Rude Awakening: Court Ruling Alarms Homeschool Community," by Andrea Longbottom about the recent California court ruling, followed by a lot of other useful and beneficial material. Let me just give my "testimony." We have been members of HSLDA since beginning formal homeschooling in 1997 (over ten years now!). We feel fortunate that we have never been in a situation where we had to use their services. However, I always read with great interest all the reports in the magazine, e-mail alerts, and their website of how HSLDA has helped others who did need to use their services. But, you may ask, of what benefit is this to us? The benefit is peace of mind. The fact is that if these kinds of things have happened to others they could just as well happen to us too at any time, but we have peace knowing that HSLDA is just a phone call away. In addition, as speaker coordinator for the Greater St. Louis Area Home Educators Expo for the past three years, I have had the privilege of working with both Scott Woodruff and Mike Donnelly and have come to appreciate the heart that they have for helping homeschooling families. May their tribe increase!

The Southern Baptist Convention is back in homeschooling news

      In a commentary entitled "Warning to Baptists: Turn or burn," posted on June 7, 2008 at WorldNetDaily.com, Olivia St. John, a freelance writer with almost 20 years of experience as a home educator, whose work has been featured in several online publications, and who is currently working on a book promoting home education, wrote, "The largest Protestant denomination in America, the Southern Baptists, is sending representatives from thousands of churches to convene in Indianapolis for the 151st session of the Southern Baptist Convention on June 10 and 11…. Eight-five percent of their public schooled children abandon the faith by the time they leave for college, while only 2 percent of their homeschooled students leave. A pro-homosexual author stated, ‘Whoever captures the kids owns the future.’ And he wasn’t kidding. Whoever owns the children owns the future of neighborhoods, cities, states, nations and, yes, our churches….Public school children receive almost 11,000 hours of secular indoctrination from kindergarten through their senior year compared with only 264 hours spent in meaningful conversation with their parents within the same 12-year period….Voddie Baucham and Bruce N. Shortt submitted a resolution for consideration at this year’s Southern Baptist Convention. The document, titled ‘The Resolution on the Indoctrination of Children in Sexual Deviancy in California Public Schools,’ details the problem and offers solutions. These men hope that Southern Baptists will take action to protect the church’s youth, while at the same time helping the children of others….Affirmative-action plans will protect all school personnel involved in deviancy, and programs designed to re-educate heterosexual personnel will be implemented….Through the National Education Association partnering with pro-homosexual organizations, public schools throughout America will be similarly affected as state legislatures accommodate deviancy due to pressure from advocacy groups….What is God’s bidding? Is it for Christians to leave their children in schools where their innocence is shattered to bits? Where they are encouraged to choose their own perverted sex variant? According to Baucham and Shortt, there is a solution that could result in explosive growth for the church while extending missions into communities nationwide. Implementing it would require the church to inform parents about what is happening in their children’s schools and offer a way out – an exodus. And the time is right. As the resolution states, ‘This may be the most significant opportunity for evangelism that we have ever seen’ as flocks of unbelievers searching for a better education system come to our door. The resolution offers a variety of relatively inexpensive solutions churches can implement. E. Ray Moore, author of the book Let My Children Go, states…that "education … is not a function of the state but belongs to the family with assistance from the Church." He asserts that God has placed this opportunity in our hands ‘to seize the moment and institute new dynamic Christian schools, support current ones and encourage homeschools that will train a stronger generation in the days of the revival to come….’ Whoever owns the hearts and minds of our children owns the future.

Book reviews


     (Note on language levels: 1. Nothing objectionable; 2. Common euphemisms; 3. Some cursing or profanity; 4. A lot of cursing or profanity; 5. Obscenity or vulgarity.)

     Cooper, James Fenimore.  The Last of the Mohicans (originally published in 1826; republished in 2003 by Barnes and Noble Inc. in conjunction with Fine Creative Media Inc., 322 Eighth Ave., New York City, NY  10001).  Cooper introduced the woodsman Natty Bumppo, also known as Deerslayer and Hawkeye, in the 1823 book The Pioneers.  In that book Bumppo was in his prime.  Cooper returned to the exploits of Natty in the second Leatherstocking Tale known as The Last of the Mohicans, his most popular book and one of the most widely read American novels of all time, in which Bumppo was a few years younger, perhaps forty.  After going forward to Natty’s old age in the 1827 book The Prairie, he went back to Natty’s prime in the 1840 book The Pathfinder, and finally all the way back to the youthful beginning of his career in the 1841 book The Deerslayer (reviewed in the 4/08 issue of this newsletter).  In The Last of the Mohicans, set during the French and Indian Wars, Bumppo, along with his Delaware/Mohican/Lenape friend Chingachgook and Chingachgook’s son Uncas, help escort Major Heyward and the two young ladies, Cora and Alice, daughters of General Munro who commanded Ft. William Henry, from Ft. Webb to their father.  However, their guide, Magua, originally from the enemy Mingo/Huron/Iroquois tribe but having been adopted by the friendly Mohawks, deceptively leads them into an ambush.  Hawkeye, Chingachgook, and Uncas escape but return to rescue Heyward and the ladies and take them on to Gen. Munro at Ft. William Henry which is besieged by the French General Montcalm and his Iroquois allies.  The English surrender with the guarantee of safe passage, but Montcalm indulgently allows the Iroquois to massacre the retreating English, and Magua captures Cora and Alice.  Bumppo, Chingachgook, Uncas, Heyward, and Munro set out to rescue them again, finding them among the Iroquois who are camped next to a tribe of Delawares.  Of course, there is a great deal of fighting, and the ending is filled with sadness, but there is little in this book that is objectionable, though it is not for small children.  It is about war, and especially the description of the massacre is somewhat gruesome, but not gratuitously so.  "For God’s sake" and "Lord" are occasionally used as interjections, and there are a few references to drinking alcohol.  Otherwise, there are few problems.  However, if you get the Barnes and Noble edition, you might want to skip the introduction by Stephen Railton, who argues that the book is racist, patronizing, and unfair to Native Americans by perpetuating the "myths" that allowed contemporary white Americans to escape blame for the fate of the Indians.  Just read the book and appreciate it for what it is, suspenseful historical fiction set in the days of the French and Indian War.  Though there are places where the action drags a little, overall the book is very exciting to read, and I enjoyed it.  Language level: 2.  Ages: older teens and adults.  GOOD.

     Kipling, Rudyard.  Just So Stories (originally published in 1902; republished in 1987 by Puffin Classics, a division of Penguin Group USA Inc., 375 Hudson St., New York City, NY  10014; reissued in 1994 and 2004). In this collection of well-known stories including "The Butterfly that Stamped," "How the Whale Got his Throat," and "The Sing-Song of Old Man Kangaroo," we learn how the camel got his hump, how the leopard got his spots, and how the elephant got his trunk.   These are questions that children have asked for centuries around the world, but it took Nobel Prize winning English author Rudyard Kipling to give them answers in these lively, hilarious stories that are drawn from the oral storytelling traditions of India and Africa and filled with mischievously clever animals and people.  They have entertained young and old alike for over one hundred years with their intertwined little pearls of wisdom about the pitfalls of arrogance and pride and the importance of curiosity, imagination, and inventiveness. We have previously read and enjoyed Kipling’s The Jungle Books (reviewed 9/07; "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" is one of my favorite stories of all time), and the Just So Stories (recommended 4/04) are a worthy and delightful follow up.  It is important, of course, to remember that these stories are just myths or legends and told with a dose of tongue in cheek humor.  In fact, there will be a few inside jokes that only adults will understand–nothing risque or inappropriate, just some plays on words that may be over the heads of some children.  However, when we explained them to Jeremy, age twelve, he found them funny.  In Hand that Rocks the Cradle, Nathaniel Bluedorn noted, "This story of how the leopard got his spots, how the elephant stretched his nose, et cetera.  These stories are told in easy flowing language."  Language level: 1.  Ages: 8 to 12.  GOOD.

     Lomask, Milton.  Ship’s Boy with Magellan (published in 1960 by Doubleday and Company Inc., Garden City, NY).  This book, set in 1517, is really good historical fiction for young people about twelve-year-old Pedro Molina whose wealthy parents have died.  He is being raised by his greedy and unscrupulous uncle.  When the uncle tries to have Pedro killed to seize his inheritance, he escapes and his old nurse, Little Rosa, arranges for him to become a cabin boy with the fleet of ships that Ferdinand Magellan plans to circumnavigate the globe.  Based in part on Ser Antonio Pigafetta’s firsthand account of the voyage, the book chronicles the events, including Magellan’s death, that took place on the trip.  All of the important characters in the book, except Pedro, his nurse, his uncle, and his uncle’s bodyguard, are real, and even Pedro’s work on ship is based on cabin boy Cristobal Rabela.  There are a few references to drinking wine, but otherwise I found nothing objectionable, especially no bad language.  While I knew that Magellan and his crew were all Roman Catholics, I did notice what I thought was a lot of emphasis on Catholic practices (saying Mass, praying to Mary, swearing by the Saints).  Well, then I noticed that the back said that the book was part of "a new fiction series by outstanding authors featuring exciting events in Catholic world history" for late elementary to middle school level in the late 1950s and early ’60s.  If one understands these practices as part of the beliefs and culture of the setting, they are tolerable.  I did like one of the historical comments made at the end of the book.  Another of the author’s source materials was Charles McKew Parr’s biography of Magellan, So Noble a Captain.  "Parr’s purpose in writing the book, as he explains, was to clear up certain misunderstandings concerning Magellan–misunderstandings that loom large in the older studies.  After Magellan’s death in the Philippines, his enemies invaded his cabin and destroyed his records.  One of them, Juan Sebastian del Cano, piloted the Victoria back to Spain in 1522.  There, in an effort to hide his own part in the mutiny on the coast of South America, Del Cano spread an assortment of slanders about the dead captain-general.  Some of these slanders were dispelled as early as 1525 with the publication in Spain of Ser Antonio’s diary.  But many of them continued to haunt the pages of history until Parr…published his definitive biography.  Thanks to Mr. Parr’s labors, Magellan now holds what appears to be his rightful place in history as a creative navigator and a man of high character."  Apparently "revisionist" history has been going on for some time!  Another historical fiction book by Lomask was Cross Among the Tomahawks about two Huron Indian boys who became Christians under the influence of Jesuit missionaries in early Canada.  Unfortunately, these books are no longer in print, but used copies of Ship’s Boy with Magellan are available.  A couple of Lomask books that are currently in print are St. Thomas Aquinas: And the Preaching Beggars which is part the Vision Books series of saints’ lives for youth with the story of St. Thomas Aquinas; and Saint Isaac and the Indians which follows the life of French missionary priest, Isaac Jogues, from his arrival in Quebec in 1636 through his work with the Hurons, Iroquois, and Mohawk Indians to his death.  Language level: 1.  Ages 10-15.  EXCELLENT.

     Massey, Craig.  Twig the Collie (originally published in 1958 by Zondervan; republished in 1970 as a mass market paperback entitled Not Guilty! by Moody Press; revised in 1995 by Moore Books, P. O. Box 325, Somerville, IN  47683).  Fifteen year old Gordon Hunt, who lived in Philadelphia, PA, with his parents, older brother Jack and younger sister, was accused of a crime that he did not do and was sentenced to spend the summer working on the farm of his uncle and aunt, where his cousin Willie, also fifteen, despised him, but he was befriended by a kind neighbor, Johnny Blueweather, who talked to him about Christ and forgiveness. However, he was again accused of a crime that he did not do.  What was his response, and what did God have in all this for him? Through his experiences and other unfolding events, Gordon became a Christian. How would this heart changing event affect his life?  When presented with a challenge, would he be able to win the challenge and make Twig, the collie, his very own?   Because of different religious backgrounds, not everyone will agree with the implications concerning what a person has to do to be saved and become a Christian, but otherwise there is nothing objectionable in this book, including no bad language.  It is, in fact, a heart-warming story of how faith can triumph over bitterness and self-pity that touched me.  I enjoyed it very much and highly recommend it as a wonderful character-building book for young people.  The late Craig Massey’s best known book is the prize winning Indian Drums and Broken Arrows, historical fiction set during the Revolutionary War (published in 1952 by Zondervan); its sequel is Brown Shadow.  He also wrote The Mystery of the Marsh and a series of "Captain Daley" books (Missing Houseboat, Crew in Danger, The Peg-Legged Tramp, Thunderhead Lake, The Long Eared Taxicab, and The Jungle Ship).  Barnes and Noble’s website lists the book as being out of print, but Massey’s books are still available from Moore Books; they do not have a website but they can be reached by mail or at (812) 854-7151.  Also, used copies are available from Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com.  Language level: 1.  Ages: 8 to 13.  EXCELLENT.  [Note:  A condensed version of this review appeared in the 5/3/08 issue of the Home School Buzz weekly e-newsletter; for more information check out http://homeschoolbuzz.com .]

     Reinhold, Eric.  Ryann Watters and the King’s Sword (published in 2008 by Creation House, A Strang Company, 660 Rinehart Rd., Lake Mary, FL  32746).  With the popularity of The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien and The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis (and in possible reaction to Harry Potter), recent years have seen a rise in "Christian" or Biblical-based fantasy.  In recent years I have read the Dragons in our Midst series by Bryan Davis, the Dragon Keepers series by Donita K. Paul, and The Wilderking trilogy by Jonathan Rogers.  Homeschooling father Eric Reinhold now adds to the genre with Ryann Watters, your typical twelve-year-old sixth grader in Mt. Dora, FL.  Chosen by the angel Gabriel, who gives him a ring, a horn, and a staff, Ryann goes to the land of Aeliana, along with his school friends Liddy and Terell, to find the sword of the King and deliver Aeliana from the evil Lord Ekron and his helper, who just happens to be Drake Dunfellow, another school classmate of Ryann’s.  Ryann and his family attend Sunday school and church services, but Ryann has apparently not paid a whole lot of attention to the Word until now when he must study the scriptures to find the clues that he needs to locate the sword–and also to muster the courage that he needs to face his foes.  Will their friends in Aeliana, Raz the raccoon, Essy the leopard, and Griffin the fox, be able to help them achieve their goals?  Reinhold is a wonderful story teller who has a wonderful story to tell.  This book is a page turner that is hard to put down.  I usually read a chapter of a book at a time, but with this one I could not always stop at the end of a chapter.  Those who hate the Bible will not like it, but I appreciated the use of the plot to underscore and promote godly virtues.  Unlike other Biblical-based fantasy, there is no "magic" in this series.   In fact, when the ring that Gabriel gives Ryann begins to glow, Liddy asks, "Is it magic?" and Ryann responds, "Come on, Liddy, you know magic isn’t real–this is supernatural!"  My only two complaints are relatively minor.  The book could have used a little more editing for grammar and usage.  Gabriel talks about the one "who you have found favor with."  It may be all right for kids to speak colloquial slang in conversation, but I would think an angel should speak correct English, "with whom you have found favor."  The attempt to have Gabriel combine Elizabethan English with modern speech produces some odd effects, such as "thou have" (should be "thou hast" or better just to say "you have").  An object is said "to just be laying there, waiting for him to stroll over and pick it up," when any fourth-grade grammar book would tell us that the correct term is "lying."  On page 201, "lightning" is spelled correctly, but on pages 202 and 204 it is spelled "lightening."  Also, while the use of terms such as "gee" (which is a euphemism for Jesus) and "gosh" (which is a euphemism for God) often represent an author’s determination not to use actual cursing or taking the Lord’s name in vain, which I appreciate, we do not use those terms in our house because of what they mean, and I guess that I would prefer that authors of literature that is intended to be godly not use them.  Yet, as I said, these items are relatively minor, and otherwise I found practically nothing which is objectionable and many things which are commendable.  The story began in 1999 when Reinhold was telling bedtime stories to his children.  He produced an outline in 2000 and had ten chapters written but was sidelined by heart surgery and did not finish it until 2007.  He has outlined book two, Ryann Watters and the Shield of Faith, to be released in 2009.  The website is www.ryannwatters.com .  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it highly to anyone who likes fantasy.  Language level: 2 (barely).  Ages: 12-16.  EXCELLENT.  (Note:  A condensed version of this review appeared in the 4/26/08 issue of the Home School Buzz weekly e-newsletter; for more information check out http://homeschoolbuzz.com .)

  (Taken from the June, 2008, issue of the Biblical Homeschooling newsletter: biblicalhomeschooling-subscribe@yahoogroups.com or http://groups.yahoo.com/group/biblicalhomeschooling/ .)

Happy Father’s Day!

Monthly Meditation
by Wayne S. Walker

     "And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4).  Father’s Day is this month, but since many homeschooling families take a break during the summer and start making plans for renewing their children’s academic studies in the fall, the whole summer is a good time for fathers to examine their role in the homeschool.  In most situations, Mom does most of the actual instruction and day to day interaction with the children in their schooling, because Dad has his responsibilities to work and provide for his family, but that does not mean that Dad is off the hook.  Fathers, God has given us the primary responsibility for the upbringing of our children, including their education.  Therefore, we need to be doing whatever we can to help them in their learning and also to help Mom in her teaching.

     "For the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church: and He is the Savior of the body" (Ephesians 5:23). Homeschooling fathers should be leaders in their homes.  In most situations where Dad is gone for a large portion of the day to make a living, we might compare Mom to the teacher and Dad to the principal.  In a normal school situation, it is the principal who provides leadership for the whole school and makes most of the final decisions, in consultation with the teachers about their needs.  One way in which a homeschool dad can exercise this kind of leadership and be more involved in his children’s education is in the area of helping to choose curriculum.    It may be that Mom feels perfectly competent to choose curriculum and Dad is quite willing to let her do so.  That is fine.

     However, sometimes curriculum choices can be a bit daunting and stressful for many moms.  Of course, headship does not mean dictatorship, so it would not be a good idea for Dad to walk in with a catalogue, drop it in front of Mom, say, "Here is the curriculum that you will be using," and then walk out!  However, it is good for Dad and Mom to sit down together, look over the curriculum choices, and select what they mutually feel is best.  If Mom is a little unsure about one or another program, Dad can make suggestions and strive gently to lead in the direction that he feels is best.  Why is this important?  We need to remember that, as head of the family, the father is ultimately responsible for its direction.  Thus, he needs to exercise the kind of leadership that will enable him, as did Abraham, to "command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord" (Genesis 18:19).

     (Taken from the June, 2008, issue of the Biblical Homeschooling newsletter: biblicalhomeschooling-subscribe@yahoogroups.com or http://groups.yahoo.com/group/biblicalhomeschooling/ .)