Feature Article Ė Motherís Day and the Hallmark Conspiracy by Marlin Detweiler

Educational Helps Ė by Laurie Detweiler

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May 2006

Feature Article


Motherís Day and the Hallmark Conspiracy


Thereís something that really bugs me about buying cards for made up holidays like Motherís Day. Not that having a Motherís Day every second Sunday in May should be abolished. It just bothers me that Hallmark Cards would invent such a thing for the sheer commercial value of it. At least thatís what the rumor isóeven if there isnít any truth to it.


For the last eight years Laurie and I have spent Motherís Day recuperating from the increasingly exhausting rigors of manning our booth at the Harrisburg Homeschool Fair (CHAP). That doesnít leave much in the tank for an exciting celebration of motherhoodóhonoring our mothers who are both living and planning something with my boys to celebrate the amazing mother with which they have been blessed. Unfortunately, this year is no different. The fair ends Saturday, May 13th at 5:00 PMójust a few hours before the Sunday weíve come to know as Motherís Day. What to do? What to do?


Maybe we can really surprise here this year. Serve her breakfast in bed. Worship together as a family with all children present. Have the boys make lunch with me cleaning upóthat would really surprise her. Then maybe take her to the beach or to Longwood Gardens, a fabulous display of Godís beauty outside Philadelphia. She might enjoy getting together with friends, having her back rubbed, watching a movie or going for a walk. A long afternoon nap would certainly be welcomed. This is starting to sound too simple. As I sit here pondering what makes her happy I find it really isnít that complexóshe just likes to be appreciated. Maybe a Hallmark Card isnít so bad after all.


Most of us spend precious little time planning a thoughtful expression of appreciation for our spouses, children, extended family members or, for those of you teachers, your students. Admittedly, women are generally much better than men but the fact remains we all need to stop and plan expressions of appreciation. They just donít seem to happen without planning.


As a mother and reader of this piece you are probably of a small minority who has taken both the godly and rigorous education of the students in your care quite seriously. Teaching is exhausting; add keeping up with everything around the house including laundry, cooking and cleaning to the mix and you probably live feeling like we feel Saturday night before Motherís Day. Take a deep breath and realize the tremendous privilege weíve been given to understand the tremendous blessing and benefit accompanying giving our kids such an education.


Work, exhaustion, rest, more work, more exhaustion, rest again; such is our lot in life. And itís not entirely from the fall. Work was ordained before the fateful bites were taken. Work is good and we should learn to embrace the never-ending pattern. Those of you with lots of young children might fell particularly trapped in this cycle. I remember it well. But now as I look at the coming day of our kids being grown and gone the fact of parenting being a lot of work doesnít seem so bad.


Motherís day is an excellent time to celebrate the virtues of those whoís lives are typified by the later part of Proverbs 31. So, donít miss the opportunity and, if you are the wife reading this, do me a favor, give the article to your husband and blame for suggesting it. He might be as thick as I am and need such a blow to be motivated to do the right thing here.


Marlin Detweiler 


Educational Helps


As I sit down to write this, my house is eerily silent, and I hate to admit it, but I am exhausted.I am the only one home, which is very unusual, but it does give me a glimpse into the not to distant future. My oldest, Jameson is away at college, my second son Brandon and his father are playing in a golf tournament, my third son, Travis is rehearsing a play and my youngest, Parker, has just left the house with twelve of his AAU Basketball teammates. The only reason I am at home is to clean up and get supper ready as Parkerís team is spending the weekend with us. Usually I would have been running back and forth from one event to the next. At about two a.m. this morning I was questioning whether or not Marlin and I had lost our minds to take this on. All I wanted to do was sleep in a quiet house. Parkerís team is qualifying for nationals in Philadelphia and the majority of the team live about an hour further away than we do. Sitting here now I know we did the right thing, because soon they will all be gone from under our roof and I will lament the fact that I do not need to get dinner ready for twelve starving boys. Being a mother is not always glamorous, but there is nothing in the world that brings more rewards.


No matter what stage of life you are in, mothering, if you are doing your job is exhausting. There are not too many days in the last twenty-one years of my life that I can say I have not fallen into bed exhausted, wondering how I was going to get up and do it all over again. But, we all do get up, because a motherís love is never ending. As I look back now I can say I donít regret one moment of sleepless nights, or one more drive in the car to get to an event, in fact, I am looking forward to being able to help my children with my grandchildren.


Marlin and I have been blessed, we both have motherís who in their own way gave tirelessly of themselves for their children. Itís funny the things you remember, but I can remember waking up in the middle of the night as a young child to find my mother at the sewing machine, working away. Later on I would find out that she was making me a trunk full of doll clothes for Christmas. My son Travis will be spending the summer at Carnegie Mellon University in their musical theater program. He hopes to pursue a degree in musical theater and business. The reason I tell you this, is I can remember his first venture into acting. When he was in kindergarten he was the strong man in the play. He arrived home one day to tell me he needed a strong man costume. I was the mother of four young children at that point, so whenever anyone added anything to my list of todoís it would overwhelm me. I ran all over town for days to assemble what was needed, and then stayed up the majority of a night to sew the ďmustlesĒ into his leotard. I can still see his chubby little face when he put on that suit. I think I knew then that he was called to the stage. You see we never know what God is going to use in our childrenís lives that may seen irrelevant at the time.


Well I am sorry if I have bored you with my reminiscing at this time. We can all look back and remember those nights without sleep, trying to figure out how to get through the day, but at the end of it all I can promise you there will never be anything else you do in your life that will bring you more of a gift, then hearing the voice of your grown child say, ďI love you Mom, Thanks!Ē


Attached you will find a Motherís Day card to make for your mother. Or, if you are the mother do what my husband said above, give this epistula to him. Maybe heíll take the hint.


Laurie Detweiler


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Two Williams Teaser

You may be familiar with the Monroe Family Chronicles series that track the history of America by Douglas Wilson. The first two installments, Blackthorn Winter and Susan Creek covering piracy in the early 1700ís and The First Great Awakening, respectively, are in print and available from us. The manuscript for the third installment, Two Williams, covering the War for Independence, is complete and the artist has begun illustrating it. We expect the book to be available _. We are herewith releasing installments of the book, a couple chapters at a time for you as an epistula reader. Click here to download the text. But be warned, we may not release the whole book in this format.




Q. Is there a suggested schedule of when each of the additional history reading books should be read to coordinate with the history cards?I purchased many of the Ancient Egypt related books and feel a little overwhelmed trying to coordinate it all.

A. There is not one schedule that you can follow, but there is a pretty simple way to deal with it. Before you begin your school year map out your history on a calendar. Generally speaking we spend a week per history event (card). Chose the extra reading books you wish to read and look in the catalog for the number of the card that they match up with. After doing this slot in the books, realizing that it may take more than one week to read a book. Itís okay if they overlap onto the next card. We generally figure a chapter to two chapters a day, when determining how many days to spend on any given book. The main reason we donít have a schedule is there are too many different components to choosing what books to use.


Q. What are your views on a Latin-based curriculum versus the "neo-classical" models?  Where would you consider your school/materials to fit into this discussion?

A. The answer assumes that the question can be rephrased ďDo you think Latin should be the core such that an English grammar program in virtually unnecessary?Ē First, we definitely believe that Latin is the paradigm discipline in Grammar School, particularly for mastering the English language. However, we believe those that promote eliminating the study of English grammar in favor of Latin go too far. Students who are educated by our recommendations will have an excellent start toward mastering English by the end of first grade and we donít recommend starting Latin until second grade at the earliest. English grammar helps a child learn Latin, and Latin helps a child learn English grammar. In first grade children are able to start writing sentences and paragraphs. We want them to learn the correct structure for a sentence, before they actually begin to write one, so they donít develop bad habits. Because Latin sentence structure is different, they need to understand English grammar structure before they begin. All this said, Latin makes children understand English grammar in a much better way but is not a replacement for it.


Please submit any questions youíd like answered here to




Classical Christian Education Makes National News

New Saint Andrews College was recently featured on the 700 Club with Pat Robertson in a story on classical Christian education. Click on to see the video.


Veritas Press Tutorial Service

Space is still available in classes for our first foray into a tutorial service.Omnibus I (Primary Books) and Greek I are the two classes being offered. We will be placing a blurb about the service in our catalog but presently only the recipients of epistula  and web site visitors have been informed. Class size is extremely limited. So, if you are interested


14th Annual Association of Classical and Christian Schools Conference

June 22Ė24, 2006, Cincinnati, Ohio. Douglas Wilson, George Grant and many others. For further information go to: We will be exhibiting our materials and hope to see you there.


2006 Veritas Academy Teacher Training
July 19Ė21, 2006, Lancaster, Pa. Douglas and Nancy Wilson will be the keynote speakers. Brochures have been mailed. If you have not received one and would like one, please call 717-556-0690 to request one. Find more information at


Teachers Needed at Veritas Academy

The school is expanding and needs more teachers. Interested candidates may apply at


2006-2007 Veritas Press Catalog
Our new catalog is scheduled to be mailed on
May 9, 2006. New items in the new catalog can be seen on our web site. Many are there already. All should be there by May 5th.


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