Opening – a Welcome from Marlin & Laurie Detweiler
Feature Article - Spring Fever and the Dog Days of Winter by Marlin Detweiler
We have been collecting
email addresses for several years for several reasons. One of them was for this
day—the day we begin a newsletter. Over the years we have been blessed with good
teaching and ideas from our parents, godly men like RC Sproul, Douglas Wilson
and many others. Many of you, our customers, have contributed wonderful ideas,
too. This has resulted in a tremendous storehouse of ideas, tools and techniques
for educating in godliness. Such resources are better shared than
This newsletter is, for one, a way to thank you for your support. We hope that it will help you become better teachers and parents.
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Marlin & Laurie Detweiler
Spring Fever and
the Dog Days of Winter
I hope spring is just around the corner. Not only has spring been slow to arrive in the Northeast, but the delay fuels the ever-present problem this time of year—the end-of-the-third-quarter drag. You know, when the curriculum seems toughest and students are least engaged. I've got the answer and it's quite timely—April Fools!
Now I know what some of you are thinking. Why should I want to play a practical joke? Shouldn't we let this languishing celebration die of natural causes? Absolutely not. Christians among all peoples should enjoy the fellowship of a good joke now and then. Remember Ecclesiastes? There's a time to sow and a time to reap, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to mourn and a time to dance. So, I ask, when is the time to play practical jokes? No time like the present.
I've got to tell you of the best practical joke in which I've participated. It was three years ago. Jameson, my oldest son, was in tenth grade at Veritas Academy in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He's quite a computer whiz and through some family friends in Idaho acquired a floppy disk that made computers on which it is installed do funny things—really funny things. It didn't take him very long to target the recipient—Ty Fischer, Headmaster!
When to do it was a piece of cake. April 1st was a Monday. The school would, of course, be empty Sunday night. Getting in was no problem: Dad's got the key 'cause he's on the board. Mom's got one, too—she's the curriculum coordinator.
At this point, I should pause and tell you that our family has always had a rule. If you've got several young boys you might be well-served with this rule, too. It was simply this: if you are going to play a practical joke, Dad's got to be a part of it. Laurie and I figured this would keep practical joking from going too far. We also thought going to see the headmaster might be best if Dad was implicated, too.
So, back to the story.
No stealth necessary. There is no quieter, lonelier place on a Sunday night than a Christian school. This night was no exception. Jameson and I walked right in, turned on the hall lights and opened Mr. Fischer's door. And right there sitting on his typing return it was—the computer to be affected. He'd even left it on for us so we didn't have to wait for it to boot up.
Jameson installed the disk. He put it back in his pocket. A brief high five was enjoyed between father and son, and homeward bound we went. Five minutes and done.
Breakfast was livelier than normal Monday morning and getting the car loaded to get to school on time was less a problem than normal.
Then it happened. Mr. Fischer sat down to do some work. He clicked on a Window's desktop icon but something was different—the icon moved, avoiding the cursor. He tried again. The icon moved again. Weird.
All of a sudden, a screen appeared. It showed the entire subdirectory structure of files on his hard drive with a question at the top: "Are you sure you want to delete these files? Yes or No." Easy question…panic building. He clicks No. The program responds with the message: "Deleting files." The subdirectories of all his hard drive are flashing before his eyes. Mr. Fischer clicks No again and again and again. Even poor Job never felt like this. He's in a cold sweat.
The files seemingly erased, he contemplates his next move. And, all of a sudden, the CD drive opens, then it closes and opens and closes again. He's now catching on. He checks for the files and finds them. Panic now subsides, and he heads down the hall with strategic patience to do other work. He's a patient man and knows a teenage culprit will check for his reaction. Yet these are classically educated culprits. They might show great poise. The waiting game is on.
But the computer isn't finished. It has one last hurrah—belching. Now I know belching is uncivilized, and it is certainly a punishable offense in our home. Yet, you've got to admit a belching computer is worth appreciating for the moment, right? Well, not for the Omnibus teacher. This belching is loud. It can easily be heard in the class across the hall. Students are laughing; the teacher is not. He wants to know who did this. He demands decorum and an answer. He presses the point further. Decorum arrives. And guess who's in the class. That's right, Jameson. Well, Jameson raises his hand and says, "My dad and I did it." Now we've got a problem, or should I say the teacher does. You see, he's ranted a bit telling the students how rude and immature this prank was. His disappointment and disgust register some pretty high notes before he finds out that one of his students and that student's dad—the one that signs his paycheck—are the culprits.
Godly people are wonderful, and this teacher was no exception. He quickly called me and explained what happened, offering a very sincere apology. Maybe I should have apologized to him…nah. It was all in good fun.
Practical jokes may not be your shtick. Not every computer should have digestive issues. No problem. The point is this. Now's the time of year to spice it up a bit. Help your students see the goal is near and encourage them to finish strong. Maybe a field trip you've been putting off is in order. Maybe a chocolate bar for a job well-done. Hard work is good work, and it's worth rewarding. As a former pastor of ours was known to say when he finished his sermon, "You think about that."
If you are like me you could relate to the feature article. At this time of year it seems harder to keep the children's interest peaked. The air is beginning to warm up, the grass is becoming green, and they are just itching to go outside in the sun. Why not? Pack up your books and head for green grass for class. Enjoy the wonder of the world around you as you read your literature or history lesson. Clip boards make for great desktops.
Another common thing I hear is, "Do I have to write out complete sentences to all these comprehension questions? Although I think it important for children to do this (it is a great way to integrate grammar and linguistics at the same time as you check for comprehension), there are many other ways to check their comprehension and also have some fun. A change of pace can revive a child's interest in seconds. Find the section titled Free Offers. There you will find a link for some creative ways to test for comprehension. You also might encourage students to write a play or even consider using the video camera and making a short film. Get creative. All it takes is a little planning, and you will be creating memories to last a lifetime.
Free Shipping in
FREE SHIPPING on all U.S. orders placed in April, 2005. When you place your order simply ask for the April Shipping Special. Be encouraged to place orders in April, a slower month, and not wait until the busy summer months. Note, too, that price increases occur May 1.
Lecture from Doug Wilson
The folks at WordMP3.com have graciously made a free talk available from Doug Wilson. Just click on the link and the lecture is there waiting for you.
Free Educational Helps
Laurie Detweiler is famous in some circles for her great handouts when she speaks at conferences. Click Helps to retrieve a PDF file with lots of neat tools.
Q. The Veritas
Press History and Bible curriculum seem quite versatile. How do you recommend
A. We love hearing of their versatility. That was an important consideration when creating them. We also realize that there are some ways that are more effective in learning the material than others. We created a video that can be viewed on our web site to address this very question. Go to www.veritaspress.com and then click on the icon to view. Also, there are several talks we've given on how we recommend using them that go into a lot of detail—more than we can do here. Our friends at Word MP3.com sell them. If we hear enough need for it we can probably get them to give one away with a subsequent newsletter.
Q. What makes the Phonics Museum different from Sing, Spell, Read and Write and other phonics programs?
A. We wanted to get the children actually reading earlier. So we don't require them to memorize a lot of letter sounds before they start putting them together and actually reading. They read their first book (or primer) about six weeks into the Kindergarten year. The primers also were designed to have more content to them than many typical readers, for example, Bible stories or stories with a historical basis. The program also teaches a D'Nealian-like modern manuscript handwriting. We've been pleased to see how quickly children are learning to read and loving reading.
Open House at Veritas
If you are attending or live in the area, you are invited to be our guest at a
dessert at 7:00 PM, June 23rd.
Douglas Wilson will be signing books, and you will also learn more about the
Veritas Press History and Bible Curriculum and the Veritas Press Phonics Museum.
Look for more details in the May epistula. -
Plan to attend the Omnibus Workshop at 4:10 PM, June 23 where Douglas
Wilson and Ty Fischer will explain the curriculum in detail. 2005-2006 Veritas Press
Our first OPEN HOUSE. Come see our facility, meet our staff and have the ability to shop right out of the warehouse. Laurie and Marlin will be on hand to answer any curriculum questions you might have. Also, their son Parker will have his scratch and dent table. You never know what you might find for a great deal. Saturday, April 23 from 10 am to 2 pm at 1829 William Penn Way, Lancaster, PA.
July 20-22, 2005, Lancaster, PA. Joel Belz, founder of World Magazine will be the keynote speaker. Brochures are being sent April 4th. Find more information at www.veritasacademy.com.
13th Annual ACCS Conference
June 23-25, 2005, Memphis, TN. Douglas Wilson, George Grant and many others. For further information go to: www.accsedu.org.
Our new catalog is scheduled to be mailed on May 5, 2005.
- If you are attending or live in the area, you are invited to be our guest at a dessert at 7:00 PM, June 23rd. Douglas Wilson will be signing books, and you will also learn more about the Veritas Press History and Bible Curriculum and the Veritas Press Phonics Museum. Look for more details in the May epistula.
Plan to attend the Omnibus Workshop at 4:10 PM, June 23 where Douglas
Wilson and Ty Fischer will explain the curriculum in detail.
2005-2006 Veritas Press