Feature Article Pros and Cons of Educational Models by Marlin Detweiler

Educational Helps Christmas Around the World by Laurie Detweiler

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December 2008





Another calendar year is coming to a close. It’s hard to believe. And, for the first time beginning with the dramatic economic events of October we’ve seen an adverse effect in our business. This leads us to believe you may be experiencing some difficulties, too. Let’s commit to redouble our efforts to pray for one another and for Christians around the world that we might be the salt and light we have been called to be. May the Lord richly bless you.


Feature Article


Pros and Cons of Educational Models


The one thing we can say about educational models today with all the certainty in the world is that they are in a state of flux. Twenty years ago schools were the norm, home schools were rare and online education was, well, unheard of. Ten years ago the internet and educational products and services were far more limited compared to now. Today a confluence of ideas and practices is occurring at a rapid pace.


There are a handful of models commonly used for education. In no particular order they are: traditional Christian schools, home schools, university model schools, co-ops, online education, and tutors. Many times a child’s education involves a combination of two or more of these models—even simultaneously. Two of my three college age children have had online classes while in college, even while living in the town where the courses were offered in a classroom setting. (Think of the irony of paying room and board for them to do that.) With our eyes open we need to consider the pros and cons of these models and the effects they have on our children.


Traditional Christian Schools are relatively easy for parents, teachers are typically well-trained experts, a good Christian community can result, extra-curriculars are generally very available, and they provide a good comparison for how a given child is doing in relation to his peers. Unfortunately, they require less parental interaction with their children, students get less individual attention, they are less efficient than some other models, children spend too much time with peers, and they are quite costly.


Home Schools involve both quality and quantity time with one’s children, can be tailored to run at the pace of the student, are quite efficient, can have a customized curriculum to suit the needs and interests of the student, are much less costly than schools, and can be flexible regarding schedule and location. Unfortunately, home schools may have parents who are inexperienced or lack teaching gifts, teachers/parents have other duties that compete for priority, can tend to isolate children and their families from building community, require students to go elsewhere for team sports and other extra-curriculars, and tend to lack accountability standards.


University Model Schools have some of the best aspects of both traditional schools and home schools. Expert teachers, extra-curriculars, good comparisons for how children are doing, and good Christian community can result. Unfortunately, they also have some of the worst attributes of both schools and home schools. They take away the flexibility of schedule and location, customizable curriculum and a student-tailored pace while being fairly costly and not as easy for parents.


Co-ops allow for expert teachers and are generally fairly inexpensive. Unfortunately, they may not deal with abnormal learning issues and disciplinary needs as well as other models, and they can be quite inefficient—especially when factoring travel time.


Online education has many of the benefits of schools without leaving home. They include well-trained experts for teachers, good comparisons for how a given student is doing, and are easy on the parent. Unfortunately, they lack extra-curriculars and, while they can be attended from any location, they are bound to a particular schedule if the class is live (synchronous). If the class they attend is recorded (asynchronous) they lack extensive interaction.


Tutors, a retro idea, help parents by providing expertise at considerable expense. This is particularly ideal for disciplines like math.


As you consider the educational options in light of your circumstances now and in the future, there are some questions that will help you decide what is best for your family at any given time.


►How hands on do you want to be in your children’s education?

►What is your family’s lifestyle?

►What are your gifts and talents?

►What can you afford?

►What is the best learning model for your children?

►Are your options limited by where you live?


And always remember, thoughtful consideration and good planning is an important part of educating your children. The time with your children will go by fast. Don’t get to the end of it and realize you didn’t accomplish what you wanted to..


Marlin Detweiler


Educational Helps


Christmas Around the World


Recently we had a pastor from the Ukraine stay with us. Every time I have the chance to be around someone from another country or speak with a customer who lives outside of the United States, two things become readily apparent to me: the instant friendships that are made possible within the bond of Christian fellowship and that we can get so caught up in the world in which we live that we forget that things can be quite different elsewhere.


As we drove this pastor around and took him out to eat, things that you or I might see as mundane were AMAZING to him. He could not believe that we had squirrels running around in abundance in our yard. He explained that under the Soviet regime most of the wildlife disappeared as people shot it to survive.


As I think about Christmas I realize that celebrations of Christ’s birth can also vary greatly depending on where you live. As I was doing some research on the web I came upon a Christmas song from Australia. I had to read it more than once, and unless you are from Australia, I will bet you will, too.


Six White Boomers


Early on one Christmas Day a Joey kangaroo,

Was far from home and lost in a great big zoo.

'Mummy, where's my mummy? They've taken her away.'

We'll help you find your mummy, son. Hop up on the sleigh.'

Up beside the bag of toys little Joey hopped,

But they hadn't gone far when Santa stopped.

Unharnessed all the reindeer and Joey wondered why,

Then he heard a far off booming in the sky.

Six white boomers, snow white boomers,

Racing Santa Claus through the blazing sun.

Six white boomers, snow white boomers,

On his Australian run.


Pretty soon old Santa began to feel the heat,

Took his fur lined boots off to cool his feet,

Into one popped Joey, feeling quite okay,

While those old man Kangaroos kept pulling on the sleigh.

Six white boomers, snow white boomers,

Racing Santa Claus through the blazing sun.

Six white boomers, snow white boomers,

On his Australian run.


Joey said to Santa, 'Santa, what about the toys?

Aren't you giving some to these girls and boys?'

'They've got all their presents, son, we were here last night,

this trip is an extra trip, Joey's special flight.'

Six white boomers, snow white boomers,

Racing Santa Claus through the blazing sun.

Six white boomers, snow white boomers,

On his Australian run.


Soon the sleigh was flashing past right over Marble Bar,

'Slow down there,' cried Santa, 'it can't be far,

Come up on my lap here, son, and have a look around.'

'There she is that's Mummy, bounding up and down.'

Six white boomers, snow white boomers,

Racing Santa Claus through the blazing sun.

Six white boomers, snow white boomers,

On his Australian run.


Well that's the bestest Christmas treat that Joey ever had,

Curled up in mother's pouch feeling snug and glad.

The last they saw was Santa heading northwards from the sun,

The only year the boomers worked a double run.

Six white boomers, snow white boomers,

Racing Santa Claus through the blazing sun.

Six white boomers, snow white boomers,

On his Australian run.


Unless you live “down under,” it might never have occurred to you to write a song where boomers (kangaroos) pull Santa’s sleigh. Of course, believers the world over are united in the truth of Christmas, the incarnation of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.


This Christmas season consider having your family make a meal to be reminded that there are believers around the globe celebrating the birth of Christ in various ways. Below you will find some web sites that have great international Christmas recipes. We have also included some name cards that you can use to display the recipe’s origin.


Have a blessed Christmas and a wonderful New Year!


Click this link for the international name cards.


Recipes for Italian Amaretti, New Zealand Cheese Scones, French Christmas Chocolate Logs and more.

Here is the history of Christmas traditions in many countries plus some recipes.

More about Christmas customs and recipes from around the world.

Find a lot of international Christmas cookie recipes here.



Laurie Detweiler



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Q. I see on your course schedule of online classes that there are two different Omnibus classes for each level, Primary Books and Secondary Books. Why, and do you need both classes to complete that level?

A. As you may be aware, the Omnibus courses integrate theology, history, and literature in a particular time period. Most modern education has separated these disciplines (and most others) creating an artificial divide in the minds of students when connections are quite important.

Consider the beginning of the Reformation in 1517 when Martin Luther posted the 95 Theses and the ramifications since. Should this be studied in Theology, History, Literature, or something else? The Omnibus gives us the opportunity to study it in all those areas simultaneously. Many of the books studied are quite important and are from that time period—these are generally the primary books. We think it wise to balance these books out to keep a fairly level balance between history, theology, and literature. This leveling feature is found in the secondary books. The secondary books also tend to be a bit easier on the student. We recommend five 75–90 minute classes per week for primary books and three 75–90 minute classes per week for secondary books. Together the primary and secondary books comprise enough work for the student to justify three credits—one for history, one for theology, and one for literature. If a student just studies the primary books, we can only justify one credit and don’t specify which discipline, so we tend to simply call it a Great Books credit. If you are looking at online courses and circumstances dictate that your student only enroll in one of the courses, we recommend choosing the primary books course for any given level. And, as an aside, we anticipate having both the text and the course offering for Omnibus IV for the 2009–2010 school year.


Q. My fourth grade son is always asking me “why” questions? It seems like he is entering the dialectic stage. Should I consider moving him into a logic curriculum?

A. In a word, No. As children transition into the logic years they do become pert and argumentative. Some children are more prone to this than others, and we have found that many times when children ask questions that appear to be dialectic in nature when they are not really ready they are satisfied with a fairly simple answer. A good rule of thumb is to coincide studying logic with studying Algebra I. Even then, waiting for logic until 7th grade is probably wise.


Please submit any questions you’d like answered here to info@veritaspress.com.





Holiday Hours

We will be closed over the Christmas holiday from December 24, 2008 through January 1, 2009.


Veritas Press Scholars Academy Future

Thanks to all who completed the recent survey to help us as we plan future course offerings in our online classes. Look for more information in the coming months. We plan to open registration for the 2009–2010 school year and summer courses for 2009 on February 2, 2009 for families with currently registered children. Open registration should follow on February 9, 2009.


A Fun Gift for Christmas

I remember a time when RC Sproul was interested in sleight of hand tricks. We’d be at dinner, and he’d demonstrate his most recent trick. If you have a budding magician or someone just interested in illusions you will want to check out these DVDs. The Kongs, friends of ours, long-time customers, and now part of our church have a son named David Kong. As a 15-year-old homeschooler he produced a video teaching an incredible card trick. Now at 18 he’s produced a second DVD teaching something called The Muscle Pass, a trick for more advanced magicians. Amazing stuff and lots of fun. Here’s where you can get them.

Mercury Aces Card Trick DVD           Muscle Pass DVD


Save the Date: Veritas Press Teacher Training and In-A-Week classes

Next year’s Teacher Training Conference is scheduled for July 13-15, 2009 in Lancaster, Pa. Concurrently, we are offering intense training in what have come to be called In-A-Week classes. From July 13-17, Latin, Greek, Omnibus I and Omnibus II will be taught by outstanding teachers in person here in Lancaster. What better way to prepare yourself to teach these courses or just learn the material for your own improvement? Please be encouraged to mark your calendar and join us for these wonderful opportunities.


Future Job Opening with Veritas Press Scholars Academy

Online Teachers – With the rapid growth of our online courses we are anticipating needing even more teachers for the 2009–2010 school year. Experienced teachers can work from home, the beach, or anywhere high-speed internet is available. Send résumé to bruce@veritaspress.com. And don’t wait if you are interested. We continue to interview now to qualify teachers for next year and beyond.




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