Feature Article—Things are Different This Year by Bruce Etter
Educational Helps – by Laurie Detweiler
Things are Different This Year
It’s that time of year…the time of year when we all start to think of going back to school. Teachers are thinking of setting up classrooms, home-schooling families are planning their year, parents are buying supplies, and students, well, some are getting excited and others are desperately wishing for more time. This year is different, though. We are starting this year with a burden.
When the recession hit around October 2008 the school year had already begun. Most people could finish out the year without worrying about how it affected our children’s education in the long term. Things have changed drastically for many people for this coming year. Schools have had to downsize or even close, families have had to begin home-schooling because they cannot afford tuition, mothers have had to go to work and cannot be as involved in their children’s education. Things are different. Several men who are close to our family have lost their jobs.
How does this affect the education of our children? First, this does not change the calling God has given us to provide our children a Christian education. Second, as we observe the reaction of our government to the recession—a reaction that appears more and more socialist—it is more important than ever to educate our children in such a way that enables them to be the generation who can bring about godly change. Whether you are a teacher in a school or a home-schooling parent, never forget the importance of giving your children a distinctive Christian worldview.
When asked how he could afford to spend several hours a day in prayer, a wise theologian responded, “I cannot afford to NOT spend these hours in prayer.” We can apply this well-known story to education. These times tempt us to conclude that we cannot afford a Christian education. The question we must entertain is, “Can we afford to NOT give our children a classical and Christian education?” The hard reality is we have to think about the future. Our nation is a mess, and if we are not producing committed, Christian-thinking students, where will we be in twenty years? Riddled with both fiscal and moral dilemmas, more than ever we need thinking minds which are submissive to the Word of God. Let me encourage you, regardless of your situation, to continue to find creative ways to inculcate your children with a thoroughly Christian mindset.
But, you might say, we are living in an economy that has taken its toll on many families. You can’t get blood out of a turnip, as my father used to say. If there’s no money, there’s no money and a quality education is not cheap. Let me respond to this valid concern with a few thoughts. First, the truth is, we tend to find creative ways to get what we want. We spend money on the things we truly desire. When it comes to providing enriching and educational experiences for our children, we often conclude that something else less important has to go. It’s simply a matter of weighing priorities and choosing to spend money on things that have eternal consequences as opposed to luxuries that we can do without.
Second, I know that many are blessed to have grandparents who are involved in the process. I have talked to homeschoolers who make a point of getting grandpa and grandma in on the teaching of their children. What a wonderful way to experience the multi-generational nature of education! But it doesn’t have to stop there. I challenge grandparents to recognize the struggles that their children are having in this economy and step up to lend financial aid as they are able to do so. I cannot think of a better gift that a grandparent can give than to play a role in providing a Christian education for their grandchildren. Now would be a great time to commit to paying for a portion of your grandchildren’s tuition and school uniforms or curriculum if they are homeschooled. All grandparents are not in a position to do so, but many are and should consider the value of assisting in this way.
Finally, education should not be viewed as something that takes place only in the 8:00–3:00 time slot, Monday through Friday. There are activities that we should be doing with our children that do not cost anything (or very little) that get to the heart of what it means to provide them with a Christian worldview. Are we having a regular time of family worship? Are we praying together as a family? When you see a TV commercial or any type of advertising do you use it as a teachable moment to challenge worldly, illogical thinking? When you are having family movie night do you discuss worldviews that fall short of being thoroughly Christian? When you observe ungodly behavior by others in public do you discuss what causes and perpetuates these kinds of actions? Are you taking opportunities daily to provide your children with a mindset that is distinctly Christian?
Remember the words of Deuteronomy 6:6–9: “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
This economy has affected us all in one way or another. Whether it is our common plight of paying more for groceries or gas, a great loss in the stock market, or the loss of a job, you are in the minority if you are not affected by these stressful times. My prayer is that despite the tough circumstances God would allow us to see the fruit of our labors and sacrifices in the hearts and minds of the next generation.
Bruce Etter is the head administrator and teaches online with Veritas Press Scholars Academy. He lives in Lancaster, Pa., with his wife Julie and their five children. He also has written for the Omnibus curriculum.
It is hard to believe, but summer is more than halfway over. Before you know it, the new school year will be upon you! One of my favorite things about summer is the laid back evenings we have around the table. Somehow when it doesn’t get dark until 9:00 p.m. we don’t think anything about still being around the table at 8:45. I love to cook, and one of my favorite things to do is to read cookbooks and cooking magazines. As a child I would copy recipes out of my mother’s cookbooks into a notebook. These were usually family favorites, and I still use many of those recipes today. Click here to find a template for a child’s cookbook, with fun recipes and blank recipe pages. Encourage your children to talk to their grandmothers and write down some of their parents’ favorite childhood recipes. What a great way to capture family memories for future generations to come.
Free Film and Worldview Booklet
Greg Wilbur, Director of King’s Meadow Study Center and co-host with George Grant of the annual Film and Worldview Conference, has graciously made his booklet available on how to watch movies as a Christian. Click here for a free PDF copy.
Free Book that was Made into a Movie
Safe at Home (item #403825) is the book that became the movie Hardball, starring Kenau Reeves. Our friend, Bob Muzikowski, is a real character played by Reeves. This gripping story of Bob’s heart for the children of Chicago’s toughest neighborhood and how he won them over through little league baseball will thrill and excite—it’s war on the frontlines of culture. The book is out of print. We have limited copies. You may have one for $8.00 with an August order of any amount while supplies last.
Q. My child is at a different level in different subjects. For example, he is reading at a 4th grade level but is ready for 5th grade math. Is there any way the scripted lesson plans could be customized to my child?
A. Absolutely. In fact, they are intended to aid just such a situation. And, if you haven’t seen the new tool for selecting what you need when using the lesson plans, check it out at our home page (www.veritaspress.com) and click on the “Scripted Lesson Plans” box in the center of the page.
Q. My state board of education requires science to be taught in grammar school. I don't see much science for those ages in the catalog, so what can I do?
A. There are many things you can do to meet the requirement without actually teaching science with a traditional text. There are some books that look at science in the ancient world that connect with the science of today, full of great history and experiments that are a good addition to your history. (Science in Ancient Egypt, Science in Ancient Rome, Archimedes and the Door to Science, and Ancient Science.) Additionally, have them memorize those things in the sciences that they will use later on. For this we recommend Lyrical Life Science. Although we only use the songs, there are also other activities to do. Between these two things you should easily satisfy your science requirements.
Please submit any questions you’d like answered here to email@example.com.
Old Testament Ancient Egypt Self-Paced Course
Check out the talking sphinx in the center of our web page (www.veritaspress.com) and follow his lead to more detail and sample lessons for our new self-paced course for Old Testament and Ancient Egypt. It's a fun way to learn all 32 events from that ancient era of history in the comfort of your home and on your schedule. This course will be available September 1, 2009, but you may pre-register here at a reduced price through August 31. More courses are in the works; we plan to offer all five history and all five Bible courses that correspond to our Veritas Press Card sets.
New College Franklin Prospective Student/Parent Weekend & King’s Meadow Study Center 5th Annual Film & Worldview Conference
You are invited to visit the college, attend classes, meet students and faculty, hear more about the philosophy and purpose of the college, as well as enjoy the King’s Meadow Study Center Fifth Annual Film and Worldview conference. All will happen October 30-31, 2009 in beautiful downtown Franklin, Tennessee. More information can be gleaned from www.kingsmeadow.com or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or (615) 594-8818.
Introducing the Phaedrus Latin Composition Contest
Few areas of study are as essential as Latin in classical Christian education. New Saint Andrews College is sponsoring a Latin competition and invites Latin teachers in day‐school, home‐school and tutorial settings to team up with the College’s Department of Classical Languages to promote the study of Latin. The contest is designed for Latin teachers to incorporate it into their lesson plans, and allows willing teachers to take part in the nationwide judging. Student entries will be due March 1, 2010. There is no charge to participate. Students must be 15 to 18 years old and may submit only one entry. A top prize of $500 will be awarded for first place. Other cash prizes will be given to the second‐ and third‐place winners, along with honorable mention recognition for other deserving entries. Participating students will submit a 100‐ to 200‐word original fable in Latin, along with the English translation. They will be graded on the student’s ability to accurately use Latin vocabulary and forms of speech, the student’s creativity in subject matter, and writing style. For more information about the Phaedrus Latin Composition Contest, contact Lindsey Tollefson at New Saint Andrews College, (208) 882‐1566 or email@example.com.
Veritas Press Scholars Academy Diploma Program
Are you looking for your child to go to college? Do you desire accountability and assistance in knowing that each year your students are accomplishing what they need to? We now offer yearly certification services culminating in a high school diploma. There are four different diploma levels, each addressing the varying levels of a student’s abilities and circumstances. Year-by-year certification services ensure you are on track for your objectives, meeting an outside standard, and, in many cases, satisfying state requirements. We’ve even made provision for qualifying courses completed elsewhere or using other curricula. For more information, click here.
Future Job Opening with Veritas Press Scholars Academy
Online Teachers—With the rapid growth of our online courses we continue to seek more teachers for the future. Experienced teachers can work from home, the beach, or anywhere high-speed internet is available. Send résumé to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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