Feature Article – Something’s Amiss by Marlin Detweiler
Educational Helps – by Ned Bustard
We just finished the field trip in Washington, D.C. and Lancaster, Pa., for families of students taking online classes through the Veritas Press Scholars program. It is always a thrill to see these folks and learn from them how we can serve all of you better. It was also enjoyable to participate in the field trip with them in Washington while visiting many of our capital’s landmarks and sites.
Unfortunately, something went amiss. As I stood at the entrance to the security checkpoint for entering onto the White House grounds for our tour, I was greeted by the security detail, who asked which group we were and then asked us to line up alphabetically by last name. There were only 28 of us for this portion of the field trip, so the task was easily accomplished. In the weeks prior, we had been required to submit each participant’s name, address and social security number to apply for security clearance to go on this tour. Thankfully, we didn’t have to call and tell any of the folks that they had been rejected. What went amiss, however, was that we were there, ready to see the home of our president on May 30, but the tour date was confirmed for May 29. Big Oops!
Fortunately for us, the problem was fairly small. The load was uncharacteristically light for visitors at the White House that day, the group was a manageable number, all had flown through their prior background check, and the secret service agent with whom I was speaking was a homeschooling father and customer of Veritas Press. Getting rescheduled would not be a big problem—so I thought. Unfortunately, it was not that simple.
As I soon learned, the security clearance one gets for visiting the White House in these circumstances is good for one hour. I assume this means that if you are scheduled for 11:30 and you show up at 1:00 you cannot go, no matter what the reason. I know it’s the case that you cannot go 24 hours later.
Yet, there was a glimmer of hope. The agent told me that, since all the security data was in place, a quick rerun of the security clearance might take an hour. OK, a bit of an inconvenience to wait, but we could do it. Unfortunately, this was not to be, either. The answer came back clear from the higher ups in the office. There would be no White House tour for us today. And I was left with the very embarrassing need to tell the other 27 members of our group of this sad turn of events.
Maybe closer to home for you is what we all observe when we travel by air. You can’t take a tube of toothpaste on board a plane, and your grandmother is as likely to be singled out for private “wanding” as the fellow with chains attached to his lip.
Now roll back to an early part of the twentieth century.
I’ve heard a story of a gentleman driving down Pennsylvania Avenue one evening in a convertible when he encountered an unexpected rain shower. He pulled his car under the nearest cover, where he got out, pulled up the roof and continued on his way. The nearest cover happened to be the portico at the main entrance to the White House.
What a difference a few years makes.
Where did trust go? Did it really all collapse with the Twin Towers? Are we left with enormous and expensive inconveniences and lifestyle alterations because of the acts of a radical very few?
One of the reasons I live in Lancaster is because here one can still do business on a handshake. To some significant extent trust is alive and well. This very day there are four men working at my house fixing some wood rot on a porch. I don’t have a written contract with them. They will do the work. They will bill me, and they expect I’ll pay the bill. If the work isn’t done right, I’ll call them, we’ll discuss my perceived deficiency, and they’ll fix it or convince me why they need not. I don’t do this with everyone here in Lancaster. Not everyone does the same with me. But it is far more common here than many places, and particularly most urban settings.
Thankfully, trust is not dead. But globally speaking, it’s not very healthy either.
Now, I don’t want you to think I’m naïve. I know there are real problems with security issues. It is certainly the case that we live in relatively unprecedented times when a person is willing to be a bomb himself. I know that our friends in the military serve a very valuable purpose and are doing their jobs in a very honorable way. Yet it is not a healthy trend, and it is quite disconcerting to speculate what this might evolve into in a few more years.
The only answers I hear are: more security, more verification and more difficulty. They don’t seem to be very attractive solutions. Some have argued that banning hand guns would help. Others retort that if we outlaw guns only outlaws will have them.
Maybe what we need is to look back to times when things were more to our liking on this point—to a time when the portico of the White House could be used to keep us dry. What was different then?
No doubt there are many differences that could be cited, but there is one that stands out quite clearly. It is the extent of the impact of the gospel. I don’t know if there were more Christians or a higher percentage of Christians in America in the past. Studies show varied results depending on the phrasing of the questions. But one thing is certain: the gospel had more influence. It was more apparent in our communities. People cared for their neighbor better.
Much has changed in the last hundred years. Health care, transportation options, computers and the internet, and the availability of clothing, food, etc. In many senses, I’m grateful to be living today.Yet here we are with a deterioration of trust that takes so much freedom from us.
Those of us who are committed to educating our children well must realize that imparting all the knowledge in the world will not give them the sense of trust that is a delightful, but now fading, part of our memory of how things were when the common grace of the gospel produced a level of trust that affected our lives so thoroughly. But education is not just about knowledge, and that is what attracts me to classical Christian education. Because within the pedagogy and content of classical Christian education is an appreciation for those things that must be taught and implemented—wisdom and understanding. And maybe our children will do better than we have to once again figure out how life can be lived in a way that we can trust our neighbor and enjoy the freedom that should accompany the righteous.
Summer is here and all the high hopes of fun unfettered have given way to boredom. It happens every year, but we are always so excited for the end of school that we forget what the beginning of last summer was like. The free resource for this issue of epistula is intended to be a boredom buster and to help your students grow in their artistic abilities. Not everyone is gifted in art, but everyone can learn how to draw. Why else would Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice insist that to be "truly accomplished" requires a knowledge of drawing, if it were not a skill open to all?
Click here to open the Summer Drawing file. The first three projects in the file are based on the Drawing with Children approach, offering instruction to young artists in how to draw cute animals based on simple shapes. The latter two projects are intended to aid students in developing their ability to see, by drawing from a real-life model. Once they get tired of drawing their hands, you can send them out into the woods, along the beach or wherever, and tell them to draw what they see. If they apply themselves, fun can be found, boredom banished, and beauty made.
The folks at WordMP3.com have graciously made a talk from the 2007 ACCS Conference available for free. Click the link for the site to download “Dumb and Dumber: The Desperate Need for Classical Christian Education” by George Grant. Enjoy.
Q. I want to use the Veritas Press Scholars program, but am I still able to combine children in subjects?
A. Yes and no. In history and Bible you are able to teach as many children combined as you want. We offer two different levels, upper grammar (4th – 6th grade), and lower grammar (2nd and 3rd grade). In this way you just choose which best suits each of your children and use the varied assignments. Some people also choose to combine Latin and grammar. Generally, math will be taught at individual levels.
Q. My child wants to do some work over the summer, but I really need a break from teaching. Do you have any ideas?
A. One of the first things I would suggest is using Rosetta Stone to teach another language. This program is easily used by a child alone and is fun and stimulating. You also might want to try art lessons using any of the How to Draw series or the Fine Art Studio Kits.
Please submit any questions you’d like answered here to firstname.lastname@example.org.
By now you should have received our 2008–2009 catalog. And don’t forget the really cool, electronic version that can be accessed from our home page (www.veritaspress.com).
Veritas Press Teacher Training Conferences
By now you may have received our brochure for the teacher training conferences we are hosting.
You can enjoy one here in Lancaster with all local flavor of things like shoo-fly pie, and one online. Voddie Baucham, author of Family Driven Faith, will be the featured speaker at the 2008 Teacher Training Conference July 21–23 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Or you can attend our online-only teacher training conference on August 6–8 which will feature Joel Belz, Douglas Wilson and Oliver North as keynote speakers.
We’ve added a couple new ways to attend the Online Conference in August. Are you a school that wants to set up some classrooms with computers and projectors to allow your teachers and parents to attend online as a group? We now offer a site license option that provides four logins to your organization for $800. We require only that your attendees be affiliated with your school or organization.
Another option is for those who want to attend the Lancaster event in July but also hate to miss our plenary speakers for the Online Conference. If you sign up for the Lancaster Conference, you may access the Online Plenary sessions in August for $50. See the online registration page for both of these new options.
We are also offering Latin-in-a-Week, Omnibus I-In-A-Week and Omnibus II-In-A-Week July 21–25th. Some of the In-A-Week conferences are offered online at different times, too. The teacher training conferences link above provides helpful information for the In-A-Week classes, too.
Veritas Press Scholars Online Classes
Registration for online classes continues to swell. Many classes have filled. Thankfully, in many instances we’ve been able to add another when needed. Please take a moment to click the link above to learn more.
16th Annual ACCS Conference: Recovering Truth, Goodness, and Beauty
The Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS) Conference will be held June 26–28, 2008 in Austin, Texas. It is designed to provide the principles of a classical and Christian education, and practical instruction in a broad range of subjects. Plenary sessions will feature Ken Myers, Douglas Wilson, George Grant, and Matt Whitling. Practical workshops will teach the implementation of classical Christian education. Click here for more information or contact the ACCS office at (208) 882-6101.
Job Openings in Lancaster, Pa., and Online
Online Teachers – Veritas Press Scholars Online continues to have teacher openings for the 2008–2009 school year. We are also interested in hearing from you if you are interested in discussing subsequent years, even if you can’t teach this coming year. Experienced teachers can work from home, the beach, or anywhere high-speed internet is available. Send resume to email@example.com.
Customer Service, First Phone – Here is a great chance to join the fun at Veritas Press. We have a great fulltime job available that we call “First Phone.” Imagine being able to help all those moms, dads and schools to make their curriculum choices for the year. Duties include customer service, answering customer emails, processing orders, and of course, being the first to answer the telephone when customers call. Send resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Headmaster Wanted in Cincinnati
Mars Hill Academy in Cincinnati, Ohio, is seeking a Headmaster. MHA is a 12-year-old ACCS-accredited K–12 school with 220 students finishing its third year in the school's new 37,500 sq. ft. facility on 13 acres. The Headmaster must embrace the MHA Foundational Documents (see website – www.marshill.edu), have a passion for discipling staff and families, and be a strong leader. Attractive compensation and benefits. For information and to apply, please contact Tom Thistleton, Board Member, at email@example.com or (513) 608-4713.
April Contest Winner
Christina Stowe of Georgetown, Kentucky, was the winner of the free Lesson Plans from the contest in the April epistula. Congratulations Christina.
Visit us on the web at VeritasPress.com or call us at 1-800-922-5082.