Feature Article – “New Challenges” by Larry Stephenson
Educational Helps – by Laurie Detweiler
In the early 1990s my wife came across a book called Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning, and she immediately requested that I read the book. That book and the accompanying educational movement have significantly impacted our lives and the lives of our children. We were so convicted of the need to educate our children classically, using tools that parallel their ages and development, with every discipline subject to the supremacy of Scripture, that we felt compelled to pull our two oldest out of kindergarten and second grade at the local public school and either homeschool them or send them to a classical Christian school that used these fundamental tenets as the basis of all curriculum and methodologies.
Wait! I was a lead administrator at the public school my two oldest daughters were attending. What kind of message would that send to my superintendent and the board of education? How convinced were we that this model would work? It’s one thing to change direction in the education of your children, but to do so and jeopardize your source of income as well? Was this wise?
I ended up serving another two years at my current position until one became available at the classical Christian school. The risk just didn’t matter. By now we were hooked. We loved the classical approach, the immersion of our children into a Christian worldview, and we were encouraged by our fellowship with other parents making the same choices and reaping the same wonderful benefits.
Our oldest two daughters eventually graduated from classical Christian schools, one as a National Merit finalist and each with full scholarship opportunities. They each possess natural academic abilities, but were able to fully reach their potential because of the systematic education they received. Both have married young men whose families were committed to classical Christian education, and both new families are committed to this successful model for their own children. So, with the birth of our first grandchild in October, our family looks forward to the next generation of classically trained students!
My son has benefitted from this type of education since Kindergarten and will graduate from Veritas Press Scholars Academy this year. He has already qualified for full academic scholarships to major universities as a result of his high achievement test scores. My youngest, a daughter, has been around jingles, Latin, and logic since birth and she will be a freshman this year in the Online Diploma Program at VPSA.
Since that momentous decision over 15 years ago, we’ve continued on this path as a family. We are so grateful to God for our four faithful children, who are able to think well and articulate a Biblical position, and we’ve been blessed by our association with many hundreds of believers from across the nation and the world.
I have thus far been involved with the “bricks and mortar” aspect of classical Christian schools. But I have often empathized with families who don’t have access to this type of education in their communities. Distance and cost have prevented many children from receiving what I believe every Christian child ought to receive, and as of August 1st I have become the Vice President of Educational Services with the specific responsibility to head up VPSA in a similar position to what a superintendent at a school would.
Veritas Press Scholars Academy exists to provide access to great curriculum and methodology for every student no matter where they reside. With Marlin and Laurie Detweilers’ passion for this vision, and current technology, this online program brings veteran Christian teachers with classical training to homes across the world at a reasonable cost.
The virtual classroom size is kept small, but classmates may literally be from across the globe. In fact, many are. We have served over a dozen countries, drawing students from France, the Bahamas, Australia, the Philippines, Mexico, South Africa, China, Japan, the UK, South Korea, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan and Egypt, to name a few!
I can’t think of a greater blessing than having my children and grandchildren trained up in the truth, beauty and goodness of a solid curriculum by dedicated, God fearing individuals. Yes, we like many of you, stepped out in faith, trusting God for His mercy and provision for our children. And He has blessed abundantly!
If you are a part of our diploma program or maybe just our online classes, you no doubt can relate. If you are not, be encouraged to consider joining us.
Dr. Larry Stephenson is the newly hired Vice President of Educational Services of Veritas Press Scholars Academy. Larry was the superintendent of Cary Christian School in North Carolina. He recently moved to Lancaster, Pa., from North Carolina with his wife, Kelly, and their two youngest children. Their two oldest daughters are married, and the Stephensons expect their first grandchild in October. Larry enjoys football and golf and is very much looking forward to becoming a grandfather.
It is the beginning of the school year. You have big plans. Your kids are going to memorize the whole New Testament. And maybe Psalms. Yes, in Saxon Veritas students are always a year ahead—but you want to double that, and this is the year it happens. Not only that, but you plan to make sure that every project in the Veritas History curriculum is going to get made—not just the easy ones. And this year that big map is going to not just get taped together—you're going to paint it on the wall. Or maybe do it in mosaic (it will go great with the New Testament Greece and Rome material). But you're not sure—is third grade too soon to read the Odyssey? And . . . hold on! Take a step back and breathe a little bit. Veritas Press are the last folks who are going to tell you to lower the bar when it comes to education, but we also don't want you to forget to miss out on the delight of learning.
Let me tell you, I don't remember much about third grade. Multiplication was tough. We made colonial apple-head dolls. I still had a crush on Julie. Someone came in and played steel guitar one day. But the big thing I remember is that that was when I became an author and illustrator. We had a super sweet teacher named Mrs. MacIntyre, and she had us all write stories that she proceeded to type up with room for us to illustrate. And then we hardback-bound our stories. Wow, THAT was cool, let me tell you. And my mom kept it forever.
So this year, why not take some time and allow your student to blossom into an Author-Illustrator? Veritas Press is now offering the new Author-Illustrator Starter Kit. It contains three premium-quality hardcover blank books in a slipcase. Each book is 32 pages, 7" square, and ready to be turned into a picture book. Regularly $13.95, we are offering the kit at 40% off with your $100 book order in September. Ask for one to be included while placing your order (it’s item #902168). If ordering from our web site, add it to your order and the discount will be applied automatically during checkout. Let the creativity begin!
Be warned, once you buy this, writers' block is going to land on your child like a ton of bricks. Or maybe you avoid that by talking out story ideas in the car before the Kit arrives. But then the problem is the blank page. There is nothing worse than the blank page. We recently painted a wall going into our homeschool room with blackboard paint and stood back to see what the kids would draw. My daughter was completely frozen until after I had scribbled on it a bit. All this to say, you might need some strategies to get a good book out of your child. Click this link to download some ideas I have collected to help your child fill those blank pages.
Ned Bustard is an author-illustrator (www.NedBustard.com ) and graphic designer (www.WorldsEndImages.com). Much of his work is for Veritas Press, including developing Legends & Leagues or Mr Tardy Goes From Here to There, The Sailing Saint, Red Hood, Ella Sings Jazz, and a historic novel Squalls Before War: His Majesty’s Schooner Sultana. His most recent book is The Church History ABCs (http://www.churchhistoryabcs.com), and right now he is busy illustrating the new book Legends & Leagues—North: Kings & Queens & Alice.
Free Online History Course for a Limited Time
Last month we offered this freebee and—again, like last year—the response was overwhelming, so we are extending the offer through the month of September. We want you to experience what we believe is the best way to learn history—and it’s FREE. The award-winning Veritas Press grammar school history curriculum is now available online in our new self-paced courses. We are so convinced you’ll love them that we are giving them away for a limited time. Customers have told us, “the courses are so much fun that their children must not be learning.” Click here to sign up for a free 30 day trial. Here are the available courses:
Course (click on the title to learn more)
Q. I noticed that many of your online courses require placement tests. Is that new this year? Why do my children have to take a test when we have completed the prerequisite course work somewhere else?
A. Yes, we did implement placement tests for a number of our courses this year. Our goal is to place your child in a course in which their opportunity for success is high. We have found that the scope and sequence of the different materials on the market vary greatly. Therefore, successful completion of a particular course may not fully prepare your child for our course. If a placement test shows that your child is not adequately prepared, this knowledge will help us to assist you to choose the appropriate course or level for your child.
Q. We've loved the Omnibus series of textbooks and are eagerly awaiting the arrival of level VI. We almost hate to see the series come to an end. What great project will Veritas work on next?
A. We have lots of ideas for curricular development. The list will almost certainly need at least one future generation to complete. However, we are going to take a break at the moment. But, we don’t sit still well so I expect the break will be short lived and we’ll get something going soon.
Please submit any questions you’d like answered here to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good Bye from Ginny Walls
Dear Family and Friends of Veritas Press,
It has been my pleasure over the past nine years to work with some of the best people in the classical Christian education field at Veritas Press. Because of the excellent materials provided for schools and homeschools, we have experienced exceptional growth. When I began this journey it was only Marlin, Laurie, Carl, one other young man and me in the office. How times have changed!
I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting and developing relationships with so many of you over the years through phone calls, emails, teacher training conferences, CHAP conventions, End of Year Gatherings, and our annual Open Houses. Unfortunately, because of recent back problems I have had to abruptly (and tearfully) resign my position at the Press.
Though I will greatly miss our contacts, I assure you that the staff in the office and the warehouse have only the best interests of your child's education at heart and you will be well served. Thank you for the many ways by which you have enriched my life.
Live Online Classes Begin Soon
Now's the time to check out our live online class options. Classes begin on September 7. Although many sections are already filled and have waiting lists, many new sections have been added to accommodate demand. Click here to learn more.
Summer Reading Contest
Final call for the summer reading contest. We hope you've made good progress on your summer reading goals. Parents or teachers shall verify what the children have read, and then, after the children have met their goals, complete the online entry form by September 15, 2011. Please encourage them to read good literature, not just look for a book that meets the page count criteria. Look here for some bookmarks which your children can decorate and enjoy this summer and beyond.
Veritas Press Reading Contest Rules
1. Reading Quantity
a. K – 2nd Grade: 40 Easy Readers (ex., Frog and Toad are Friends)
b. 3rd & 4th Grades: 25 books at least 125 pages (ex., The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe)
c. 5th & 6th Grades: 25 books at least 150 pages (ex., Treasure Island)
d. 7th – 12th Grades: 25 books at least 200 pages (ex., The Fellowship of the Ring)
2. After the child has completed the readings, entries must be submitted online by 5:00 PM EDT, September 15, 2011.
3. The first 250 submissions in each age division will be given a $10 gift certificate.
4. A drawing will be held from all submissions and will be announced in the October epistula. There will be three gift certificate winners from the drawing.
a. $150 First Prize
b. $100 Second Prize
c. $70 Third Prize
Poetry Writing Contest
The poetry writing contest continues for two more weeks. Join the fun! We have three examples of poetry to stir your creative juices. Click here to view.
Topic: A poem completed on the form found here.
Who: Students in 1st through 12th grade. Judging will be based on these age groups: grades 1-3
Where: Send submissions as an attached Word file or write on the form, scan and e-mail to email@example.com. Please include your parents' name, e-mail address, phone number, city, and state along with your student name and grade.
When: Submissions must be received by 5:00 PM EDT, September 15, 2011.
Winners: The winner in each age group will receive a $50 gift certificate for books from Veritas Press. Winners will be announced in the October epistula.
Teaching Openings with Veritas Press Scholars Academy
Online Teachers Needed Immediately!—We have needs for experienced teachers. Teachers can work from home, the beach, or anywhere high-speed internet is available. Send résumé to Bruce Etter.
Interesting Facts about Veritas Press
In August we asked, "The heaviest order we shipped in July 2011 weighed how much?" Tie-breaker question was, "To what destination was it shipped?" (Name a US state or foreign country.) The winner was Lori Firster of Sadieville, KY, with the closest guess. (The correct answer was 1835 pounds and the destination to which it was sent was North Carolina.)
Visit us on the web at VeritasPress.com or call us at 1-800-922-5082.
Browse the Veritas Press virtual catalog online!