Openingby Marlin Detweiler

Feature ArticleSeasons of Life and Education” by Douglas Wilson

Educational Helpsby Laurie Detweiler

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March 2011



In Doug Wilson’s article below he relates his experience and thoughts of creating and sustaining the vision of a classical Christian school in a multi-generational way. As you read, think about what you might also do to extend such thinking into other institutions such as your home and your church. Enjoy.


Feature Article


Seasons of Life and Education


As the classical and Christian education movement continues to grow and develop, one of the things we should notice is that this occurs over time. And if enough time goes by, you should notice that time means generations. If we have learned how to think covenantally, this means that we have learned how to think generationally. This is crucial, because education is all about the next generation—as is covenant faithfulness. That’s the whole point, is it not?


But one generation does not replace another in some kind of herky jerky motion. It is not that one generation remains just where it was, in control, until poof, it is gone. One generation flows, reaches high tide, and then ebbs. This happens gradually, and this is where the limits of the metaphor become evident. On the beach, you never see one tide ebb while another is coming in at the same time. You can’t have low tide and high tide at the same time. But in the realm of generational succession, you can see one generation coming of age at the same time that another is retiring.


An important part of educational reform consists of learning how to do this gracefully.


There will come a time when the senior statesmen in a school community will be someone who, at one time, was a kindergartner in that same school. He will be board chairman emeritus, and he, in his eighties, was in kindergarten when the visionary founder of the school was still alive. If the school is still faithful in that day, it will be because the lessons of generational succession were internalized by the leadership of the school. The structures surrounding this are obviously different in a home school setting, but all the essential principles remain the same. Charles de Gaulle once famously said that graveyards are full of indispensible men.


All of us are proceeding toward the end of our time on earth, and we are doing so on a conveyor belt that is moving toward that day at an inexorable rate of 24 hours every day. The writer of the book of Acts tells us that David was a man who was faithful in his own generation. He “had served the purpose of God in his own generation” (Acts 13: 36).


The problem of succession is one that confronts everyone everywhere. Augustine in The City of God said that in this life the dead are replaced by the dying. It is a fact so evident that it is astonishing that anyone forgets it. But it is particularly astonishing that educators forget. Our whole business is dedicated to raising up the next generation—and it is hard to do this while forgetting that the next generation’s ranks of surgeons, and attorneys, and pilots, and soldiers, will come from the ranks of these third grade faces looking up at you.


At Logos School, when we started, we were all for the most part in our mid-twenties. That we survived is testimony to the fact that the age of miracles is not over. Now our board consists of men in their forties and fifties, with the center of gravity tilting toward the elder. This is not bad in itself, because the Bible says good things about the wisdom and experience to be found in gray heads.


But the Bible also teaches that the glory of young men is their strength (1 Jn. 2:14). Fathers know the past—they know the one who was from the beginning (1 Jn. 2:14). But if the fathers know the past, one of the things they should recall is that they were once young men, and the fathers they looked up to at that time are now gone. They should then be able to swivel in their seats, and take a look at the future—who will replace them when they are gone, and will they be doing this all of sudden, or will someone prepare them for it?


Our board began discussing this challenge of generational succession a few years ago, and decided to do something about it. We brought a few young men onto the board as ex officio members—non-voting participants. This way they were able to see how the business of the board was conducted. They got to know us, and we got to know them. We wanted to train board members for the future, which is different than having the future board members trying to figure everything out after we had our heart attacks. The striking thing is that this illustrated the difference in perspective that a few decades can make. As I mentioned, we built the school when we were in our twenties. Seemed like the most reasonable thing in the world to undertake. But when one of those (previously crazy) board members, now in his mid-fifties, looks at some young men in their early thirties, with a decade more experience than he had, all he can think of is a basket of puppies. The wrong kind of caution can take over. The wrong kind of risk-averse conservatism can set in, and the leadership of the school begins to drift. Perhaps the drift is not into some kind of deep educational apostasy, but it is drifting nonetheless.


Educators should therefore know the difference between the time for planting and the time for harvesting. They should know when tremendous energy is called for, when steady leadership is necessary, and when solemn remembrance is the one thing needful.


Seasons of life matter. I am a board member of Logos School, just as I was twenty-five years ago. But the difference between being a father of three elementary school children enrolled and a grandfather of ten elementary school children enrolled is vast. I had one vote then and one vote now, but there is no way for me to function in the same way. My outlook is different, and of necessity needs to be. But if all of us progress into that different zone together, and nobody calls attention to it, it is too easy for us to assume that because nothing happened to startle us, everything is the same.


The thing that everyone needs to remember, as they evaluate their own particular “season,” is that in each time, your greatest strength is also your greatest weakness. When you are young and strong, being bulletproof is your greatest strength . . . and also, because you are not quite bulletproof, your greatest weakness. When you are in the middle years, and you have settled into the routine of managing and running the school, this is good. Routine is necessary. It is also the very thing that makes people forget why they started doing what they are doing in the first place. And the grandfathers on the board—it is a great strength to be able to recount many of the adventure stories that lie behind many of your current policies. In short, the policies are there for a reason, and the reason remains, even after the reason is forgotten. But the old-timers remember. This too can be a weakness—when memories turn into brittle conservatism, one that never wants to risk anything whatever. It never wants to change anything, regardless. “We closed that barn door, by means of that policy,” he says, “because of the horse that got away. Don’t want that to happen ever again.” “But,” one of the young men replies, “we stopped keeping horses fifteen years ago. We don’t have that program anymore, and I don’t see why we can’t sell the barn.”


To everything there is a season (Eccl. 3:1). And to every school.


Douglas Wilson


Douglas Wilson is a Reformed and evangelical theologian, prolific author and speaker, pastor at Christ Church in Moscow, Id., and faculty member at New Saint Andrews College. Many credit him as the key person in reestablishing the interest in and importance of classical Christian education. Included among the many works he has written are Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning, Reforming Marriage, To a Thousand Generations, and Standing on the Promises. Additionally, he is the general editor of the Omnibus curriculum, a Great Books curriculum published by Veritas Press.


Educational Helps


When my children were younger, every year about this time they would start to get antsy for summer to come. Having four boys definitely did make the dynamics different in our home. My boys loved the outdoors and loved adventure. One of them always wanted to be a spy undercover in search of some mystery.


Just yesterday, while speaking to a customer, I was told, “I just don’t know what to do. My young son would much rather be outside in a tree than reading a book.” Don’t despair; this is not the end of the world. First of all, God made us all very different. Not everyone is going to be a book worm, and that is JUST FINE. But instead of fighting it, find something that interests them.


When my boys were younger, I wanted to make sure that they read the classics. But not all my boys loved the classics. What I really needed to do, though, was to make them love reading, and I had to figure out a way to do that. Not everyone may agree with this, but I decided to find books that interested them and would hook them. For one of my sons, that was Star Wars. He now reads everything from the ancients to Star Wars and loves it. One of my boys loved fact books, so we would read things like the Deadliest Catch and anything like that I could get my hands on.


As I was going through my mound of review copies, something came across my desk that I knew we would not put in the catalog, but I told Marlin one of our sons would have loved these at about the age of eight. They are a series by Ripley’s Believe it or Not, where a team of children form a group called RBI (Ripley’s Bureau of Investigation). They are always off to solve a mystery or crime and are written in a way that keeps your interest. Now I don’t want you to think these are great literature—they are not—but they are a great way to hook a boy or girl who might not love to read. Click here to see (and order) these books.


I asked our graphic designer, Ned Bustard, to come up with our own Believe it or Not worksheet. This is a fun way to have your child learn to do research on the Internet. Children can pursue their own interests by looking up hard-to-believe facts in whatever area they choose.  Let the research and fun begin by clicking here!



Laurie Detweiler



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Q. My rising 6th grader has completed the first two books of Latin for Children. Is he ready for Latin II of the Secondary Latin online classes?

A. Great question! Latin for Children is a grammar school curriculum, and while excellent, it does not have the depth of Wheelock's Latin, which is the primary text used for Secondary Latin I and II.  We think completing all three Latin for Children books constitutes a good foundation for entry into Secondary Latin I, not a replacement for it. So, we recommend starting with Secondary Latin I, even though your child has prior Latin experience. His prior knowledge will make the class all the more enjoyable. For students who don't have prior Latin knowledge, we now offer a course called Latin Transition. It provides that foundational course work that will prepare your student for the rigors of Secondary Latin I.


Q. My oldest child will be in 8th grade next year, and I'm starting to realize it might be best to map out the remaining years of school to be certain I cover everything. Do you have a suggested plan of study available to help guide my thinking?

A. That is a very wise idea; we all need a plan of where we are going to be confident that we will arrive. We have two resources to help. First, both our catalog and website are organized by grade level. That way you can see our curricular recommendations for each grade. (The website can also be viewed by subject if you prefer.) Also available on our website, in the diploma area, are suggested model courses of study for two different levels in grammar and four different levels in secondary. Simply click on this grammar link to view both for grades K-6.  For grades 7-12, click this secondary link, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and choose which level you wish to view by clicking "Model Course of Study" in that level. This link is for the standard level.


Please submit any questions you’d like answered here to





Photo Contest Winners

We received some fabulous entries, and choosing the winners was very difficult. Nevertheless, we have named the three winners.  Take a look at the winning photos and some of the others here.



$100 First Prize

Katie Patchell   age 15

Belleville, PA

$  50 Second Prize

Martita McGowan

Charlotte, NC

$  25 Third Prize

Connor Basilici   age 15

Quévy-le-Grand, Belgium

Honorable Mention

Kyle Farran

Pilgrim's Rest, South Africa

Honorable Mention

Olivia Furnell   age 13

Simpsonville, SC

Honorable Mention

Bethany Wood

Hopkins, SC

Honorable Mention

Daniel Latham   age 14

Rehoboth, MA

Honorable Mention

Caroline Mills   age 11

Garland, TX



Registration for Veritas Press Scholars Academy 2011-12 School Year

Registration for online courses in Veritas Press Scholars Academy (VPSA) for Fall 2011 (and Summer, too) has been going on since the beginning of February. Our explosive growth in our live teacher-led courses has been both exciting and a little hectic. You'll see some new offerings alongside the standards you've come to expect. If you haven’t looked into these, don’t hesitatethey fill up fast. Click here to view the schedule.


Omnibus III Courses offered for other side of the world

We have been so pleased to welcome students from across the world into our VPSA classes. We understand, though, that for some families, this has meant waking up early or staying up late. To serve these families better, we are offering two Omnibus III classes in 2011–12 designed to meet the scheduling needs of families from other time zones. These 9:00 p.m. Eastern classes will have an equivalent start at 5:00 p.m. in Anchorage, 4:00 p.m. in Honolulu, 3:00 p.m. in Auckland, 12:00 p.m. in Sydney, 11:00 a.m. in Tokyo, 10:00 a.m. in Hong Kong, and 7:30 a.m. in Mumbai. If this is well-received, we will consider offering more classes in this type of time slot in the future.


History Self-Paced Courses

Feedback continues to be great on these new self-paced courses. We now believe this is the very best way for students to grasp and master the material. Click here to read what customers have said. We had thousands of takers on the recent free trial and many have continued. Registration is now open as follows:


Course (click on the title to learn more)



Old Testament and Ancient Egypt History



New Testament, Greece and Rome



Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation



Explorers to 1815



1815 to the Present

Sept. 2011

Not Yet Available


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


Veritas Press In-A-Week Courses

Don't miss our “In-A-Week” adult education courses which are planned for this summer. These intensive classes are geared to teachers or parents. We are offering Latin and several levels of Omnibus classes—all taught online by outstanding teachers with considerable expertise in the material. What better way to prepare yourself to teach these courses or just learn the material for your own edification? Please be encouraged to join us for these great opportunities. Look for an announcement and the opening of registration for it in the next couple weeks.


Latin In-A-Week                    June 13-17      Joanna Hensley

Latin In-A-Week                    July 11-15       Joanna Hensley

Omnibus I In-A-Week           June 27-July 1 Bruce Etter

Omnibus II In-A-Week          June 20-24      Graham Dennis

Omnibus III In-A-Week         June 27-July 1 Graham Dennis


Our Teacher Training conference, normally held near the end of July, will not take place this year.



Future Job Openings with Veritas Press Scholars Academy

Online Teachers—We are hiring now for next year and into the future! Don't wait if you are interested. 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 Bruce Etter.


Interesting Facts about Veritas Press

In February we asked, How many course registrations will there be for the 2011–2012 VPSA school year from Feb. 1–15?The correct answer was 2,589. Lisa Figueroa of Buellton, CA, won the $25 gift certificate with the closest answer.


The Interesting Facts question feature is on Spring Break and will return in the future.





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