Opening – by Marlin Detweiler
Feature Article – Fathers in Education by Steve Demme
Educational Helps – by Laurie Detweiler
Our friend, Steve Demme, owner of Math-U-See, has provided us our feature article this month. Steve brings a great deal of wisdom from his experiences as a father and shares it regularly with families through his public speaking. We hope you enjoy the article.
Fathers in Education
In 1977 I wrote a paper entitled the “Millennial View of Education.” The assignment was given in a class called “Christian Schools.” Until the Supreme Court outlawed prayer in the public schools (1962), very few Christians saw the need for Christian education. But when God was asked to not be a part of our education system, Bible-based instruction began to blossom. In our class we studied the history, philosophy, and practice of Christian education and even had the opportunity to visit local Christian schools. Many parents wanted to get back to the good ol’ days when we began each day with a Scripture reading, perhaps a psalm, a brief prayer or the Lord’s Prayer, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. I am old enough to remember those days—I was 10 when this practice ceased.
My paper was not a backward look, but rather an attempt to articulate a vision or the ideal form of education. Instead of wanting to get back to the familiar, I was desirous of God’s idea of education. I theorized that if there were a millennium in the future, who would do the teaching, what would the curriculum look like, and where would the teaching take place? I didn’t want to assume what it would be, instead I wanted to know what God thought, and headed for the concordance.
This is before personal computers, and I reached for my trusty hard-backed Young’s Concordance and began to look up every verse related to education I could think of. Teach, teaching, teacher, instruct, instruction, etc. After compiling these scriptures I penned the paper and came to the conclusion that parents were to be the primary educators of their children, and the curriculum was to be based on the word of God. Deuteronomy and Proverbs had the most verses pertaining to the topic.
Deuteronomy 6:5-7 And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
I noticed that the responsibility was placed jointly on parents. In our culture it seems that religious education falls heavily upon the mother, but Scripture has a different message.
Proverbs 6:20 My son, observe the commandment of your father, And do not forsake the teaching of your mother;
I also observed some verses that encouraged fathers specifically.
Deuteronomy 32:7 Remember the days of old, Consider the years of all generations. Ask your father, and he will inform you.
The responsibility fell upon parents to teach the truth as revealed in the word of God to their children. But how do we “teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way”? I believe we do this intentionally and in the everyday context of living. The message is delivered in our talk and our walk.
The morning after Noah Webster committed his life to Christ he called his family together and asked their forgiveness for not fulfilling his responsibility as a parent, and from that day to the end of his life he taught his family the word of God.
In our heart of hearts we recognize the call of God to parents to instruct their children. Sunday school and youth groups may supplement the home, but it is our privilege and opportunity to teach and train our children to live forever.
In our family it took years before regular family worship times became a part of our daily life. Not growing up in a home where this was practiced I had not seen a family altar. But with God’s help and my wife’s encouragement, it became the high point of the day. We used to define a successful day as one where we studied God’s word together, did our language arts, and our math homework. Anything beyond this was considered gravy!
Our practice was to begin with prayer and invite Jesus to fulfill the word and be where two or three were gathered together. With God’s spirit present, we then read a chapter of Scripture aloud, taking turns reading 2-3 verses a piece. Time permitting, we would discuss what we had read, and sing a hymn. Then we committed what we had discussed in prayer.
The most effective teacher this world has ever seen is Jesus. What made his message so compelling was that his walk matched his talk. His life was absolutely consistent with his message.
Acts 1:1 The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach.
Jesus is the Word, made flesh. As the divine incarnation, He is the only inspired illustration.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Even though God is working in my life and I am being transformed into his image, I am not the Word made flesh. I have aimed at preaching what I was practicing. But I have fallen short many times. There is no other alternative but to apologize, ask forgiveness and then get back on the horse.
Proverbs 24:16 For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again.
Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinks within himself, so he is.
Living the word before our children and teaching it to them is critical and essential. But all knowledge must be based on God’s word. The authority of Scripture must be absolute not only in family devotions, but in history, science, language arts, art, music, and math. We undermine all of the good work in teaching our children the word of God in family worship and church if we do not follow through and appeal to the word of God as inspired and authoritative in “academic” disciplines as well as in “spiritual” disciplines.
Numerous studies have indicated that at least 75% of church-going youth children are leaving the church in high school and college and that the seeds were sown before they entered the teen years. The battle is whether God’s word is the final authority, and the battlefield is a literal interpretation of Genesis. If creation is not the recognized or assumed basis for truth, the house of knowledge will have a shaky foundation.
If Jesus is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all. God’s word is either inspired from the very first verse, or it isn’t inspired in any verse. If man is left to decide which parts of Scripture are accurate, then man becomes the final arbiter of what is true and what is false. All Scripture is inspired by God, whether the wisdom of this world and her experts agree or not.
Let us not be among those who “refused to have God in their knowledge” (Romans 1:28) or those who were “fashioned according to this world” but rather those peculiar people who were “transformed by the renewing of their mind” (Romans 12:2).
and Sandra Demme have been married for more than 29 years. Their union has been
blessed with four sons: Isaac, 28; Ethan, 26; Joseph, 23; and Johnny, 21. With
God's help, each of the Demme boys enjoyed a home education.
In addition to developing the Math-U-See books and learning tools, Steve speaks at homeschool conferences, addressing a variety of topics in the hopes of encouraging parents in their God-given responsibilities to raise and train their children for His glory. Steve's desire is to understand God's word and practice it, beginning at home.
This is the time of year when I always looked for some fun and different activities for my children to do. One of my favorite things is to study the lives of artists. We have always been blessed to live near museums where our children could see famous works of art. Today we are so fortunate to have the Internet—many great works of art are just a click away if it is not possible for you to see them up close. I have asked our friend and graphic designer, Ned Bustard, to put together a short unit study you may download by clicking here on the lives of different artists. You will also see we are having a coloring contest using some coloring pages based on some famous works. Choose one of the coloring pages from the download on the lives of famous artist for the coloring contest.
Here are the details for the coloring contest: A $50 gift certificate from Veritas Press will be given to the family who sends us the picture we judge best in each age group. There will be winners in each of three age categories: 3 to 5, 6 to 9, and 10 to12. Colored pictures must include child's name, age, family e-mail and phone contact information written on the back. Submissions must arrive at Veritas Press, 1829 William Penn Way, Lancaster, PA 17601 by 5:00 PM EST March 24, 2010. Winners will be announced in the April epistula.
In his book Simply Christian, N.T. Wright writes: “The arts are not pretty but irrelevant bits around the border of reality. They are highways into the center of a reality which cannot be glimpsed, let alone grasped, any other way. The present world is good, but broken and in any case incomplete; art of all kinds enables us to understand that paradox in its many dimensions. But the present world is also designed for something which has not yet happened. It is like a violin waiting to be played; beautiful to look at, graceful to hold—and yet if you’d never heard one in the hands of a musician, you wouldn’t believe the new dimensions of beauty yet to be revealed. Perhaps art can show something of that, can glimpse the future possibilities pregnant within the present time. It is like a chalice: again, beautiful to look at, pleasing to hold, but waiting to be filled with the wine which, itself full of sacramental possibilities, gives the chalice its fullest meaning. Perhaps art can help us to look beyond the immediate beauty with all its puzzles, and to glimpse that new creation which makes sense not only of beauty but of the world as a whole, and ourselves within it.”
The Art Report file contains coloring pages and report pages for several pieces of art by famous artists. Choose one or two to color and study. Find the original piece of art in a book, online, or in the Veritas Press Phonics Museum and study it before writing the report. Then track down the dates for the life of the artist, the date of the painting, the art movement that the painting belongs to, and finally, write a description of the artwork. This description should be like a book or movie review, describing the piece for people who have never seen it.
After completing this project, spend some time studying other pieces of art. A book I discovered recently in Baltimore at the Walters Art Museum called How to Talk to Children about Art offers some suggestions by age group of what kinds of art on which to focus the attention of your student.
• Warm, bright colors. Statistics show that a small child’s favorite color tends to be red
• The appearance of relief because it “looks real”
• Art that reproduces textures (fabric, hair, fur, etc.)
• Pictures of people-a lady, a baby, etc.-and of familiar places-a countryside, a garden, a village, a beach, etc. (subjects often found in Impressionist paintings)
• Clear expressions of emotions—love, laughter, crying, or surprise
• Simple compositions with one central person and very few other elements
• Paintings full of color and/or contrast
• Pictures with a story behind them
• Situations of conflict where good triumphs over evil
•Pictures that make you laugh or make fun of others
• Strange-or monstrous-looking people
• The artist’s personality and the main points of the artist’s life
• Why a picture was painted at a particular point in an artist’s life
• The way a picture is put together —for example, the illusion of depth created by the use of perspective
• The technique used by the artist or sculptor to visually express a feeling or an idea
• Symbols which, once deciphered give access to a whole network of hidden meanings (Why is there a dove in this painting? What does the lighted candle mean?)
• Comparing works by different artists that deal with the same or similar subject matter (spotting the similarities and the differences)
Steve Demme, the author of this month's lead article, has been speaking to and encouraging parent educators for years. If you haven't had the pleasure of hearing him, we are offering the link to several of his talks. We recommend those below which correspond to the topics he addressed above. Enjoy!
These links take you to a page of several talks; scroll down to the player for the particular title:
Q. Help! Our new puppy got a hold of several of our Bible cards and … well, they are unusable. Do I have to buy the entire card set to replace them?
A. Be of good cheer, we’ve all had our share of incidents like this. We are happy to provide individual cards to you for $1.50 each (includes shipping). Be sure to tell us which Bible set (or History) you need and the title or the number of the card that is missing or unusable. By the way, we discovered long ago that the cost of laminating the cards is more than worth it so that the cards are still in pristine shape for younger children who will need them later. Lamination also prevents unfortunate incidents with any of the typical household hazards which can render the card unusable.
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Veritas Press Course Registration for 2010-11 School Year
Course registrations in Veritas Press Scholars online courses is off and running. Our explosive growth in our live teacher-led courses has been both exciting and a little hectic. If you are considering any of these classes, don’t hesitate—they are filling up fast. Click here to check them out.
Calling All Practical Jokers: Student Writing Contest for April epistula
There are still a few days remaining to submit an entry. Because the April epistula will arrive in your mailbox on April 1, we want these budding student authors to let their creative juices flow for an article appropriate to be published on April Fool's Day.
Details: Authors may write on any topic that seems appropriate for the day. Ideas might include a spoof, reciting a past practical joke, etc.—let your imagination run wild. Submissions of 800–1,200 words; author's name, age and grade, address, telephone number, and e-mail address must be included on upper right hand corner of submissions. The author must be in high school or younger. Submissions must be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5:00 PM EST March 12, 2009. The winner will also receive a $100 gift certificate.
Veritas Press Teacher Training and In-A-Week Courses
Don't miss our teacher training and “In-A-Week” courses which are planned for this summer. Last year we offered these online only. The feedback was very good, and we plan the same for this year. Our teacher training conference is scheduled for July 28–30, 2010. We also plan to again offer intense training in what have come to be called “In-A-Week” classes. These classes are also geared to teachers, and we expect to have them for Latin and several 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.
Latin In-A-Week July 19-23 Joanna Hensley
Latin In-A-Week July 26-30 Joanna Hensley
Omnibus I In-A-Week June 21-25 Bruce Etter
Omnibus I In-A-Week July 12-16 Bruce Etter
Omnibus II In-A-Week June 7-11 Graham Dennis
Omnibus III In-A-Week June 21-25 Graham Dennis
Teacher Training July 28-30 Various speakers
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.
18th Annual ACCS Conference
The Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS) national conference will be held June 17-19, 2010 in Durham, North Carolina. 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 Os Guinness, George Grant, Matt Whitling, and Douglas Wilson. Practical workshops will teach the implementation of classical Christian education. Marlin and Laurie Detweiler are scheduled to attend and speak, as well. Click here for more information or contact the ACCS office at (208) 882-6101.
Future Job Openings with Veritas Press Scholars Academy
Online Teachers—We are hiring now for next year! 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 email@example.com.
Interesting Facts about Veritas Press
In February we asked, “Outside the US and Canada, in which country did we do the most business during 2009?” The answer was Australia. Bridget Meyer of Rockford, MN, was the first to answer correctly and received a $25 gift certificate. We thought we’d try another fun question. The first person to email the correct answer to firstname.lastname@example.org will again receive a $25 gift certificate. Here’s the question:
In 2009 what was the most ordered item published by Veritas Press?
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