Saturday, March 19, 2011

Homepreschool and Beyond

Homepreschool and Beyond
A Comprehensive Guide to Early Home Education
By Susan Lemons
Liberty Books
Paperback, 294 pages

With schools pressured to push little ones to perform, our homes can offer the opposite – a loving shelter from the storm – and that is precisely what Susan teaches us in her valuable book “Homepreschool and Beyond”. She is not out to sell you products but to show you how to best incorporate meaningful material. There are ideas galore on how to serve a “tasty meal” of reading, writing, and arithmetic laced with living books, physical development, history, music, and more. This is a treasure chest waiting to be explored by any parent willing to learn. She shows you how to reach reasonable academic goals with a healthy balance between books, skill-building, and play. A thirty page Appendix delivers a rich smorgasbord of resources, thought-provoking questions to discuss with your spouse, helps to build a spiritual foundation for education in the home, and valuable links from the worldwide web. We recommend the book highly to get you off to a great start.
Happy Homepreschooling! –Peggy Berg

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin

The First American by H.W. Brands was a very rewarding study and enjoyable book to read. I shared so much of the book with my family that they feel like they have read the book. That happens to me often when I am really involved in my study and read delightful character descriptions, make connections that I had not seen before, or finally understand where some popular sayings come from like some of Ben Franklin's sayings which are from his famous Poor Richard's Almanac. Ben Franklin is often said to be one of the least "religious" founding fathers. Even Atheists like to claim him as their own. However, I observed in the reading of this account that Ben Franklin, the older he got, the more he held Christian beliefs. In many respects he was quite orthodox in his understanding of Christianity. But he was unsure about the deity of Jesus Christ, something he admittedly had never studied in more detail. Living in a predominantly Christian culture, he adopted biblical truths as his own. Here is an excerpt from the book that was to the point: "Here is my creed. I believe in one God, creator of the universe. That he governs it by his providence. That he ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable service we render to him is doing good to his other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental principles of all sound religion, and I regard them as you do [Stiles shared Franklin's tolerance] in whatever sect I meet with them. As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of morals and his religion, as he left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupting changes, and I have, with most of the present Dissenters in England, some doubts as to his divinity; though it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the truth with less trouble. I see no harm, however, in its being believed, if that belief has the good consequence, as it probably has, of making his doctrines more respected and better observed, especially as I do not perceive that the Supreme takes it amiss, by distinguishing the unbelievers in his government of the world with any peculiar marks of his displeasure. I shall only add, respecting myself, that having experienced the goodness of that Being in conducting me prosperously through a long life, I have no doubt of its continuance in the next, though without she smallest conceit of meriting such goodness." (pg. 707)