Archive for October, 2009

Orson Welles & H.G. Wells Speak to Homeschoolers

It was 71 years ago today that Orson Welles narrated H.G. Wells “War of the Worlds” on CBS radio- a broadcast which sent the whole nation into terror as listeners believed the United States had actually been invaded by Martians. The first 40 minutes of the one hour broadcast was simulated news bulletins which sounded absolutely real to terrified listeners on October 30, 1938.

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I often see fear bordering on hysteria running through homeschool circles: fear of government intervention, fear of our children not being able to get into college, fear of “worldliness” infecting our children, fear of what others think of our choice to homeschool, fear about the subject of socialization- the list is endless. The enemy will terrorize you with all sorts of “drama” that isn’t real- just like “War of the Worlds.”

In Hebrews 13:5-6 we read these words: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.‘”

Did you catch that? As those who love the Lord we have NOTHING to fear. God is with us and will never forsake us. That doesn’t mean we won’t face trials- even difficult trials at times. But we have nothing to fear; the Lord is our helper.

When all those around you are being terrified of the next “drama” the enemy unfolds among homeschoolers- see that you’re the exception to the mass hysteria which so often accompanies these stories. YOU be firmly planted in faith and don’t fall for the hysteria which terrorizes those around you.

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Muhammad Ali Speaks to Homeschoolers

49 years ago today, Muhammad Ali (known at that time as Cassius Clay) fought his first professional boxing match, winning in six rounds. October 29, 1960 marked the beginning of a remarkable career for a fighter whose self-proclaimed strategy came to be known as “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”

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Interestingly, that’s not TOO FAR off from Jesus’ words in Mt. 10:16 when He said, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

They certainly aren’t word for word paraphrases but there is a distinct similarity. Whether you think of it as “innocent as doves” or “floating like a butterfly” the imagery brings to mind the thought of treading lightly, moving softly, causing no harm and staying just above the ruckus.

And whether you think of it as being “wise (or shrewd) as a serpent (or snake)” or “stinging like a bee” the imagery again overlaps a bit, suggesting a wary creature that is capable of defense when necessary, moving with deliberate purpose and cunning at times.

If we’re to be effective homeschoolers we need to take the words of Jesus to heart- or perhaps lay hold of Muhammad Ali’s imagery if it leaves a more vivid impression. We need to move harmlessly and peaceably through the world around us which is antagonistic toward Christian ideals and objectives. But at the same time we need to be wise or even cunning- certainly not naive’. We need to strike quickly and effectively at anything which seeks to destroy our privilege as parents to teach our own children.

Whether that happens in a ballot booth, or in a discussion with a local public educator we need to be peaceable as doves or butterflies until our freedoms are threatened- then we need to be ALL BUSINESS!

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The Massachusetts Bay Colony Speaks to Homeschoolers

373 years ago today the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony voted to establish the first college in what would eventually become the United States. October 28th, 1636 the legal foundation for Harvard University was established.

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With an ACT score of 31-34, an SAT score in the 2080-2370 range and $47,215 per year for tuition, your high school son or daughter can apply for acceptance at Harvard today. There are few more prestigious schools than Harvard and it certainly makes for a good education and an impressive resume.

That said- education is free. Absolutely, completely, totally, 100% FREE! It’s free for your sons. It’s free for your daughters. And it’s free for you and your spouse. All you have to do to get an education is to open your mind, open a book and begin. Education rains down as freely on us all as sunshine or oxygen. It’s there for the taking for anyone who wants it.

We often refer to education as if it’s something done TO someone- a passive act like having a root canal. “They gave him the best education money could buy” is a common phrase we’ve all heard. But education is never an act of passivity. NO ONE can “give” you an education- even if you pay $47, 215 a year to have them do it.

YOU have to want it, go after it, devour it and absorb it. It’s an active pursuit rather than a passive one. Do your children know this? Did you? Have you thought about it? Your children need to hunger and thirst for learning.

Proverbs 18:15 reminds us, “The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out.”

Did you catch that? ACQUIRE! SEEK! Those are ACTIVE words. From pre-school to the grave, education is there for the taking. For the wise and the discerning it’s readily available for those who read, ask questions and seek knowledge.

Tell your children this important truth today. Remind them that it’s THEIR education we’re talking about- a right that NO ONE can deny them except for themselves. THEY are the ONLY ONES who can deny themselves an education- if they don’t care enough to pursue it, seek it out and acquire it.

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Matt Drudge Speaks to Homeschoolers

Matt Drudge describes himself as a D-Student, perfectly qualified to work the night counter at 7-Eleven, which in fact he did. Drudge also worked at McDonald’s, as a tele-marketer and as a sales assistant at a grocery store. Born 43 years ago today on October 27, 1966 Drudge’s father bought him a personal computer in 1994 hoping Drudge might find something worthwhile to do with his life.

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And he did. What began as an email newsletter to a few friends has now become one of the world’s most-watched websites, capable of influencing presidents and news organizations worldwide. The Drudge Report is visited by more than 3 million people daily and Drudge reportedly earns in excess of $2 million annually from advertising on his website- a far cry form the numerous minimum wage jobs Drudge held after high school.

The life of Matt Drudge demonstrates to every parent and every child that there is NO absolute connection between academic achievement and life potential. While it’s good to work hard in our studies and make good grades if we can, it’s not essential that we be at the top of our class academically. Drudge, in fact, graduated 341st out of 355 students in high graduating class.

But he found something he liked doing and he worked at it- hard. He worked at it every day until he became the best at what he did. In Ecclesiastes 9:10 King Solomon suggests, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…”

Isn’t that interesting? One of the not-so-secret secrets of this life is to find something worth doing and then do it with all your might. Anyone who follows that formula will succeed. That’s a truth worth telling your children. And it’s a truth worth believing in your own life. Even if you weren’t a great student yourself, effort can make all the difference! If you’ve decided to homeschool- then do it with all your might. If you’ve decided to become a Christ-follower, then follow Him with all your might.

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Wyatt Earp Speaks to Homeschoolers

128 years ago today a gunfight took place in a narrow alley just off Fremont Street in Tombstone, AZ. Thanks to a 1950’s movie this event became known as the gunfight at the O.K. corral- which was actually several blocks away. When the shooting was over three cowboys were dead and three lawmen were injured. Wyatt Earp’s reputation as a gunfighter was largely a result of the fact that he was the only participant who escaped unharmed.

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There’s an old saying about the young man who was born on third base and grew up thinking he’d hit a triple. Wyatt Earp was a bit like that, wasn’t he? He carried a reputation as a great gunfighter primarily because he was lucky enough to not get shot during the 30+ gunshot chaos that took place in that narrow alley on October 26, 1881.

Are you like that? Have you been blessed by the Lord and begun to think of yourself as being better than some of your friends? I know I have! For whatever reason, sometimes it seems like we’re the last one still standing and it’s too easy to think of ourselves as being great “gunfighters” just because everybody around us has been wounded.

Take homeschooling for instance. If your children are growing in wisdom and stature while your friends and neighbors children seem to be having one problem after another it may be because you’re the greatest parent, teacher and motivator ever born. Or- it may be because the Lord has extended His mercy and grace over your family.

Paul urges us in Romans 12:3 “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought…”

I wonder if Wyatt Earp knew that verse. I know that I find it all-too-easy to think more highly of myself than I ought sometimes. The Lord chooses to extend mercy and grace over our lives or the lives of our children and the next thing you know we begin thinking of ourselves as better parents, better providers or better teachers than our friends and neighbors.

Let us all remember to thank the Lord for His provision in our lives and humbly acknowledge that just because you don’t get shot in the melee doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a great gunfighter.

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Bail-Out Executives Speak to Homeschoolers

President Obama’s plan to restrict the pay of top executives of the firms who received the largest bail-out amounts fills the news this week. While some object to government dictating corporate pay policies, one important truth remains: Our rewards are directly related to our results. Or at least they should be.

For executives to receive a $10 million dollar pay package after steering their companies toward bankruptcy, ultimately requiring massive infusion of tens of billions of dollars to prevent their complete collapse strikes most Americans as unfair and downright wrong.

Paul puts it quite simply in 2 Thes 3:10, “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘If a man will not work, he shall not eat.'”

Our children need to learn this simple truth without President Obama needing to come and tell them. In this life our rewards are directly related to our productivity- in every area except one.

And that of course is the area of eternal life where our works don’t amount to a hill of beans. In Ephesians 2:4-10 Paul reminds us, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Our children need to know this too. Talk with your children today about the areas in which our reward is the result of our works- and about the one area in which this isn’t true. We ALL need to know the difference.

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Curly Howard Speaks to Homeschoolers – Nyuk! Nyuk! Nyuk!

On October 22, 1903 Jerome Lester Horwitz was born. Most of us know him simply as “Curly” of the Three Stooges. Dead now for nearly 60 years Curly remains as popular with audiences today as he was in his prime in the 1930’s.

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Few people know that when he was 12 years old, Curly accidentally shot himself in the left ankle while cleaning a rifle. His older brother Moe rushed him to the hospital and saved his life. But the gunshot resulted in a lifelong limp which Curly refused to have repaired because of his overwhelming fear of surgery. It was this limp which caused Curly to develop his exaggerated, peculiar walk on screen- one of his most memorable pieces of creative acting.

Perhaps you or one of your children has what some might perceive as a “handicap”- either physical, mental or emotional. Perhaps the Lord would like to use that “weakness” to make you strong in another area. For instance, those who are born blind, become much better at hearing than those who have sight.

Is there something in your life or the lives of your children than the Lord can turn to your advantage? Perhaps you recall that Moses suffered some sort of speech impediment. Paul had some sort of physical handicap. The list is long of God choosing to use what appear to be “the weak things” of this world to accomplish His purposes.

In 2 Cor. 12:9 Paul observes, “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

Whatever your circumstance, ask Him today how He might want to use you or your children for His glory and to accomplish His purposes. Remember how the birth of Curly 106 years ago today and his accidental gunshot wound at age 12 gave the world one of its greatest comedic actors in part because his “weakness” to helped bring joy to others.

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