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President James Buchanan Speaks to Homeschoolers

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153 years ago today James Buchanan was elected President of the United States. Buchanan graduated with honors from Dickinson College 200 years ago on September 19, 1809, served in the War of 1812 and had already served in the US House of Representatives, the US Senate, as US Minister to the United Kingdom and been offered a seat on the US Supreme court- which he turned down. November 4, 1856 marked the culmination of his accomplished academic and professional life.

But what you may not know is that James Buchanan was expelled from college for poor behavior. He appealed for a second chance and was given that opportunity. Buchanan obviously learned from his mistake and made the most of his merciful reprieve.

Do you need a second chance? Most of us do at one time or another. Whether it’s in parenting, marriage, our spiritual life, homeschooling, financial management, friendships or any of 100 other areas. God is in the business of second chances and if you’ll take to heart the lessons from past mistakes like James Buchanan you can change the future together with the Lord.

Tell your children the story of James Buchanan and his second chance. Maybe THEY need a new beginning today too.

 

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Chevrolet Speaks to Homeschoolers

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No, this isn’t about baseball and apple pie, nor is it about “the heartbeat of America.” In fact, it’s not even about the automobile specifically, but rather the man behind the automobile; Louis Chevrolet. It was 98 years ago today that Louis Chevrolet and his partner Will Durant officially entered the automobile market- competing against Henry Ford’s Model T.

Durant was the business man and Chevrolet was the engineer, having designed and built his own overhead valve 6-cylinder engine. Chevrolet was also a race car driver, having met Durant when Durant hired him to race Buicks for the company.

Together, the pair teamed up to form what would eventually become the best-selling motor car company in American history. But before that happened, there was a disagreement over the design of the Chevrolet and Chevrolet sold his interest in the company to Durant. Durant later merged Chevrolet into General Motors.

Louis Chevrolet died penniless at age 62. In one of the worst business deals in history, Chevrolet had sold the birthright to his automobile- indeed he had sold his own name.

It reminds me of the story of Esau and Jacob in Genesis 25. As you recall, Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of stew that Jacob had prepared. Esau’s hungry stomach ruled his heart and head in another terrible business deal.

Did you know that you have certain birthrights? One of those is the right to teach your own children. But every day some of us are choosing to sell our birthright for a few dollars by enrolling our children in charter schools and other quasi-government programs in exchange for a free computer or free textbooks. Like Louis Chevrolet and Esau- we’ve sold our inheritance for a pittance.

Purpose in your heart today to follow the Lord on this homeschooling journey. If HE tells you to enroll your children in school then do it cheerfully and obediently. But if financial pressures and “hunger” tempt you to sell your long-term birthright for a “bowl of stew” today, remember the story of Louis Chevrolet who died penniless after selling his own name and design to someone else.

 

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Mississippi John Hurt Speaks to Homeschoolers

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Black blues/country/bluegrass musician Mississippi John Hurt died 43 years ago today. Born in either 1892 or 1893 (depending on which account you choose to believe) John Hurt began playing guitar at age 9. At age 36 he recorded an album on the OKEH label and then disappeared from the music scene until he was more than 70 years old. During all those years Hurt continued singing and playing guitar for local dances in rural Mississippi but he worked as a sharecropper and lived in musical obsurity.

He was “found” and brought back to the national music scene during the last 3 years of his life from 1963 to 1966 recording numerous albums and appearing on the Johnny Carson show. So think this through- this legendary musician worked manual labor and lived in musical obscurity his entire life with the exception of 1928, and the last three years of his life from ages 71-74. Yet he is remembered and revered as one of the great roots music musicians of the 20th century.

Sometimes the Lord chooses to have us work in obscurity for most of our lives. Sometimes our contribution isn’t really appreciated until we’re 70-years-old or even older. Sometimes it’s never appreciated. But the gifts that were imparted to us remain alive even when the spotlight isn’t on us. We are charged to use the gifts we’ve been given even if nobody’s watching.

Talk with your children about Mississippi John Hurt who died on November 2, 1966. Watch this remarkable video of a 70+ year old Mississippi John Hart singing “You Got to Walk That Lonesome Valley” and enjoy the gifts and talents of a man who spent most of his life as a Mississippi sharecropper.

(NOTE- Well, an hour of working with WordPress to successfully embed a YouTube video or even a link has been unsuccessful. SO- go to YouTube (www.youtube.com) and SEARCH using “Mississippi John Hurt Lonesome Valley” in the search box- THEN Watch the video! I suggest the 3:25 version instead of the 2:51 version.)

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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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