Phonics or Sight Words: What is the Best Method for Teaching Reading?

Recently, Alex Newman, was a guest on The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, with Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella, to address the current state of education in our nation. During that conversation Alex covered the very important topic of teaching reading through phonics or sight words (also called “look say,” “see say,” whole-word, or whole-language method).

Yvette Hampton:           I want to go back to something that you talked about just a little while ago. You were talking about phonics versus other methods of teaching reading. Talk about that a little bit, because I know that’s something that you’ve studied, and I understand the difference between the two, but I’ve never actually heard anyone explain how has that played into what’s happening today in education?

Alex Newman:              I’ll try to condense it into as quick a time as possible. It’s such a huge subject, but it’s such an important subject. I had the chance to work with Sam Blumenfeldwho was banging the drums on this for 60 years, so I’m so glad you asked me that because I know there’s a lot of homeschool moms out there right now who are thinking about this exact thing. And I know how hard it is because my wife and I — me knowing all this — we tried to go out and find phonics books for our children and we’d order one and we’d open it up and the first page would say, “Here’s the list of sight words your children are going to remember.” Oh my goodness. Kick me in the face, please. Really?!?

Alex Newman:              I’ll try to boil it down quick. There are two basic ways today of teaching reading, and then there are some variations on those, but for simplicity’s sake, let’s just call it two. There’s the phonics method, which has been used from the time we had our written alphabet, going back clear to the Phoenicians. It was an incredible development in human ingenuity. Instead of having symbols represent words or ideas, we had symbols that represented sounds. And so a P makes a “puh” sound and an O makes a “ah” sound, and a P is a “puh” sound, and so that spells, “pop.” That’s very, very simple. That’s phonics. Each symbol represents one or more sounds. You blend those together and then you can decipher any word that you might come across. I mean, it could just be any combination of symbols, and you can sound that out and understand what it’s supposed to mean, assuming it has meaning.

Alex Newman:              The other basic way of teaching reading, which is used all over the United States today, is the whole-word method. It’s got such a bad smell, they started coming up with new disguises for it. They call it the “sight word” method and the “look say” method and now they’ve got “whole-language”. They introduced some caveats and stuff to try to conceal the craziness. But the heart of this one is, you treat the words as symbols themselves. And of course, words are not symbols. Words are collections of symbols that you can sound out to determine what that word means. So the history of this is really instructive.

Alex Newman:              I mean, I don’t want to give any bad feelings toward the people who developed this. They were actually good Christians who had the best of intentions. The guy was called Reverend Gallaudet. He was running an asylum for … they called it the deaf and the dumb back then … in Connecticut, and what he said was, “Well, we can’t teach a deaf child how to sound out a word because you can’t teach a deaf child what the symbol corresponds with in terms of sounds. So, what if …” And he got this idea from some French monastery where they had been trying this out on deaf and mute children. “So, what if we teach the children to memorize entire words as if the word itself were a symbol?” So, take the word “cat” as an example. If you were teaching it phonetically, you would say a C is a “cuh,” an A is a “aah, and a T is a “tuh,” and so the child could then read that by deciphering what each of those symbols stands for.

Alex Newman:              Gallaudet’s method – he actually created a primer for this in early America – was, “Let’s teach the children how to decipher ‘cat’ just from the symbol.” So, C-A-T, you don’t decipher that as a C, an A, and a T. When you see the squiggly lines like that, that means “cat,” and you can memorize those. And what he figured out was really smart kids could memorize hundreds, and really, really smart kids could maybe even memorize thousands of words that way. And so, if you’re a deaf child and you’ve never been able to access the written word because you can’t hear sounds, that is an enormous leap forward in terms of being able to communicate with the world. It was a great development.

Alex Newman:              But then Horace Mann said, “Hey, why don’t we try this in the public schools that I’ve created in Boston?” And they did, and it only took a few years for the quackery to be exposed. I’ve actually got a book behind me right here, The New Illiterates, by Dr. Sam Blumenfeld in 1973, and he has got a treasury in there. In the appendix, he republished the letter that the schoolmasters from all the public schools in Boston wrote to Horace Mann about this quackery that he had put into the schools, teaching non-deaf children to read using the whole-word method. It’s beautiful, it’s eloquent. It’s not written like it would be today. “You’re a poo poo head and we don’t like you, so you should be quiet.” It’s just a beautiful, eloquent explanation of why the whole-word method is not a proper way for teaching reading when you have a phonetic … In China, that’s how they do because that’s the writing system they have. For them, a symbol actually represents a word, so you actually have to memorize tens of thousands of symbols. Our writing system is not like that.

Alex Newman:              So they took it apart, they dismantled it, and in this beautiful essay they said, “Sorry, Mr. Mann. We tried it. It didn’t work.” They actually explained that the children were getting symptoms of what we would today call dyslexia. They said they couldn’t read. They would read words backwards

We didn’t hear about it again until our good friend John Dewey came along and said, “Hey, let’s resurrect that whole-word method.” And he tried it out in that experimental school that the Rockefellers funded. Actually, the kids graduated illiterate. They couldn’t read properly. And John Dewey thought, “Hey, this will be perfect. Let’s create some reading primers.” And he did. He created the Dick and Jane series, which a lot of our parents and our grandparents used. “See Spot run. Run, Spot, run.” This is just teaching the children to memorize the whole word.

Alex Newman:              Now, this is ubiquitous in America. Now, there are still a lot of rogue teachers who will defy the Common Core standards and who will use only phonics, but if the administration figures it out, if the school board figures it out, if the state superintendent figures it out, there’s going to be a big problem. Now, a lot of parents now have figured this out, so they teach their children to read using phonics before they send them to school. And after you know how to read using phonics, all the sight words in the world are not going to hurt you. But it’s such a tragedy and it’s so unnecessary. America was the most literate society on the planet before this innovation came. If you look at the literacy data we have from the early 1800s it is very clear. Dupont de Nemours did a study of literacy in the United States in 1812. He said “not more than 4 in 1,000 young people were unable to read and write even legibly,” he said.

Aby Rinella:                  Wow.

Alex Newman:              If you look at the reading statistics from the government today, they will tell you that most of our children today are below basic proficiency. We have tens of millions … maybe a hundred million, maybe more … who are functionally illiterate. Some parts of Washington DC, half the population is functionally illiterate, and the reason why is very simple. They were taught to memorize words rather than to sound out the words.

Alex Newman:              So, what they do under Common Core now, they say, “Well, first we’re going to do the sight words, then we’ll sprinkle in a little bit of phonics,” after you’ve already built that faulty reflex in your brain. And so that really does enormous, devastating damage to the children, and that’s why so many children today can’t read

I think Satan probably just thought this was brilliant. “Hey, if they can’t read, they can’t read the Bible.”

Yvette Hampton:           That’s right.

Alex Newman:              “And they can’t go to the library, they can’t educate themselves, they won’t know their history, they won’t be able to read their Constitution.”

Yvette Hampton:           That’s right.

Alex Newman:              “This is positively brilliant.” And that brings us to today.

Thankfully, the solution to this problem is clear. There is an effective method for teaching reading to our children. Phonics works.

For more on this subject, listen to our interview with Andrew Pudewa, entitled “The Importance of Reading Aloud.” In this lively conversation, Andrew Pudewa, founder of the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW), explains the importance of reading to our children to establish a firm foundation as they become great readers, writers, and communicators. 

Alex Newman is an award-winning international journalist, educator, author, speaker, investor, and consultant who seeks to glorify God in everything he does. In addition to serving as president of Liberty Sentinel Media, Inc, he has written for a wide array of publications in the United States and abroad including the Epoch TimesThe New American, the Law Enforcement Intelligence Brief, WND (World Net Daily)FreedomProject Media, and many more. He also serves as executive director for Public School Exit, a ministry to rescue children from government schools. One of his major works was an exposé of government schools with internationally renowned Dr. Samuel Blumenfeld called Crimes of the Educators published by WND Books, endorsed by conservative leaders ranging from Phyllis Schlafly to Ron Paul. Last year, he travelled across the United States for the “Rescuing Our Children” speaking tour urging parents to get their children out of public school. Alex has appeared on hundreds of TV shows including Newsmax, One America News, the Dove Network, the Christian Television Network, the SonLife Broadcasting Network, and many more. In addition, he serves on several advisory boards for education-focused organizations, including U.S. Parents Involved in Education (USPIE), the Nehemiah Institute, and the Samuel L. Blumenfeld Foundation for Literacy. For the last seven years, Alex has also been teaching advanced economics to some of America’s brightest high-school seniors through FreedomProject Academy, an accredited K-12 Christian school offering a classical education to students worldwide. Alex and his wife homeschool their 4 children. 

Recommended Resources:

Alex Newman – Rescuing our Children Video

Rescuing our Children Special Report

https://www.theepochtimes.com/author-alex-newman

libertysentinel.org

Crimes of the Educators: How Utopians Are Using Government Schools to Destroy America’s Children, by Samuel L. Blumenfeld and Alex Newman

Why Johnny Still Can’t Read: A New Look at the Scandal of Our Schools, by Rudolf Franz Flesch 

If you are considering homeschooling or just need some great homeschooling encouragement, please check out HomegrownGeneration.com for over 9 hours of FREE homeschool videos from the 2020 Homegrown Generation Family Expo.

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

Teaching Financial Freedom: Hint, Banks Aren’t The Only Option!

Are Banks the Only Option for Our Money?

We learn about the importance of money from a pretty young age.  Whether the lessons come from our parents when we’re young (“money doesn’t grow on trees!”) or when we get old enough to make purchase decisions and realize how much money it really takes to get things we need, want, and desire. As homeschoolers, it is our responsibility to transfer this wisdom to our kids, and while “money doesn’t grow on trees” is a start, raising financially literate, faithful stewards is the goal.

When it comes to business, money plays a vital role. Without it, just like in our personal lives, we are unable to purchase things we need to move our businesses forward.  The need for money can range from product inventory, office equipment, machines for manufacturing, or funds for a marketing campaign.

Most of the lessons we have been taught regarding money revolve around banks.  Banks were established in this country back in 1791 and are usually housed in large, robust buildings that exude a powerful mystique about them.  These institutions tend to make us feel confident that the banks will keep our money safe due to the fact they are FDIC insured, but did you know banks only have 1-2% in reserves to cover deposits? That means, if the banks really were to go under, they are roughly 98% short on covering the loss.  Is it just me or could that be a problem?

We are taught that our money grows when we utilize bank products.  Is that true? What is the current interest rate offered by a bank savings account these days?  Somewhere under 2% as of this writing.  So, with inflation being around 10% rather than the 3-4% we’re usually told, that means our money is losing between 4% and 8% of its value in this scenario – and the longer we save, the more we lose!  Even the magic of compounding interest can’t beat this sad reality. That just doesn’t sound like a good idea. Well, at least we can rely on banks for loans when we need to make a large purchase or to adjust cash flow in our business.  Unfortunately, that’s not a great option either as 50% of bank loan applications get denied.

Here’s the reality, once we deposit our money into a commercial bank, we no longer own that money.  Wait!  What? That’s right, at the moment we deposit our money into a commercial bank we become a creditor to the bank.  Our deposit turns into a short-term unsecured loan to the bank.  Then, because of fractional lending, every dollar deposited into a bank tends to get loaned out twelve times. What?  The only logical definition for that is making money out of nothing.

Before you completely come unglued, there is another option for storing your money where none of these challenges exist.  It’s an option that’s actually existed for many years, but has not been readily available.  It offers control over your money, avoids market volatility, provides a financial legacy for your family and allows you to earn interest on your money while you use it.

Just like education options for our children, we are trained to think within a particular box (traditional school) and it takes a great deal of effort to see what lies outside that box (homeschool).  Teaching our kids financial freedom and controlling our money falls into that same scenario.  We have been trained to fully rely on the banking system to store and grow our money. Once we learn there is another way, it opens up a world of new possibilities for our families and businesses.

To learn more, contact John Robinson at Purple Monkey Garage at 704-870-7318.

Get a copy of Evangelpreneur, by Schoolhouse Rocked Cast Member, Josh Tolley

Written by John B. Robinson with Purple Monkey Garage… Fixing Businesses and Repairing Lives.

The Business and Entrepreneurship section of the Schoolhouse Rocked blog is brought to you by

 

Photos by Allef Vinicius and Fabian Blank at Unsplash.com

The Missing Link in Special Education Homeschool Instruction

Missing link in homeschool special education

Missing link in homeschool special education

Recently I received a call from an exasperated mother who was desperately trying to find a way to teach her son.  After homeschooling for 14 years and graduating her oldest who was also a struggling learner due to a brain injury, she felt she had exhausted her teaching arsenal and was still coming up short in being able to teach her younger autistic son.

Our conversation started with this mother asking if I knew of any different curriculum options she could try.  But, instead of offering my best advice on curriculum, I led her through a series of questions to find out what teaching techniques had worked with her son and what his main interests and hobbies were.  At first, her responses to my questions centered around all the curriculums she had bought in the past that were now filling her shelves but no longer being used for one reason or another. But, as I continued my questioning she started deviating from talking about curriculum to talking about her son and the success he had experience through their homeschooling endeavors. Eventually, our discussion moved into ways she could use the curriculum she already had, employ the services of her local librarian to find books focused around her son’s interests, and start to build learning around those interests.

As our conversation came to an end, this mother confessed to me “Maybe I just need to change how I teach my son instead of trying to find another curriculum.”  Of course, this conclusion had been the main goal of my questioning, but if I had just told her to change her way of teaching at the beginning of our conversation, she wouldn’t have understood what I was talking about.  It was only after leading and letting her discover the importance of individualizing her son’s education, that she truly understood how teaching her son was more about what she did instead of what she used.

Did you know in a survey done in 2002 of special education homeschooling parents “the majority of survey parents (58%) designed a curriculum for their children.” As a matter of fact, this same study reported that “All the parents in the case studies designed the curricula for their children based upon their ability and interest levels” And, “most of the mothers criticized packaged curricula.” Now, you must understand that back in 2002 when this survey was conducted, there weren’t many homeschool curriculum options specifically targeted to children with learning challenges.

It is interesting to note though, that in 2012 when special needs homeschooling curriculum was starting to abound across the country at homeschool conventions and book fairs, Dr. Brian Ray of NHERI summarized in an exploratory study of homeschooling outcomes the main advantage of homeschooling both learning disabled and gifted children was “The informal environment that homeschooling provides allows ‘differentiated instruction,’ not a one-size-fits-all version that is typical in public schools where teachers must meet the varied needs of twenty or more students in the classroom. The personal approach of schooling at home provides a natural environment to customize the curriculum for learning disabled and academically gifted children alike.”

In looking over many studies and surveys, including those cited above, as well as drawing from my decade of experience in consulting with special needs homeschooling families, it’s clear that differentiated instruction utilizing student specific accommodations and modifications is not only the best way to homeschool a struggling learner but a homeschooling freedom that’s particularly advantageous to utilize with children who do not adapt well to traditional teaching methods.

I apologize ahead of time to anyone I may offend with my following remarks, but the reason I feel many special education homeschooling parents have moved away from implementing specific differentiated instruction has to do with special needs homeschooling curriculums marketing products towards a specific diagnosis or learning disability.  Now, I love curriculum and do feel parents can benefit from using both regular and special needs homeschooling curriculum, but when a parent believes a specific curriculum will teach to their child’s specific need to the point the curriculum itself provides the necessary differentiated instruction, that is a problem.

Too many homeschooling parents have reasoned themselves out of providing specific and individualized instruction for their child because they believe their special needs curriculum is providing enough learning variation on its own.  Unfortunately, with the vast spectrum of learning disabilities and challenges confronting special needs homeschooling families, it’s impossible for curriculum providers to create materials able to meet the specific needs of all these unique children.

Ultimately, parents who homeschool children with special educational needs will find the most effective way to teach their child doesn’t come in a package.  Rather it comes from being a student of their child, learning how to implement specific teaching strategies and methods and figuring out which ones work best in teaching to their child’s needs, locating resources that work with their child, and coaching their child one-on-one through the learning process.

Written by Peggy Ployhar at SPED Homeschool

Homeschooling: The Time is Now

Homeschooling time is now

Homeschooling time is now

When we started homeschooling over 2 decades ago, we had good reasons for doing so.  We didn’t want to send our kids away for 8 hours a day. WE wanted to spend that time with them.  We wanted them to enjoy their childhood. Most of all we felt a responsibility to be the biggest influence in our kids’ childhood and hoped to disciple them to a place where they would take responsibility for their lives and above all, own their relationship with God.

We simply wanted to fully engage in our role as parents and homeschooling seemed like a natural fit for that.

We have graduated 5 so far and have 3 teens at home and I can tell you that homeschooling was by far one of the the MOST important and BEST decisions we ever made.

We are convinced that our family would look nothing like it does right now had we not decided to homeschool.  We have good relationships with our kids and each one is thriving in their own unique way, but it meant that we had to be willing to think outside the box when it came to education.

Our public educational system is failing our kids. I’m not here to walk through all the reasons why this is happening, but I think we can all agree that the system’s future is bleak at best.

If there were good reasons for homeschooling 25 years ago, there are a million more today.

The bottom line is that kids are being robbed of the joy of learning by social pressures (bullying, etc), and academic pressures that children simply aren’t equipped to deal with. School shootings have forced us to have conversations that we never dreamed we would have.  Because of this, I am convinced that very little learning is happening in the classroom and while we are discussing all the necessary changes that need to be made we are losing our children to a failing system.

Parents, it’s time.  It’s time to engage in taking full responsibility for our children’s future, for their childhoods, including their education.  This is called being a parent. Can it feel scary? Yes! Will you doubt yourselves? Of course! But my guess is that you will never, never regret that decision!

Homeschooling is not just an alternative form of education, it is most often the best.  No one can replace warm, loving engaged parents when it comes to giving our children what they need and that includes their education.

The homeschool community is growing leaps and bounds and there is a good reason for that. So many of those reasons will be openly shared through the Schoolhouse Rocked film. Hang onto your hats, everyone, a revolution in education is about to explode!

Written by Durenda Wilson of DurendaWilson.com

What About Secular Homeschoolers?

A few months ago I received an email from a woman wondering if Schoolhouse Rocked was appropriate for secular homeschool families. I appreciated the question and felt like it warranted a sincere and thoughtful response, so I sat down and gathered my thoughts and emailed her back. The question continued to gnaw at me, so I kept my response, knowing that at some time I should address the issue in a more public way.

As I am sure you have noticed, many of the posts on the Schoolhouse Rocked website and Facebook page emphasize a Christian worldview. This will continue to be the case, as my wife and I are Christians. We are in our seventh year of homeschooling our own daughters, and one of the main reasons we chose to homeschool was to provide a great Biblical education for our girls. Schoolhouse Rocked is an outgrowth of our love of homeschooling, our belief that it is important and beneficial, and our desire to support and encourage other homeschooling families. We feel privileged to have the opportunity to make the movie and because it is such a personal project it will obviously be colored by our beliefs and values. Additionally, many, though not all, of the cast members are Christian leaders in the homeschooling movement and their faith has influenced their contributions to the film.

While the film will have a Christian point of view, the majority of the content will benefit all homeschoolers, as it will break down many of the misconceptions about homeschooling and will provide practical advice and encouragement for homeschooling families.

In Hollywood, “faith-based films” is a politically correct catchphrase for movies like Schoolhouse Rocked. There is no doubt that the film is faith-based, but even more to the point it is a Christian film. Schoolhouse Rocked will hold up Biblical values and will encourage parents to train up their children in Christian morals, values, and ethics. These are many of the same universally beneficial principles that our country was founded on (love your neighbor as yourself, don’t steal, don’t murder, don’t covet, don’t lie, etc.), and that for several generations have been the foundation of a prosperous, safe, and truly “tolerant” society – one which allowed for secular families (and families from every other religious background) to prosper alongside Christian families. These same values have been largely abandoned in the past 50 years in society, leading to widespread cultural decay, unchecked immorality, and rampant violence in spite of ever-increasing government legislation. Public schools have reflected this great societal shift and have become unsafe, academically ineffective, and intolerant “safe spaces” so obviously lacking in value that secular families are now pulling their kids out in droves.

It is our goal to empower all homeschool families to better enjoy the benefits of homeschooling by clearly outlining the common challenges and then providing real-world advice and access to resources to overcome these challenges. In an effort to encourage the support of family and friends of homeschoolers, the movie will also dispel many myths that can lead to opposition to homeschooling. Finally, the movie will provide heart-felt encouragement from real people who have experienced the common struggles and blessings of homeschooling. We believe that by providing a realistic picture of the benefits, challenges, and real-world outcomes of homeschooling, by disseminating wise advice and valuable resources, and by offering heart-felt encouragement we can effectively carry out our mission.

Schoolhouse Rocked doesn’t just give lip service to the homeschool revolution. We believe that we are at the leading edge of a very real revolution in education, which will provide enormous societal benefits. Therefore, we want to provide valuable tools for current homeschoolers and encourage the next wave of families to join the revolution. Along with the film, SchoolhouseRocked.com will offer many hours of free and subscription content, including videos, articles, product reviews, and recommendations to equip the next generation of world changers.

It may surprise you to find out we didn’t set out to make a Christian homeschool movie. When we started pre-production on Schoolhouse Rocked we were excited about the opportunity to advocate for homeschooling and point families in the right direction to get started, knowing that a large majority of homeschooling families were Christian, but that there was also a very large contingent of secular families and families from other religious backgrounds who were a part of this revolution in education. The reasons for choosing to homeschool are many and varied. Each homeschooling family exhibits a commitment to training their own children that is no less resolute and requires no less sacrifice or determination than that of any other family. While the worldview, educational philosophy, and goals of every homeschool family are different, every homeschooling family can benefit from heartfelt encouragement grounded in experience, excellent resources, and the generously shared wisdom of experts. That is what we set out to share, and while we did not initially set out to make a Christian film, we were never opposed to it. Like many documentaries, we were not sure how the story would evolve over time. As filming progressed it quickly became apparent that Christian principles would be central to the story, as they figured so heavily in many of the interviews we conducted, as can be seen in the example below.


Andrew Kern – Seek Ye First

I hope that Schoolhouse Rocked will be a valuable resource and encouragement for you. Our mission with the film, website, and Facebook page is to encourage and equip homeschooling families to start strong and finish well. We believe that homeschooling is one of the most practical ways a family can invest in their children’s future, and we are encouraged to see the growth in the homeschooling movement and the wealth of resources available to homeschooling families. While many may consider the growing homeschool movement to be a simple response to the decline of public schools, we believe that it signals something more important and valuable, namely a desire for families to take personal responsibility for the training of their children. It is one thing to complain about public schools, it is another thing entirely to make the great sacrifices and investments of time and effort to homeschool your children. We believe that this change of hearts and commitment to our children will yield great results for our society and culture as these kids become adults and leaders.

That said, we (Garritt and Yvette Hampton) are Christians and we are committed to working for the glory of God in all we do (knowing we fail many times, but thankful he uses unworthy and unqualified people to do His work). When we started we dedicated the project to the Lord, set out to make it for His glory, and asked for His blessing and supernatural provision. He has provided and continues to provide in miraculous ways. He is being glorified!

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Photo by juan pablo rodriguez on Unsplash

Photo by London Scout on Unsplash

Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash

Homeschool Isn’t Something You Do

Homeschooling isn't something you do, it is a lifestyle. It is so much more than just learning.

Homeschooling isn't something you do, it is a lifestyle. It is so much more than just learning.

In the wide world of homeschool articles, books, blogs, and videos you will see so many wonderful bits of information on how to do XYZ. Of course, no two are ever the same.

There are planners, methods, curriculum, and mission statements. Everything points to things you can do, checkboxes you can mark, and the goal is “productivity”. Though the result is often just more comparison.

But homeschooling isn’t a to-do list. It isn’t books, or Latin, or co-ops. It isn’t poetry tea time or map tracing.

While these things are good, full of beauty and truth, they aren’t the core of homeschool.

Homeschooling is an opportunity. A chance to make connections in your relationships with your children, to truly disciple them in the day to day living and teach them in the way they should go.

Homeschooling is a process of sanctification. A way for the Holy Spirit to speak to you through the things you say, think, and pray for your own children. The day to day teaching, correcting, and sharing of education with your children requires you to take time to be still, to quiet your heart and trust so that you can call upon the Lord’s strength to get through the hard moments with grace.

Homeschool is the creation of a family culture. Through your choice of materials, you line the hallways and bookshelves of your home creating an atmosphere of learning while these same items subtly share your ideals, priorities, and dreams with your children and all who enter your home. Your schedules and rituals set the tempo for your family, you have control over how rushed or calm the days are.

Homeschool is a choice to prioritize the creation of home as a safe place full of ideas, deepHomeschooling isn't something you do, it is a lifestyle. It is so much more than just learning. conversations, shared meals, and time together. There is grace, gratitude, and a deep appreciation for the small moments, small accomplishments, and daily victories that happens so much more freely in a home where being present together is a choice that has been made. 

There is a sweetness and delight found in homeschooling, even through the hard seasons, that the time we are given with our children is short and that through choosing to homeschool we are making the most of those precious years.

Homeschooling is celebrating Ebenezer moments and teaching our children that hard times bring forth fruit.

Homeschool is not something you do, but rather a way of living that builds up your children, that strengthens your faith, and that lays a foundation of solid family culture for future generations.

In the process, you get to checkmark that your kids get a wonderful individualized education. That’s why homeschooling is awesome.

Written by Lara Molettiere with Everyday Graces . . .Cultivating Learning, Love & Life

“The Eighth Wonder Of the World”

For a few thousand years, the apprentice/journeyman system was responsible for many of the most impressive minds and creative works in human history. Under this system, young men and women would sit at the feet of, and work alongside their parents, teachers, rabbis, and mentors. This system was sufficient to breed the great philosophers, mathematicians, astronomers, physicists, poets, authors, playwrights, architects, composers, musicians, painters, sculptors, clockmakers, and mechanical engineers of antiquity. Under this system we got the Sistine Chapel, Romeo and Juliet, The Roman Aqueducts, the Antikathyra mechanism, Girl with a Pearl Earring, Solomon’s Temple, and Beethoven’s “9th Symphony.”

Some of these great works have endured for millennia, but my iPhone 7 Plus has stopped working after 9 months. Every few days it tells me that there is no SIM card in it, and I now have to look for the little lightning bolt when I plug it in or I will wake up with a dead battery.


100 Year Old Self-Playing Violin – “The Eighth Wonder Of the World”

The Hupfeld Phonoliszt Violina Orchestrion was built in 1914. At the time it was built, it was such an impressive technological feat it was called “The Eighth Wonder of the World”. It is a completely mechanical player piano with three self-playing Violins. Not only is it a mechanical marvel, but it is a beautiful piece of art, which still functions today. While it would be a great stretch for any man or company to build one of these today, what makes this machine even more impressive is that it is one of many. The Hupfeld company built several of these, and many other companies were building incredibly complex orchestrions at the same time. Many of these machines played dozens of instruments and could play any number of songs by simply changing their paper rolls, and many of these still function. They were designed and built by men who had studied and labored under masters for many years.

Over the past several generations we have increasingly abandoned an education model that works. Apprenticeship has been relabeled as “child labor”, and now there are laws and international task forces to squash it. Please don’t scold me about children sewing soccer balls or mining heavy metals. Humans have found ways to pervert and abuse every good thing since the fall of man. I am not campaigning for the rise of sweatshops or human slavery, just calling for a return to mentorship. Life and work as education. We have traded a proven model of education in favor of industrialized, standardized, state-run, one-size-fits-all schooling, and the experiment has failed.

As we film Schoolhouse Rocked I become more and more excited about the revolution we see in education. I am excited about the renaissance of classical education, the rediscovered value of family business and family economy, the rise of lifeschooling and mentorship, an emphasis on truth, goodness, and beauty, a valuing of living books, scholé, morning time, and family worship. While I am excited about each of these ideas for their own merits, I am more excited that in every case, the failed model of industrialize education is being challenged and invalidated, and families are taking back the responsibility of training up their children in methods that work. Long live the apprentice!