Trivium Pursuit

Free McGuffey Readers

September 5th, 2014

Download McGuffey Readers here.



Gary North Tip of the Week — Writing Skills

September 5th, 2014


Public schools rarely teach children how to write. That’s because it takes time to grade term papers.

Knowing how to write clearly and fast is an important skill to take away from high school.

There is no better way to teach a student how to write than a free blog site. The most popular one is, but there are many others.

If a student writes a weekly essay for each non-math course, after seven or eight years, the student will know how to write.

There is nothing like a blog site filled with essays to persuade a truant officer that he would better spend his time harassing another family. The site says: “Education is going on here.” More to the point, it says: “This family can prove to a judge that education is going on here.”

The Ron Paul Curriculum sets aside one day a week for writing a course essay. Any curriculum that doesn’t set aside time for weekly writing assignments is missing a tremendous opportunity to train skilled students.

The RPC is self-taught above grade 5, except for this. It’s a good idea for parents to read weekly essays. The best place to read them is online. If a student thinks other people can read what he writes, he will be more conscientious.

Here is a simple tutorial on setting up a blog.

Gary North


Delaying Formal Math

August 31st, 2014

I purchased your book Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style about a year ago. I am only now reading sections. I am thankful for your hard work and thought — that is evident in the book. I am looking for some advice/counsel.

I’d like to start by giving you a small background, so that you can know me a little better. My husband and I have three children, ages 2, 6, and 8, and are expecting our 4th child. We began homeschooling our oldest when he was five. We started a program called Classical Conversations, which you may be familiar with. We did some Right Start Math, and a small amount of phonics and pre-reading work our first year.

Our second year, we did Spell to Write and Read and Math U See. We have been using the same curriculum our third year as well.

Now, we have reached the state where our oldest is still reading very little. We had him tested late last fall and found that he could indeed have ADHD, dyslexia, and dysgraphia. We stopped our school year at the beginning of May. I was having a rough time with my pregnancy and he was completely worn out. (I was too.) In June, we started practicing math addition and subtraction facts again. We have had a lot of resistance with him practicing math facts, which by now you might think should be coming pretty easy for him. One day we got out his unfinished Math U See book and worked on a lesson for a short time. He literally had a melt down. He is now to the point where he really dislikes “school.” He loves to learn. When I read aloud he soaks in the information. He is a great conversationalist. He loves to dialog about the Bible, current even topics, or really any subject.

I have been praying and asking the Lord to guide me as I plan and prep for our upcoming school year. I believe in my heart, that while he may have tested for ADHD, dyslexia, and dysgraphia, that he will learn, that he just perhaps may not fit the “mold” that most would use. When I read the section in your book about math, I felt particularly impressed that this may be what he needs. This is where I struggle. I’ll be transparent here — I have no idea how to informally educate him in math. I have purchased in the past Ray’s mathematical books, the curriculum that was so common in the 1800s, and as well the Life of Fred series, which is math in more of a story format. I didn’t really use either one. I just thought that it was most important for him to be advancing through a “real” math curriculum. Now I am seeing and beginning to wonder if “late is better than early.” I see the error in pushing a boy to perform tasks that he just simply may not be ready for. I confess though, this has been an exhausting experience. I hardly know what to do or where to turn.

I know that you probably have much to attend to. However, I was wondering if you might be willing to provide some counsel for me. Upon reading this, what would your thoughts be in regards to our situation? Our 6 year old is so very ready to learn to read and do school. He was a part of Classical Conversations last year for his first year. He probably would have read, had I taken time to teach him. However, with my oldest taking so much time and attention and having such struggles with reading (and math) I thought it best to wait. Did you delay formal math instruction for all of your children? Is there a guide to informally teaching math? I’m so overwhelmed that I hardly know where to begin.

God bless,
Marla D.

What we suggest is:

1. Formal textbook or workbook instruction in arithmetic may begin at age ten. It is about age ten that the developmental light bulb goes on, and the child becomes capable of a great deal more mental and physical skill. (Of course that’s not an absolute rule. With a few children, it is as early as eight. We call them “bright” children because the developmental light bulb goes on early.) Waiting until the child is developmentally prepared to handle the concepts makes instruction in arithmetic very easy, because the child learns very quickly.

2. There is no necessity for formal teaching in arithmetic before age ten. Once all of the developmental parts are there, most children can learn – in a few weeks – everything which they might have spent six years learning (kindergarten through fifth grade), that is, if they haven’t already learned it through questions and experiences and working things out on their own — which is generally the case.

3. Depending upon the child, upon the method, and upon the subject matter covered, there exists the potential for developmental harm from the formal teaching of arithmetic before age ten. Small children cannot understand many arithmetic concepts at an early age. We can teach them to perform the process, but we cannot make them understand the concepts. The child “learns” to hate “learning.” The child’s understanding develops along the wrong lines. He may actually develop mental “blocks” to arithmetic – actual physiological blocks in the brain. (This may give new meaning for the term “blockhead.”)

4. Not formally teaching arithmetic before age ten frees up a lot of time for other activities which will build the vocabulary of the child. Vocabulary is the number one index of intelligence. Developing vocabulary was one of the deliberate foci of ancient education. We waste valuable time for developing vocabulary and verbal language skills if we instead spend those hours teaching a five year old to count by fives. (He’ll know it intuitively by age ten anyway, without ever being taught.) Instead, we ought to spend those hours reading to him. We only have so much time in the day. Do we want to spend it trying to force math skills into a child who developmentally is not optimally prepared, or spend it doing what is developmentally natural to a young child – learning new words and associating them with new ideas and experiences. Stretch the child’s vocabulary during the formative years, and when he’s developmentally ready to do some deeper thinking, he’ll have a mind prepared to take on the task, and he’ll take off like a rocket.

Please note: We are not saying that no child should ever utter the name of a number before age ten. Not at all. About age four, most children discover money, and there is no hiding numbers from them after that. They encounter numbers all of the time. If we encourage learning, then they’ll be asking lots of questions, and we’ll be full of opportunities to teach numbers and measurement. But we would not encourage using a formal workbook before age ten, unless the child has a genuine desire to do so, he shows that he is competent to handle the work, and it does not take away time from other valuable activities. We are not going to ruin the child if we wait until age ten before beginning formal teaching of arithmetic.



A Response to Elizabeth Warren’s 11 Tenets of Progressivism

August 18th, 2014


“What are our values?” Warren asked the audience, some of whom held up “Run Liz Run” signs. “What does it mean to be a progressive?”

She went on to outline 11 tenets of progressivism:

My response is in italics:

1. “We believe that Wall Street needs stronger rules and tougher enforcement, and we’re willing to fight for it.”

* Wall Street should be subject to tough free market forces the same as everybody else – corrections, not bailouts and crony favors, including selective regulations and enforcement funded and finagled by the government.

2. “We believe in science, and that means that we have a responsibility to protect this Earth.”

* Scientists are subject to the same faults and flaws as other human beings, and their theories must be subject to falsification, not glorified by government intervention. Government is a chief cause of environmental waste and pollution and so it should be greatly reduced. We have become polluted with government regulators who have worked many evils and abuses in the name of the environment.

3. “We believe that the Internet shouldn’t be rigged to benefit big corporations, and that means real net neutrality.”

* The Internet should be kept free to the benefit of everybody – get government regulation out of the way and allow market competition to regulate it.

4. “We believe that no one should work full-time and still live in poverty, and that means raising the minimum wage.”

* Government forced wage increases have proven to lead to unemployment and greater poverty. The free market which is the only proven way to raise general living standards, so get government out of the way and let prosperity raise wages for everyone.

5. “We believe that fast-food workers deserve a livable wage, and that means that when they take to the picket line, we are proud to fight alongside them.”

* For fast-food workers to receive a “livable wage,” the employer must first make enough to pay them such, which means the worker must produce enough to deserve such. So get government out of the way by reducing taxes and regulations and allow the market for workers, for fast-food, and for small businesses to work out the balance within the ever increasing levels of prosperity within an environment of liberty.

6. “We believe that students are entitled to get an education without being crushed by debt.”

* Government involvement in education in every direction has caused tuition to sky-rocket. Get government out of the education business altogether, and allow market competition to improve quality while lowering costs.

7. “We believe that after a lifetime of work, people are entitled to retire with dignity, and that means protecting Social Security, Medicare, and pensions.”

* Give people back their dignity and self-respect by getting government out of the retirement, medical, and investment business and protecting them from irresponsible and ruinous government social engineering schemes which drain everyone’s resources while increasing government control over everyone’s life.

8. “We believe—I can’t believe I have to say this in 2014—we believe in equal pay for equal work.”

* By continually increasing prosperity, the free market does more for equal pay for equal work than any government intervention ever did or could do. By the way, the wage gap is largely a statistical fabrication.

9. “We believe that equal means equal, and that’s true in marriage, it’s true in the workplace, it’s true in all of America.”

* Equality does not come in the way of the government giving out special privileges.

10. “We believe that immigration has made this country strong and vibrant, and that means reform.”

* In the past, the assimilation of hardworking and motivated immigrants into our culture has enriched our culture, so we need reform in order to return to such policies. Immigrants who do not assimilate, and who take advantage of government hand outs, is destructive of our culture.

11. “And we believe that corporations are not people, that women have a right to their bodies. We will overturn Hobby Lobby and we will fight for it. We will fight for it!”

* Every person has a right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, which includes possessing his/her own body – which eliminates Obamacare altogether. A woman’s right to choose with regard to her own body ends where another person’s bodily life begins. It is wrong for government to force persons to choose against their will to pay for the care of other persons’ bodies or to fund other persons’ decisions about their bodies. Of course corporations are not technically persons, but they do involve contractual relationships of persons and so they can be treated as if they are persons within the terms of the contract.

And the main tenet of conservatives’ philosophy, according to Warren? “I got mine. The rest of you are on your own.”

One of the main tenets of conservative philosophy is to protect the rights of the individual from the theft of the collective. Genuine and general prosperity never comes except in the way of individual liberty. Progressivism means progressive growth of government. Human progress is not advanced by the growth of government, but by the maintenance of liberty. In terms of human progress, progressivism is actually regressivism – moving backwards into the darker times of government regulation and its necessary consequences of general impoverishment and elitist oppression.

Harvey Bluedorn


Ron Paul Curriculum Tip of the Week – Harvard and Distance Learning

August 18th, 2014


Third-rate colleges and universities face a major problem: Harvard has now “baptized” distance learning.

This means that it will no longer be possible for colleges to resist. They will not be able to dismiss distance learning as substandard education.

Online education can be sold profitably for a tenth of the cost of an Ivy League university. From now on, what the colleges sell is a myth: overpriced, brick-and-mortar education that is no better than online education.

Don’t be hypnotized by bricks and mortar. They are not worth the money at the undergraduate level, except possibly in a few natural sciences. Not in the liberal arts.

There is no good reason to attend traditional schools in the first two (overpriced) years. Lower division means maximum cash flow: out of parental bank accounts and into college bank accounts.

Use CLEP and AP exams, and it costs $2,000.

Gary North


More Wise Words from Ruth Beechick

August 18th, 2014



Wise Words

August 18th, 2014



The Home Educator’s Tutor Library Sample

August 18th, 2014


Want to give your children a well rounded education but not sure where to start, what to cover, or how to do it? The Home Educator’s Tutor Library is the roadmap you need.

The 100-page freebie sampler of THE TUTOR, created especially for Classical and Charlotte Mason Educators, includes nature studies & activities, stories from American history, art appreciation, elocution exercises, literature, copywork, a bit of Shakespeare & Plutarch, character building stories, and much more.


The Straw Man Fallacy

July 31st, 2014

This is a sample video from a video tutorial course titled Fallacies.


Our Favorite Books On Tape

July 30th, 2014

Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, read by Cherry Jones
Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry, read by Edward Herrmann
Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne, read by Peter Dennis
The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White, read by E. B. White
Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes, read by George Guidall
Rascal by Sterling North, read by Ed Sala
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, read by Nathaniel Parker
James Herriot’s Treasury for Children by James Herriot, read by Jim Dale
The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, read by Rob Inglis
Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome, read by Alison Larkin
Freckles by Gene Stratton-Porter, read by Mary Starkey
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, read by Sissy Spacek
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, read by Susie Berneis
Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne, read by Jim Dale


Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, read by Alfred Molina
The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies by Beatrix Potter, read by Sharon Hoyland
White Fang by Jack London, read by John Lee
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, read by Flo Gibson
Old Yeller by Fred Gipson, read by Peter Francis James
The Story of King Arthur and His Knights by Howard Pyle, read by David Thorn
The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss, read by Frederick Davidson (our all-time-favorite reader)
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, read by Charlton Griffin
Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson, read by Frederick Davidson
Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hdogson Burnett, read by Virginia Leishman
Heidi by Johanna Spyri, read by Frances Cassidy
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, read by Simon Vance
The Time Machine by H. G. Wells, read by Alan Munro
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, read by Josephine Bailey, Simon Prebble
The Pilgrim’s Progress: From This World to That Which Is to Come by John Bunyan, read by David Shaw-Parker
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, read by Simon Vance
The Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes, Volume 1 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, read by Charlton Griffin
Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott, read by Michael Page
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy, read by Michael Page
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, read by  David Timson, Jamie Parker, Jonathan Oliver, Fenella Woolgar, Joe Marsh


Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens, read by David Timson
Silas Marner by George Eliot, read by Anna Bentinck
The Thirty Nine Steps: A Richard Hannay Thriller, Book 1 by John Buchan, read by Peter Joyce
Greenmantle by John Buchan, read by Peter Joyce
Mr. Standfast by John Buchan, read by Frederick Davidson
Men of Iron by Howard Pyle, read by Robert Whitfield
Otto of the Silver Hand by Howard Pyle, read by Geoffrey Howard
Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray, read by Stuart Blinder
I, Juan de Pareja by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino, read by Johanna Ward


Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski, read by Natalie Ross


The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois, read by Hal Hollings
The Door in the Wall by Marguerite De Angeli, read by Roger Rees
The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare, read by Pete Bradbury
Father and I Were Ranchers: Little Britches # 1 by Ralph Moody, read by Cameron Beierle


Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls, read by Anthony Heald
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell, read by Tantoo Cardinal
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, read by Michael York