Trivium Pursuit

It’s time to sell the costumes

November 10th, 2015


We’re selling our collection of costume, reenactment and theater apparel. Most all the items are hand-made, authentic reproductions.

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SOLD Authentic reproduction Victorian riding jacket, size 6-8, hand-made, never worn, good condition, $20



SOLD Authentic reproduction 1890s dark purple print dress with black hand-crocheted collar, size 6-8, hand-made, good condition, $25



SOLD Authentic reproduction 1910 lavender sash, cream-colored print dress, size 6-8, hand-made, good condition, $25



SOLD Authentic reproduction cream-colored print 1820s dress with hand-crocheted collar, size 6-8, hand-made, good condition, $25




SOLD Authentic reproduction Civil War era dress with hand-crocheted collar, size 6-8, hand-made, $15 (stain on bodice) — Photos here are a little off in color. The skirt and bodice are all the same fabric and color.


SOLD Authentic reproduction men’s Civil War shirt, large, hand-made, good condition, $15


SOLD Wah Maker Cavalry Bib Shirt, x-large, light tan colored, good condition, $15


SOLD Authentic reproduction 1940s green print dress, size 6, hand-made, good condition, $15



SOLD Authentic reproduction 1910 light blue print dress with lace, size 6-8, hand-made, good condition, $25



SOLD Authentic reproduction Civil War dress with hand-crocheted collar (never worn), size 6-8, hand-made, good condition, $25




SOLD Authentic reproduction 1910 navy blue with white trim sailor dress, size 6-8, hand-made, good condition, $25 — Photos here are a little off in color. The skirt and bodice are all the same navy blue fabric and color.



Authentic reproduction Austrian Dirndl, size 6-8, hand-made, good condition, $20




SOLD Authentic reproduction Civil War dress with hand-crocheted collar and lace overlay, size 6-8, hand-made, good condition, $25




SOLD Authentic reproduction Civil War dress, size 6-8, hand-made, good condition, $25



SOLD Authentic reproduction Civil War dress (the colors are a little off in these photos, the skirt color and fabric is the same as the blue ruffle on the bodice), size 6-8, hand-made, good condition, $25



SOLD Authentic reproduction Civil War dress (the colors are a little off in these photos, the skirt color and fabric is the same as the blue ruffle on the bodice), size 6-8, hand-made, good condition, $25


Authentic reproduction blouse (could be different time periods), size 6, hand-made, good condition, $8



Authentic reproduction dark-blue, corduroy Civil War dress with black hand-crocheted collar, size 6-8, hand-made, good condition, $25




Authentic reproduction 1900s corduroy riding outfit, size 6-8, hand-made, good condition, $25


SOLD authentic reproduction Civil War hoop skirt, size 6-8, $8 each


SOLD 3 petticoats, $3 each


SOLD Authentic reproduction men’s Civil War suit coat, pants, shirt (has stains), tie, medium, hand-made, $5

Shipping costs are extra, or pick up in New Boston, Illinois. No returns.


Read to your child

November 1st, 2015

picmonkey read aloud


Imparting fluency in foreign languages

October 29th, 2015


Most American high schools teach foreign languages, yet few American high school graduates are fluent in these languages.

This is nothing new. Back in 1939, the great Canadian humorist Stephen Leacock wrote an accurate article on this. It was a rarity. It was not funny. Leacock was a professor at McGill University. He knew first-hand about the failure of North American high schools and colleges to impart fluency in foreign languages. Read it here.

Today, the Internet offers many free sites that let people learn how to speak foreign languages. Here is an evaluation of just a few.

Duolingo is widely praised.

The Ron Paul Curriculum does not offer courses in modern foreign languages. When you can get better training for free, there is no reason to pay.

Gary North


The Tuttle Twins and the Creature from Jekyll Island

October 29th, 2015

What kind of creature can steal your money? Join Ethan and Emily Tuttle in their exciting third adventure, as they uncover the curious mystery of how a powerful creature is stealing their grandparents’ hard-earned savings, and how the twins are also being controlled by the same creature —- without even knowing it.

The Tuttle Twins and the Creature from Jekyll Island is 58 pages long and full of fun, colorful illustrations. Recommended reading age: 5-11.

Everybody needs to know what the Fed has done to our money, and this includes children. In a remarkable feat of imaginative fiction, the Tuttle Twins present the machinations of the Fed as an adventure story.



Hands Free Mama Give-Away

October 26th, 2015

UPDATE: Our winner is Stephanie McClure!

We have three items given to us by Hands Free Mama Rachel Macy Stafford to give away.


‘House Rules’ Print


‘Live Hands Free’ Bracelet


One copy of Hands Free Life: Nine Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better, and Loving More by Rachel Macy Stafford — see our review here.

To enter this give-away, “Like” our Facebook page and leave a comment on the top post — what is a distraction in your life that you’d like to overcome.

There will be one winner picked.


Continually connected to an electronic device — Hands Free Mama blogger Rachel Macy Stafford reveals habits for living and loving

October 21st, 2015

Earlier, I told you about Rachel Stafford’s first book Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters.

Her new book Hands Free Life: Nine Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better, and Loving More is just as good.

Excerpts from Hands Free Life

–Establish boundaries.

“There are boundary lines within our lives that we cannot see, but they are powerful; they are healing; they are protective; they are life-giving,” Stafford writes. “The boundaries created in the home not only impact how the members of our family treat each other, but also how they treat friends, teachers, coaches, teammates, employers, coworkers, spouses, and even people they disagree with on the Internet.”

–Surrender control.

Our attempts to control everything rob us of beauty. Stafford reflects, “By micromanaging our lives in small and big ways, I was missing the joy found in carefree living.”

–Leave a legacy.

Our legacy for loved ones is built through tiny choices made over and over again, every day. “Through loving daily practices, we are able to create the kind of permanence that becomes the cornerstone of a life, a GPS for a world in which we are so easily lost,” Stafford shares.

–Embrace connective silence.

Stafford urges readers to resist the urge to fill every minute with noise, excess, and activity when there is a conversation lull by relishing “Connective Silence.” She writes, “Although we’ve been led to believe that our fondest memories are made in the grand occasions of life, in reality, they happen when we pause in the ordinary, mundane moments of a busy day.”

–Actively listen.

“Although I may fall short and make mistakes today, I can do one thing well: I can listen.” Stafford shows readers that by being fully present in a moment, both the listener and the speaker gain power, perspective, and life-affirming connection.

–Transform from a negative person into a positive one.

Stafford is a recovering critic––especially of herself. She urges readers to embrace the perceived “weaknesses” of others that may prove to be their greatest strengths as she details her own path to grace: “My bruises, the ones made by years of critical torment, are healing too. Because each time I let go of perfect and allow myself to show up ‘as-is,’ the bruises on my spirit fade a little more.”

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I don’t agree with everything Rachel Stafford writes, but I wish every young mother could read her discussion about that modern-day problem of needing to continually be connected to an electronic device.

Her chapter “See What Is Good” — the importance of taming that critical nature most of us possess — is an important one. Unfortunately, the person who is negative and critical often doesn’t see that in herself, but considers her “evaluations” necessary for the proper functioning of the home. Does anyone really know his own heart? The heart is deceitful above all things … who can understand it? –Jeremiah 17:9

“Some people constantly complain and find fault. They seldom affirm or talk about positive virtues of other people. They rarely acknowledge the good things happening in the world or in the church or in their family. They are experts at excessive negative talk. The gloom and doom that pours from the mouths of these people fosters a depressing atmosphere in the family.” –Your Family God’s Way: Developing & Sustaining Relationships in the Home by Wayne A. Mack

Let today be a day of encouragement and affirmation for all of us!

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Ancient literature you can read to your ten-year-old

October 16th, 2015


Here is an excerpt from the textbook Ancient History from Primary Sources: A Literary Timeline by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn.

A Few General Comments on Authors and Literature

Many persons begin in classical literature with the fables of Aesop (Greek) and Avianus (Latin). These are suitable for all ages, young and old.

Some literature suitable for ages ten and up:

Caesar – Gallic Wars and Civil Wars
Josephus – War of the Jews
Xenophon – Anabasis

Some literature suitable for ages twelve and up:

Ammianus – The History
Appian of Alexandria – The Roman History
Arrian – Anabasis of Alexander
Cato the Elder – On Agriculture
Eusebius – The History of the Church
Gellius – Attic Nights
Herodotus – The History of the Persian Wars
Julian the Apostate – Letters
Livy – The Early History of Rome
Pliny the Elder – Natural History
Plutarch – Lives
Quintus Curtius – History of Alexander
Socrates Scholasticus – History of the Church

The works of Xenophon are a mixed bag. Some are appropriate for even a ten-year-old (Anabasis), while others are quite inappropriate (Symposium).

On the Deaths of the Persecutors, by the Christian apologist Lactantius, is more historical than philosophical and may be read profitably by students age twelve and up.

Most of Herodotus may be fine to read for students age twelve and up, but the very beginning and other short sections of Book 1 may be skipped because of content.

Aristotle’s historical work (The Athenian Constitution) and his works on natural history (History of Animals, On the Parts of Animals, etc.) may be valuable for students age twelve and up, while his works on logic (Categories, Prior Analytics, etc.) and physics (Physics, On the Heavens, etc.) are better suited for rhetoric-level students. We suggest that Aristotle’s philosophical works (Metaphysics, Politics, Nicomachean Ethics) be reserved for mature Christians with a good foundation in theology and with sharpened analytical and critical skills.

Cicero is listed among orators, rhetoricians, and philosophers, but his letters provide us with much valuable historical information, so he could also be listed under historians. Most of Cicero’s works are appropriate for students age twelve and up, except perhaps his Stoic philosophical works (On the State, On the Supreme Good and Evil, etc.), which could be left for the mature Christian.

The mythological works and love poetry (works of Homer, Sappho, Ovid, Martial, Juvenal etc.) have a great reputation with the world, and that is one very strong reason for the Christian to handle them with utmost caution. There is no question that Hesiod and Homer are fundamental to understanding Greek culture, but that is no justification for sacrificing the tender conscience of a child to their fantasies, brutalities, and perversions.

Historical poetry and plays (The Persians by Aeschylus, the political poetry of Solon) can be read by ages twelve and up.

In Ancient History from Primary Sources: A Literary Timeline, the “Timeline of Ancient Literature” lists selected excerpts, and the “Author & Primary Source Index” lists more selected excerpts.

For more of our own philosophy on reading classical literature, see our Appendices, Four Approaches to the Study of Ancient Literature, and “Nothing Is Neutral.”



If I know Him at all, I must love Him

October 15th, 2015


C.H. Spurgeon
Morning and Evening

October 14th — Morning Reading

I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. — Philippians 3:8

Spiritual knowledge of Christ will be a personal knowledge. I cannot know Jesus through another person’s acquaintance with Him. No, I must know Him myself; I must know Him on my own account. It will be an intelligent knowledge — I must know Him, not as the visionary dreams of Him, but as the Word reveals Him. I must know His natures, divine and human. I must know His offices — His attributes — His works — His shame — His glory. I must meditate upon Him until I “comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.” It will be an affectionate knowledge of Him; indeed, if I know Him at all, I must love Him. An ounce of heart knowledge is worth a ton of head learning. Our knowledge of Him will be a satisfying knowledge. When I know my Saviour, my mind will be full to the brim. I shall feel that I have that which my spirit panted after. “This is that bread whereof if a man eat he shall never hunger.” At the same time it will be an exciting knowledge; the more I know of my Beloved, the more I shall want to know. The higher I climb the loftier will be the summits which invite my eager footsteps. I shall want the more as I get the more. Like the miser’s treasure, my gold will make me covet more. To conclude; this knowledge of Christ Jesus will be a most happy one; in fact, so elevating, that sometimes it will completely bear me up above all trials, and doubts, and sorrows; and it will, while I enjoy it, make me something more than “Man that is born of woman, who is of few days, and full of trouble”; for it will fling about me the immortality of the everliving Saviour, and gird me with the golden girdle of His eternal joy. Come, my soul, sit at Jesus’s feet and learn of Him all this day.


Scheduling and Time Lines

October 11th, 2015

I have a few practical questions. In your 10 things before age 10 article, you lay out a routine for how the day might go. But did you have any kind of lesson plan for the week or the year? Did you set any goals?

Second question — when creating a timeline we obviously start with creation, but how far BC is that? And how do I really get started? I have my long paper for it, but how far apart on the paper do I make marks and how many years between the marks? I’ve never done a timeline on a big scale like this so I just need a bit of help to get me going. Thanks!

Amy Estes

Yes, I would make goals — general goals. I would have ideas in my head about what I wanted to study or what I wanted to read. Generally, for me, I figured out what I wanted to study or read, and then the kids studied along with me. I would make general goals or plans, but if something new came up, I wouldn’t hesitate to change my plans.

Here might be some examples:

I hear that a famous violin player will be performing at the city library. That calls for dropping everything and attending the performance.

The city decides to pave our street. Be sure we’ll be watching at the curb every day instead of doing any pre-planned activities.

Having a garden will often interrupt plans — you will tend to the fruits and vegetables as needed.

Academic plans should give way to Daddy’s schedule. You’ll want to spend time with him whenever possible.


Concerning the timeline, I follow the chronology of James Ussher which gives 4004 BC as the start of creation. I suggest purchasing The Wall Chart of World History by Edward Hull (it’s based on the chronology of James Ussher). In my opinion, it’s the best timeline ever made and is a valuable resource for any homeschool library.

Wall Chart 4

You can pattern your own paper timeline after this one.


Blind fate and chance are excluded

October 10th, 2015

God’s perfect wisdom in the management of our affairs

by James Buchanan

The Lord reigns. Psalm 97:1

The Bible lays a solid ground for our comfort when it assures us that all things are under the government of God. He superintends the affairs of this world, both as the provident parent and as the moral governor of His creatures.

The Bible declares that God created them, and that whatever beings He deigned to create, He does not disdain to care for. It assures us that no being is so great as to be exempt from His control, and none are so little as to be beneath His regard. And, in like manner, that His eye is directed to every event which may befall any one of His creatures with no event being either so momentous, or so insignificant as to be beyond His management, or unworthy of His notice. The sparrow which falls to the earth is not less an object of His regard than the seraph that stands before His throne.

That all His creatures in this world, and all the events of human life, of whatever kind they may be are under God’s regulation and control — is, of itself, fitted to banish that feeling of uncertainty and hopelessness which the aspect of events might otherwise awaken.

And how important to know . . .
–that nothing happens by chance,
–that everything is ordained and appointed according to certain divine principles which are fixed and stable,
–and that these principles will continue to be developed until the grand end of God’s government shall have been attained.

But, however important this information may be, it could ill suffice to cheer the heart amidst its sorrows, or to inspire that living hope which alone can bear us up under their heavy pressure were we not further assured that the government under which we live is conducted by . . .
–a God of infinite intelligence and wisdom;
–a being who cannot err — one who knows the end from the beginning; and
–is alike incapable of choosing an improper end or of employing unsuitable means for its attainment.

A persuasion of God’s perfect wisdom in the management of our affairs is the more needful, in proportion as we feel our own helplessness and are taught by disappointments and trials that our affairs are too high and too great to be managed by ourselves. And when assured of this precious truth, we shall the more readily submit to all God’s appointments, satisfied that although we know not the plan of His operations, yet it is known and approved of by One whose wisdom is the best guarantee of the universe.

And thus, too, will the idea of blind fate be excluded, not less than the idea of chance.

Still the heart desires something more. It is not enough that the world is neither left to the random vicissitudes of chance nor governed by a blind and inexorable fate. It is not enough for our comfort to know that a God of infinite intelligence presides over its affairs, and that its laws are the emanations of His unerring wisdom. Great and glorious as these discoveries are, the heart longs to know the character, not less than the wisdom of that Almighty Being and to be made acquainted, if not with His secret purposes, at least with the nature of His moral perfections, and His dispositions towards ourselves. God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns! Revelation 19:6

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