Trivium Pursuit

Twelve ancient authors and 44 significant excerpts concerning Alexander the Great including snakes and sea monsters

March 18th, 2019

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Ancient Literature: Significant Excerpts from the Books of Classical Authors Which You Can Use to Supplement Your History Curriculum, Volume Two – Alexander the Great

Use primary sources to enhance your study of ancient history.

This 94-page ebook can be used to supplement any ancient history curriculum and is suitable for ages ten through adult. For this volume, we combed through the books of twelve ancient authors to find 44 significant excerpts concerning Alexander the Great. We then arranged the excerpts chronologically and provided the text and citation for each.

Below here we have included only a small portion of the contents of Ancient Literature: Significant Excerpts from the Books of Classical Authors Which You Can Use to Supplement Your History Curriculum, Volume Two – Alexander the Great

The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans: Alexander
7.1-3; 8.1-5 Philip hires Aristotle to teach Alexander

7 And since Philip saw that his son’s nature was unyielding and that he resisted compulsion, but was easily led by reasoning into the path of duty, he himself tried to persuade rather than to command him; 2 and because he would not wholly entrust the direction and training of the boy to the ordinary teachers of poetry and the formal studies, feeling that it was a matter of too great importance, and, in the words of Sophocles,

“A task for many bits and rudder-sweeps as well,”

he sent for the most famous and learned of philosophers, Aristotle, and paid him a noble and appropriate tuition-fee. 3 The city of Stageira, that is, of which Aristotle was a native, and which he had himself destroyed, he peopled again, and restored to it those of its citizens who were in exile or slavery.

8 Moreover, in my opinion Alexander’s love of the art of healing was inculcated in him by Aristotle preeminently. For he was not only fond of the theory of medicine, but actually came to the aid of his friends when they were sick, and prescribed for them certain treatments and regimens, as one can gather from his letters. 2 He was also by nature a lover of learning and a lover of reading. And since he thought and called the Iliad a viaticum of the military art, he took with him Aristotle’s recension of the poem, called the Iliad of the Casket, and always kept it lying with his dagger under his pillow, as Onesicritus informs us; 3 and when he could find no other books in the interior of Asia, he ordered Harpalus to send him some. So Harpalus sent him the books of Philistus, a great many of the tragedies of Euripides, Sophocles, and Aeschylus, and the dithyrambic poems of Telestes and Philoxenus. 4 Aristotle he admired at the first, and loved him, as he himself used to say, more than he did his father, for that the one had given him life, but the other had taught him a noble life; later, however, he held him in more or less of suspicion, not to the extent of doing him any harm, but his kindly attentions lacked their former ardour and affection towards him, and this was proof of estrangement. 5 However, that eager yearning for philosophy which was imbedded in his nature and which ever grew with his growth, did not subside from his soul, as is testified by the honour in which he held Anaxarchus, by his gift of fifty talents to Xenocrates, and by the attentions which he so lavishly bestowed upon Dandamis and Calanus.

Diodorus Siculus
Historical Library
17.1-7 How Alexander, having succeeded to the throne, disposed affairs of his kingdom

1.3 Alexander accomplished great things in a short space of time, and by his acumen and courage surpassed in the magnitude of his achievements all kings whose memory is recorded from the beginning of time. 4 In twelve years he conquered no small part of Europe and practically all of Asia, and so acquired a fabulous reputation like that of the heroes and demigods of old. …. 5 On his father’s side Alexander was a descendant of Heracles and on his mother’s he could claim the blood of the Aeacids, so that from his ancestors on both sides he inherited the physical and moral qualities of greatness. …

….6 But, for all the problems and fears that beset his kingdom on every side, Alexander, who had only just reached manhood, brought everything into order impressively and swiftly. Some he won by persuasion and diplomacy, others he frightened into keeping the peace, but some had to be mastered by force and so reduced to submission…..

4 In order to overawe those who refused to yield otherwise, he set out at the head of the army of the Macedonians in full battle array. With forced marches he arrived in Boeotia and encamping near the Cadmeia threw the city of the Thebans into a panic. 5 As the Athenians immediately learned that the king had passed into Boeotia, they too abandoned their previous refusal to take him seriously. So much the rapid moves and energetic action of the young man shook the confidence of those who opposed him. 6 The Athenians, accordingly, voted to bring into the city their property scattered throughout Attica and to look to the repair of their walls, but they also sent envoys to Alexander, asking forgiveness for tardy recognition of his leadership.

7 Even Demosthenes was included among the envoys; he did not, however, go with the others to Alexander, but turned back at Cithaeron and returned to Athens, whether fearful because of the anti-Macedonian course that he had pursued in politics, or merely wishing to leave no ground of complaint to the king of Persia. 8 He was generally believed to have received large sums of money from that source in payment for his efforts to check the Macedonians, and indeed Aeschines is said to have referred to this in a speech when he taunted Demosthenes with his venality: “At the moment, it is true, his extravagance has been glutted by the king’s gold, but even this will not satisfy him; no wealth has ever proved sufficient for a greedy character.” 9 Alexander addressed the Athenian envoys kindly and freed the people from their acute terror.

5.1 Now that we have described what took place in Greece, we shall shift our account to the events in Asia. Here, immediately after the death of Philip, Attalus actually had set his hand to revolt and had agreed with the Athenians to undertake joint action against Alexander, but later he changed his mind. Preserving the letter which had been brought to him from Demosthenes, he sent it off to Alexander and tried by expressions of loyalty to remove from himself any possible suspicion. 2 Hecataeus, however, following the instructions of the king literally, had him killed by treachery, and thereafter the Macedonian forces in Asia were free from any incitement to revolution, Attalus being dead and Parmenion completely devoted to Alexander……

The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans: Alexander
6.1-8 Alexander tames Bucephalus

Philonicus the Thessalian brought the horse Bucephalus to Philip, offering to sell him for thirteen talents; but when they went into the field to try him, they found him so very vicious and unmanageable, that he reared up when they endeavoured to mount him, and would not so much as endure the voice of any of Philip’s attendants. Upon which, as they were leading him away as wholly useless and untractable, Alexander, who stood by, said, “What an excellent horse do they lose for want of address and boldness to manage him!” Philip at first took no notice of what he said; but when he heard him repeat the same thing several times, and saw he was much vexed to see the horse sent away, “Do you reproach,” said he to him, “those who are older than yourself, as if you knew more, and were better able to manage him than they?” “I could manage this horse,” replied he, “better than others do.” “And if you do not,” said Philip, “what will you forfeit for your rashness?” “I will pay,” answered Alexander, “the whole price of the horse.” At this the whole company fell a-laughing; and as soon as the wager was settled amongst them, he immediately ran to the horse, and taking hold of the bridle, turned him directly towards the sun, having, it seems, observed that he was disturbed at and afraid of the motion of his own shadow; then letting him go forward a little, still keeping the reins in his hands, and stroking him gently when he found him begin to grow eager and fiery, he let fall his upper garment softly, and with one nimble leap securely mounted him, and when he was seated, by little and little drew in the bridle, and curbed him without either striking or spurring him. Presently, when he found him free from all rebelliousness, and only impatient for the course, he let him go at full speed, inciting him now with a commanding voice, and urging him also with his heel. Philip and his friends looked on at first in silence and anxiety for the result, till seeing him turn at the end of his career, and come back rejoicing and triumphing for what he had performed, they all burst out into acclamations of applause; and his father shedding tears, it is said, for joy, kissed him as he came down from his horse, and in his transport said, “O my son, look thee out a kingdom equal to and worthy of thyself, for Macedonia is too little for thee.”

Antiquities of the Jews
11.8.3 Alexander begins the siege of Tyre and asks for provisions from the Jews (333 B.C.)

3. …….So Alexander came into Syria, and took Damascus; and when he had obtained Sidon, he besieged Tyre, when he sent all epistle to the Jewish high priest, to send him some auxiliaries, and to supply his army with provisions; and that what presents he formerly sent to Darius, he would now send to him, and choose the friendship of the Macedonians, and that he should never repent of so doing. But the high priest answered the messengers, that he had given his oath to Darius not to bear arms against him; and he said that he would not transgress this while Darius was in the land of the living. Upon hearing this answer, Alexander was very angry; and though he determined not to leave Tyre, which was just ready to be taken, yet as soon as he had taken it, he threatened that he would make an expedition against the Jewish high priest, and through him teach all men to whom they must keep their oaths. So when he had, with a good deal of pains during the siege, taken Tyre, and had settled its affairs, he came to the city of Gaza, and besieged both the city and him that was governor of the garrison, whose name was Babemeses.

Quintus Curtius
History of Alexander
4.4.1-5 Sea Monster found at Tyre

At this point Alexander from utter weariness had determined to raise the siege and go to Egypt. For after he had overrun Asia with great speed he was lingering around the walls of a single city, thus losing the opportunity for so many mighty exploits. But he was as much ashamed to withdraw baffled, as to delay, thinking that his reputation also, by which he had overthrown more than by his arms, would be impaired if he should leave Tyre as a witness that he could be defeated. Therefore, in order to leave nothing untried, he ordered more ships to be brought up and the best of his soldiers to be embarked upon them. And it chanced that a sea-monster, of a size never before seen, rising even above the waves with its back, brought its huge body up to the causeway which the Macedonians had built, and striking the surges asunder as it lifted itself, was seen by both sides. Then from the peak of the causeway it again plunged under the sea, and now rising above the surface with a great part of its bulk, now hidden as the waves dashed over it, it disappeared under water not far from the walls of the city. The appearance of the monster gave joy to both sides; the Macedonians interpreted it as showing the direction in which to go on building up the work; the Tyrians thought that Neptune, as an avenger of the usurped sea, had brought the monster against the causeway, and that it would surely soon fall in ruins.

8.5-7 Daniel foretells of Alexander the Great

5 And as I was considering, suddenly a male goat came from the west, across the surface of the whole earth, without touching the ground; and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. 6 Then he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing beside the river, and ran at him with furious power. 7 And I saw him confronting the ram; he was moved with rage against him, attacked the ram, and broke his two horns. There was no power in the ram to withstand him, but he cast him down to the ground and trampled him; and there was no one that could deliver the ram from his hand.

Ancient Geography
15.1.28 Snakes found in India

28 Between the Indus and the Hydaspes is Taxila, a large city, and governed by good laws. The neighbouring country is crowded with inhabitants and very fertile, and here unites with the plains. The people and their king Taxiles received Alexander with kindness, and obtained in return more presents than they had offered to Alexander; so that the Macedonians became jealous, and observed, that it seemed as if Alexander had found none on whom he could confer favours before he passed the Indus. Some writers say that this country is larger than Egypt. Above this country among the mountains is the territory of Abisarus, who, as the ambassadors that came from him reported, kept two serpents, one of 80, and the other, according to Onesicritus, of 140 cubits in length. This writer may as well be called the master fabulist as the master pilot of Alexander. For all those who accompanied Alexander preferred the marvellous to the true, but this writer seems to have surpassed all in his description of prodigies. Some things, however, he relates which are probable and worthy of record, and will not be passed over in silence even by one who does not believe their correctness. Other writers also mention the hunting of serpents in the Emodi mountains, and the keeping and feeding of them in caves.

Diodorus Siculus
Historical Library
17.89.1-6; 17.90.1, 4-7 Snakes found in India

89. Many were slain in their flight, but then Alexander, satisfied with his brilliant victory, ordered the trumpets to sound the recall. Of the Indians, there fell in the battle more than twelve thousand, among whom were the two sons of Porus and his best generals and officers. Above nine thousand men were taken alive, together with eighty elephants. Porus himself was still breathing, and was turned over to the Indians for medical attention. On the Macedonian side, the losses were two hundred and eighty cavalry and more than seven hundred infantry. The king buried the dead, rewarded those who had distinguished themselves in accordance with their deserts, and sacrificed to Helius who had given him the eastern regions to conquer. There were mountains not far away where grew thriving firs in quantity, together with no little cedar and pine and an ample supply of other woods suitable for shipbuilding, and Alexander constructed a large number of ships. He intended to reach the borders of India and to subdue all of its inhabitants, and then to sail downstream to the Ocean. He founded two cities, one beyond the river where he had crossed and the other on the spot where he had defeated Porus. These were built quickly because there was a plentiful supply of labour. When Porus had recovered, Alexander appointed him, in recognition of his valour, king over the country where he formerly ruled. The Macedonian army rested for thirty days in the midst of a vast plenty of provisions.

90. Odd phenomena were observed in these mountains. In addition to the wood for shipbuilding, the region contained a large number of snakes remarkable for their size; they reached a length of sixteen cubits…..Sasibisares, the king who had not moved in time to help Porus in the battle, was frightened, and Alexander forced him to accept his orders. Then Alexander resumed his march to the east, crossed the river, and continued on through a region of remarkable fertility. It possessed strange kinds of trees which reached a height of seventy cubits, were so thick that they could scarcely be embraced by four men, and cast a shadow of three plethra. This country possessed a multitude of snakes, small and variously coloured. Some of them looked like bronze rods, others had thick, shaggy crests, and their bites brought sudden death. The person bitten suffered fearful pains and was covered with a bloody sweat. The Macedonians, who were much affected by the bites, slung their hammocks from trees and remained awake most of the night. Later, however, they learned from the natives the use of a medicinal root and were freed from these fears.

Entire contents of this ebook:

Claudius Aelianus — NAME OF AUTHOR
Various History — TITLE OF BOOK
Aelianus mistakenly reports that Alexander was born and died on same day of month — DESCRIPTION OF SIGNIFICANT EXCERPT

The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans: Alexander
Alexander born on the sixth day of the month — Hecatombaeon

Aulus Gellius
Attic Nights
A letter of Philip to Aristotle with regard to the recent birth of his son Alexander

The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans: Alexander
Alexander tames Bucephalus

The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans: Alexander
Philip hires Aristotle to teach Alexander

Epitome of Pompeius Trogus
Commencement of Alexander’s reign; he prepares to invade Persia

Diodorus Siculus
Historical Library
How Alexander, having succeeded to the throne, disposed affairs of his kingdom

Diodorus Siculus
Historical Library
Alexander destroys Thebes (335 B.C.)

Claudius Aelianus
Various History
Alexander destroys all in Thebes except the houses of the priests and of Pinder

Anabasis of Alexander
Alexander crosses over to Asia (334 B.C.)

Anabasis of Alexander
Alexander defeats the Persians in the Battle of Granicus (334 B.C.)

The Lives of the Noble Grcians and Romans: Alexander
Plutarch’s version of the Battle of Granicus

Diodorus Siculus
Historical Library
Alexander proclaims liberty to all the Greek cities

Anabasis of Alexander
Alexander defeats Darius in the Battle of Issus (333 B.C.)

Antiquities of the Jews
Alexander begins the siege of Tyre and asks for provisions from the Jews (333 B.C.)

Anabasis of Alexander
Siege of Tyre

Quintus Curtius
History of Alexander
Sea monster found at Tyre

Quintus Curtius
History of Alexander
The fall of Tyre

The prophet Isaiah foretells the final destruction of Tyre by Alexander the Great

Epitome of Pompeius Trogus
Darius offer Alexander a deal

Anabasis of Alexander
Alexander takes Gaza (332 B.C.)

Antiquities of the Jews
Alexander enters Jerusalem in peace

Anabasis of Alexander
The founding of Alexandria by Alexander (332 B.C.)

The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans: Alexander
Battle of Gaugamela (331 B.C.)

Anabasis of Alexander
Battle of Gaugamela

The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans: Alexander
Darius escapes

Diodorus Siculus
Historical Library
Alexander conquers Babylon and Susa

Quintus Curtius
History of Alexander
Alexander enters Babylon

The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans: Alexander
Alexander amazed by a chasm in the earth in Batana

Diodorus Siculus
Historical Library
Alexander destroys Persepolis (331 B.C.)

Diodorus Siculus
Historical Library
Death of Darius (330 B.c.)

Daniel foretells of Alexander the Great

Anabasis of Alexander
Alexander enters India; How Alexander constructed his bridge over the river Indus (327 B.C.)

Ancient Geography
Snakes found in India

Quintus Curtius
History of Alexander
Description of India

Diodorus Siculus
Historical Library
Snakes found in India

Aulus Gellius
Attic Nights
About the horse of King Alexander, called Bucephalas

Anabasis of Alexander
Death of Alexander’s horse Bucephalas (327 B.C.)

Pliny the Elder
Natural History
The Indian fig

Anabasis of Alexander
Alexander wounded

Anabasis of Alexander
March through Gadrosia (326 B.C.)

Anabasis of Alexander
Alexander in Persis; tomb of Cyrus repaired

Anabasis of Alexander
Death of Alexander the Great (323 B.C.)

Quintus Curtius
History of Alexander
Events immediately after Alexander’s death



Are you looking for a way to include primary sources into your history lessons?

March 11th, 2019

Ancient History Primary Sources Julius Caesar Cover

Add value to your history curriculum — Julius Caesar free on Kindle for 3 days

Are you looking for a way to include primary sources into your history lessons?

Ancient Literature — Significant Excerpts From the Books of Classical Authors Which You Can Use to Supplement Your History Curriculum

Volume One — Julius Caesar
Volume Two — Alexander the Great
Volume Three — Augustus, Jesus Christ, and Tiberius
Volume Four — Ancient Egypt
Volume Five — Caligula, Claudius, and Paul
Volume Six — Nero, Paul, and the Destruction of Jerusalem

The six ebooks (over 800 pages) can be purchased on Amazon Kindle for $2.99 each….

….but, for three days (March 12-14), Volume One Julius Caesar is free.

In addition, if you write an Amazon review of Volume One Julius Caesar, we’ll send you Volumes Two, Three, Four, Five, and Six — free!

Use primary sources to enhance your study of history.

These ebooks can be used to supplement any ancient history curriculum and are suitable for ages ten through adult. We combed through the books of dozens of ancient authors to find significant excerpts concerning the different time periods. We then arranged the excerpts chronologically and provided the text and citation for each.

Download your free copy of Volume One — Julius Caesar here.

Buy Volume Two — Alexander the Great here.

Buy Volume Three — Augustus, Jesus Christ, and Tiberius here.

Buy Volume Four — Ancient Egypt here.

Buy Volume Five — Caligula, Claudius, and Paul here.

Buy Volume Six — Nero, Paul, and the Destruction of Jerusalem here.

You can purchase the PDF version of these ebooks here.

Let us know if you write an Amazon review of Volume One and we’ll send you the rest of the volumes (


Best book on counseling

March 9th, 2019

Your Family, God’s Way: Developing and Sustaining Relationships in the Home

What makes a good family? Good theology, regular family worship, separation from the world, modest dressing, listening to good music, going to a Biblical church, homeschooling? All of these things may be good, but none of them, by themselves, are what make a good family.

A good family is one where there are arguments — even heated arguments, there are happy times and there are sad times, there are financial troubles and medical troubles, there are lots of days with at least one person falling on the floor giving way to a big belly laugh, there is hard work and there is relaxation, there is discouragement and hope, there is boredom and anticipation, there is sadness and there is joy. Most good families even have to go through serious trials and hardships. But most of all, a good family is one where the members have two very necessary tools:

1. they know how to communicate properly with one another, and,
2. they know how to resolve conflicts.

They can get mad at each other, but not sin (Ephesians 4:26). They know how to confront, but in the right way (Ephesians 4:15; Romans 15:14). They know how to affirm and encourage (Philemon 4-7; Hebrews 3:12-13), and not just flatter (Proverbs 29:5). They know how to love (Galatians 5:13; Ephesians 4:2; Romans 12:9) and how to forgive (Luke 17:3-4; Colossians 3:12-13). They know the difference between being self-focused and others-focused (I Corinthians 10:24; Philippians 2:4; I Thessalonians 5:14-15), and, lastly, but most importantly, they know how to pursue peace (Hebrews 12:14-15; Titus 3:1-7).

Unless you are one of the very blessed and had two parents who knew all this stuff and gave you these two tools, you’ll have to acquire them yourself. Don’t expect to absorb this knowledge through the skin by listening to seminars or have it miraculously flow into your brain by the laying on of hands or be given it on a silver platter. If you’re like most of us, you’ll have to work at it.

It’s a two-step process.

Step One: Realize you don’t have these two tools and that you need to get them
Step Two: Get them

Many people never get to Step One. It’s pretty much all God that gets a person through Step One. You can’t lecture, force, manipulate, or convince a person through that step.

I’ve read a lot of counseling books over the years, starting back in the early 70’s when I was in college. There are the solid counseling books:

Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave: Finding Hope in the Power of the Gospel by Edward Welch
Anger Management by Richard Baxter
Anger: Escaping the Maze by David Powlison
Breaking the Addictive Cycle: Deadly Obsessions or Simple Pleasures by David Powlison
The Exemplary Husband: A Biblical Perspective by Stuart Scott
Grief: Finding Hope Again by Paul David Tripp
Blame It on the Brain: Distinguishing Chemical Imbalances, Brain Disorders, and Disobedience by Edward T. Welch
When People Are Big and God is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man by Edward Welch
Communication and Conflict Resolution: A Biblical Perspective by Stuart Scott
Depression: Looking Up from the Stubborn Darkness by Edward T. Welch
Facing Grief: Counsel For Mourners by John Flavel
Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Its Cure by Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Triumphing Over Sinful Fear by John Flavel

and then there are the fad counseling books.

The solid, foundational counseling books are ones you need to buy and keep in your library.

Your Family, God’s Way: Developing and Sustaining Relationships in the Home is one you’ll need to buy.

Part One of Your Family God’s Way lays the groundwork and discusses men, women, and children’s roles in the home — but that’s just a small part of this book. We all know what the IDEAL husband, wife, and child should look like. It’s the getting there that’s so difficult.

Part Two of Your Family God’s Way deals with that first necessary tool: communication.

Topics covered include types of communication abnormalities that people have, hindrances to communication, and because this book is heavy on the application part, what you can do about these problems. Sometimes, reading about a particular communication abnormality will help a person get through Step One.

Nonverbal communication

“…we’re constantly sending out messages without even opening our mouths.” page 57
“If I avoid eye contact with you, I’m communicating.” page 57
“Never underestimate the significance of your nonverbal behavior.” page 60
“…nonverbal communication is often misunderstood.” page 62
“Learn…the need to see how others may read your nonverbal behavior. Insofar as it is possible, make sure that your nonverbal behavior communicates to others what you want to communicate, what you are actually thinking and feeling.” page 70
“Explaining the meaning of your nonverbal behavior to others is an essential part of effective communication.” page 72
“…be cautious in our interpretation of another person’s actions.” page 73


“In some instances ‘undertalk’ is manifested by topic avoidance.” page 81
“‘Small talk’ sometimes is disguised in the form of apathetic talk.” page 82
“Deficient sharing prevents intimacy and hinders efforts to build your family God’s way.” page 83
“Acknowledgment deficit may occur during family discussions when one member makes a contribution, but no one else pays any attention.” page 83
“No Christian family that takes God and His Word seriously should allow ‘undertalk’ in the form of a lack of commendation to rule the day.” page 84
“Selfishness, stubbornness, and a desire to punish are the roots of ‘small talk’s’ power in other families.” page 85
“People hesitate to speak freely because they fear that others may use what they say against them.” page 86


“…certain people have a propensity to dominate conversations.” page 99
“…defensiveness and excuse making are frequently practiced in families today.” page 101
“Takeover speech also qualifies as ‘overtalk.’” page 102
“Certain non-stop or motor-mouth speech is a kind of ‘overtalk.’” page 102
“‘Overtalk’ may take the form of badgering others…” page 103
“An abundance of self-centered speech is a common type of “overtalk.’” page 104

Circuit jammers to communication

“The Bible indicates that all of us practice lying.” page 115
“Exaggeration is a more subtle, but equally lethal form of lying.” page 116
“When people fear they will be misrepresented, they avoid discussing issues on which they don’t want to be misquoted.” page 119
Sidetracking “happens when, in the course of conversation, no one issue is thoroughly discussed.” page 119
“Hurling harsh and cutting words at family members will surely distance them from you, both spatially and emotionally.” page 121
“Scripture encourages us to become experts at the ‘dribble’ technique. Dribbling soft, gentle, respectful words to people will draw them closer to you.” page 121
“Cancellation speech…occurs when something is said in one breath and taken back (cancelled) with the next.” page 122
“Cancellation speech often manifests pride intent on exalting self by keeping others in their place — a lower place.” page 122
“Ventriloquistic speech takes over for the other person.” page 124
“Some speakers project the attitude that once they have spoken on a subject, nothing more can be added; the ultimate has been spoken.” page 124
“Some people constantly complain and find fault.” page 125

Part Three of Your Family God’s Way looks at the second necessary tool: conflict resolution.

“R.T. Archibald noted that ‘peacemakers…carry about with them an atmosphere in which quarrels die a natural death.’” This statement is really at the heart of Your Family God’s Way, and Wayne Mack gives some practical ideas on how you can become the peacemaker in your family.

Your Family God’s Way allows for self-examination through the extensive list of exercises at the end of each chapter. In these exercises you will be evaluating yourself and your family in the light of the truths found throughout each chapter, plus you’ll find practical guidelines for implementing these truths.

With knowledge comes power. This book gives you the knowledge and thereby the power to transform your family from one of pride, complacency, apathy, and status-quo. This book gives hope, but expect to work. Expect painful work.

Read Your Family God’s Way together as a family and do the homework at the end of each chapter. I guarantee it will benefit your family in a thousand ways. Do it now, while your family is young.


Classical Education and Delayed Formal Academics — Essential and Nonessential

March 4th, 2019

I came across your website recently
 in my search for classical curriculum providers. I read (and 
re-read) your article, Ten Things to Do with Your Child before Age
 Ten, and it has been 
insightful, however I have some questions. 

If you’ll indulge me for a moment, 
I’ll provide a brief profile of my home learning environment. I am
 fairly new to homeschooling. We began just over two years ago, when 
my eldest was 4. I taught her to read and kept things fairly simple. 
She is now 7 and is a voracious reader. My 4 1/2-year-old is now
 learning how to read (and, hopefully, my 10-month-old will be just as

My eldest is now in grade 1 and is 
working through Saxon Math, Shurley Grammar, handwriting, and a 
History/Bible curriculum through a private Christian school in the States
 (we’re in Canada). I had hoped to incorporate French into our studies,
 but simply could not find the time (learning French is a must in eastern 
Canada, so it will have to be a summer school project). 
We have naturally followed many of the suggestions you make in the
 above-mentioned article, such as teaching them to read early on, reading 
to them daily, frequent library trips, family devotions, however as I
 sit down to consider next year’s curriculum for my eldest, I am
 frustrated. I don’t believe I can continue with what I am doing and 
remain sane.

My husband and I believe that the
 classical approach to educating our children is the best way to go, but 
there are so many different points of view out there. I appreciated the information on your website, however what to choose remains vague for 
me. The bottom line is, I lack both the experience and confidence to
 create my own curriculum. What I like about the curriculum I’ve been
 using is that it is all set out for me — weekly lesson plans, beautiful
 reference books, great historical fiction, all tied into what we are
 studying. But as you’ve warned on your website, working with
 curriculum designed for a school can cause difficulties, and, from what I 
can gather from your recommendations, the sort of structured study that 
we’ve been engaged in is too much at this stage.

Also, I am unsure what you mean by
 informal math – is Saxon Math considered informal? What math programs do
 you recommend? I noticed that you do not even mention mathematics 
before age ten in your Suggested Course of Study outline. 
What about an English grammar program? We’ve been working through
 Shurley Grammar (a bit tedious, I must say), thinking that this was 
necessary, but you seem to be suggesting waiting for some time before
 digging into formal grammar. Are formal spelling and creative
 writing programs unnecessary as well at this point?

You mention
 learning Greek and Latin – I can’t even fit French instruction
Please forgive me for dumping on you
 here, but your suggestions just might be what I need to relieve the stress
 I’m already feeling. What I really need is something more
 concrete. As you have probably gathered by now, I’m not enjoying
 this process, that is, trying to decide exactly what to provide for my children’s education. There is simply too much out there. 
Please help! 
Thank you very much for your
Reading between the lines, I detect you are like me. We are a bit of a perfectionist, wanting to make sure we cover all the basics in a thorough manner. We enjoy learning and we see all this information we think we need to study, and we enjoy the process of teaching our children. It’s just that there’s SO MUCH to cover. Where to begin?

There’s only so much time in the day. This needs to be our guiding principle. Perhaps I can tap into my experiences to help you weed out the nonessential from the essential.

Let’s review what we have elsewhere written concerning what to do with a child before age ten. Around age ten, the brain becomes physically able to make more complex connections, which, among other things, makes the child more able to handle abstract concepts and helps the child with self-management and self-control. At age ten, the child is fully entering the grammar stage. Before this time, the child is mostly dependent upon his concrete sensory experiences for learning. He is really in a pre-grammar stage. He is still “booting up,” to put it in computer lingo. (See books by Jane M. Healy such as Failure to Connect: How Computers Affect Our Children’s Minds and What We Can Do About It, Your Child’s Growing Mind: A Guide to Learning and Brain Development from Birth to Adolescence, Endangered Minds: Why Children Don’t Think and What We Can Do About It)

1. Reading and Handwriting

Sometime before your child is ten, you should teach him to read using a good intensive phonics method such as All About Reading. The age a child learns to read is no indicator of how smart he is or how well he will do in academics later on. Our children learned to read anywhere from age five to age nine. At the same time he learns to read he should learn to write his letters. Copywork is a good way to practice handwriting skills and to prepare him for creative writing when he is older.

Essential: teach child to read using phonics; copywork/handwriting
Nonessential: handwriting workbooks; teaching phonics/reading after the child is proficient in reading; copywork curricula; spelling curricula; grammar curricula; creative writing curricula

2. Narration

Charlotte Mason developed the concept of narration in Britain at the close of the nineteenth century. The concept has been reintroduced to homeschooling families by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay in her book For the Children’s Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School by Karen Andreola through her articles in Practical Homeschooling.

If narration is a new concept to you, then it is best to start out small. Read to the child just one short paragraph from a simple story, then ask him to retell, in his own words, what you just read to him. In the beginning you may need to prompt the child with questions about the passage. As the child becomes more practiced in the art of narration, he will be able to narrate longer and longer passages.

Narration is an exercise which builds mental stamina. According to Karen Andreola, Because narration takes the place of questionnaires and multiple choice tests, it enables the child to bring all the faculties of mind into play. The child learns to call on the vocabulary and descriptive power of good writers as he tells his own version of the story.

Essential: practice narration once a day
Nonessential: reading comprehension workbooks; grammar curricula

3. Memorization

Encourage the child to memorize things: the Greek and Hebrew alphabets, passages from the Bible, poetry, catechisms, excerpts from literature. Choose memorization topics which are important to your family. Perhaps the child can then recite his memory work in front of the family or a larger group. This is an excellent way to prepare the child for competitions in oral interpretation and speech and debate when he is older. Memorization, along with narration, trains, sharpens, and strengthens the mind and prepares the child for more rigorous studies later on. And that’s precisely what we want to do in the early years of a child’s life.

In your case, since learning French is a priority for your family, I would skip the Greek and Hebrew and concentrate on French. In a few years, if you are able, you can add the Greek, Hebrew, or Latin. Notice I said “if you are able.”

Essential: practice memorization once a day
Nonessential: memorizing random facts divorced from what is important to your family

4. Hearing and Listening

By reading aloud to your child, you teach him the sound of words and develop his vocabulary while enlarging his understanding of the world and developing his imagination. We suggest you read to each child at least two hours a day. Read from a wide variety of good literature: biographies and historical fiction. Include books on science, geography, art, music, and history. Audio books can be substituted for the parent reading, as necessary.

You can develop your child’s idea of the continuity of history by making a time line of the things you read. Tape a long piece of paper to the wall where he will see it every day and mark it off in centuries. When you read about the life of Bach, mark his birth and death on the time line. When you read about the invention of the printing press, mark that point on the time line.

So you see, your science and history will be covered by your read-alouds (or what you choose for the child to read). You can include simple projects to go along with your reading, similar to what is included in the Five in a Row curriculum.

Essential: read aloud two hours per day or use audio books
Nonessential: formal history or science curricula

5. Family Worship

With regular family worship, the mind is developed along spiritual and moral lines in a way which cannot be accomplished by Bible workbooks.

A method of Bible study we suggest that is profitable is to have someone read a passage of Scripture (the NKJV is a translation suitable for children), then have everyone in the family ask at least one question about the passage. Before age ten, you may expect a child to ask mostly grammar-level questions of fact. By age 13 he will ask more logic level questions of theory, and by age 16 he will ask more rhetoric-level questions of practice.

Essential: regular family worship
Nonessential: Bible study curricula; children’s Bibles

6. Arts and Crafts

Young children learn more through their senses. They need more hands-on manipulatives before age ten. Give them plenty of time to experiment with art and crafts. In the main room of your house, or wherever it is you spend the most time, keep a low shelf stocked with good-quality colored pencils, paints, clay, paper, scissors, glue, wallpaper sample books, fabric sample books, different kinds of crayons, sewing supplies, etc. along with a small table with chairs.

Children can easily work on their projects while you read to them or they listen to audio books. Younger children can do crafts while the older ones are being helped with math or science.

Essential: good quality art and craft supplies readily available to the child
Nonessential: a Better Homes and Gardens home

7. Field Trips

Take lots of field trips. Early on, get into the habit of visiting the library on a weekly basis.

When the child is four or five, begin attending your local Science and Engineering Fair. Observe all of the different kinds of projects and experiments. Encourage the child to think of what kind of experiment he could enter when he’s 13 (in the logic stage).

Take time to attend concerts and plays, museums and exhibits. Visit workplaces. Give him experiences from which to build his understanding of the world; experiences he will draw upon and perhaps revisit when he is older.

Essential: use field trips and other experiences to expand your child’s world
Nonessential: field trips in a cyber world

8. Work and Service

Help your child develop a love for work and service. From the time a child is able to walk and talk, he should be given regular chores to perform. We’re not talking about just feeding the dog or making his bed. A five-year-old is quite capable of putting the dishes and laundry away. A ten-year-old can prepare simple meals from start to finish. Children of all ages can straighten a house. The mother should never pick up anything off the floor. Your goal should be that by the time a child is in his teens he will be able to take over the running of the household.

Along with work, children should be taught to serve. One way we helped our children learn to serve was by visiting nursing home residents on a regular basis.

Essential: chore schedules which are clear and understood by the child
Nonessential: parent cleaning up toys while child is idle

9. Discipline

Children need parents to discipline them, or they will never learn self-discipline. If the child does not develop self-discipline, he will fail in many things including the academics you are preparing him for.

Ask yourself, “Do I speak to my child in a loving and respectful tone?” “Am I satisfied with the obedience of my children? Do I enjoy being around my children? Do my children honor and respect me?” If your answer is, “No,” to any of these questions, perhaps you should re-evaluate your priorities.

Essential: do all things with love
Nonessential: harsh communication by the parent

10. Play

Give the child plenty of time to explore and play. Don’t buy “toy store” toys (they’re expensive and are usually forgotten after the newness wears off). Invest in real things. Garage sales and auctions are an unending source for things like sewing machines, small tools for working in the garden, hammers, nails, and things for building, and maybe some wooden blocks and dress-up clothes. Buy tools for exploring (a good microscope, telescope, binoculars, dissecting equipment, basic chemistry equipment, etc.), not toys for adoring. Teach your children how to use them responsibly (safe, neat, and orderly – clean up when you’re done), and make them readily available for when your children want to use them.

Make sure much of their playtime is spent outdoors. If I had it to do over, I’d try for the goal of two hours of free play outside each day. “Explore what childhood might look like if the amount of time kids spend outside rivaled what the amount of time they spend in front of screens.” –1000 Hours Outside

Essential: Two hours per day of outdoor play
Nonessential: playing in a cyber world

You’ll notice we do not include formal math or formal grammar. We have written elsewhere about this subject, so I won’t say more here. Concerning grammar, our language arts recommendations for before age ten are reading aloud, copywork, memorization, and narration as described above.


Thou, thou alone can steer us over the bar between yon sunken rocks, safe into the fair haven

February 24th, 2019

C.H. Spurgeon
Morning and Evening Daily Readings

September 22, Evening

When my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the Rock that is higher than I. –Psalm 61:2

Most of us know what it is to be overwhelmed in heart; emptied as when a man wipeth a dish and turneth it upside down; submerged and thrown on our beam ends like a vessel mastered by the storm. Discoveries of inward corruption will do this, if the Lord permits the great deep of our depravity to become troubled and cast up mire and dirt. Disappointments and heart-breaks will do this when billow after billow rolls over us, and we are like a broken shell hurled to and fro by the surf. Blessed be God, at such seasons we are not without an all-sufficient solace, our God is the harbour of weather-beaten sails, the hospice of forlorn pilgrims. Higher than we are is he, his mercy higher than our sins, his love higher than our thoughts. It is pitiful to see men putting their trust in something lower than themselves; but our confidence is fixed upon an exceeding high and glorious Lord. A Rock he is since he changes not, and a high Rock, because the tempests which overwhelm us roll far beneath at his feet; he is not disturbed by them, but rules them at his will. If we get under the shelter of this lofty Rock we may defy the hurricane; all is calm under the lee of that towering cliff. Alas! such is the confusion in which the troubled mind is often cast, that we need piloting to this divine shelter. Hence the prayer of the text. O Lord, our God, by thy Holy Spirit, teach us the way of faith, lead us into thy rest. The wind blows us out to sea, the helm answers not to our puny hand; thou, thou alone can steer us over the bar between yon sunken rocks, safe into the fair haven. How dependent we are upon thee — we need thee to bring us to thee. To be wisely directed and steered into safety and peace is thy gift, and thine alone. This night be pleased to deal well with thy servants.


Volume One of our art curriculum is free on Amazon Kindle February 26-March 2

February 24th, 2019

All 3 covers of art curr

What Do You See? A Child’s First Introduction to Art Volumes One, Two, and Three

These three ebooks can be purchased on Amazon Kindle for $2.99 each….

….but, for five days, February 26-March 2, Volume One will be free.

What Do You See? A Child’s First Introduction to Art

This curriculum is a gentle and easy introduction to art appreciation for children, ages 4-12. Our goal is to introduce children to basic concepts in learning how to look at a piece of art and evaluate it. In addition, we want to spark in the child a love for the great works of art.

The students and teacher should spend time observing the painting, and then answer the included questions. Since one of our goals is to learn to love art, we recommend that you ask the child to answer the questions orally, not with pencil and paper. We want to make the learning experience enjoyable for you and the children.

Each volume introduces only one elementary art principle.

Volume One — Center of Interest
Volume Two — Primary Colors
Volume Three — Source of Light

You can download your free copy of Volume One here.

whatdoyouseevolume1 cover newest small

Table of Contents for Volume One

1. Little Red Riding Hood and Grandmother by Harriet Backer
2. The Dog Cart by Henriëtte Ronner-Knip
3. The Birthday Cake by Victor Gabriel Gilbert
4. Boy with Baby Carriage by Norman Rockwell
5. Feeding the Baby by Axel Theophilus Helsted
6. Elsie Cassatt Holding a Big Dog by Mary Cassatt
7. Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose by John Singer Sargent
8. Cottage Girl with Dog and Pitcher by Thomas Gainsborough
9. A Child’s Menagerie by Eastman Johnson
10. Belshazzar’s Feast by Rembrandt

You can buy Volume Two here.

whatdoyouseevolume2 cover newest small

Table of Contents for Volume Two

1. Le Tour Du Monde by André-Henri Dargelas
2. Teaching a Dog New Tricks by John Arthur Lomax
3. The Baptism of the Eunuch by Rembrandt
4. Arabs Crossing the Desert by Jean-Leon Gerome
5. The Blind Girl by John Everett Millais
6. The Good Turn by George Hillyard Swinstead
7. The Animals Entering the Ark by Jan Brueghel the Elder
8. The First Lesson by Louis-Emile Adan
9. Baseball Players Practicing by Thomas Cowperthwait Eakins
10. The Reading Lesson by Paul Seignac

You can buy Volume Three here.

Art Curriculum Volume Three Cover

Table of Contents for Volume Three

1. The Burning of the Houses of Parliament by Joseph Mallord Wil-liam Turner
2. A Dinner Table at Night by John Singer Sargent
3. Harmony by Alexandre Cabanel
4. Keelman Heaving in Coals by Night by Joseph Mallord William Turner
5. Protecting the School Children by Andre Henri Dargelas
6. Saint Michael and the Dragon by Raphael
7. In Charge of Baby by Winslow Homer
8. A Child Peeling Potatoes by Evert Pieters
9. Tiger on the Watch by Jean-Leon Gerome
10. Saul and David by Rembrandt

You can also purchase the PDF version of these ebooks here.


Ron Paul Homeschool Curriculum Newsletter — Free How-To Video Courses

February 23rd, 2019

Ron Paul Homeschool Curriculum

From the Ron Paul Homeschool Curriculum Newsletter

Free How-To Video Courses

One of the great entrepreneurial stories in history is

Lynda Weinman started a free website in 1995. It taught non-tech people how to design websites. She grew it. She hired instructors.

She sold the company in 2015 for $1.5 billion. LinkedIn owns it now. Her share was over a quarter of a billion dollars. Her story is here.

These are excellent instructional videos. There are over 4,000 courses.

Here is the good news. Your local public library may have a subscription. If it does, you and your children may be able to take courses for free. It’s worth asking.

Ron Paul Homeschool Curriculum


The “At Risk Fallacy” and Homeschooling

February 22nd, 2019


Because there have been a few cases of child abuse in homes where the parents claimed to be homeschooling, therefore the state claims that all homeschooling families must be regulated in some way.

This is called the “At Risk Fallacy” — If there is even the chance that something can happen or that one person might be harmed, then we need to pass a law to control all in order to protect the people from themselves. The “At Risk Fallacy” is used to justify controlling all because of the stupid acts of a few. This type of thinking controls the government attitude nowadays. It doesn’t matter what are the unintended consequences of such an attitude.

Objections to states passing additional regulations on homeschooling families:

–The state has a poor record of controlling child abuse in their own schools. Would their encompassing all children — public, private, and homeschool — keep children safer?

–We here in the U.S. have the Bill of Rights so that we can oversee the state to keep them from using this “At Risk Fallacy” to take away all our rights.

–There already are laws on the books which address possible child abuse in homeschooling families.

–“A statistical analysis of 18 years of data from all the U.S. states found no relationship between the degree of state control or regulation of homeschooling and the frequency of abuse of homeschool students.” –Brian D. Ray, president of the National Home Education Research Institute

Are there other objections to the “At Risk Fallacy” being applied to homeschooling? What do you think?

Laurie Bluedorn


The Lord has not passed you by — approach him and be at peace

February 21st, 2019

Morning And Evening Daily Readings by C.H. Spurgeon

February 24, Evening

O Lord of hosts, how long will You not have mercy on Jerusalem … And the Lord answered the angel … with good and comforting words. –Zechariah 1:12-13

What a sweet answer to an anxious enquiry! This night let us rejoice in it. O Zion, there are good things in store for you; your time of travail shall soon be over; your children shall be brought forth; your captivity shall end. Bear patiently the rod for a season, and under the darkness still trust in God, for his love burns towards you. God loves the church with a love too deep for human imagination: he loves her with all his infinite heart. Therefore let her sons be of good courage; she cannot be far from prosperity to whom God speaks good words and comfortable words. What these comfortable words are the prophet goes on to tell us: I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. The Lord loves his church so much that he cannot bear that she should go astray to others; and when she has done so, he cannot endure that she should suffer too much or too heavily. He will not have his enemies afflict her: he is displeased with them because they increase her misery. When God seems most to leave his church, his heart is warm towards her. History shows that whenever God uses a rod to chasten his servants, he always breaks it afterwards, as if he loathes the rod which gave his children pain. Like as a father pities his children, so the Lord pities them that fear him. God has not forgotten us because he smites — his blows are no evidences of want of love. If this is true of his church collectively, it is of necessity true also of each individual member. You may fear that the Lord has passed you by, but it is not so: he who counts the stars, and calls them by their names, is in no danger of forgetting his own children. He knows your case as thoroughly as if you were the only creature he ever made, or the only saint he ever loved. Approach him and be at peace.