Trivium Pursuit

Science and History Projects — one of the best parts of homeschooling

May 8th, 2018

Throughout our homeschooling years, from 1975-2001, science and history projects were a big part of our curriculum. It was the fun part of homeschooling and served to make the learning stick. Here are photos of some of our projects.

4 Nathan
An early project on robots

8 November, Homeschool Hostory Expo, Family
Our primitive attempt at costuming

Homeschool History Fair, Nathan and project
The Great Exhibition of 1851

3 May, Johannah, Science Fair
The Effect of Leaving Out Different Ingredients in Bread

3 May, Nathan, Science Fair
Nate’s first science fair project

7 Mercer County Fair, Nathan and ribbon
Lots of ribbons on this one

8 November, Homeschool Hostory Expo, Nathan
Leonardo Da Vinci

Fall Science Fair Project, Johannah
Johannah and her African Violet experiment

Fall Science Fair Project, Nathan
Increased pressure and growing plants

Homeschool History Fair, Ava and project
Ava and Queen Victoria

Homeschool History Fair, Helena 2
Helena — All three girls worked on the same project this year

Homeschool History Fair, Johannah

Nathan's history project
Nate’s Great War project

Fall Science Fair Project, Hans
Hans and his rock project


All About Reading — a recommended phonics curriculum

May 8th, 2018

In 1978 I started teaching my oldest to read. This is by no means a recommendation, but only the story of a small part of our homeschooling journey. When Nathaniel was just an infant, I read the book How to Teach Your Baby to Read by Glenn Doman. This book teaches a pure form of the “look-say” or “whole language” method for reading. Back in the 1950’s, I was taught to read with the Dick and Jane “look-say” sight readers, so I recognized Doman’s method as the way I had been taught to read. Since I didn’t know any better, I latched onto this method.

Following the book’s instructions, I began teaching Nathaniel when he turned two. As the book directed, I made up large flash cards with vocabulary words printed on them: mommy, daddy, house, school, and I drilled Nathaniel several times each day. Yes, he learned to “read” those words on the flash cards, but I found that if I skipped a day’s instruction, then he forgot all the words, so I had to begin all over again. My sister suggested that I teach him the alphabet first. I simply parroted the instructions of Mr. Doman, “Oh, no, teaching the alphabet would just confuse him.”

I think I lasted about three months with this method. It was an exercise in futility not unlike pouring water into a bucket full of holes. As long as I spent large and precious amounts of time each day drilling him with the flash cards, he continued to “read” them back to me. But if I failed to keep filling his bucket by drilling him with the cards, then his level of reading ability would keep dropping as his vocabulary would be draining out the holes.

At about this time, I heard a radio talk show program on the subject of teaching reading by a method they called “intensive phonics.” The guest that day was Benita Rubicam, then president of what was called the Reading Reform Foundation, and she talked about something called the Orton-Gillingham Approach. What she said made sense, and she immediately converted me. I read everything which that organization had to offer, and I began my search for the best phonics program to use with my children.

The Writing Road to Reading: Spalding Method for Teaching Speech, Spelling, Writing, and Reading was what I finally decided to use. At that time, it was considered to be the best phonics curriculum, except that it was not at all set up to be homeschool user-friendly. None of the helps and teacher’s manuals were available back then.

Here are some criteria you could consider when choosing a phonics curriculum:

Method. Despite what some persons want us to believe, English is a phonetic language. The problem with English is that it has the largest vocabulary, manifold larger than any other language which has ever existed. As a consequence, English has incorporated spellings from many different languages. Therefore, the way a particular word spells its sound may also display some of its history. This is the great cultural treasure of the English language.

Phonics is the only method which fits English. Do not be fooled by the fake phonics programs which are based upon “look-say” sight reading, but which sprinkle in some incidental phonics as “auditory-clues.” Phonics teaches the sounds of each letter or letter combination and builds up a full system of pronunciation. (Yes, there are some quaint little exceptions, and they are taught also.)

Usability. If you are unfamiliar with the English phonetic system, then make sure that the curriculum which you choose has plenty of teacher’s helps. Back in the seventies and eighties, when we used The Writing Road to Reading, the parent was expected to take a course at a college in order to learn how to use it. Today, numerous helps have been added. We recommend using a phonics curriculum which is easy to understand and use.

At what age should I begin teaching reading? A few children will learn to read at age four, while a few may be fully ten years old before they can confidently read a basic reader. Most children, however, will learn to read sometime between the ages of five and eight. The age at which a child learns to read is no indicator of how intelligent he is or how well he will do in academics later on. Our own children learned to read somewhere between age five and nine. We suggest beginning phonics at age five. If, after a reasonable amount of time, you find that your child is not retaining any of the instruction, even though he is putting forth an effort, then you may want to put the curriculum aside and wait a few months before trying it again.

What materials should I use? There are many good phonics reading programs. Some families will try one, find it does not work, try another, find it does not work, try another, find it does not work, try another, and at last it works. So in their mind this last one is the best one, when in reality, the child was finally old enough, developed to the point of true readiness to read.

The phonics curriculum I can recommend to you today is All About Reading. It meets the criteria of method (it’s based on Orton-Gillingham) and usability (it’s a lightly scripted, open-and-go program). This program doesn’t require long periods of study and you don’t have to develop your own lesson plans. Everything is laid out for you, step by step.

All About Reading is the curriculum my daughter Johannah is using with my grandchildren, and I get to help!

Michael doing his writing assignment

Listening to Michael practice reading


Are you looking for a phonics or spelling curriculum?

May 3rd, 2018

Use a curriculum which is based on the Orton-Gillingham Approach. This free e-book will give you a look at the elements of this approach for teaching reading and spelling. Long ago, I used The Writing Road to Reading by Romalda Spalding, which was one of the first reading curricula based on Orton-Gillingham. It was good, but difficult to implement. Today, we have other options. More later.

The Power of Orton-Gillingham


One of the secrets of a happy and beautiful life

April 18th, 2018

by J.R. Miller

As your days, so shall your strength be. Deuteronomy 33:25

One of the secrets of happy and beautiful life, is to live one day at a time. Really, we never have anything to do any day, but the bit of God’s will for that day. If we do that well we have absolutely nothing else to do.

Time is given to us in days. It was so from the beginning. This breaking up of time into little daily portions means a great deal more than we are accustomed to think. For one thing, it illustrates the gentleness and goodness of God. It would have made life intolerably burdensome if a year, instead of a day had been the unit of division. It would have been hard to carry a heavy load, to endure a great sorrow, or to keep on at a hard duty for such a long stretch of time. How dreary our common task-work would be if there were no breaks in it, if we had to keep our hand to the plough for a whole year. We never could go on with our struggles, our battles, our suffering if night did not mercifully settle down with its darkness, and bid us rest and renew our strength.

We do not understand how great a mercy there is for us in the briefness of our short days. If they were even twice as long as they are, life would be intolerable. Many a time when the sun goes down we feel that we could scarcely have gone another step. We would have fainted in defeat if the summons to rest had not come just when it did.

We see the graciousness of the divine thoughtfulness in giving us time in periods of little days, which we can easily get through with, and not in great years, in which we would faint and fall by the way. It makes it possible for us to go on through all the long years and not to be overwrought, for we never have given to us at any one time, more than we can do between the morning and the evening.

If we learn well the lesson of living just one day at a time, without anxiety for either yesterday or tomorrow, we shall have found one of the great secrets of Christian peace. That is the way God teaches us to live. That is the lesson both of the Bible and of nature. If we learn it, it will cure us of all anxiety; it will save us from all feverish haste; it will enable us to live sweetly in any experience.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34


Middle English reading of Speke Parrot

April 18th, 2018

A Middle English reading of John Skelton’s poem Speke Parrot.


Video editing can lead to a good home business

April 18th, 2018


From the Ron Paul Homeschool Curriculum newsletter:

Video editing can lead to a good home business. It’s more profitable than babysitting.

The cheapest way to get started is with Davinci Resolve 14. It’s free.

The company wants you to buy a complete version for $300. But most people will not need anything better than the free version. The main limits on the program are with users, not the software.

They don’t make it easy to download the free version. Here is a video that shows you how.

There are dozens of free tutorials.


Two free Trivium Pursuit books with your order

April 14th, 2018


I love how the smell of essential oils moves throughout my house, making everything smell fresh and wonderful. I love how when I apply essential oils to my skin, it gives me a sense of well-being and peace.

To get started using therapeutic grade essential oils with your family, I recommend purchasing the Young Living Premium Starter Kit. This way, you’ll enjoy wholesale prices all the time. It includes eleven of Young Living’s most popular essential oil singles and blends, an ultrasonic diffuser, essential oil samples for sharing, and 2 NingXia Red immune boosting drinks. In addition, I’ll send you two free Trivium Pursuit books as a thank you gift.


Becoming a wholesale member of Young Living Essential Oils is quick and easy and gives you an instant 24% wholesale discount on hundreds of products.

Some of you are wholesale members at Sam’s or Costco, so you understand the benefits associated with wholesale buying. However, with Young Living, unlike Costco or Sam’s Club, you don’t have to pay a registration fee to join.

As long as you spend at least $50.00 during the year, you’ll maintain your wholesale status — there are no yearly renewals. It’s that easy. No selling. No monthly requirements.

In other words, all you have to do to get wholesale prices is order a Young Living Premium Starter Kit. It’s that simple.

What you’ll get with your Young Living Premium Starter Kit:

–-Your choice of diffuser
–11 Oils

    –Lavender 5-ml
    –Peppermint Vitality 5-ml
    –Lemon Vitality 5-ml
    –Copaiba Vitality 5-ml
    –Frankincense 5-ml
    –Thieves Vitality 5-ml
    –Citrus Fresh 5-ml
    –Raven 5-ml
    –DiGize Vitality 5-ml
    –PanAway 5-ml
    –Stress Away 5-ml

–AromaGlide Roller Fitment
–Thieves Household Cleaner 1-oz. sample
–10 Love It? Share It! Sample Business Cards
–10 Love It? Share It! Sample Oil Bottles
–2 NingXia Red 2-oz. samples
–Product Guide and Product Price List
–Essential Oils Magazine
–Essential Edge News
–Member Resources

The value of the Young Living Premium Starter Kit is over $300, while the initial investment starts at only $160.

In addition, when you choose the Premium Starter Kit, I will send you two of the following Trivium Pursuit books. This is our thank you gift for you.

Choose two of the following books:

    Ancient History from Primary Sources: A Literary Timeline
    Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style
    Handy English Encoder Decoder
    A Greek Alphabetarion: A Primer for Teaching How to Read, Write & Pronounce Ancient & Biblical Greek
    A Greek Hupogrammon: A Beginner’s Copybook for the Greek Alphabet with Pronunciations
    Bless the Lord: The 103rd Psalm


IN ADDITION, if you sign up for Essential Rewards during the month of April you will receive an extra 5ml bottle of oil.

Get started now. Simply follow the directions here or feel free to contact me (515-249-3611) for personalized help. After you place your order, contact me with the title of the Trivium Pursuit books you’d like.


The Covenants — New Book by Trivium Pursuit

March 17th, 2018

The Covenants

The Covenants — Modernized Edition
by R.B.C. Howell (Author),‎ Harvey Bluedorn (Editor)

Kindle Version

Dr. R. B. C. Howell was president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1851 through 1858. Dr. Howell’s book is an excellent exposition on the covenants of Scripture. It is NOT an exposition of Covenant Theology – indeed, Dr. Howell parts from standard formulation of Covenant Theology in many places. In chapter eight, paragraph 2, he states: Of the law and the gospel — the Old and New Covenants — Paul speaks in language which can hardly be misunderstood. He characterizes them, not as one covenant developing itself in different forms; nor as two of the covenants which marked the history of the divine government; but as “the two covenants” of God. The first expression “one covenant in different forms” would be the modern formulation of what is called “Covenant Theology.” Though Mr. Howell’s book predates Dispensationalism, the second expression “two of the [many] covenants,” nevertheless seems to anticipate it. Hence Mr. Howell, in formal essence, rejects both Covenant Theology and Dispensationalism.

Some of the features of this new modernized edition: Great care has been taken to retain all of the original content of the book while greatly improving its accessibility and accuracy. None of the author’s original words have been changed. The spelling, capitalization, and punctuation throughout the text have been modestly modernized for clarity and consistency. Some idiosyncrasies have been retained. All notes and quotes from other sources have been researched, compared, and corrected, and bibliographic information corrected and expanded wherever possible. An Index of sources referenced throughout the text has been constructed, and an internet location for each source is supplied wherever available. An index of Scripture references has been constructed. The Table of Contents is expanded to include the subheadings which appear at the beginning of each chapter. A new chapter of editorial notes and comments has been added.

There are some editions of The Covenants available – printed, kindle, and otherwise – which contain serious omissions – large and small. This edition has been carefully proofread against photocopies of the original text.


My 10-year-old has learning disabilities and is in public school

March 8th, 2018


My 10-year-old has learning disabilities. He’s in (public school) 5th-grade currently, but he’s not really at that level. I’d like to be able to place him in the level he can start learning in. How can I do this using the RPC? Could he be in different grades for different subjects or how would it work?

It is $250 per family, per year to access the forums. Then there is a fee of $50 per course. Go to my web site here to look at all the courses offered by the Ron Paul Homeschool Curriculum. Follow the links to check out the individual courses. All courses have several free lessons for you to preview to determine if it’s right for your child. It is $250 per family, per year to register and $50 per course. You can buy any course you wish — you can mix grade levels.

If you decide to purchase this curriculum, it would be helpful to me if you use my affiliate link (any of the links in the above-mentioned blog post).


Repentance is a flower which does not grow in nature’s garden

March 8th, 2018

Quotes from Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices by Thomas Brooks (1608 – 1680)


Oh! says Satan, you need not make such a matter of sin, you need not be so fearful of sin, not so unwilling to sin; for God is a God of mercy, a God full of mercy, a God that delights in mercy, a God that is ready to show mercy, a God that is never weary of showing mercy, a God more prone to pardon his people than to punish his people; and therefore he will not take advantage against the soul; and why then, says Satan, should you make such a matter of sin?

DEVICE 6: By persuading the soul that the work of repentance is an easy work; and that therefore the soul need not make such a matter of sin. Why! Suppose you do sin, says Satan, it is no such difficult thing to return, and confess, and be sorrowful, and beg pardon, and cry, ‘Lord, have mercy upon me!’ and if you do but this, God will forgive your debt, and pardon your sins, and save your souls. By this device Satan draws many a soul to sin, and makes many millions of souls servants of sin, or rather slaves to sin.

Remedy (1). The first remedy is, seriously to consider, That repentance is a mighty work, a difficult work, a work that is above our power. There is no power below…which can break the heart of a sinner, or turn the heart of a sinner. You are as well able .. to turn a flint into flesh, as to turn your own heart to the Lord… Repentance is a flower which does not grow in nature’s garden…Repentance is a gift that comes down from above. Men are not born with repentance in their hearts, as they are born with tongues in their mouths…It is not in the power of any mortal to repent at pleasure.

Repentance is a flower

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