Trivium Pursuit

Grumpy mommies train grumpy kids

March 24th, 2015

I thought this article would be helpful for some of you.

My Adrenal Fatigue Story by Stacy McDonald

Grumpy mommies train grumpy kids. When we feel sick or run down, it’s very difficult to have a cheerful, energetic attitude; and, as unfair as it seems, it will effect those you care for and train.

Not only that, a tired, moody mama is also going to find it difficult (if not downright impossible!) to stay on top of the housework, to consistently train the children (without losing it), and to keep a productive, industrious household. Ask me how I know.

Read the rest of this article here.

Laurie Bluedorn
aromatherapy student



Learning the Greek Alphabet

March 12th, 2015

My son Joe cut and sanded down some pretty cedar trees into 4-sided blocks. I used his blocks to write the Greek alphabet, vowels, diphthongs, accents. I keep it near my computer for constant visuals for all of us. –Maribel H.




Joe also made a replica of a wooden book holder used by scribes.



Is it too late for a 40-something-year-old?

March 3rd, 2015


Gerrit Dou (1613-1675) — Old Woman Reading a Lectionary

I would like to know if you think it is too late for a 40-something-aged individual to learn how to learn? I just heard about the Trivium and thought I would look it up and found you. Where would you recommend that I start if I’m not too old to learn how to learn. Sometimes I feel as if I am slowing down but there is a burning desire to learn within me. We were never taught how to critically think in school during my time. As a matter of fact, I felt constant fear in school and was bullied and made fun of because my twin brother and I didn’t have the best clothing and smelled of cigarette smoke at times because one parent was a smoker. School wasn’t a pleasant experience for me, to say the least, but I have a burning desire to realize my fullest potential. Any recommendations would be well received.

Thank you,

Here are a few suggestions:

1. Read something every day — develop the habit of reading. Start with subjects which interest you and then branch out to other things. I suggest you start by reading at least an hour per day.

2. Study logic. The Fallacy Detective is a good place to start.

3. Write something every day. Letters, journal entries, start a blog, book reviews, essays. Write one page per day to begin with.

4. Avoid wasting time staring at a screen.

5. If possible, find people with whom you can discuss your readings (join a book club).

After you have happily and comfortably incorporated these things into your life, then you can add more. The goal is to alter the appetite — which is the hardest part.


Pictures Through a Child’s Mind: Introducing Children to Art

March 3rd, 2015

Victor Gabriel Gilbert (1847-1933) was a French artist who liked to paint scenes from the largest marketplace in Paris. This painting is called The Birthday Cake. Spend a bit of time observing this painting, and then answer the questions below. Since the goal of this study is to learn to love art, I recommend that you answer the questions orally, not with pencil and paper.


What do you see in this picture?
What kinds of clothing are Mother and her children wearing? Are they like your clothing?
What country do you think this family lives in?
Whose birthday do you think it is?
Do you think he likes his birthday cake?
Where do you think they are taking this birthday cake?
How is your eye drawn to the “center of interest” — does the direction of the bricks lead your eye into the painting and to Mother holding the baby?
Why is the baby wearing a bright yellow scarf?
What colors do you see in this painting?
How does this painting make you feel?

∗ A “center of interest” is the all-important part of a painting — that part of the picture which attracts the mind and is the brightest and sharpest. Imagine a tic-tac-toe grid across the painting. Each of the four intersections of the tic-tac-toe lines is a “center of interest.”


Studying the Kings of the Bible

February 26th, 2015

I am going
 through the Old Testament very slowly with my 8-year-old. We have been using
 The Bible Story Library Volume II edited by Turner Hodges. We also are using The Greenleaf Guide to Old Testament History. I noticed that Greenleaf covers
 the kings of Judah and Israel better than the Bible Story book
, but I do not know how important it is to go back and really
 study the kings of Judah and Israel. 
I did an internet search and there is a lot of info on this, and I myself
 am becoming quite overwhelmed by this period in time. 
Does anyone have any great ideas on how to teach the kings of Judah and
 Israel to elementary age children, or maybe some activities or crafts we 
can do? How in-depth should
 a parent go with a 3rd/4th grader into the kings?

My suggestion is to read through Kings and Chronicles using The Reese Chronological Bible, and as you read, have them find the names of 
the kings on The Wall Chart of World History. If you would like to further
 solidify the information, they could draw pictures to add to the timeline.
 In this way you have allowed them to hear it, see it, and handle it.

Wall Chart 4



Learn to Love Art: Art Appreciation for Children

February 23rd, 2015

Henriëtte Ronner–Knip (1821-1909) was a Dutch painter who loved to paint dogs and cats. The painting you see here is called The Dog Cart. Spend a bit of time observing this painting, and then answer the questions below. Since the goal of this study is to learn to love art, I recommend that you answer the questions orally, not with pencil and paper.


What is the first thing you see when you look at this painting?
Which of the three dogs do you like the best?
Which of the three dogs is at the “center of interest”? ∗ How do you know?
Why are the stick on the ground and the black dog pointing to the red dog?
How does the artist tell you that the dogs are running fast?
What do you think is in the cart?
Would you like to have a cart like this? What would you carry in your cart?
Who is the man on the donkey?
See the grass on both sides of the painting near the dogs — do you think it’s placed there to keep our eyes from going off the painting?

∗ A “center of interest” is the all-important part of a painting — that part of the picture which attracts the mind and is the brightest and sharpest. Imagine a tic-tac-toe grid across the painting. Each of the four intersections of the tic-tac-toe lines is a “center of interest.”


The ancient view of nursing a baby

February 20th, 2015

download (1)

Aulus Gellius (c. 125 – after 180 AD) was a Latin author and grammarian

Attic Nights
Book 12, Chapter 1

A discourse of the philosopher Favorinus, in which he urged a lady of rank to feed with her own milk, and with that of other nurses, the children whom she had borne.

1 Word was once brought in my presence to the philosopher Favorinus that the wife of an auditor and disciple of his had been brought to bed a short time before, and that his pupil’s family had been increased by the birth of a son. 2  “Let us go,” said he, “both to see the child and to congratulate the father.”

3 The father was of senatorial rank and of a family of high nobility. We who were present at the time went with Favorinus, attended him to the house to which he was bound, and entered it with him. 4  Then the philosopher, having embraced and congratulated the father immediately upon entering, sat down. And when he had asked how long the labour had been and how difficult, and had learned that the young woman, overcome with fatigue and wakefulness, was sleeping, he began to talk at greater length and said: “I have no doubt she will suckle her son herself!” 5  But when the young woman’s mother said to him that she must spare her daughter and provide nurses for the child, in order that to the pains which she had suffered in childbirth they might not be added the wearisome and difficult task of nursing, he said: “I beg you, madam, let her be wholly and entirely the mother of her own child. 6  For what kind of unnatural, imperfect and half-motherhood is it to bear a child and at once send it away from her? to have nourished in her womb with her own blood something which she could not see, and not to feed with her own milk what she sees, now alive, now human, now calling for a mother’s care? 7  Or do you too perhaps think,” said he, “that nature gave women nipples as a kind of beauty-spot, not for the purpose of nourishing their children, but as an adornment of their breast?

8  For it is for that reason (though such a thing is of course far from your thoughts) that many of those unnatural women try to dry up and check that sacred fount of the body, the nourisher of mankind, regardless of the danger of diverting and spoiling the milk, because they think it disfigures the charms of their beauty. In so doing they show the same madness as those who strive by evil devices to cause abortion of the fetus itself which they have conceived, in order that their beauty may not be spoiled by the labour of parturition. 9  But since it is an act worthy of public detestation and general abhorrence to destroy a human being in its inception, while it is being fashioned and given life and is still in the hands of Dame Nature, how far does it differ from this to deprive a child, already perfect, of the nourishment of its own familiar and kindred blood

10 ‘But it makes no difference,’ for so they say, ‘provided it be nourished and live, by whose milk that is effected.’ 11  Why then does not he who affirms this, if he is so dull in comprehending natural feeling, think that it also makes no difference in whose body and from whose blood a human being is formed and fashioned? 12  Is the blood which is now in the breasts not the same that it was in the womb, merely because it has become white from abundant air and width? 13  Is not wisdom of nature evident also in this, that as soon as the blood, the artificer, has fashioned the whole human body within its secret precautions, when the time for birth comes, it rises into the upper parts, is ready to cherish the first beginnings of life and of light, and supplies the newborn children with the familiar and accustomed food?

14  Therefore it is believed not without reason that, just as the power and nature of the seed are able to form likenesses of body and mind, so the qualities and properties of the milk have the same effect. 15  And this is observed not only in human beings, but in beasts also; for if kids are fed on the milk of ewes, and lambs on that of goats, it is a fact that as a rule the wool is harsher in the former and the hair softer in the latter. 16  In trees too and grain the power and strength of the water and earth which nourish them have more effect in retarding or promoting their growth than have those of the seed itself which is sown; and you often see a strong and flourishing tree, with transplanted to another spot, die from the effect of an inferior soil. 17  What the mischief, then, is the reason for corrupting the nobility of body and mind of a newly born human being, formed from gifted seeds, by the alien and degenerate nourishment of another’s milk? Especially if she whom you employ to furnish the milk is either a slave or of servile origin and, as usually happens, of a foreign and barbarous nation, if she is dishonest, ugly, unchaste and a wine-bibber; for as a rule anyone who has milk at the time is employed and no distinction made.

18 Shall we then allow this child of ours to be infected with some dangerous contagion and to draw a spirit into its mind and body from a body and mind of the worst character? 19  This, by Heaven! is the very reason for what often excites our surprise, that some children of chaste women turn out to be like their parents neither in body nor in mind. 20  Wisely then and skillfully did our Maro make use of these lines of Homer:

The horseman Peleus never was thy sire,
Nor Thetis gave thee birth; but the gray sea
Begat thee, and the hard and flinty rocks;
So savage is thy mind.

For he bases his charge, not upon birth alone, as did his model, but on fierce and savage nurture, for his next verse reads:

And fierce Hyrcanian tigers gave thee suck.

And there is no doubt that in forming character the disposition of the nurse and the quality of the milk play a great part; for the milk, although imbued from the beginning with the material of the father’s seed, forms the infant offspring from the body and mind of the mother as well.

21 And in addition to all this, who can neglect or despise this consideration also, that those who desert their offspring, drive them from them, and give them to others to nurse, do sever, or at any rate loosen and relax, that bond and cementing of the mind and of affection with which nature attaches parents to their children? 22  For when the child is given to another and removed from its mother’s sight, the strength of maternal ardor is gradually and little by little extinguished, every call of impatient anxiety is silenced, and a child which has been given over to another to nurse is almost as completely forgotten as if it had been lost by death. 23  Moreover, the child’s own feelings of affection, fondness, and intimacy are centered wholly in the one by whom it is nursed, and therefore, just as happens in the case of those who are exposed at birth, it has no feeling for the mother who bore it and no regret for her loss. Therefore, when the foundations of natural affection have been destroyed and removed, however much children thus reared may seem to love their father and mother, that affection is in a great measure not natural but merely courteous and conventional.”

24 I heard Favorinus make this address in the Greek language. I have reproduced his sentiments, so far as I was able, for the sake of their general utility, but the elegance, copiousness and richness of his words hardly any power of Latin eloquence could equal, least of all my humble attainments.


You have lately been in the furnace

February 19th, 2015

Letters of John Newton

Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. John 16:33

Dear friend,

You have lately been in the furnace and are now brought safely out. I hope you have much to say of the grace, care, and skill of the great Refiner, who watched over you, and that you have lost nothing but dross. Let this experience be treasured up in your hearts for the use of future times. Other trials will come, but you have found the Lord faithful to His promise, and have good encouragement to trust Him again.

I doubt not, but you will have your share of trials, but when the love of God is shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit, it sweetens what bitter things the Lord puts into our cup, and enables us to say, None of these things move me.

Yes, the life of faith is a happy life, and
if attended with conflicts, there is an assurance of victory;
if we sometimes get a wound, there is healing balm near at hand;
if we seem to fall, we are raised again; and
if tribulations abound, consolations shall abound likewise.

Is it not happiness to have an infallible Guide, an invincible Guard, an almighty Friend, to be able to say of the Maker of heaven and earth, He is my Beloved, my Shepherd, my Savior, and my Husband.

Oh the peace that flows from believing . . .
that all events in which we are concerned are under His immediate disposal;
that the hairs of our head are all numbered;
that He delights in our prosperity;
that there is a need-be, if we are in heaviness; and
that all things shall surely work for our good.

How happy to have such views of God’s sovereignty, wisdom, love, and faithfulness as will enable us to meet every painful dispensation with submission, and to look through the changes of the present life to that unchangeable inheritance to which the Lord is leading us, when all evil shall cease, and where joy shall be perfect and eternal. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. Revelation 21:4


Learn to Love Art: Art Appreciation for Children

February 17th, 2015

Here you see a painting by Norwegian painter, Harriet Backer (born 1845, died 1932). It’s called Little Red Riding Hood and Grandmother. Spend a bit of time observing this painting, and then answer the questions below. Since the goal of this study is to learn to love art, I recommend that you answer the questions orally, not with pencil and paper.

Little Red Riding Hood and Grandmother

What is the first thing you see when you look at this painting?
Who do you think sewed this little red hood?
Do you think the little girl likes the little red hood?
Is Grandmother happy with how the little red hood turned out?
Did you know that the artist purposely placed the little red hood at a “center of interest” in the painting — so you would look at it first? ∗
Why is Grandmother’s arm pointing to the little red hood?
Why is the curtain on the back wall draped so it also points to the little red hood?
What sewing equipment does Grandmother have on her table?
Name some of the colors in this painting.
If you could change something or add something to this painting, what would it be?

∗ A “center of interest” is the all-important part of a painting — that part of the picture which attracts the mind. Imagine a tic-tac-toe grid across the painting. Each of the four intersections of the tic-tac-toe lines is a “center of interest.”

Living and Learning at Home


People with sore and bruised hearts

February 17th, 2015


Dr. James Russell Miller (1840 – 1912) was one of the most popular Christian authors of his age. He wrote more than 60 books and pamphlets. He served as a pastor for several decades in Pennsylvania and Illinois and as Editorial Superintendent of the Presbyterian Board of Publication. Several of his books have been reprinted by Solid Ground Christian Books.

Listen to this 4-minute devotional.