Trivium Pursuit

Grandpa and Grammy helping

October 2nd, 2016

Grandpa and Grammy helping with this week’s Five In a Row book.

If you’re homeschooling young children, you might want to look at this curriculum. It wasn’t around when my kids were young — I would have loved using it.








A Prescription for Anxiety

October 2nd, 2016

Philippians 4:4-9: A Prescription for Anxiety

Translation and Comments by Harvey Bluedorn, from the Exegetical Translation (XT), a work in progress.

I. Rejoicing in the Lord (4:4-5a)

4 {Keep on} ‡ rejoicing in the Lord at all times. Again I will say, {keep on} ‡ rejoicing! 5 Cause ‡ your gentle-kindness toward all men to be known.

Keep on rejoicing in the Lord at all times. Again I will say, keep on rejoicing! Our joy should be uniform and constant, steady and habitual. Circumstances should not distract us from our joy in the Lord. The only genuine and lasting joy is in Him.

Cause your gentle-kindness toward all men to be known. Paul would never tell us to be a show off about our virtues. Instead, Paul is telling us that in every circumstance we should let the gentle-kindness which is in us (as part of our new nature) to come out. We should cause our kind and gentle spiritual nature to prevail over that nervous anxiety generated by our carnal nature – that anxiety which Paul is about to discuss.

II. Praying to the God of Peace Who is Near and Guards Our Hearts (4:5b-7)

[5…] The Lord {is} near. 6 Stop ‡ being {unduly} anxious regarding anything, but instead, in everything with prayer and entreaty along with thanksgiving, {keep} causing ‡ your requests to be made known to ▪God; 7 for only then will the peace {which comes} from ▪God – the {peace} which holds {protective authority} over every mind [/surpasses every understanding] – take custody of [/guard in restraint] ‡ your ▪hearts and ‡ your ▪minds in {union with} Christ Jesus.

The Lord is near. The words, “the Lord is near,” are commonly associated with the previous words and taken to mean that the Lord is near in a timely sense, about to return to earth as a Judge, which might be a motivation for our gentle-kindness while we allow the Lord to administer mercy and justice. But awareness of the Lord’s timely return is not otherwise to be found connected with the context.

It may be better to take this clause with the following verses and to understand that the Lord is close at hand to help. Paul is reminding us that the Lord is close by and we can rely upon Him in every circumstance because, in fact, the Lord is in every circumstance.

Stop being unduly anxious regarding anything … In Greek, there is a way to say “Don’t start being anxious,” and another way to say, “Stop (don’t continue) being anxious.” This verse is closer to the second, yet it is not quite the same. The idea here is as if we have buckets labeled “anxieties” and we are commanded to keep those buckets empty by doing the things which Paul is telling us.

… but instead, in everything with prayer and entreaty along with thanksgiving, keep causing your requests to be made known to God … Here is the first part of Paul’s “treatment” for anxieties, a formula or method of sorts. Of course, the whole matter of treating and curing anxieties cannot be reduced to a mere formula – do this and live (Romans 10:5; Galatians 3:12; Luke 10:28; Leviticus 18:5). Rather, it requires faith, and it exercises faith, and when faith is strengthened in this way it displaces anxieties – “live and do this” (Romans 1:17; 10:10; Galatians 2:16; 3:11; Philippians 3:9; Hebrews 10:38; Habakkuk 2:4).

1. Anxiety will rob us of our joy, hence Paul began with the command to rejoice in the Lord in every circumstance. There is no joy in trying to anticipate everything, to know more than one can know, to control what cannot be controlled. So we should cast our cares upon the Lord, (Matthew 6:25; 1 Peter 5:7), for there is nothing which we can need which He will not supply.

2. We should bring out our gentle-kindness in every circumstance, displacing the nervousness of anxiety.

3. We should be self-aware that the Lord is close by – He is in the circumstance, so we can rely upon Him in every circumstance.

4. We should keep our anxiety bucket empty by continually identifying our anxieties and bringing them before the Lord, talking to Lord about them in prayer, pleading with the Lord about them, thanking the Lord for them, and bringing specific requests directly to the Lord for help in them – in other words, laying our cares upon Him Who cares for us.

… for only then will the peace which comes from God – the peace which holds protective authority over every mind – take custody of your hearts and your minds in union with Christ Jesus. The imperative mood plus the future tense is a Hebrew idiom conveying the idea of a causative conditional clause: “(when this happens) … only then (does this happen).” The peace comes only when, in faith, we do these things.

What would otherwise be an anxiety-inducing circumstance – whatever it may be, whenever it may come, however it may appear to us – yet it is actually a blessing from the Lord, though it may come to us in disguise. The circumstance cannot dissolve our union with Christ, nor remove God’s forgiving love toward us, nor cancel our reservations in heaven. The circumstance will always work together with all other things for the good of those who are “the called” according to God’s eternal purpose. The peace which the world or the flesh gives may really amount to apathy, complacency, indifference, or stoicism; but this peace which Paul promises is tranquility which rests in God.

This peace will “take custody of your hearts and your minds.” This word for “take custody of” is used for the soldier standing on guard duty on the inside of the city gate controlling who goes out. The heart is the center of inner life from which thoughts flow. This peace keeps the heart and mind from straying outside of Christ Jesus, preserving the enjoyment of union with Christ, a union which itself secures this peace.

III. Putting Living Examples of Virtue into Regular Practice (4:8-9)

8 From now on, brethren,

as many {things} as are trustworthy,

as many {things} as {are} honorable,

as many {things} as {are} upright,

as many {things} as {are} pure,

as many {things} as {are} agreeable,

as many {things} as {are} commendable,

if {there is} any moral excellence

and if {there is} any praiseworthiness,

{then keep} ‡ taking an inventory of these {virtues}.

9 What {virtues} ‡ you have also learned by instruction and have taken in for your own and have heard and have seen in me personally, these {virtues keep} ‡ practicing, for only then will the God of ▫this peace be with ‡ you.

From now on, brethren … The remainder of the “treatment for anxiety” follows.

… as many things as are trustworthy, as many things as are honorable, as many things as are upright, as many things as are pure, as many things as are agreeable, as many things as are commendable … Six items are listed which may be divided into three pairs of virtues.

The first four items are examples of moral excellence, virtue, or merit:

trustworthy – in character: truthful, true, real, genuine, honest

honorable – in reputation: noble, dignified, worthy of respect

upright – in judgment: just and right

pure – in behavior: innocent and sincere

The last two items are examples of things praiseworthy or commendable:

agreeable – in demeanor: delightful, pleasing, amiable, lovely, acceptable, endearing

commendable – in conduct: admirable and of good reputation

… if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praiseworthiness … Moral excellence describes the first four items in his list, and praiseworthiness describes the last two items in his list. Hence Paul makes it clear that his list of virtues is merely suggestive, not exhaustive, implying that we should add items of moral excellence and praiseworthiness to our own personal lists.

… then keep taking an inventory of these virtues … In another context, the word translated “keep taking an inventory” might be translated “reckon, calculate, think, consider, ponder, meditate on,” but in this context – following this list of categories – the idea would be to take a full accounting or inventory, implying a self-examination. Are we multiplying and growing and refining such virtues in our lives?

What virtues you have also learned by instruction and have taken in for your own and have heard and have seen in me personally, these virtues keep practicing … Paul instructs the Philippians to follow him as a living example of these things, which suggests that we should look out other living examples – people in our lives – which “flesh out” such virtues as these. It often helps us to understand how to do something ourselves when we observe someone else doing it first. So the final installment of the treatment of building the kind of faith which will displace anxiety is to recognize and to put into constant practice the virtues which we recognize in others.

… for only then will the God of this peace be with you. Just as in verse 7 above, the imperative mood plus the future tense conveys the idea of: “(when this happens) … only then (does this happen).”

The Lord is near (verse 5), and the God of this peace shall be with us (verse 9). Good company.

Notice that the treatment for anxiety has nothing to do with analyzing problematic circumstances. Instead, the focus is upon maintaining a strong spiritual life. Anxiety attacks faith, so the treatment for anxiety is to do those things which nurture faithful living. If we stop to focus on the problem, then we take our eyes off of the solution. The solution is to move ahead in faith toward Christ.

Colossians 3:1-2

Therefore, if you have been raised together with Christ, {then keep} seeking what {things are} above, where Christ is {continually} seated at the right hand of God. Keep directing your mind toward what {things are} above, not on what {things are} upon the earth.

Hebrews 12:1-2

… having for ourselves laid aside every hindering weight, and the easily ensnaring sin, with steady endurance we should be making a full run of the contest which is being set before us, looking away toward the Architect and Finisher of {our} faith – namely, Jesus …


New volumes in Trivium Pursuit’s art curriculum

October 2nd, 2016


Free art curriculum October 3-5

New volumes in Trivium Pursuit’s art curriculum — 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 three days only, October 3-5, Volume One will be free on Amazon Kindle.

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.

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.

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.

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.


Gentle and easy introduction to art appreciation for children

September 14th, 2016


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

Buy two volumes and get the third free.

A gentle and easy introduction to art appreciation for children, ages 4-12.


Ancient history excerpts — Remedies for head-ache and for wounds on the head

September 8th, 2016


Pausanias (c. A.D. 143-176)
Description of Greece

2.28.1 The serpents of Corinth

The serpents, including a peculiar kind of a yellowish color, are considered sacred to Asclepius, and are tame with men. These are peculiar to Epidauria, and I have noticed that other lands have their peculiar animals. For in Libyaonly are to be found land crocodiles at least two cubits long; from India alone are brought, among other creatures, parrots. But the big snakes that grow to more than thirty cubits, such as are found in India and in Libya, are said by the Epidaurians not to be serpents, but some other kind of creature.

Pliny the Elder (c. A.D. 23-79)
Natural History

29.36 Remedies for head-ache and for wounds on the head

A good remedy for head-ache are the heads taken from the snails which are found without shells, and in an imperfect state. In these heads there is found a hard stony substance, about as large as a common pebble: on being extracted from the snail, it is attached to the patient, the smaller snails being pounded and applied to the forehead. Wool-grease, too, is used for a similar purpose; the bones of a vulture’s head, worn as an amulet; or the brains of that bird, mixed with oil and cedar resin, and applied to the head and introduced into the nostrils. The brains of a crow or owlet, are boiled and taken with the food: or a cock is put into a coop, and kept without food a day and a night, the patient submitting to a similar abstinence, and attaching to his head some feathers plucked from the neck or the comb of the fowl. The ashes, too, of a weasel are applied in the form of a liniment; a twig is taken from a kite’s nest, and laid beneath the patient’s pillow; or a mouse’s skin is burnt, and the ashes applied with vinegar: sometimes, also, the small bone is extracted from the head of a snail that has been found between two cart ruts, and after being passed through a gold ring, with a piece of ivory, is attached to the patient in a piece of dog’s skin; a remedy well known to most persons, and always used with success.

For fractures of the cranium, cobwebs are applied, with oil and vinegar; the application never coming away till a cure has been effected. Cobwebs are good, too, for stopping the bleeding of wounds made in shaving. Discharges of blood from the brain are arrested by applying the blood of a goose or duck, or the grease of those birds with oil of roses. The head of a snail cut off with a reed, while feeding in the morning, at full moon more particularly, is attached to the head in a linen cloth, with an old thrum, for the cure of headache; or else a liniment is made of it, and applied with white wax to the forehead. Dogs’ hairs are worn also, attached to the forehead in a cloth.

Pliny the Younger (c. A.D. 62-113)

9.6 Pliny complains about how grown men enjoy the chariot races

I have spent these several days past, in reading and writing, with the most pleasing tranquillity imaginable. You will ask, “How that can possibly be in the midst of Rome?” It was the time of celebrating the Circensian games: an entertainment for which I have not the least taste. They have no novelty, no variety to recommend them, nothing, in short, one would wish to see twice. It does the more surprise me therefore that so many thousand people should be possessed with the childish passion of desiring so often to see a parcel of horses gallop, and men standing upright in their chariots. If, indeed, it were the swiftness of the horses, or the skill of the men that attracted them, there might be some pretence of reason for it. But it is the dress1 they like; it is the dress that takes their fancy. And if, in the midst of the course and contest, the different parties were to change colours, their different partisans would change sides, and instantly desert the very same men and horses whom just before they were eagerly following with their eyes, as far as they could see, and shouting out their names with all their might. Such mighty charms, such wondrous power reside in the colour of a paltry tunic! And this not only with the common crowd (more contemptible than the dress they espouse), but even with serious-thinking people. When I observe such men thus insatiably fond of so silly, so low, so uninteresting, so common an entertainment, I congratulate myself on my indifference to these pleasures: and am glad to employ the leisure of this season upon my books, which others throw away upon the most idle occupations. Farewell.

Read more interesting excerpts from ancient literature and download your free copy of Ancient Literature — Significant Excerpts From the Books of Classical Authors Volume One — Julius Caesar here.


A serpent of unprecedented length — interesting excerpts from Ancient Literature

September 8th, 2016


Aulus Gellius (c. 125 – after 180 AD) — A Roman whose only book, Attic Nights, is a compilation of notes on grammar, geometry, philosophy, history and many other subjects.

Attic Nights
Book 7, Chapter 3

An account, taken from the works of Tubero, of a serpent of unprecedented length.

1  Tubero in his Histories has recorded that in the first Punic war the consul Atilius Regulus, when encamped at the Bagradas river in Africa, fought a stubborn and fierce battle with a single serpent of extraordinary size, which had its lair in that region; that in a mighty struggle with the entire army the reptile was attacked for a long time with hurling engines and catapults; and that when it was finally killed, its skin, a hundred and twenty feet long, was sent to Rome.

Attic Nights
Book 10, Chapter 8

That among the ignominious punishments which were inflicted upon soldiers was the letting of blood; and what seems to be the reason for such a penalty.

1  This also was a military punishment in old times, to disgrace a soldier by ordering a vein to be opened, and letting blood. 2 There is no reason assigned for this in the old records, so far as I could find; but I infer that it was first done to soldiers whose minds were affected and who were not in a normal condition, so that it appears to have been not so much a punishment as a medical treatment. 3 But afterwards I suppose that the same penalty was customarily inflicted for many other offenses, on the ground that all who sinned were not of sound mind.

Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD) was a Roman author, naturalist, natural philosopher, and naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire. His work Natural History is considered the first encyclopedia.

Natural History 9.8

…In the days of Augustus Cæsar the Emperor, there was a dolphin entered the gulf or pool Lucrinus. This dolphin loved wondrous well a certain boy, a poor man’s son who went every day to school from Baianum to Puteoli. This boy was wont also about noon tide to stay at the water side and to call unto the dolphin, Simo, Simo, and many times would give him fragments of bread, which of purpose he ever brought with him, and by this mean allured the dolphin to come ordinarily unto him at his call. I would make scruple and bash to insert this tale in my story and to tell it out, but that Mecænas Fabianus, Flavius Alfius, and many others have set it down for a truth in their Chronicles. Well, in process of time, at what hour soever of the day, this boy lured for him and called Simo, were the dolphin never so close hidden in any secret and blind corner, out he would and come abroad, yea and come up to this lad, and taking bread and other victuals at his hand, would gently offer him his back to mount upon, and then down went the sharp pointed prick of his fins, which he would put up as it were within a sheath for fear of hurting the boy. Thus when he had him once on his back, he would carry him over the broad arm of the sea as far as Puteoli to school, and in like manner convey him back again home, and thus he continued for many years together, so long as the child lived. But when the boy was fallen sick and dead, yet the dolphin gave not over his haunt, but usually came to the wanted place, and missing the lad, seemed to be heavy and mourn again, until for very grief and sorrow (as it is doubtless to be presumed) he also was found dead upon the shore.

Read more interesting excerpts from ancient literature and download your free copy of Ancient Literature — Significant Excerpts From the Books of Classical Authors Volume One — Julius Caesar here.


Gardening in 2016

September 4th, 2016

Thank you, Lord, for flowers.








Use primary sources to enhance your study of ancient history — Volume One Free for 3 Days

September 2nd, 2016

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

Ancient History Primary Sources Julius Caesar Cover

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

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

….but, for three days (September 7-9), Volume One Julius Caesar is 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. For these volumes, 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.


The Trivium and Charlotte Mason

August 16th, 2016

Are the Classical Approach and the Charlotte Mason Approach two homeschool approaches so opposite from each other that they cannot be reconciled? Or is it possible to use a combination of these two approaches? Let’s look at each of these approaches separately and see what are the similarities and differences. ….

Read the rest of the article here.

by Laurie Bluedorn (1999)

eric-in-July-2010 (1)


Infinite wisdom directs every event

August 16th, 2016

John Dagg, 1857

The Lord does whatever pleases Him in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths. Psalm 135:5-6

It should fill us with joy that God’s infinite wisdom guides the affairs of the world.

Many of its events are shrouded in darkness and mystery, and inextricable confusion sometimes seems to reign.

Often wickedness prevails, and God seems to have forgotten the creatures that He has made.

Our own path through life is dark and devious, and beset with difficulties and dangers.

How full of consolation is the doctrine, that infinite wisdom directs every event, brings order out of confusion, and light out of darkness, and, to those who love God, His infinite wisdom causes all things, whatever their present aspect and apparent tendency is, to work together for good.

We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28