Nightlights and Night Watches: The Unifying Experience of Literature

Nightlights and Night Watches: The Unifying Experience of Literature

Two in the morning just might be the loneliest time. The house lies still; only my thoughts run.  Lists of what I have done and what I must do alternately congratulate and accuse me, while instant replays of the previous day’s conversations play on my mind’s screen. Soon enough, I flee my bed for the solace of my living room chair. Here I sit in a pool of light with only Marilynne Robinson for company, and one could do worse to chase away night demons... 

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The Lost Transcendental: Moral and Theme

The Lost Transcendental: Moral and Theme

In my last post, I examined the so-called ancient Greek “transcendentals,” truth, goodness, and beauty, and suggested that if these concepts are meant to describe qualities that bridge the gap between heaven and earth, we might be missing one. And, in fact, this lost transcendental should stand in front of the other three, like a lens that necessarily colors our attitude toward them. I am talking about grace, which recognizes our condition as flawed human beings and understands that perfect truth, goodness, and beauty can only exist in the Godhead...

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The Humility of Socratic Discussion

The Humility of Socratic Discussion

We spent the June session of the Pelican Society’s Office Hours pondering teaching with Socratic discussion. Socratic discussion and teaching is relatively new to me, I’m embarrassed to admit. This probably isn’t as true as I believe, for at its most basic level, Socratic teaching is asking questions, and doesn’t everyone ask questions all the time?

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Fair Trials and Kangaroo Courts: An Interpretive Philosophy

Fair Trials and Kangaroo Courts: An Interpretive Philosophy

I spent March on the road traveling to homeschool conventions. These are interesting events:  educators, professionals, and entrepreneurs of every stripe fill exhibit halls with their wares and spend literal hours on concrete floors explaining their materials. Wide-eyed parents are just trying to figure it all out so that their precious charges can get what they need to survive in the world... 

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Christian Books and Christian Reading: Part Two

Christian Books and Christian Reading: Part Two

Ernest Hemingway’s prize winning 1953 novella The Old Man and the Sea opens on Santiago, an ancient fisherman, who is mired in an epic streak of bad luck. He has not caught a fish in many days – so many, in fact, that he is near starvation and has been shunned as cursed by the other fisherman in the small village where he lives and works. 

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Just Another Reason I Homeschool: A Meditation on Jayber Crow

Just Another Reason I Homeschool: A Meditation on Jayber Crow

In award-winning author Wendell Berry’s novel, Jayber Crow, twice-orphaned Jonah searches for answers to the eternal questions:  What is the nature of God?  What is prayer?  Is life a random series of disconnected events, or a linear, purposeful, meaningful path?  These universal questions all converge upon Jonah’s more personal questions of identity:  Who am I?  Am I what I do?  Do I, in fact, choose my profession, thus bearing the immense responsibility of making myself?  Or am I born to a calling?

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Freedom from the Law of the Booklist

Freedom from the Law of the Booklist

It was spring of my oldest son’s eighth grade year, and I, like homeschool moms all over the country, was planning for the fall. Except this time, my son would be starting high school. This time, it would “count.”

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The Lesson of Job: Literature's Luckiest Protagonist

The Lesson of Job: Literature's Luckiest Protagonist

Post-holiday doldrums can be a drag, especially for homeschoolers. After all, you don’t just send the kids off to school – you have to produce it, starting now, every day. It can make you long for spring break before you even take the tree down.

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