If you’re familiar with N.D. Wilson’s children’s novels, you know you’re in for a treat with The River Thief, his first feature film.
This film breaks from the typical Christian film by telling a good story first and foremost. A lost, father-hungry boy discovering true love. Not the sappy, romantic love of your typical Hollywood flick (this girl wouldn’t have any of that), but rather the kind of love that creates a longing to live or die for someone else (something new for Diz).
A wonderful family film, although there are some rough scenes. My 7-year-old son was spellbound, and somewhat affected by the rough parts. Yet this is the kind of story that is healthy. The emotion, drama, and violence of this *good* story are like emotional boot camp; it allows a young boy or girl to experience these emotions of grief and fear along with the positive life lesson that a good story provides.
As a resident of the Northwest where this was shot, I also appreciated the cinematography, which was outstanding! Beautiful aerial views in particular.
I highly recommend The River Thief!
Christians need to learn the tools of Rhetoric both to persuade and to gain wisdom and understanding of our times.
“Since, then, the faculty of eloquence is available for both sides, and is of very great service in the enforcing either of wrong or right, why do not good men study to engage it on the side of truth, when bad men use it to obtain the triumph of wicked and worthless causes, and to further injustice and error?”
—Augustine, On Christian Teaching (quoted in Fitting Words: Classical Rhetoric for the Christian Student by James B Nance).
I’m really enjoying seeing the illustrations for Fitting Words: Classical Rhetoric for the Christian Student come together. Fitting Words will be a complete Rhetoric curriculum for the 10-12th grade (and above!).
Here are some of the original illustrations going into it, from illustrator George Harrell.
What the entrance exam to Harvard university tells us about classical education in America.
In 1646 Harvard University adopted the following words, based on their mission statement, as part of their “Rules and Precepts”:
Let every Student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the maine end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John 17:3) and therefore to lay Christ in the bottome, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and Learning. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisedome, Let every one seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seeke it of him (Prov. 2:3).
Thoroughly dedicated to Scriptures as the source of all Truth, Harvard sought to equip ministers and laymen with the tools for being effective citizens in the world, to the glory of God. How did they do this? Through classical education.
Some Christians hear about “classical” or “liberal arts” education, and assume it is an ancient, pre-Christian form of education. Historically liberal arts, meaning “freeing arts”, was the education of a freeman or nobleman, while vocational education was for a slave or serf. Some object that it is a pagan way to educate children, as opposed to Christian, and that “Classical Christian” is simply some kind of syncretism or oxymoron. Not only is this untrue, but it is ironically untrue. In order to dismiss “classical education” as pagan, you have to dismiss the entire history of Christianity in regards to education. The founding fathers of the United States provide a clear example. Not only were they classically educated themselves, but they considered classical education to be an important component to being a faithful, educated Christian. The entrance exam below, paired with the mission statement of Harvard, demonstrates this:
The HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY portion of the Entrance Exam for Harvard University, July 1869.
I. Bound the basin of the Po, of the Mississippi, of the St. Lawrence.
II. Name the chief rivers of Ancient Gaul and Modern France. Is France later or smaller than Transalpine Gaul? What are the two principal rivers that rise in the Alps? Where is the Mount Blanc?
III. Where is the Source of the Danube? of the Volga? of the Ganges? of the Amazon?
IV. Describe the route of the Ten Thousand, or lay it down on a map.
V. Leonidas, Pausanias, Lysander.
VI. Pharsalia, Philippi, Actium, — geographically and historically
VII. Supply the two names left bank in the following passage from the Oration for the Manilian Law:
“Non dicam duas urbes potentissimas, Carthaginem et Numantiam ab eodem ________ esse deletas; non commemorabo nuper ita vobis patribusque esse visum, ut in uno _________ spes imperii poneretur, ut idem cum Jugurtha, idem cum Cimbris, idem cum Teutonis bellum administraret.” Who was Jugurtha? Where was Numantia?
VIII. Compare Athens with Sparta?
IX. Pericles: —the Man and his Policy.
See the entire exam (all subjects) HERE (PDF).
Students would answer from their knowledge of Julius Ceasar’s Gallic Wars in Latin, Xenophon’s Anabasis in Greek, and from the historians Herodotus and Thucydides. It was this education that enabled the American founding fathers to intentionally reject the (failed) “experiment in democracy” of ancient Athens, and to instead build a Constitutional and representative Republic, which was more like the Republic of Rome. Classical education shaped men like George Washington, and John Adams. But the Founders were not returning to something merely ancient. They were continuing the tradition of classical education as it was handed down from the earliest of Christian history, starting with the Apostles themselves, and going into the early Church, and on into the Middle Ages, and particularly strong among the Protestant Reformers. As little as 60-70 years ago, it was still taken for granted that an educated person would have a classical education. The idea that education would not be classical, or that classical education is opposed to Christian education, is a very novel and modern idea.
Wondering how to give your children the kind of education that would allow them to pass the entrance exam to Harvard in 1869? Roman Roads Media is the right place.
Christian, is your child in a public school facing yet another wave of attacks on sanity and religious freedom? Will your daughter be using the restroom alongside a disturbed boy who “identifies” as a girl?
It’s time to opt out!
I’m not going to spend time making the case that you should opt out. I really hope that Christians are seeing that in most situations today, this is the obvious conclusion. But rather, I want to answer the objection “what is the alternative?” How do we opt out?
It may not be easy, and some situations are harder than others, but there are incredible opportunities available today to give your children a CHRISTIAN education. You really CAN opt out! More than ever before in history, parents are equipped with the tools to make this possible, whether books, video courses, online courses, curriculums for every learning style, and of course, private schools. There is a solution for just about every situation, every budget, and every style of learning. All of these scenarios require dedication, but nearly every true obsticle is now removed.
I have dedicated my own career to providing one answer to this question. Through the company I founded, Roman Roads Media, we provide Christian classical curriculum designed specifically for the homeschool, with an emphasis on video and online learning. Our speciality is 6-12 grade classical subjects.
It’s now obvious WHY you should #optout of #publicshools – but here’s HOW you can do it
But we are one of many. Let me name you just a few of my friends, all doing their part to answer this question:
- Roman Roads Media (grades 6-12, now with online classes too).
- Canon Press and Logos Online School (all grades).
- Classical Academic Press (all grades, mostly 1-8th grade).
- Memoria Press (all grades, mostly 1-8th grade).
- Classical Conversations (A nationwide group of co-ops. HIGHLY recommended).
- Well-Trained Mind Press (curriculum and help for parents)
- Schola Classical Tutorials (high school, Great Books using Old Western Culture)
- Cottage Press (curriculum and online classes)
- CiRCE Institute (help and encouragement for parents).
- Veritas Press (all grades).
- Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) (writing for all ages).
- Kahn Academy (FREE instruction in many subjects – secular).
- Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool (free k-12 materials and curriculum).
- YouTube, your library, books, free curriculum, and countless support groups. – And many more.
For Private schools:
- See Association of Classical & Christian Schools for a list of Classical Christian Schools.
- Look up Christian schools in your area.
Can you not afford the education? There are ways: scholarships, talk to your church, or talk to me if you’re interested in our curriculum.
But please, Christian, #OPTOUT! For the dedicated parent, there are always opportunies. And I will help any way I can.
Founder, Roman Roads Media,
publisher of Christian classical curriculum
Eileen was too weak to go to church, so we brought the worship to her window this evening, with three hymns of her choosing. Her battle with cancer has been an incredible testimony of her faith. Read Mike’s latest update here.
From Rachel Jankovic:
We gathered to sing today to a dear saint who is in the final stages of cancer and can no longer come to worship with us. A paltry earthly choir to send her off – only a small picture of the far more glorious choir gathered to receive her. Eileen Lawyer – we love you and we will miss you! Thank you for having lived so well with the time you had. Packing a much longer lifetime of serving the saints into the time God planned for you. May we all be so fruitful, may we all be so faithful, and may we all love as fiercely -May God grant us the grace to follow in your train.
“A noble army, men and boys,
the matron and the maid,
around the Savior’s throne rejoice,
in robes of light arrayed.
They climbed the steep ascent of heaven,
through peril, toil and pain;
O God, to us may grace be given,
to follow in their train.”
Welcome to the 2016 Great Books Challenge for Parents! This Challenge is for any parent, but especially for parents who plan to classically homeschool their children, or who are currently homeschooling their children.
Classical homeschoolers love Old Western Culture because they see their children coming to the dinner table full of stories, and thirsty for knowledge and wisdom. Make 2016 the year classical learning comes alive in your home, and earn free curriculum in the process!
Last year’s Great Books Challenge, centered around Virgil’s Aeneid, was a tremendous success! This year we are going to continue and build upon that challenge, adding the following unit, Romans: The Historians, to the challenge. Romans: The Historians, covers the most famous men of Rome, as well as the history of Rome, the persecution of the early Christians, and how the Roman empire influenced the West, especially the founding of the United States.
THE 2016 GREAT BOOK CHALLENGE FOR PARENTS
If you complete the challenge by December 31st, 2016, you will qualify for a free unit from the Old Western Culture curriculum, which includes the video set ($56 value), the workbook ($12), and the accompanying Reader ($22 value).
IN ORDER TO QUALIFY, YOU MUST:
- Be a parent (children of any age, including expecting).
- Watch all 12 lectures from either The Aeneid, or The Historians.
- Complete all reading assignments from either The Aeneid, or The Historians.
- Fill THIS FORM (form link coming soon) indicating that you completed the above before December 31st, 2016.
FIRST THREE PARENTS TO COMPLETE THE CHALLENGE:
This Great Books Challenge is not a race, however the first three parents to finish the challenge and fill the form on this page will receive a special prize!
- First Place: $50 Amazon Gift Certificate
- Second & Third Place: $15 Amazon Gift Certificate
20% OFF TO HELP YOU GET STARTED
To help you get started, we are offering 20% off the price of the materials associated with the Challenge. Enter code “challenge2016” during checkout for a 20% discount on all items related to the Challenge (DVD set, Workbook, and Reader).
“WHY ARE YOU GIVING AWAY FREE CURRICULUM?”
We are convinced that parents who use Old Western Culture will LOVE it. And when a parent loves a curriculum, they tell their friends. And word-of-mouth is the BEST way to let people know about this curriculum. We’re spending most of our time making this the best literature curriculum available, and we need help spreading the word. So help us by USING it, and telling your friends!
COMPLETED CHALLENGE FORM
Click HERE (link coming soon) to fill out the form when you have completed the challenge. The form includes an option for choosing your free unit.
TESTIMONIALS FROM LAST YEAR
I’m including a few comments from parents who finished last year’s Great Books Challenge for Parents.
Originally appeared on Roman Roads Media Blog. Written by Daniel Foucachon.
Wesley Callihan on the opening lines of Julius Caesar’s Gallic Wars
Mark Twain is attributed with the saying “Those who don’t read have no advantage over those who can’t.”
We are now a couple generations away from our forefathers who abandoned classical education. We are now the generation that does not even know what it has lost. Wes Callihan gives a glimpse at the kind of richness we have lost in this excerpt from the Old Western Culture curriculum on the great books of Western civilization. If you don’t study the classics, you have no advantage over those who can’t. Roman Roads Media provides tools to help you accomplish this task! Get started today!
Originally appeared on Roman Roads Media blog. Written by Daniel Foucachon.
This was fun 🙂
I was hunting elk, using a cow elk call, and every time I called a (seemingly annoyed) Turkey responded. SO FUNNY!
Copyright Daniel Foucachon 2016
I would like to tell you something about my mother and about me. Homeschooling mothers have to be self-sacrificial, hard-working, and patient. I want to share how these qualities in my mother blessed my life in a particular way. For whatever reason (some people would affix a three or four letter acronym to this), I was just not ready to read when most boys and girls normally learn to read.
It wasn’t that she wasn’t trying hard enough, or that she was not qualified (truth be told, she graduated Summa Cum Laude from Gordon College, and taught at Winter Park High School – she is over-qualified!). For whatever reason, I simply wasn’t ready–I was just not grasping the careful and articulate lessons she taught me. She patiently continued to teach me from 6-10 years old. When I was about 10 years old everything suddenly clicked into place. I was ready to read, and took off!
Years later, I now have BA in Liberal Arts and Culture from New Saint Andrews College, a particularly vigorous program in terms of reading, requiring an estimated 20,000 pages of reading in Freshman year alone. The pile of required books every Freshman reads reach higher than the average student when stacked. And I loved it. I thrived. I am a voracious reader.
The amazing thing, however, is not that I was late, but that I never knew it. It was only years later that I looked back and realized that most kids learned to read earlier than I did. I had no idea. And that’s when I realized just how much love and care and patience it took my mother to continue teaching me, worrying about the delay, and yet plodding on. It turned out, nothing was “wrong with me.” I was perfectly normal, and just needed time. Had I been in public school I would have been acutely aware of my “slowness.” It wasn’t easy for my mother to homeschool all 5 of us kids in 5 different grades, while also being a pastor’s wife overseas. But it was an incredible gift to me. Thank you!
Now married to another bibliophile, we are inundated with books. We have more books than our bookshelves can hold. Piles of books on every subject: fiction, history, philosophy, literature, theology, how-to’s, The Great Books, classics, etc. And we’ve read the majority of them!
If you are a parent with a late reader, don’t assume there is a problem. Obviously sometimes there can be true issues, ranging from physical, physiological, or even just plain old laziness. But I believe many children are cast into a mold that simply doesn’t fit them. When we force them into that mold, we are hurting them, not helping them. Sometimes they just need time. I did!
Founder and CEO, Roman Roads Media
January 8th, 2013.
“According to the great Roman orator Cicero, the threefold goal of rhetoric is “to teach, to move, and to delight.” Now, these three goals line up with singular appropriateness to the three standards of truth, goodness, and beauty. Effectiveness in rhetoric can be measured against our ability to teach men the truth, to move men to goodness, and to delight men with beauty – and by beauty we mean verbal beauty, the beauty of a pleasing poem or a well-turned phrase. Effective speaking and writing is informative, powerful, and elegant.”
A further and rather telling example [of difference in English word origins between Anglo-Saxon and French] is the fact that the English words for many animals (such as ‘cow’, ‘sheep’, ‘boar’, ‘deer’) refer to the living creature in the hands of the farmer or herdsman, while once slaughtered, cooked and served to the Norman barony they acquire a French-based culinary name: ‘beef’, ‘mutton’, ‘pork’, or ‘venison’.
Stephen Pollington, An Introduction to the Old English Language and its Literature, 8.
Filmed by Daniel Foucachon
I recorded one of the recent Psalm Sing’s at Christ Church. Here are a few of the songs:
We assert still that the Skeptic’s End is quietude in respect of matters of opinion and moderate feeling in respect of things unavoidable. For the Skeptic… so as to attain quietude thereby, found himself involved in contradictions of equal weight, and being unable to decide between them suspended judgment; and as he was thus in suspense there followed, as it happened, the state of quietude in respect of matter of opinion . For the man who opines that anything is by nature good or bad is for ever being disquieted: when he is without the things which he deems good he believes himself to be tormented by things naturally bad and he pursues after the things which are, as he thinks, good; which when he has obtained he keeps falling into still more perturbations because of his irrational and immoderate elation, and in his dread of a change of fortune he uses every endeavor to avoid losing the things which he deems good. On the other hand, the man who determines nothing as to what is naturally good or bad neither shuns nor pursues anything eagerly; and, in consequence, he is unperturbed.
– Sectus Empiricus, in,
Landesman, Philosophical Skepticism, 39.
The kind of relativistic, un-judgmental view of life, seems to me a kind of de-creation. God created man to have dominion on all creation, and to be in a state of suspended non-judgment, not pursuing anything ardently, not ruling with any dogmas whatsoever is a kind of reversal of the dominion mandate.
"Philosophical classifications are not like labels for political parties that people officially join; at best, they point to a salient feature that systems that differ in many other ways have in common. Such groupings fail to rise to the level of natural kinds; they are closer to what Wittgenstein thought of as concepts based upon family resemblances. They should be understood as handy devices for abbreviated referenced rather than as the product of a deep analysis of a philosophical tendency.
Charles Landesman, Skepticism – The Central Issues, 2.