Imparting a classical education at home. Check out the Edwards Academy.

Psalm 78
. . . we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. .
so the next generation would know them . . . and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


We love to borrow Weston Woods videos from the library. Do you? Many of our favorite picture books are made into short films by Weston Woods. We especially like the author collections that include a five minute visit with the author. From this the Edwards kids have seen Robert McCloskey's Maine home, Maurice Sendak talk about Where the Wild Things Are, and some others.

We've also discovered some fun picture books through these collections that I might not have noticed otherwise. In this category I would include, Officer Buckle and Gloria, Trashy Town, and Dot the Fire Dog. Another great one that I didn't know about (where have I been all these years?) is The Remarkable, Riderless, Runaway Tricycle. While our kids laughed over the hilarity of a riderless trike, Howard and I chuckled over the blast-from-the-past eighties production of the film.

The live-action video (from 1982) of this children's book is included in a video collection (Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and 3 more stories about trucks). The Edwards kids love the short film. Our library doesn't have the book, unfortunately, but we'll see if we can find it.

The Remarkable, Riderless Runaway Tricycle (9 minutes)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

California ruling update

On March 25, the California Court of Appeal agreed to re-hear this case, meaning that their original ruling is vacated. For more information, check out the HSLDA website. Pray with me for God's hand in this ruling, His impact on the parties involved, and His will to be done.

HSLDA's email update included this:

The Court of Appeal has solicited a number of public school
establishment organizations to submit amicus briefs including the
California Superintendent of Public Instruction, California Department
of Education, the Los Angeles Unified School District, and three
California teacher unions. The court also granted permission to
Sunland Christian School to file an amicus brief. The order also
indicates that it will consider amicus applications from other groups.

Home School Legal Defense Association will seek permission to file
such an amicus brief and will coordinate efforts with a number of
organizations interesting in filing briefs to support the right of
parents to homeschool their children in California.

"This is a great first step," said Michael Farris, chairman of HSLDA.
"We are very glad that this case will be reheard and that this opinion
has been vacated, but there is no guarantee as to what the ultimate
outcome will be. This case remains our top priority," he added.

Praise God for His answered prayer and keep praying!

Edwards Academy Happenings, Part 4

These pictures show us studying Africa a few weeks back. The kids are cutting out paper dolls and other things for their Africa lapbook. You can see Toby doing all he can to teach along with me.

This week we are working on Tapestry of Grace (TOG) Year 3, week 31, which focuses on Immigration and, for lower grammar students especially, the Statue of Liberty. By coincidence, Lane brought home The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Grey Bridge, a picture book about a personified lighthouse in New York City. This book is covered in Five in a Row Volume II, and although we don't use FIAR we really enjoy the FIAR resources found on Through this site we found recent pictures of the little lighthouse, which has been preserved, thanks to the popularity of the 1942 children's book. This lighthouse is dwarfed by George Washington Bridge on the Hudson.

Another resource I stumbled across is the web page of author and illustrator Jan Brett. Have you already discovered this amazing site? It is filled with coloring pages, classroom helps, certificates, and all sorts of resources (running in the thousands). Check out this useful friendly letter stationery for starters. We covered friendly letters a few weeks back in our Shurley English program and I wish I had discovered this then!

Best of all, this week we are implementing a new school schedule. Over spring break I re-arranged our school day schedule and the new schedule is proving to be more effective. (Mostly we needed this to help manage our two-year-old better.)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Letter to the Editor

I sent the following letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal. The editorial board commented on the California home schooling ruling in their "Review and Outlook" last week. I wanted to thank them for their attention to this subject.

As a home schooling mother of four who reads the Journal each day, I was pleased to see that you weighed in on the misguided ruling by the California Court of Appeal regarding home schooling. The home schooling movement is indeed a free market solution to a thorny problem that has arisen in American education since the mid-twentieth century.

Over the last fifty years our courts and our culture have constructed an odd parallel universe in government schools.

The public school teacher is constricted by politically correct positions on the environment (it is more important than the people who live in it), Western culture (our obligation to point out its failings is more important than celebrating its triumphs), the developing world (its purity is forever scarred by Western culture), capitalism (it benefits only the rich), science (its theories are the only absolutes), and morality (whatever you decide is right).

My husband and I consider it our responsibility and privilege to ensure our kids receive a full education rooted in truth. We are not outsourcing this task to our government, even though that is the cheaper option.

Home schooling is, in effect, an innovative product that is the result of free people and free markets. Let's hope that our government, instituted to protect our life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, will not act to end home schooling in order to protect its own monopoly in the education market.

Amy Shimer Edwards

I'll let you know if they run the letter.
*****Update 3/29/08
Today the Journal printed letters on this issue and did not print this one. Maybe next time!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Spring Break Lit

Monday we will return to our studies after a week of spring break. For those of us in Kansas, the weather warmed perfectly. A drenching rain at the beginning of the week greened the grass and now I see our trees are budding!

We had the pleasure of reading Prince Caspian aloud over the course of the week. It has been awhile since we visited Narnia, so all the Edwards kids were hanging on every word. (Okay, not Toby, but he's only two.) As we read through the story I stopped every so often to ask, "What does that remind you of in the Bible?" After several times of this Lane told me, "Mom! This book helps explain the Bible!" We are now ready for the movie, which is hitting theaters May 16.

The Prince Caspian movie trailer.

We also read aloud A Carp in the Bathtub by Barbara Cohen. This is a funny story about two children who try to save their beloved carp from being turned into gefilte fish for Passover supper. It can be read aloud in one brief sitting.
Store-Bought Gefilte Fish (image from Wikipedia)
Another book we read aloud together recently was A Toad for Tuesday by Russell Erickson. In this story the protagonist, a toad named Warton, is kidnapped by an owl who intends to eat him for birthday dinner in five days. In the space of that time Warton plans his escape but soon discovers that his enemy has become his friend. We read this book aloud together in one long sitting. It was a great complement to our Owls in the Family reading for school, as well as our bird studies.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Victorian Tea Party

Evangelyn, Sydney, Hailey, Joanna, and Hope enjoy tea.

This evening we capped off our study of Queen Victoria and the British Empire with a Victorian Tea Party. Sydney and Hope had a few friends over for tea and some Victorian era inspired crafts. They loved it! Click on photos for a closer view or to copy them to your files.

Our first step was making and sending out invitations. Although our homemade notepaper and envelopes were not Victorian-era designs, the girls loved making their own envelopes and invitations and choosing pretty paper for each friend that they invited.

Next, we added some tea party books to our library cart. One book gave us some menu ideas and another had some "Little Women" inspired crafts. (Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women" takes place during and after the U.S. Civil War, which falls in the middle of Queen Victoria's reign.)

Our tea time menu included:

Cream cheese and Jam tarts



Cucumber and cream cheese finger sandwiches

Berry Tea with sugar and cream

Sydney and Hope learned to make pie crust for the tarts, which we prepared ahead of time on Saturday. They also made a cake mix for our trifle, which included layers of yellow cake, strawberry jam, vanilla pudding and whipped cream. After making the cake on Saturday, they helped me assemble the trifle on Sunday afternoon. We also put together some cucumber finger sandwiches. I think Sydney and Hope were somewhat amazed by the idea of trimming off the crust (not something I've ever done for the kids) intentionally.

We set a pretty table, borrowed a pretty tea pot, sugar, and creamer from Grandma, and waited for the guests to arrive.

All the girls loved the tea! And dunking the tea bag. And watching the cream swirl around in the pretty pink tea. Yes, they thought that it tasted good, too. Everyone wanted seconds on tea which was Snapple Berry Tea with sugar and cream--what's not to love? The cucumber sandwiches were either eaten completely or avoided entirely. (Some loved them.)

After clearing away tea, we worked on making some hand-held fans and handkerchief dolls. The girls had a grand time picking out paper for their fans. I think sewing on the buttons was a new experience for all of the girls (Except that Sydney and Hope had a lesson on this last week, which proved to be a great help since Sydney was able to help her friends. Sydney loves sewing on buttons!)

And then, just like that, the evening was over. Hope and Sydney saw their friends off and helped clean up the table. Hope asked to have tea time every Sunday evening.

What a great kick-off to Spring Break and a lovely time for five little girls. Thanks again Hailey, Joanna, and Evangelyn, for joining us for an evening of fun. (Rachel--we missed you!)

Saturday, March 8, 2008


I've been sucker-punched with the flu. I'm on day four of running a fever. My son has had off and on fever for five. We're coughing, sniffing, aching, and miserable.

According to the most recent CDC data, I guess we are not alone in our suffering. As you can see, flu is pretty much widespread everywhere unless you live in N. Mexico, Mississippi, or Massachusetts, which leaves one wondering how they are so resilient.

The CDC gives this clinical diagnosis:

"Influenza illness can include any or all of these symptoms: fever, muscle aches, headache, lack of energy, dry cough, sore throat, and possibly runny nose. The fever and body aches can last 3-5 days and the cough and lack of energy may last for 2 or more weeks. Influenza can be difficult to diagnose based on clinical symptoms alone because the initial symptoms of influenza can be similar those caused by other infectious agents including, but not limited to, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, rhinovirus, parainfluenza viruses, and Legionella spp."

Although we've soldiered on with school assignments as best as possible under the circumstances, our brush with illness gave an opportunity to learn about Louis Pasteur, although he wasn't on the lesson plan for the week.

We listened to "Lux Radio Theater Presents: The Story of Louis Pasteur" which is available free on a podcast from Lux Radio Theater Podcast (check iTunes). This is a dramatized radio version of the 1936 movie by the same name (which I have never seen). We've had some fun with the old time radio (otr) podcasts that are out there for free.


Today I actually feel well enough to compose this post on the MacBook as I recline in bed. I thought I would check in on the news and there is news, indeed.

You've no doubt already heard of the California court ruling handed down recently that threatens homeschooling in California. Use the HSLDA link at the right to sign a petition expressing your disapproval. Also, take time to record your support for a parental rights amendment but visiting (click the blue box at right).
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