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.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring Marches In

Here's a look at our family welcoming the spring weather:

Sydney and Jesse basking in the sun.

Toby gained a new level of freedom--he can ride his bike! He actually did this a bit in the fall, but had a spill and lost his nerve. This spring I encouraged him to try again, pushed him off, and after about two pushes he was set. He zooms around our cul-de-sac, but still needs to work a bit on his reaction time! Last Sunday he plowed into the back of a parked pick-up! Thankfully, his helmet protected him very well from what could have been, well, horrible.

Mr. Edwards replaced our broken basketball rim and now our goal is back in use.

The kids and I took a trip to the zoo last week. These two pictures are actually indoors, in the rain forest/jungle building. We had a glorious day for the zoo, inside and out.

Booby Trapped!

On Monday night Hope, Sydney, and I jumped in our Suburban to drive off to Bible Study Fellowship. As I backed out of the garage, we heard a THUNK! I pushed on the brake and thought, "What happened? Did I run over a scooter? Is there something under the car?" I swung my head around from looking behind and noticed that at the front end of our garage the wheel barrow had fallen over and brought with it plenty of other stuff.

Just at this time Mr. Edwards came out of the house to investigate. "What was that noise?" He had heard it in the house. At about the same moment our eyes fell upon the cause.

Hooked to the front "cattle guard" grill of our Suburban was a tie-down ratchet strap. The other end of the strap was hooked on the wheel barrow. Naturally, our big 4x4 SUV has plenty of towing power. I could have pulled out the entire contents of the garage if things were just right! (Our wheel barrow has lots of things tucked around it.)

"Breathe deeply!" I encouraged my husband and after disconnecting the strap headed out to BSF.

Yes, it was Toby, our four-year-old. He had rigged a "trap" for his sisters (although they were never baited into it) in the corner of our garage and I figure he had no concept of what would happen if the car was moved!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Passover Reading and Resources

Passover week begins tonight at sundown. Passover, the Jewish holiday celebrating the deliverance of the Jews from Egyptian slavery, is closely linked to the Christian holiday of Easter. Jesus, our Passover Lamb, was in Jerusalem to celebrate Passover and was killed on Passover.

The Passover meal, or seder, commemorates the events of Israel's Exodus from Egypt, the plagues upon Egypt, and finally, the final plague of the death of the firstborn sons. God commanded the Israelites to sacrifice a young, unblemished lamb, mark their doorposts with its blood, and be spared the final plague as the angel of death "passed over" their home. The traditional readings for a seder meal are designed to teach children about the works of God through the Exodus.

For an excellent sermon from Charles Spurgeon about Christ, our Passover Lamb, click here.

This Maundy Thursday, Good Friday eve, our church is hosting a Jews for Jesus presentation about Christ in Passover. There may be one in your area as well. Check out the Jews for Jesus website for their list of "Christ in the Passover" events held this week in churches throughout the United States. If you do not have an opportunity to go to a presentation, Jews for Jesus has a video about Christ in the Passover that you might enjoy.

For a light-hearted and humorous children's story about modern traditions of Passover read 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)

We also like the All of a Kind Family books, for heart-warming stories about an immigrant family in New York, set in the years before World War I. The Jewish faith and traditions of the family are part of their story, even as the children have ordinary adventures growing up in New York City in the early 1900s.

(I've mentioned these books before, but thought I would post about them again for Passover week.)

Passion Week

From the archives. This was originally posted April 10, 2009.
After reading this post on the Desiring God blog, we decided to adopt the tradition of making a playdough tomb as our own. Wednesday we made the playdough tomb and baked it. Although we ran out of time this week and haven't painted it yet, the kids made plenty of stick people to act out the events of the crucifixion.

This morning, Good Friday morning, I read from John 19 about the crucifixion and the kids moved their people around, made a sign for the cross that said "Jesus [of Nazereth] King of the Jews" and set up soldiers dividing the garments among them.

Later today we will read about Joseph of Arimathea removing the body from the cross and placing it in the tomb with the help of Nicodemus, who brought about 75 pounds of myrrh and aloes for the tomb. We will seal the stone and talk about the beginning of Sabbath, which forced the women, who longed to care for his body, to wait until the day after the Sabbath (Luke 23:56).

As the Desiring God post suggests, our kids will awake Easter morning to find our little tomb empty--the stone rolled away and the body gone. We'll find Jesus somewhere else in the house and read about his appearances to the women and his disciples.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

America Gets a Makeover

We are witnessing the complete transformation of America in our lifetimes. This is cause for rejoicing to some; mourning to others. There is no doubt that the current administration and Congress is eager to re-make our nation in the image of European nations, complete with foreign policies that appease those who hate us and domestic policies which re-order the citizens' relationship with government.

To me, the way our government is treating Israel--and then claiming that we are unbreakable allies--is unthinkable. Here is the perspective of Charles Krauthammer, as quoted by NRO's The Corner:
On Israel:
We have already had a year delay in talks because of Obama interjecting the settlement issue in the first place.
Remember, for 17 years the Palestinians and Israelis negotiated, ever since Oslo, directly in the absence of a freeze in settlements. Palestinians never demanded it as a precondition.
In comes Obama, and he demands a freeze of settlements. The Israelis say, why should we make preemptive concessions in advance? Palestinians haven't made any. And the Palestinians answer and say, "Well, if the Americans are demanding a settlement freeze, we are going to demand it as well. And in fact, we won't even speak with the Israelis until there is a settlement freeze."
This is absurd. That's why we have had a year of the Palestinians essentially in a boycott of these negotiations.
So, then, Netanyahu works out a fig leaf, a compromise in which he agrees to a ten-month moratorium outside of Jerusalem for a freeze. And then all of a sudden Obama re-imposes a new condition now of a freeze in Jerusalem, which no Israeli government will ever accept.
Jerusalem is the Israeli capital. Everybody understands that in a [final peace] settlement, these neighborhoods of east Jerusalem — the ones that we are speaking about and where the construction is occurring, as well as the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem — are going to be in the Jewish state under any understanding or settlement.
For example, in the Clinton parameters of the negotiations a decade ago [at Camp David], they would be incorporated into Israel.
So, no Israeli is going to accept a preemptive concession that Jews can't live in this area of east Jerusalem. So unless Obama changes position, talks again are at a standstill because of a blunder on the part of this administration.
Everybody wants negotiations. This inadvertently undermines them.
On how Israel was treated by President Obama during the Netanyahu visit:
There's a striking oddity here. This is a president who bows deeply to the king of Saudi Arabia, who's in a photo-op with the dictator of Venezuela, and will not allow the press in when he has a meeting with the prime minister of the only democracy in the Middle East and the strongest American ally in the Middle East.

It is odd, indeed.

On the question of repealing Obamacare:
The first question is, will the courts act on this. I think there is a very good case, a very strong case, you can make that the commerce clause has never been used to force an individual to engage a contract with a private institution, i.e., an insurance company, here.

Although — so I think there is a strong case. But I cannot imagine that the courts will overturn a piece of legislation this large. So, just as a practical prediction on this, I think it's unlikely. Although I would like to see Justice Alito write the overturning opinion.

But then I think there is a larger issue here. I think ultimately Obama understands that he has just added an unbelievably large entitlement onto a country drowning in debt. He is not stupid. I think he anticipated this, and I think he, from the beginning, had a plan.

And the plan is he is going to use the deficit reduction commission, which will report only after November — and I'm absolutely sure it will recommend something new in American history, a national sales tax which is called a VAT [value-added tax] in Europe.

All the Europeans who have the kind of entitlements America is now going to have — health care and all the others — need the VAT, because it's a gusher of income for the government. And once you have that — even the very small level of one percent or two of a national sales tax — that's how the liberals think they will be able to fund this new, very expanded entitlement state.

It's the way it's done in Europe. It's going to have to be done here. And that, I think, is going to be the argument in the presidential election of 2012.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Moral Issue or Policy Dispute?

The passage of Obamacare is extremely disappointing to me.

It seems so clear to me that this law is foolhardy, I decided to try to understand why liberals and progressives are so overjoyed. An article on Huffington Post, and the comments that follow it, made it all very clear. "Good Wins Over Evil" is the title of Michael Seitzman's post. For him, this is a moral issue, plain and simple, and anyone against giving people health care is immoral, therefore, evil.

Seitzman is bitter toward Republicans and slightly profane (the comments are worse--I'm linking to it just to properly cite not to recommend!), but if he believes what he writes, no wonder he thinks conservatives are heartless, selfish, and evil. He imagines their reaction to the goodness of Obamacare: "Now take a look at the victors in yesterday's vote. What is their agenda? To provide health care to the people who don't have it, to prevent loss of coverage when you lose your job, to prevent the denial of coverage for preexisting conditions, to prevent your children from being denied coverage. Monsters, right? Un-American beasts!"

Where have the grown-ups gone?

I'm reminded of my college economics classes and studying price controls. Price controls feel like they are morally right. But a study of how they work reveals that they are actually harmful to the overall flow of goods and getting the most goods to the most people.

So much of this healthcare legislation is like that--it feels sensible and compassionate, but in the end it will be harmful to the "flow" of health care "goods" and supplying those goods to the people who need it. A great example of this is the "preexisting condition" rule, which John Stossel explains is one of the worst ingredients in Obamacare.

Spring Break Reset

Do you ever feel that in your parenting you are not playing your own game, but instead your kids have you playing theirs? Overwhelmed with a sense that my kids were shaping my parenting patterns instead of me, I sought a reset last week by pulling out The Heart of Anger by Lou Priolo (Calvary Press, 1997).

One pulls The Heart of Anger off the shelf because one's children have an anger problem. Priolo quickly helps parents realize that while children are responsible before God for their sin, parents also need to take a hard look at the way their parenting provokes their children to anger. Thankfully, right off the bat he writes,
"Perhaps you...have forgotten that God will not ask you as a Christian to follow any biblical mandate without providing the grace and ability to carry it out."
Anger, according to James 4, is rooted in idolatry. We love ourselves more than God and when we do not get what we desire, we become angry.

Priolo identifies four main idols that drive anger: love of money, love of pleasure, love of approval, and love of control/power. We love ourselves in these ways more than we love God or His will for our life. In rebellion, we are angry. Priolo encourages parents to train their children to look for the idol that is behind their angry outburst, think biblically about their anger, and look to Scripture for the antidote.

In our home most of our sibling squabbles and anger stem from love of control/power and love of pleasure. The kids try to control each other and become angry when it doesn't work. They want their own pleasure--to play without interruption--and become angry when chores or parental instructions interfere.

Yesterday we spent extra time in school talking through, with Scriptures, the roots of anger. Is the anger problem solved? No. In fact, one of our children had an emotional outburst later that evening. But God, in His grace, puts pressure on us to force us to face our sin, confess it, and be sanctified.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Solzhenitsyn and ObamaCare

Remember when I read The Cancer Ward? It is always satisfying after reading a book to stumble on references to it in other places. As we enter the eleventh hour of the health care fight in America, Solzhenitsyn's novel is a prescient warning.

The Wall Street Journal cites the Soviet-era novel which had plenty to say about government-run health care in today's editorial. In addition to that, they reprint a 1996 essay by free-market economist Milton Friedman (1912-2006), which specifically recalls the message of Solzhenitsyn's Cancer Ward. If more Americans actually read books by Solzhenitsyn, such as The Cancer Ward, we would be better off for it.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Okay to Opt Out of the Census?

With Rep. Michele Bachmann openly rebelling against the Census, there seems to be a lot of talk about the Census and complying with it. Like everyone, I received my "it's coming" letter recently in the mail and felt irritated. It irks me that the letter touts the benefits of being counted as making "sure that you receive all the government services you have coming to you." (Not an exact quote; I tossed the letter.) I might remind the Census Bureau that the original purpose for the Census (see our Constitution, Article 1, Section 2) is for the apportionment of representatives and direct taxes, not to make sure that you get your share of government services.

Still, it begs the question: what are the legal consequences of rebelling against the Census? And, more importantly, how should I approach this issue as a Christian?

This article gives the legal consequences of refusal, from The National Review Online Corner. It is a good reminder that there are Federal statutes requiring compliance that come with fines, should you be held accountable. Here is another admonishment to fill our your Census form from The Corner.

And, from R. C. Sproul, Jr., some thoughts about this issue and how to think about it like a Christian.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Flowers, Chocolate and Brake Pads

Our girls are getting so grown up! Recently AWANA was themed "Hawaiian Night" and Hope and Sydney (with their friend Evangelyn, on the left) made tissue-paper flowers for their hair. 

On a whim I bought a jar of Nutella. I knew the kids would love it.

Toby helped Mr. Edwards change the brake pads on his car. It reminded me of when Lane helped him work on the wheels of our Suburban, back when Lane was four (see below).

He's Back!

We were thrilled on Saturday to welcome home my brother-in-law from a year's deployment in Afghanistan. It was one year ago that we prayerfully sent him off. We are so thankful for his safety and it is wonderful to see him back with his family.

The lighting wasn't great for our camera, but here is Jason hugging his wife (on the right, my sister Jen), their son and daughter. Their youngest son is not in this shot.

Here, a little closer, is Jason greeting Hope with Toby, Sydney, and Lane not far behind. Jason and Jen's daughter is in the foreground.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Hold thou me up and I shall be safe

I hand-copied the "Morning Needs" prayer from Meredith's blog into my prayer journal the other morning, praying each word as I wrote it out. This prayer, from the Valley of Vision collection of Puritan prayers, has been a great start to each day this week. Not that every day has been victorious, but it has helped me to start each day in submission to the will of God.
"May I engage in nothing in which I cannot implore thy blessing,
and in which I cannot invite thy inspection."
Meredith has the full prayer quoted on her blog. Don't miss it!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Edwards Academy Magazine V: Athens Times

We recently completed a newspaper project, the Athens Times, in which the older three kids wrote articles about events they studied in history and drew accompanying illustrations. The kids are now beginning to type their second draft and are learning to make corrections to the document rather than re-writing the corrected draft. Here are a few sample articles and illustrations. Sydney and Hope are in grade four; Lane in grade one.

Assyrian Kings Revel in Luxury
By Sydney Edwards

Νίνος (NINEVEH) The greedy Assyrian king was very rich and he wanted to live a life of luxury. They had big palaces. The paths were lined with golden statues. Their rooms were big and cool with silk hung on the walls. One of the kings had the first library in his palace. They caught lions and made a zoo. It was luxurious to have a library in your palace!

One of the kings of Assyria was Ashurbonipal. He was the first king to have a library. He wanted to be remembered, so he thought about collecting old books and making a library. Today he is known as the king who collected books.

Their palaces were in the capital city, which was Nineveh.

An Assyrian palace. Illustrated by Sydney Edwards

Jonah Calls for Repentance
By Lane Edwards

Jonah was a prophet of GOD. One day Jonah tried to run away from GOD because the LORD told Jonah to go to Nineveh but Jonah went down to the port of Joppa and found a ship that was leaving for Tarshish. He got on board and paid his fee. 

The next night a storm caught the ship so Jonah told the sailors to throw him overboard for GOD had sent the storm. So the sailors through him overboard and GOD sent a big fish to swallow him in the fish. Jonah prayed to GOD and repented to GOD in the fish. The fish spit him out on land and he traveled to Nineveh and he preached GOD`s word.

Jonah was angry with GOD because he had mercy on the Ninevites so Jonah made a shelter. At night GOD grew a vine and it died that very night. GOD said to Jonah, “Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?” Jonah said he learned a lesson that GOD is in control.

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, built for the homesick Assyrian wife of Nebuchadnezzar. 
Illustrated by Sydney Edwards

Courage in the Fiery Furnace
By Hope Edwards

Βαβυλωνία (BABYLONIA), 575 B.C.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego survived King Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace!

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego three Judean captives did not bow down to the golden image as Nebuchadnezzar had commanded. So King Nebuchadnezzar had the furnace heated seven times as hot as usual, and ordered the strongest of the soldiers in his army to bind them and throw them in. The fire was so hot that the soldiers died instantly. Suddenly King Nebuchadnezzar jumped up. He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”

Then the king called out “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So they came out of the furnace and everyone was amazed! They were unharmed. Their clothes were not scorched, their hair was not singed nor did they smell of fire. Reports are that the fourth man never came out of the furnace. Right then and there the king decreed that anyone who rejects the God Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego shall be cut to pieces and their houses burned to rubble.

Glory to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
Persian soldiers retreat from the Battle of Marathon.
 Illustrated by Lane Edwards

Surprise Ending to the Battle of Marathon
By Hope Edwards

Μαραθών (MARATHON) At the battle of the Marathon a small Greek army defeated the huge Persian army and sent them back to Asia. The Persians are fighting for power but we Greeks are fighting for our lives and we showed that by overcoming a much larger army.

At the plain of Marathon, which is by the Bay of Salamis, the Greek army trapped the Persians by splitting up into three groups, one on each side and one in the center. The center portion went in attacked and withdrew, drawing in the Persian ranks and then it was possible for the sides to flank the Persians.

After the Greek army won the battle, it sent Pheidippides to Athens to tell the Athenians that we had won. Pheidippides was a Greek messenger who took a message to Sparta before the battle, requesting military assistance. Being still tired from that run, he ran again after the battle without stopping once. After he delivered the message he died of exhaustion.

Esther petitions King Xerxes.
 Illustrated by Hope Edwards

Esther is Made Queen of Persia
By Hope Edwards

Περσική (PERSIA) A Jewish girl is made queen of Persia!

King Xerxes was furious and burning with anger against Vashti, his queen, because she rebelled against him and refused to appear at his banquet showing off her beauty to all the drunken guests. He banned her from his presence and she was no longer his queen.

The king declared a contest to decide who was to be his new queen. Many young virgins in Persia were brought to the palace for twelve months of beauty treatments. One of them was Esther, whose Hebrew name was Hadassah, but no one knew she was Jewish. Her cousin Mordecai had told her not to tell anyone that she was Jewish. After Esther had completed what was required, she was taken to the king. King Xerxes was pleased with Esther and selected her as his queen.

Queen Esther’s Jewish origins were not known until the affair of Haman the Agagite.
Battle action at Thermopylae. Illustrated by Lane Edwards

Spartan Heroes of Thermopylae
By Sydney Edwards

Θερμοπύλαι (THERMOPYLAE)
The Persians wanted to rule Greece, so they marched over and tried to conquer it because their king craved more power. Meanwhile Sparta and Athens (two Greek cities that did not want to be under Persian rule) heard that the Persians were coming. They sent their best men and best generals (the Spartans’ general was their king) to go meet them. They decided that they would meet the Persians at the narrow part of the Pass of Thermopylae, so that they could fight them a little at a time.

A Greek man betrayed his country by informing the Persians of a secret mountain path and they took it. When the Greeks found out their general let everyone who wanted to go home return home.

Only the three hundred Spartans remained. The battle was dreadful. The Greeks only had seven thousand men and the Persians had two million men. At the end of the battle all except one of the Greeks were killed. The Persians marched to Athens. They trampled the dead bodies on their way.

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon. 
Illustrated by Lane Edwards

Greek Architecture
By Sydney Edwards

Ἀθῆναι (ATHENS) Greek architecture is amazing!
The Greeks built three different kinds of capitals (the tops of columns) called the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. Doric is very plain, the Ionic looks like a scroll, the Corinthian is very fancy.
A Greek temple called the Parthenon in Athens, is a very historic temple to Athena. It is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Phidias was a famous architect who designed the Parthenon. Phidias also designed and sculpted the great statue of Zeus.
The Parthenon was made out of marble that was put on stone bases. They used six- inch iron rods to support the tympanum, the triangular pediment that rested on marble columns. The columns were built out of sections put together. The Parthenon is the most beautiful temple in Greece.
Example of Greek Architecture. Illustrated by Lane Edwards

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Suitor You Pray For?

Is this the sort of proposal you hope to receive from your daughter's suitor? Is this the kind of man we pray our sons will be? When Adoniram Judson asks his future father-in-law for his daughter's hand in marriage, there was no Skype, no Twitter, no blogging.

He doesn't mince words: "I have now to ask, whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world..."

* * *

Attention BSFers: Be sure to read this week's "pink sheet" (John Home Training Lesson 24). Called "Testing Your Mission-Mindedness," it includes a 12-point evaluation to measure your family's mission focus.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Reading Labels

Lane (7 1/2 yo) just finished his shower and came down the hall.

"Mom, guess what Lysol kills! It kills viruses, bacteria, and what-do-you-call-it? the stuff that grows on food?"


"Right! That's it. ...Mold and mildew."

Some of us are just going to read everything in sight, aren't we?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Lovin' Cash

I've been very touched this weekend by Johnny Cash's American VI album. Released last week, this collection of ten songs recorded by Cash near the end of his life (and released posthumously), includes one song written by Cash, "First Corinthians 15:55." Many of the covers are deeply spiritual and especially meaningful to the listener knowing that after a life of extreme ups and downs, Cash is now with his Savior, confident that there "Ain't No Grave" that will keep his body down.

From his "First Corinthians 15:55":
Oh death, where is thy sting?
Oh grave, where is thy victory?
Oh life, you are a shining path
And hope springs eternal just over the rise
When I see my Redeemer beckoning me
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