Friday, July 31, 2009


I spent the better part of last week at a conference hosted by the CiRCE Institute. It was entitled "A Contemplation of Nature - A Return to Sound Thinking" I went with my friend Cindy who has attended CiRCE conferences before and always spoke highly of them. I really needed some encouragement in my homeschool and so decided to attend this year. The first night there was a reception and as I looked around at all the people and realized that everyone was drinking wine I determined that this was not your usual home school conference! It actually wasn't technically a home school conference as it was attended by both home schoolers and private Christian school teachers and administrators. I don't think I could ever go back to a "normal" homeschool conference again.

There is a national radio personality based here in Atlanta who I listen to periodically. He is a pagan libertarian and we are on opposite poles on many matters, but on many issues he gives much food for thought. He speaks frequently on education and rants against government schools. He contends that they exist to make good citizens and they accomplish this by keeping people dumb. He has ample evidence to prove his point. It is easy to point fingers at government schools, but we as homeschoolers sometimes think we are doing much better when all we are doing is sprinkling God throughout the curriculum. CiRCE hopes to change this. The CiRCE Institute exists to provide support for classical Christian educators. Classical education as they define it is "the cultivation of wisdom and virtue by nourishing the soul on truth, goodness and beauty". In his opening talk, Andrew Kern, made several points which made me think. One he contends that we are in a "post human" culture and to the extent that I am schooling to this age I am contributing to post humanism. He talked a lot about the nature of things (theme of the conference) and how we go about getting our students to think! He talked about the history of things and how Francis Bacon's ideas led to replacing truth with utility and how so much of our education today is based on utility - in effect practical Darwinism. He brought up the point that schools are the most successful tools for changing culture, but that virtually nothing that happens in school today leads to a renewed mind. (Rom. 12:2 "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind...") I cannot convey all that he said and I would encourage anyone interested in education to order the CD. They will have the individual talks available in a few weeks.

That was only the opening talk. Then we had 2 1/2 full days of talks, mostly philosophical - designed to get us to think and then make our own applications; although, there were some highly practical things also. There were some great talks on the arts and how to incorporate those in the curriculum and some quite practical talks on educating boys. I met some great new friends including a wonderful woman who teaches Latin on line to homeschool moms so that they are better prepared to teach it. I loved it and wish I had started going earlier. I have much to contemplate as I think of this upcoming year and how our school will look. I pray that I will be able to cultivate wisdom, virtue and sound thinking into my children.

Of course I had to come home from the lofty philosophical pillars into reality. I came home and Eric left to go out of town. I was looking forward to a good night's sleep as I didn't sleep well at the conference. However, I was awaken by the phone early Sunday morning with Scott calling to tell me Amy had been bucked off a horse and had a mild concussion. Apparently the wranglers had gone to watch the sunrise on horseback. So that is how the week began. I still haven't unpacked all of my suitcase and just keep stepping over it each time I go in my room. But the thoughts are still with me as I mull over them daily and I look forward to going to CiRCE again.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Birthday Celebration!

We celebrated Emily and Andy's birthday at Stone Mountain.

The Birthday Duo:
The Baby Duo:

The Boys:

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Emily is Eight!

Today is Emily's big day as she turns 8. We love you Emily!

Emily was born on my brother's birthday so Happy Birthday to you too Andy. (Andy is a bit more than 8).

Friday, July 10, 2009

Happy 500th Calvin!

Today is the 500th anniversary of the great reformer John Calvin. Eric and I have developed much more of a respect for this man as we are reading through the Institutes of the Christian Religion this year. We would both say that other than the Bible this is the most important work we have ever read.

Last night we headed over to the Circa History Guild where Bill Potter gave a presentation on Calvin and his influence particularly in the history of the United States. It was a wonderful presentation and as a bonus we were able to see many friends there. We also got to meet Pastor Joe Morecraft and his wife Becky. Joe Morecraft has a national reputation as one of the finest church history teachers. Bill Potter said in his talk that Joe Morecraft knows more accidently about Calvin than he, Bill Potter, knows on purpose! Dr. Morecraft has a great series on the Reformation and many others on Sermon Audio that are worth listening to. As an aside Becky's sister is Judy Rogers who has put much Scripture and also the Children's Catecism to music. We have most of her children's works and our children have put to memory many passages of Scripture through this music. Becky told me Judy is about to release a new one on the Beautitudes. I highly recommend her music for younger children.

John Calvin was a very humble man and we do not even know where he was buried as he requested to be buried in an unmarked grave. He did not want any glory given to him, but only to Christ. I think he would be troubled that people call themselves "Calvinists". John Calvin has also been much unjustly maligned through the years and it would be our hope that those who don't know John Calvin would spend some time with the works of this man. We know that you will be richly blessed.

Bill Potter wrote this article on John Calvin and his influence on the Puritans. This is another longer article on his legacy. If you are not quite ready to tackle the Institutes (although they are very easy reading) I would recommend this book.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Peachtree and the Fourth

The Peachtree Road Race is a big tradition in our family. My dad, brother and I started running in it back in the 70's when it was young and small. Now it consist of 55,000 runners, but it is fun. The crowds and music along the way make you almost forget you are running 6.2 miles. I have run every year that I can - missed several for pregnancies - but hope to continue running in them as long as I can. Scott and Amy joined in about 5 years ago. They however ran another race to qualify for a seeded number (which they got) so they got to start up in the front of the pack. This year was Katie's first year. It was a great day to run as the humidity was low. We all had a great time.

We managed to get an extra number so Katie had a friend join her. It was the first time in the race for both of them. They had a great time running together.

In the afternoon, Scott and Amy headed back to camp and we went over to my parents for some water fun and then to watch the fireworks at their club. A long day, but a wonderful time.

My sister runs the race also!

Animal Woes, Bad Guys and Sleep

Lest you think our family goes from one happy family adventure to another, I'll try to add a dose of reality occasionally. With as many people as we have there is also some situation going on and if things are going smoothly with the kids, the animals will generally step up with a crisis all their own. The plan after bouldering (see previous post) was to have a nice dinner and get to bed early so that we were rested for the big race. Well Eric had sprayed insecticide earlier that day and somehow Katie's dog, Pippin had gotten some of it and he became violently sick that evening. I was still up - Eric had gone to bed. So after figuring out what had made the dog so sick, I woke Eric up. This is always my first step in a crisis - Eric loves it. He was not amused and mumbled something about putting the dog in the garage and then he went back to sleep. So waking him up again, I tried to explain that I wasn't upset about the mess the dog was making, but I was concerned that he had ingested insecticide.

Now you have to understand that just the night before I had woken Eric up again from a sound sleep because this very same dog was growling and barking at something outside. When this dog barks there IS something outside. Eric recognized this and so got up and checked things out, but didn't find anything. However, the next morning we find that Scott's car window had been smashed as someone tried to break in, so the dog was vindicated. We think the barking scared them off before they were able to steal anything, but we still have the broken out window to deal with.

So back to the sick dog. The choice now became should we take the dog to the vet. Of course it is the middle of the night so that leaves the animal emergency clinic. In my opinion these clinics exist solely to plunder money from people and not to treat animals. We do love our pets, but we also like to feed our children and emergency animal clinics and feeding children can be mutually exclusive options. But not knowing what else to do Eric prepared to take Pippin in. Mercifully the dog decided to stop throwing up at that time and seemed to be a little more normal. But as we didn't know if he was out of the woods Eric decided to sleep with him in the garage. He set up the cot and as soon as he did so Pippin jumped up and made himself comfortable. Katie and I just laughed. I guess things like that can be very funny in the middle of the night. So much goes for getting a good night's sleep before the race. Oh well, sleep is overrated anyway.

Friday, July 3, 2009


Scott and Amy have a small break from camp this week. It has been nice to have them home for a few days. Today, Scott and some of his camp friends went bouldering in a nature preserve that Scott and some of his Tech friends like to go to. Scott invited us all to go along so we went. The nature preserve was really neat - there were these very large boulders all over (unfortunately I don't have a good picture of the massiveness of some of them). It was enjoyable to see another manifestation of the creativity of God.

Eric and Scott

Peter took to it very quickly

With a little help, Molly and Emily did very well

Tomorrow the Peachtree!!!!