Thursday, September 14, 2006


Well, a new school year is upon us. This fall I am teaching three classes to homeschooled children.

Composition II:
Composition I was imitation and analysis of sentences and paragraphs ala Francis Donnelly, and the first three progymnasmata exercises (narrative, description, and fable) ala D'Angelo and other sources. We also did a grammar review via sentence diagramming. Now, Composition II is going to introduce the rest of the progymn exercises, and the beginnings of the canons of invention. We are also taking a tour through figures of speech. I am thinking that next year, if atrophy doesn't keep me from teaching Composition III, I will use Andrew Kerns' material, The Lost Tools of Writing. To that end, I am looking f0rward to a conference in Colorado Spring next month on that subject. I'll try to post here some of the things I learn there.

This is the second of a two year class for highschoolers. Using the material provided by Summit Ministries and David Noebel's book "Understanding the Times" as our jumping-off spot, we study 10 different discipline areas from 4 different western worldviews, and prepare for college work along the way. They have lots of reading, writing, and analyzing. It is the class our homeschooled kids like to complain about :-)

This is described below. This year we have 104 songbirds in the flock, and are adding a second auditioned ensemble for high school women's voices.

All these are keeping me happy and challeneged!

Monday, September 04, 2006

On the Last One Leaving (written in the Fall of 2003)

On the Last One Leaving

This morning, I drove with my youngest child the two-hours of highway through the desert of northern New Mexico to the airport at Albuquerque. It was the first step on his 1500 mile journey to college. In the back of my car were two large backpacks and three large suitcases filled with most of his worldly belongings. But the most precious assets of the boy beside me could not be found by rifling through the tee-shirts and jeans, books, posters and CDs.

This fledgling young man has been the object of my wrestling and rejoicing in prayer for more than 18 years. The Lord called his dad and me, first with his older brother, then with him, to leave what we knew behind us and trust God in their nurturing, admonition and education. That led us often to struggle with them, and in that struggle, we discovered that the real enemy was us: our sin, our failures, our selfishness. God used this young man, once a child, to make me what He wanted me to be—to lead me where He wanted me to go. And wonder of wonders, in the process this young man became my brother and my friend. He now bears the fruit of the journey we have been on with the Lord over the course of his life.

“You know to call when you get there,” I say.

“Yes, Ma’am,” he answers.

“And you will make daily time with the Lord a priority, and get involved with a good church right away?”

“Of course, Mom,” he says with a patient smile that reminds me he has heard this before.

Then he slips off to sleep beside me as he has done a hundred times before. That gives me a chance to thank God for him quietly, for the privilege of nurturing two young men who now begin their own journeys to stand for the cause of Christ in the world. Now I can let my heart overflow into tears without dampening the joy of his day. He is ready and excited. This is a day we have anticipated, prayed for, and dreamed of together. And yet how can it be that it has arrived, already, on this beautiful, clear morning with a brilliant sun beating upon us as it has so often done?

It can be a daunting thing to drive back to an empty home which has been full. And yet this is one more step on that journey from a place of familiarity to a place of trust. The struggle, sweetness and fullness of the journey behind us make the pain of leaving it more intense, but also make the promise of the journey to come more inviting. As I drive through the high plains desert back towards the Jemez Mountains, I rejoice in the God who has made all things well—the earth, and all those who dwell there—and who once sent out a Son of His own.