Welcome to Part Two of our "Imagination" issue, dedicated to featuring books and categories that grow imaginative minds. But then, isn't that nearly every product in our catalog? This newsletter is based on the book Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child, which may be the one that embodies everything that Exodus is about. A beautiful, well-bound hardcover, it explores what it means to be truly human—to have an active and creative mind that is not easily swayed by the whims of the masses. Last month we summarized the first five of the ten "methods" and this month we are bringing you the rest along with relevant links. For fuller summaries and thoughts on each chapter, check out the Evans family blog: Journey Chronicles.
Method Six: Cut All Heroes Down to Size
or, Pottering with the Puny
A hero extends the limits of what is human and introduces us to possibilities we had never considered. If he does so in the service of something good and noble, we love him so much the better for it. Love of a hero does not make sense sometimes—like love, like playfulness, like anything that “makes life more than a calculation of profit and loss.” To common eyes the hero often looks like a fool: the missionary who returns to preach to his captors, the small band of soldiers who won’t surrender even though they are vastly outnumbered, the explorer who journeys to lands unknown and inaccessible, the statesman who stands against the slave trade even though it is the foundation of his nation’s economy. But it is this folly of a man making a stand despite all odds that makes a hero like a pack of dynamite to a young mind, ready to blow away conformity and dullness. (read blog post)
Method Seven: Reduce All Talk of Love to Narcissism and Sex
or, Insert Tab A into Slot B
Containing many beautiful examples from literature and poetry, this chapter is a tribute to love—love that exalts, love that is mysterious, love that is selfless, love that “touches the ordinary so that suddenly we see that it is not ordinary after all.” It is gloriously abounding over the bare needs of existence, shining and summoning our wonder. It takes the earthly beauty around us and gives it greater meaning and a heavenly splendor. It makes us hunger for the good, the true and the beautiful. This kind of love goes beyond physical desire; it does not reduce its object to animal attraction or to material accidents such as a pretty eye or a fair cheek. This kind of love becomes merged with our longing to know the highest truth: that is to contemplate the beauty of the Creator. (read blog post)
Method Eight: Level Distinctions between Man and Woman
or, Spay and Geld
Boys and girls are different but the modern world—in the name of equality—wants to treat them as though they weren't. The result is that children become both superficially familiar with and impenetrably ignorant of what makes men and women so strangely, uniquely, marvelously different from each other. The concepts of manliness and womanliness give young people a recognizable ideal to strive for and grow into. A wise and judicious divide will feel natural and will be respected by both sexes. It will allow boys to be boys and girls to be girls and each will feel like that means something. There will still be glances back and forth, but they will be glances of wonder and esteem. It’s beautiful and bracing, significant and noble. (read blog post)
Method Nine: Distract the Child with the Shallow and Unreal
or, The Kingdom of the Noise
The imagination is a natural faculty in man. It can be drowned out in noisy clamor or scheduled and managed into oblivion; it can be squashed as its heroes are flattened or muffled up indoors... We can also make the mistake of trying to foster it. But the imagination can be so powerful on its own that sometimes all it needs to thrive is a bit of peace and quiet, some time to think, and something noble to think about. We want so much to protect our children from the distractions of a garish world. We see them as so much putty in our hands, ready to be molded into something great. But maybe they are more like seeds which need simply to be planted, watered and then left alone to grow. In our attempts to raise imaginative children, let us not forget the gift of silence. In that quiet, our children will be free: free to wander, free to love. They will become human, creatures against whom the empire of the masses will not stand. (read blog post)
Method Ten: Deny the Transcendent
or, Fix Above the Heads of Men the Lowest Ceiling of All
Take away God and the promise of the infinite and all that’s left in the heart of man is emptiness. But man will try to fill it. Without the heavens to behold, he will only have power or wealth or fame to scrabble after. Let us not lead our children into such a hollow life. Let us tear down the ceiling of materialism and show them that the true wonder of the sky is the Infinite God beyond it. Let us not spoon-feed them religion in the form of foolish cartoons. It’s real stories, real truth that will open their world out into vistas of ultimate meaning. Even if we can’t give them all the answers, we can give them a universe of questions to explore for the rest of their lives. The imagination, raised to vibrant life by the voice of God, will make a man a man, not just a consumer or a “clotpoll to be counted off in some mass survey.” For if we have the love of God, what do we need from anything else? (read blog post)
Thirty-seven reviews were submitted in March, and their quality has remained high. Keep it up! Also, please spread the word—more people should be winning gift certificates!
Drawing #1 (Random) - $15 prize:
Ang3lb0y I Loved This Book! A review of Isaac Newton by Mitch Stokes
Drawing #2 (Most reviews) - $25 prize:
Mystie (and Matt) Winckler of WA
(23 reviews in Christian living, curriculum & educational resources and games)
Drawing #3 (Best review) - $25 prize:
We had three top picks this month, but can only have one winner:
SWR: An Exceptional Phonics and Spelling Program by Melodie Adams of Hillsboro recieved #2 runner-up.
An Extraordinary Life (a review of Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxes) by Miss Pickwickian was the #1 runner-up.
But the prize goes to:
Misty Winckler for Excellent Materials!
A review of The Great Saltmine & Hifwip posted 3/19/2011
"My mom taught 6 of her children to read with this method and I have so far taught 2 with it. It is a simple and straight-forward "vertical" phonics method where you memorize all the sounds of each letter and letter combination (phonogram, like th) at one time. The program includes more phonograms than many other programs, resulting in there being far fewer words that "break the rules" of the system.
The pages can seem intimidating at first if you just start by opening it up and browsing; there is a lot of information on each page! However, the DVD lays it all out and demonstrates a lesson in action. It is not glitzy, colorful, or visually appealing, but it gets the job done and done amazingly well.
The author believes in a more laid-back, slow approach; he recommends starting reading lessons at 6 years old. While both my children who are reading so far began to read when they were 5, this program is primarily for students who are ready to read. It will not likely work to push a young student to read early. The materials and method will give the student the tools needed to sound out phonograms, but then you wait for the ability to blend those sounds to "click." There is not drill or practice included to urge or cultivate that blending ability. I taught my children the phonograms before they could blend, then once that skill developed, they were both reading with ease and progressed very quickly. The author also includes tips for using this material remedially for older students who are not reading well.
The script and routine laid out is basic, quick, and easy to implement. However, this program works easily as a framework for those who would prefer to wing it. I never really followed the author's lesson outline, but instead used the charts for phonogram drill, then used Bob books and other early reader books for the blending and reading practice. The books were more enjoyable and motivating to my children than the word lists provided. There is a chart with all the sounds on one page that I reviewed myself so that I knew all the sounds (67 phonograms) and rules (12 phonic rules), then I taught many of them on-the-fly as we encountered words along the way.
This is an excellent program, with clear instructions for rules-oriented people and with straight-forward material for improvising types. I commend it without reservation."