Everyday Life

Already the Ring tempted him, gnawing at his will and reason. Wild fantasies arose in his mind; and he saw Samwise the Strong, Hero of the Age, striding with a flaming sword across the darkened land, and armies flocking to his call as he marched to the overthrow of Barad-dûr. And then all the clouds rolled away, and the white sun shone, and at his command the vale of Gorgoroth became a garden of flowers and trees and brought forth fruit. He had only to put on the Ring and claim it for his own, and all this could be. In that hour of trial it was the love of his master that helped most to hold him firm; but also deep down in him lived still unconquered his plain hobbit-sense: he knew in the core of his heart that he was not large enough to bear such a burden, even if such visions were not a mere cheat to betray him. The one small garden of a free gardener was all his need and due, not a garden swollen to a realm; his own hands to use, not the hands of others to command. —J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

Education is as much about learning to thrive in ordinary circumstances as it is about reading, writing and arithmetic. In fact there are few things more important than teaching our kids to lead healthy, productive lives! Tending one small garden with one’s own hands may not seem special, but without such things the world would fall apart pretty quick. That’s why we offer books and resources beyond the normal scope of schoolwork. These are materials intended to help, inspire, and illuminate you as you impart real-life skills (like writing a resume and balancing a checkbook) to your children. It’s not rocket science (that’s in our physics section), but it is vitally important and quite a bit of fun. And who knows? A child taught to value and excel at the “small” tasks may well find themselves committing hobbit-sized acts of heroism someday.

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