Schoolhouse Connect
April 13, 2016 Edition 
Excelling in Lit (Yeah, you!)
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Mercy Every Minute  

The Wuehler Family
Before we talk about great literature, do you feel like you have had too many hurdles to jump lately and you just want to give up? The article and video, Overcoming Hurdles, should help you jump just a little higher and overcome those hurdles.
And, yes, you can even teach Literature! This is probably one of the easiest and most rewarding teaching assignments. Even the kids love it. Let's look at the definition of the word Literature:
Webster's definition: Literature "(3 a (1): writings in prose or verse; especially: writings having excellence of form or expression and expressing ideas of permanent or universal interest."
So, what is excellent Literature and how do you teach it? Here are some tips:
  • Have the children analyze the literature for the worldview that is presented, or talk about what views are presented as you read aloud.
  • You can build a desire in your child for excellent literature by making sure you expose them to it even when they are very young. If they are not old enough to read it themselves with comfort, then read it aloud or obtain the audio version.
  • Choose literature geared toward your older children, and even the younger ones will pick up the meanings of words in context, and will increase in vocabulary and comprehension. Older children will hone their own writing skills through excellent reading.
  • There are a myriad of product reviews on Literature Curriculum here.
  • FREE online literature and audio books here.
The history, classic stories, poetry, and wisdom included in the Bible far outweigh any other classic. This is the most excellent resource and the best learning for life. It is the breath of God in written form, and where the breath of God is, there is life for you, for your children, and for your homeschool. It is the very basis of keeping your children Home Where They Belong.

Bringing the Classics to Life for Kids
Let's face it--a lot of literature books are long and intimidating. Today's digital kids don't always appreciate the rich, slow-read qualities of classic literature. To top it off, the old-world expressions can seem like a foreign language. Our kids expect action and entertainment.
A New Way to Experience the Classics
A great way to introduce some of the classics is through auditory learning that will engage your child's imagination. No one does it better than Focus on the Family's Radio Theatre. Rather than rote dialogue, Radio Theatre immerses listeners into a story laced with drama, intrigue, laughter, and music. The audio experience involves your child in the story. Later, as your child has heard the story and is fascinated by the plot and characters, you can introduce them to the book. You just might find them curled up with the book after all!

 Focus on the Family Radio Theatre 

Experience an audio movie that plays on the biggest screen of all--your imagination. Focus on the Family's Radio Theatre has been entertaining and enriching the lives of both young and old for decades. From classics like Dickens' Oliver Twist, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Screwtape Letters, and Ben-Hur, Radio Theatre makes timeless stories come alive and real to a whole new generation of listeners. Radio Theatre features award-winning actors, orchestral scores, and riveting scripts that will draw in the entire family. Visit to unleash your child's imagination today.

Raising Real Men    
It's a common thing for a science-and-math sort of student to ask, exasperated, "Why do I need to do this anyway? I'm going to be a scientist! I'm going to be an engineer! Who cares about literature?"
The easy answer, of course, is "Because you don't graduate without it!" But that doesn't make anyone learn, and it doesn't make anyone love the subject.
Actually, it helps in every field to become a more literate, well-read student. Why?
First, the best reason to study literature is learning to understand and interpret literary techniques. What is the difference between a plot and a theme? What's the difference between metaphor and allegory? How does characterization work?
These are important for two reasons--first, because Scripture uses them! When Jesus says, "I am the door" (John 10:9), we understand He doesn't have hinges--He's using the image of a gate or doorway as a metaphor for His role as our proper way to draw near to God. If we understand how literary tools are used to make vivid, striking illustrations, then we can better understand the richness of the Bible.
Second, these tools are what make media so powerful for good or for ill. Watch for ways the author leads us--do we like the character or are we suspicious of him? Do we want to overlook or excuse the hero's misdeeds because he's an attractive figure? If we know the tricks of the trade, we can avoid being led to places we shouldn't go.
A skillful author, screenwriter, or director can teach us powerful truths by the way he presents the story and the characters that walk through it. Uncle Tom's Cabin was not the first book about the evils of slavery, but Harriet Beecher Stowe drew readers to sympathize with the slaves and to despise the slave master on an emotional level. That influences more people than simply explaining that slavery diminishes the nobility of humankind.
The other reason to study literature is to learn to communicate our own ideas more powerfully, as well. When we know how to write a well-phrased sentence or a well-reasoned paragraph, we can make our opinions more persuasive. One of the best ways to learn this is to read lots of good writing--yes, study some of the classics in great detail, but keep reading examples of good composition. And that's more than just novels and sonnets and stagecraft: Hal was introduced by his high school history teacher to a political journal with very high standards for its writers' prose. It not only refined his political views, it taught him to recognize craftsmanship in journalism and commentary--and to seek to imitate it, even when writing engineering reports.
Follow this path, and your budding biologist may be surprised how a scientist who can write stands out from his peers!
Yours in the battle,
Hal & Melanie Young 

The Power in Your Hands
Take the guesswork out of grading essays with Grading 
Grids in The Power in Your Hands, Teacher's Guide. 
Available in print and eBook versions!

The Art of Reading
Adam Andrews
Adam was out traveling this week. Be sure to watch for more articles from Adam. In the meantime, check out his blog at



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Contest Corner 
For the month of April 2016  
Nick Vujicic: No Limits, is an inspiring book about the life of Nick Vujicic, by Renee Taft Meloche. It is a 32-page, hardback book from YWAM's Heroes for Young Readers Series. Each double-page spread is beautifully illustrated with watercolor drawings.
The book is designed to illustrate the faithful design of a loving God in our lives regardless of our physical appearance. The story is written in prose form with each stanza being only four lines long. In this book, you will hear about Nick's struggle with school bullies and how he chose to deal with each one. Children and adults alike can identify with the impact each of these bullies had in Nick's life. As Nick grew and matured, both in spirit and body, he learned to deal differently with each bully and learned that, despite his physical differences and limitations, he was perfectly made for God's calling in his life. We, the readers, are encouraged to accept and embrace the life God has given us. Nick's example of Christian character is an encouragement to everyone who feels weighed down by the challenges of disabilities, mistreatment, feelings of inferiority, and more. (Read the rest of the review.)

You can win this book for your family!
TO ENTER: Email Heather ( with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "No Limits" for a chance to win* it for your family! 

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