The Ravings of a Proud Father

2009 has been an extraordinary year at the CiRCE Institute. The low point came around April for me when I ran out of energy and had to take a two month vacation where I only worked 40-45 hours/week. But ever since the summer conference things have been moving on an upward trajectory.

See that’s the problem with prepositions. Why say, “on an upward trajectory” when all you need to say is “up” or “upward”? (Upward would be better as it is an adverb while up is a preposition and you should never use a preposition to end a sentence with)

The 2009 summer conference was almost certainly our best conference ever and I like to think we’ve had some real good ones. It seems that the Holy Spirit had something He wanted to say during that conference and that He said it.

The day before the conference, Andrew Pudewa and I presented a one day writing workshop, and that proved to launch the four days we spent in Texas last week, for which DVD’s will be available sometime pretty soon.

But I think one of the best things about the year was the time I’ve been privileged to work with my son David and his wife Bethany. They were married in June and since then both have proved invaluable to me and to the CiRCE Institute.

Now we are entering November and David has done something very well that we’ve never been able to do before, even though we’ve needed it every year. He’s established an end of the year support campaign that he has dubbed Further up and Further in with the CiRCE Institute.

The whole thing is his idea and his work, so you can imagine how proud I am of what he’s done. If you go to the front page of our website, you’ll see the flag for it.

The idea is simple and elegant. You can download talks from the CiRCE conference and/or an article by Vigen Guroian just for making any size contribution to the work of the CiRCE Institute.

Every year at this time, we need to do something for year end fund-raising. We are a not for profit and we don’t cover our budget through consulting and sales. Much of what we do doesn’t bring in an income. So during November and December we always hold our breath and pray, watching for the Lord’s provision.

Every year He has provided. This year He has provided David.

Our target for this support campaign is $50,000, which would enable us to direct the resources that The Lost Tools of Writing and our annual conference urgently need.

If you’d like to see what David’s been up to (which doesn’t include this blog, which is just the raving of a proud dad), take a look at the website at or go to the support page at

And if you would like to partner financially in this work that we are committed to because we believe our country and the Christian community need it so badly, we welcome and cherish every contribution.

My Greatest Fear Realized?

Reports and rumblings have been coming to me lately that have tempted me to sink into despair for our country again.

15 years ago, relatively few materials were available for home educators and those who educated at home were a rather radical bunch – though even then the folks from 25 years ago would have smiled down on them.

Everything has changed now. Home education is mainstream. The publishing companies have found it marvelously profitable. The home educators insecurities have driven them to the bottom of the heap for validation.

And now I’m hearing that a “rash” of home educated kids are unable to score high enough on the ACT to get into college.

That’s ridiculous. And it’s the fault of the text book publishers. And the fearful parents who buy them.

Do you know why home educated kids used to think better than their peers? Because there were so few professinal materials available to them. They had no option but to think.

Now, I’m told, home schooled (because now we have to say they’re home schooled instead of home educated) parents are putting their kids in front of the DVD and letting the DVD teach the child.

If this is the case, and if it is widespread in the home school movement, then our country is finished. The home educated child was our country’s last hope. But if that child isn’t having to think and adapt and come up with solutions, if he just has to sit in front of the DVD lecture, it’s game over.

Better to go in the backyard and throw sticks at birds. At least then you don’t know what might come next.