Friday, January 30, 2009

Not Free

Since the early 1900's, Americans have been happy to give up personal responsibility to an all knowing expert. Oh, we attack and reject blatant irresponsibility, but we're so quick to excuse our own. Think about it. Most of our crops, libraries, roads, mortgages, schools, health care, and charities all depend on bureaucrats to spend money and take care of our personal and business needs. We get upset if they are not there to provide for our needs as though we're entitled to these services.

The church no longer takes responsibility for widows and orphans, the sick and the dying. We pretend to by visiting and praying, but we don't bring them into our homes or pay their living expenses when the Employment Security Commission is so handy for the unemployed.

We send our babies to church nurseries, our children to government schools, and our youth to jobs. Then we wonder why Americans expect mortgage and employment subsides. Everything about our lives are controlled and given to us by someone else. But then I hear about a Classical Conversations student who can no longer be in CC because her dad is temporarily unemployed and the family needs to cut expenses. Good for the family making hard choices. Then she tells her Director she is coming back because she got a job to pay for CC herself. What a 14 year old!

Most college students now expect to receive credits for free - that why home schooling families love dual enrollment at the community college. They believe the lie that it's college credit for free. Why shouldn't our banks ask for a subsidy? Our entire education and training system is subsidized.

While we're complaining about the newest bailout, let's see if we can give up some of our own bailouts. They are not free.

A related joke:

Blogger One: I need Obama to make my car payments so I can get to work and be responsible.
Blogger Two: Hey, that's not fair. I don't have car payments.
Blogger Three: You will now!

(Remember: Most city bus systems are equivalent to subsidized car payments. So expect this to happen.)

Sanitized Goodness

Apparently the rate of drug use and sexual activity is down among today's school children compared to the last two decades. Turns out they got the word from their promiscuous parents that AIDS kills, abortions hurt, and divorce destroys economic stability.

So we Christians should sing praises for this positive turn of events for our youth. But remember Jesus's instruction that sin comes from the heart; that if we even lust or murder in our hearts, we've still committed the same crime? Well, the rate of internet sex among teens is replacing the real thing. No alcohol, no drugs, no STDs involved. Sanitized safe sex.

In New Testament times, Christians rescued unwanted children thrown in the streets. But with hospitalized abortions, we couldn't even see the babies to save them. Now our youth won't make any trouble for us by hanging on one another in the street and demanding welfare payments for unwed mothers. Instead, they'll copulate in their imaginations, with constantly accessible stimulation, just like their tech-gen parents.

It makes me wonder who we Christians will pick on politically. If the stats are correct, by the end of the Obama administration, he will have been the president who oversees the lowest rates of abortions and teen pregnancy and STDs ever. How will we social conservative activist complain about him? What cause will we rally around? What will motivate and inspire us if evil is relegated to the privacy of personal screens? How will we measure our indignation if we can't see inside their brains?

Do I really think blatant endorsement of fornication will go away? Of course not. But as immorality is privately sanitized, maybe it'll help us remember Satan is quite a wiley guy who likes to distract us from the real battle. Maybe we've been fighting against the wrong standard. God expects us to be perfect, not to be safe. Christians have used safety as the basis of our arguments, just like secularists. Our reasons may be more pure, but secularists love their kids and want them to be safe, too. The earthly outcome is the same for either worldview.

Maybe now we can call people to holiness.

Executive Orders

A funny thing happened within the Lincoln presidency. Lincoln issued an executive order called The Emancipation Declaration and freed the slaves without the consent of congress or those who elected them. Since then, there has been a great debate as to when it's appropriate to circumnavigate constitutional processes. History and the phrase "All men are created equal" gave some credibility to Lincoln's decision, and now most regard the executive order as a good thing.

This morning, I listened to President Obama announce three executive orders that would give power to union leaders and mandate tax spending on social reforms without the consent of congress or the people they represent. Does anyone care that Obama doesn't care about taxation without representation? Does the current economic crisis compare to the war between the states? Am I just 1 Dumb Mama?

Be assured that I understand that traditionally Republicans borrow and spend in the same way Democrats tax and spend and that both parties control and print money in order to bring in votes. So I don't think Obama's more or less fiscally responsible than any other politician. I'm just dumbfounded by his boldness and our ignorance.

Pay attention to speed of the erosion of American's rights this decade. The 8th and 10th amendments are already ignored. While we're comfortably warm and fed, it's hard to get too worked up about our government nationalizing banks. But when we're cold and hungry, it may be too late. Please pass the Constitution. It was designed to start intellectual fires. Apparently I can use it now to feed my living room fire.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Next Week - Leigh and Andrew Pudewa

Don't forget to tune in next Wednesday (Feb 4, 2009) at 12 noon EST on Blog Talk Radio to join the conversation with Leigh and Andrew Pudewa

Andrew Pudewa is the director of the Institute for Excellence in Writing and a homeschooling father of seven. Presenting throughout North America, he addresses issues relating to teaching, writing, thinking, spelling, and music with clarity, insight, practical experience, and humor.

Click here for the direct link to the show.

FYI from Leigh! for Lunch 1-28-09

In case you are interested in topics that came up during this week's show, here are a few links and tips from Leigh! for Lunch on Blog Talk Radio 1/28/09, "Leigh! at Lunch discusses Student Practicums." (Click on the title to listen to the show archive now).

  • Tune in to Blog Talk Radio next Wednesday at 12 noon EST to join the conversation with Leigh and Andrew Pudewa. Mr. Pudewa is the director of the Institute for Excellence in Writing and a homeschooling father of seven. Presenting throughout North America, he addresses issues relating to teaching, writing, thinking, spelling, and music with clarity, insight, practical experience, and humor.
  • For more information about student practicums in your state, click here.
  • Click here to learn more about the Art Auction to help Christian house schools in India. Join now to help! All art projects must be submitted by February 1, 2009.
  • To order a Student Prep Test Book, click here

Monday, January 26, 2009

Student Practicums - Click here!

This week on, I have invited Shelly Stockton to join me on Leigh! for Lunch. Shelly has done a great job offering Student Practicums throughout the year in Virginia, and is now helping me offer them across the country.

Many families learn about the classical model once their children are past elementary school age, and the parents are concerned about the lack of foundational grammar in their older children's education. Older students and adults can participate in a one day topical intensive where they can be shown the plan for a single subjects' grammar. They won't master all the grammar in a single Student Practicum, but they can be shown what needs to be practiced for mastery.

For $50 a day plus the cost of books, any student 12 through adult may attend a Student Practicum held by classical educators in their area. If we haven't any Student Practicums in your area, and you think you are qualified to offer one, please contact Shelly at

Topics include SAT writing prep, Latin basics, and more. Shelly will share the details of each Student Practicum and how to be sure they are offered for students in your area. Shelly has done such a great job in Northern Virginia, that she even has students from institutional schools attending, and not just home schooled students and parents. The material offered is at a fraction of the cost college prep students are used to paying.

An Encouraging Word

Do you ever struggle with feeling inadequate? You’re not alone! Because bringing up children to know the Lord is hard, we all need the support and encouragement of community (Romans 1:12).

So, I like to share the encouraging words that readers and listeners send to me. This is from a conversation between Karen, who helps me with the planning and day-to-day business of CC, and one of our listeners, Brittany. Brittany says,
We have begun our second semester with CC, and it has been an incredible help to me. [...] I have listened to hours of [Wilson's] sermons and talks and read many of his books as well as his wife's. I am a huge fan of Credenda/Agenda, Canon Press, and ACCS. I have come to find that what you say is true: every parent feels his or her inadequacy. I think that is why so many do not attempt it. We are all responsible for our children's education; we will answer to the Lord for it. When a school is involved, that does not take away a parent's responsibility. I have heard Wilson say that sharing the burden is helpful and desirable.

I am very thankful for the community, accountability, rich curriculum, practicums, and testing [through CC]. I appreciate you taking the time to write me. Please tell Leigh I am thankful for all she is doing to encourage us to 'keep on keepin' on!' May the Lord bless you both in your work with CC and with your own children. You are blessing all of us!

I got to sub for our Essentials tutor yesterday. It was such a thrill to get to teach again. Thank you for providing this opportunity. I love learning and educating my children in this way. You both have been a great encouragement to me. Thank you!

May the Lord rain down his blessings on you and CC! 
- Brittany Lewis
Thank you, Brittany and Karen, for blessing all of us by allowing me to share your words of encouragement!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Why It's All Worth It

I wanted to take a minute to share something one of our BlogTalk Radio Listeners wrote to us. This is from an Essentials group in IL. 
We are praying for you still each time we meet in Essentials. God is so good. One of the girls in my class volunteered to pray, and said (paraphrasing), "Lord, even though we've never met Mrs. Bortins, we pray that You will bless her as she works on her degree, and we thank You so very much for having her design this program and for blessing us to be able to learn how to write. Amen." ~KH
In the midst of trying to learn new technologies, develop content, and do a thousand other things, some that come easily and some that don't, it's great to get a reminder like this that God is working through our efforts and yours. 

So I want to pass on the blessing by saying thank you, all my readers and listeners, for the little things you are doing daily to know God and make Him known! 

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

FYI from Leigh! for Lunch 1-21-2009

In case you are interested in topics that came up during this week's show, here are a few links and tips from Leigh! for Lunch on Blog Talk Radio 1/21/09, "A Conversation with Douglas Wilson of Christ Church." (Click on the title to listen to the show archive now). 

Keep your ears open for news about a follow-up interview with Mr. Wilson to answer more listeners' and bloggers' questions!
  • Tune in to Blog Talk Radio next Wednesday at 12 noon EST to join the conversation with Leigh and Shelly Stockton, the director of Classical Conversations' Student Practicums. 
  • Read more from Douglas Wilson at his website Blog and Mablog. His wife, Nancy Wilson, blogs at Femina.
  • Also check out Credenda, the bimonthly magazine edited by Douglas Wilson.
  • To watch Pastor Rick Warren's inauguration prayer, click here. To read the text, click here.
  • For information about New Saint Andrews College in Idaho, visit their website.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Don't Forget! Leigh and Doug Wilson

Don't forget to listen to Leigh! for Lunch tomorrow (Wed., Jan. 21, noon EST), for Leigh's interview with classical Christian educator and author Douglas Wilson

Call in or log on to join the conversation on Blog Talk Radio! Register as a "friend" of 1 Smart Mama on Blog Talk Radio to be eligible for prizes.

Inaugural Hat Tip to Parents

From the Inaugural Address of America's 44th president, Barack Obama:
For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.
So, thank you to all you parents, whose willingness to nurture your children has done and will do so much.

What were your thoughts on the inaugural address? How did it compare to other addresses you have heard? Share your thoughts here! (Please keep comments respectful).

Monday, January 19, 2009

Leigh and Douglas Wilson

The Israelites had a great wall to rebuild, as do we. We stand in the midst of the rubble of a once-great civilization, and unless God gives us a mind to work, we will all be overwhelmed. We want to build a wall with living stones built into the temple of God.
- Douglas Wilson, The Case for Classical Christian Education
If you missed the show or want to refresh, click here to go to the permanent archive of "A Conversation with Doug Wilson of Christ Church," Wed. Jan. 21, 2009 on Leigh! for Lunch. 

Join me! On Wednesday, January 21st, at noon EST, during my regular Blog Talk Radio show, Leigh! for Lunch, I'll be discussing classical education with Douglas Wilson, pastor of Christ Church in Moscow, ID.

(Click here to go directly to the show.)

Mr. Wilson is a strong supporter of the Classical Christian model. He earned a B.A. in classical studies and a B.A. and M.A. in philosophy from the University of Idaho. In addition to pastoring, he serves as a Senior Fellow in Theology at New Saint Andrews College, as well as on the boards of several classical Christian schools.

Nancy Wilson, his wife, is also a prominent writer. Among other books, she authored Our Mother Tongue, which we use in Essentials. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson have been blessed with 3 children and 13 grandchildren.

In 1991, when Mr. Wilson wrote Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning, his take on home schooling was initially pretty negative. About 10 years later, in 2003, he wrote The Case for Classical Christian Education, which presents a more positive image of home schooling. In the 6 years since then, I'm eager to ask him how his view of home schooling has continued to develop.

Classical, Christian private schools and classical, Christian home schools have a lot in common. The Association of Classical & Christian Schools (ACCS) was formed because of the response to Mr. Wilson's book Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning. Their mission statement says,
The primary mission of this association is to promote, establish, and equip schools committed to a classical approach to education in light of a Christian worldview grounded in the Old and New Testament Scriptures.
Through Classical Conversations, we equip parents through our network of tutors, who model learning and teaching using the classical model within a biblical world view. See a pattern?

In a nation where education cries for reform but doesn't know where to find it, those of us dedicated to restoring the tools of learning grounded in a biblical worldview need to figure out how to equip each other to serve the diverse communities where we have the opportunity to impact culture.

I'm excited to use my radio show to talk with Mr. Wilson about ways home schools and private Christian schools can work together.

Other topics we'll try to cover will include Mr. Wilson's upcoming conference, "The Importance of Classical, Christian Education" and his new book, Heaven Misplaced (Canon Press, 12/2008).

Tune in to listen and call in or email beforehand with your questions. Don't forget to tell your friends! Link to this post or directly to the show.

Other related sites of interest

Friday, January 16, 2009

Next week on Leigh! for Lunch (Wed., Jan. 21, noon EST), Leigh will be interviewing Classical educator and author Douglas Wilson. Call in or log on to join the conversation on Blog Talk Radio. More information about Doug Wilson and conversation topics will be available on 1SmartMama on Monday!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Teaching Inauguration Day

Inauguration Day is coming up on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. Always a momentous occasion, this year the interest is especially high.

If you're looking for ways to broach the subject with your kids, check out a few of the following links (thanks to the folks at Curriculum Matters and Edwize for pointing them out). 

Let me know if any of them are helpful! Also, drop me a comment and tell the rest of us your 1 Smart Approach to introducing your children to Inauguration Day!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

FYI from Leigh! for Lunch 1-14-09

In case you are interested in topics that came up during this week's show, here are a few links and tips from Leigh! for Lunch on Blog Talk Radio 1/14/09, "Celebration Tour." (Click on the title to listen to the show archive now).

  • Click here to learn more about the Art Auction to help Christian house schools in India. Join now to help! All art projects must be submitted by February 1, 2009.
  • Tune in to Blog Talk Radio next Wednesday at 12 noon EST to join the conversation with Leigh and classical educator and author Douglas Wilson.  Wilson's books are available here.
  • Join Ree for laughs and great ideas on! Also look for (coming soon!) podcasts from Leigh on the home schooling page of the site.
  • To learn more about Biblical conflict resolution, why not check out Ken Sande's book Peacemakers, available from Classical Conversations Books?
  • Want to know more about what Christianity has really done for the world? Check out Dinesh D'Souza's book What's So Great About Christianity, currently available from Amazon.
  • Interested in Christian worldview training? Visit The Nehemiah Institute; then click here to see what Classical Conversations' families are reading!
  • Visit the Circe Institute, where Leigh will be speaking in July 2009, to find out more about the training of classical educators.

Celebration Tour - Leigh! for Lunch

If you missed the show, or want to go back and refresh, click here for the permanent archive of "Celebration Tour," Wed. Jan. 14, 2009 on Leigh! for Lunch.

Don't forget to tune in at 12 noon, EST today for Leigh! for Lunch. Go to or click on the BlogTalkRadio icon on the sidebar to listen live.

...Amidst the gloom and doom of the economy, our country seems to have forgotten that God is still on the throne. Not a single resource has been diminished. Be encouraged to join CC for a big Celebration in January as we remember whose we are in this broadcast.

Monday, January 12, 2009


I just finished the Virginia/Maryland Celebration Tour. It was a lot of fun for me, though very exhausting to hold 4 events in essentially 52 hours, but I loved it all! I will be leaving this weekend for Florida - Orlando and Tampa areas, Friday, January 16 and Saturday, January 17th at 7pm in each location. I'm excitied about meeting the Tampa families especially as I have never been to their area to speak before. Please email all your interested friends and encourage them to attend.

Children are welcome. They can join the adults as we play games, tell jokes, win prizes, and put on skits. I'm ending each evening with a short reading from a chapter of my newest book that examines the theological framework of Christian education and the purposes of Classical Conversations. Everyone seemed to really enjoy the prizes and the opportunity to strengthen new friendships within our classical, Christian, home-centered educators community. (That's a mouthful to say!)

I entitled this blog cross-training because most of us can appreciate the value of cross-training muscle groups for enhanced physical activity, but we forget to apply the same logic to mental activities. As I visited with hundreds of families this past week, about 1/3 new to Classical Conversations, I heard lots of stories and answered lots of questions while eating lots of snacks. I continue to be in awe at the calibur of dedicated parents attracted to CC. Even the skeptics or those that are unsure of the classical model ask very intelligent questions, and push me to continually think through why we do what we do. I've concluded that one of CC's major accomplishments is providing cross training for the mind.

Pragmatically, you may feel utterly convinced that your child will never be a computer programmer. Really, even 40 years from now when computers will invade our lives in ways you have never thought imaginable? You may know that English is the international language of the world today, and everywhere you go it is spoken. So why waste time learning how to learn languages. Well, have you ever heard of Aramaic or Latin or French, languages previously spoken throughout known civilizations? Or are you sure your art enthusiast will never run the accounting operations for an international art distributor? Our children will live so long in so many countries working at so many tasks that they must be prepared for anything. Their minds need to develop a broad, liberal (meaning free to learn) perspective on many realms of God's creation.

So, when your 13 year old wants to know why they are studying Logic or your 14 year old wants to know why they are studying Latin, the best answer, after saying, "Because God created it", is "Because it is hard and I want you to develop the tools to make all obstacles surmountable." The Spirit will guide our children in their call to serve Him and His kingdom. We need to equip them with the ability to do very hard things. Cross-training our minds by conquering algebra, logic, latin, and writing enable us to join Another who conquer injustice, fear, poverty, and degeneration with a different kind of cross. Now we can have the confident hope that we can do all things through Christ if it is for His glory. Anything learned is cross-training for the next cross He will ask us to carry.

My greatest fear is that I will have put all of this effort into CC, only to discover that I totally missed the mark set before me; that my greatest purpose was done in by my own efforts and that I was too self-sufficient and not truly Christ-sufficient. My fear's are eased as I am able to spend time with you at events. I'd like to share the best story I've heard yet. One of our families was withdrawing a very hard-working student from her second semester Challenge due to the economic downturn. The Director was about to approach our leadership team for ideas for raising funds when she received a phone call. The 14 year-old girl would be back because she found a job so she could pay for Challenge herself. How can I ever quit?

Lord, please take the lowly efforts of this feeble heart and turn it all to your good.

Love, Leigh

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Davy Crockett and the Bailout

In my interview with Governor Huckabee yesterday - if you missed it, go to the flash player on the right side of this page and click play! - I brought up what Colonel Davy Crockett had to say about the use of government money for charity. 

I hope you'll join me in reading "Not Yours to Give." This article was originally publishd in The Life of Colonel Davy Crockett, by Edward Sylvester Ellis. It's not a long piece, but it will give you something to think about when you're watching the news tonight. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

How to be my Friend on BlogTalk Radio!

If you listened to my radio show today on BlogTalk Radio, and you're wondering how to add me as a friend, here's how you do it:

If you haven't created a free listener's account yet, go to the top left of the page and click "Register." 

Follow the directions, and after you confirm your account, go back to BlogTalk Radio. At the top left corner of the page, click "Sign In." Then go back to my page (

If you've already registered and signed in, all you have to do is scroll down to the blue box on the right hand side (below the flash player) that says "Profile".  Click on the green plus (+) sign that says "Add to".  

This will add me as your friend.  A link will be sent to me to confirm your friend request, which I'll be happy to do!!  Thanks for listening...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Constitutional Reconstruction

*To hear Leigh's radio show about this post, click this link or go to and click on the show titled "Governor Mike Huckabee and Leigh."

*To join the conversation about this post, go to Leigh's radio show on BlogTalkRadio tomorrow (Wed., Jan. 7) at 1:00 p.m. EST. See the link on the sidebar to go directly to the site!*

As I prepared for the interview with Mike Huckabee, I stumbled upon an astonishing fact. Then I realized I was foolish to be astonished. Being a classical educator, I began by studying source documents, specifically, the Arkansas and North Carolina Constitutions. I knew they'd be different since our states were formed in different eras, and I wanted to ask Mike what happened on the road from 1776 to 1874.

The growth of government was definitely apparent when I studied the two documents, but I was immediately side-tracked by my own state's shenanigans. I keep a copy of the NC 1776 Constitution around for reference. Turns out the NC legislature keeps a copy of the 1971 Constitution around. In fact, it's been rewritten 3 times! Of course all versions were put to the people for a vote, so I really can't complain. I just need to get with the times, and refer to the newest version.

In 1776, the NC Article 1, Section 15 Education reads," The people have a right to the privilege of education, and it is the duty of the State to guard and maintain that right." That's it! No nothing mandated. Just protect citizens when they try to educate themselves.

In 1971, now Article 9, Sections 1-8 takes two pages to print and mandates free public schools for everyone. It even says that universities should be "as far as practicable (sic), be extended to the people of the State free of expense." Our newest governor won partly because she ran promoting free universities for all in NC. Reading the newest version makes me want to give up. There's no way to win this battle. It's just too big! How can I convince my fellow citizens that they should pay for the training of their families' minds when everyone is telling them it should be free...I must be a fool not to take the money of other people. Surely the majority is right!

But here I am, waking to another day when I'll drill math facts, latin declensions, logic truth trees, and musical chords with my two tweens. We'll read Romans, and Lord of the Rings, and the stories of Valley Forge. We'll clean the garage, cook meals, and clean up Christmas decorations. My husband and boys will exchange many hugs, talk sports, and answer math questions. The boys will work out, mess with the dog and the squirrel, and play Xbox with a friend.

Who cares about any stupid ole constitution anyway? I have a whole family. Why would anybody in leadership want to mandate families to spend the better part of their day in separate institutions? It really is time to find different leaders.

Lord, help me as my children grow away from me and towards you, to effectively turn my attentions to families who want to find a way back home.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Leigh Interviews Mike Huckabee - Wednesday!

More information coming soon!

Dear CC Friends,

You may have picked up on the news currents already, but as you can imagine, I am very, very excited to announce the following:

Leigh Bortins, founder of Classical Conversations, a home school support organization, will be interviewing Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee on her NEW talk radio show Wednesday, January 7, at 1pm EST. Note the time change from the usual 12 noon show, Leigh! for Lunch.

The direct link for the show is:

Please call in to talk to the governor - call after you hear his voice so the lines aren't tied up for his call. If you miss the show, it will be archived at

Please forward this message to anyone who may be interested, and take a minute to register as a friend on


Friday, January 2, 2009