Friday, October 29, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Candid Date with Civics

As you prepare to go to the polls and vote on Tuesday, or if you've already cast an early ballot, there's no better time to open a discussion with your family about why you vote, how you vote, and why you vote the way you do.
  • To get the discussion started, here's a website (FindLaw) with a list of the 50 states' constitutions. Take a look at your state's constitution and start asking questions. Who does it affect, and who drafted it? What does it say? Where is it applicable? When did these principles originate? How does it affect my life and my family's choices? How are candidates responding to these questions?

  • Then re-read the U.S. Constitution. What kind of issues related to the constitution are being discussed in this year's elections? How would you respond?

  • For more information about civic responsibility and the process (grammar!) of voting, check out a site like Rock the Vote or the US government's Voting and Elections page. Find your district and precinct and figure out which offices are up for the vote in this election, and who's running for them.

  • Next, check out a website like, which provides information about where your candidates stand on issues that are important to you, including the economy, civil rights, education, foreign policy, environment, and more. You can also get information from Project Vote Smart, which offers broad-based information about candidates and current officials.
Conducting this kind of research does demand something of you as a voter, but by taking it one step at a time, not only can you do it, but at the same time you can model for your children what it looks like to participate in representative government.

So regardless of which candidates win your vote in this election season, don't miss out on the opportunity to have a candid discussion with your family about what citizenship means to you.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Surprise Sale from CC Books!

One Week Only!
Now through October 25, midnight EST
Prices start at $1.00 and go up to 50% off!

Some items are the OLD versions ONLY. Please identify which version you want to receive the sale price. Items that have an old and new version can be identified on the item page before putting in your shopping cart.

Items include: Do the Right Thing, Trig Trainer and Text, Drawing with Children, Shiloh, The Writing Road to Reading, and many, many more!

Click here to go directly to sale items.

Don't wait to order!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Joni's Story, and Yours

I've written before about my admiration for Joni Eareckson Tada. She became a quadriplegic at the age of seventeen, but she's gone on to be a disabilities advocate and a powerful speaker, and the Joni and Friends International Disabilities Center coordinates outreach to families worldwide who have been affected by disability.

This year, at the age of 60, Joni was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Maybe your first response would be to get angry. It's not fair! Why are you doing this to me, God? Haven't I suffered enough? Those reactions seem only natural because they are. There is no easy answer to this kind of suffering.

Instead, evidence of the Lord's power and grace is that Joni has not chosen to respond in that way. In a recent interview with Christianity Today, she says this:

Even though it seems like a lot is being piled on, I keep thinking about 1 Peter 2:21: "To these hardships you were called because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps." Those steps most often lead Christians not to miraculous, divine interventions but directly into the fellowship of suffering. In a way, I've been drawn closer to the Savior, even with this breast cancer. There are things about his character that I wasn't seeing a year ago or even six months ago. That tells me that I'm still growing and being transformed. First Peter 2:21 is a good rule of thumb for any Christian struggling to understand God's purposes in hardship.

She goes on to say,

I'm just so amazed by people asking me, "How can you approach this breast cancer with such confidence in a God who allows it?" And I'm being given the chance to answer.

The greater thing is not the miracle; it's the advancement of the gospel, it's the giving of the kingdom, reclaiming what is rightfully Christ's.

What an extraordinary testimony she offers. Read the whole piece; it will inspire you, whether you're facing daily conflict with a rebellious teenager, overwhelming debt, feelings of inadequacy, or a life-threatening illness. Would that our communities would be unafraid to share these kinds of stories for encouragement as we walk (run, limp, or crawl) beside each other on the journey day by day.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Leigh with Barnes & Noble


This week, Barnes & Noble launched a new part of their website called "Expert Circle," which "targets parents and teachers with advice and purchase suggestions from experts on literacy, education, child development and pediatric medicine." They've chosen me to be one of their experts on education!

Not only is the site promoting my book, The Core, but it's also a great forum to open up honest communication with a broader group of parents beyond the home school community.

Check it out!

Read the news article: Barnes & Noble launches 'Expert Circle'
Visit the “B&N Kids' Expert Circle” microsite
Read the articles I've written

Monday, October 11, 2010

October Bookstore Special

Head over to the Classical Conversations Bookstore to check out our October special:

Story of the World Audiobooks 10% Off!

Story of the World

Don't forget!

Free Media Mail Shipping is ALWAYS available for orders over $150!
10% off all orders over $250 with coupon code DISCOUNT10

Roll in the autumn months by sharing the great stories of history with your busy family.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Disney Princesses' Moms

Sometimes it's easy to think that what children read doesn't matter, as long as they read. After all, as long as the book doesn't have bad words, sex, or violence, and doesn't blatantly encourage kids to make bad decisions, it's just children's lit, right?

Susan Wise Bauer put up an interesting re-post from Publisher's Weekly that raises questions about the premise of a lot of children's literature.

It's called "The Ol' Dead Dad Syndrome."

The author, Leila Sales, writes, "Dead parents are so much a part of middle-grade and teen fiction at this point, it’s not even the “in” thing. It’s not “au courant” or “en vogue.” It’s just an accepted fact: kids in books are parentless."

Sometimes blood-and-guts isn't the only kind of violence in books. There is violence in ideas as well.

If every book your child reads shows a child struggling through life without parental support, what messages is your child learning? ...I can't count on adults. ...They're going to let me down. ...They can't be trusted. ...They won't be there for me. ...It's all up to me.

That idea does violence to the relationships it's our task to cultivate. It does violence to the role of loving parent that we're struggling to learn and live out. It gives a poor model of what strong mothers and fathers can look like. And it's an idea that doesn't just exist in children's literature. Parents receive that message too.

...If you got a bad education, it's too late to change it. ...You can't be trusted. ...You couldn't possibly be wise enough to teach your children. ...You're completely on your own.

Corinthians 3:5 says, “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God.” He has left the Spirit to equip us. He trusts us to raise godly children. He provided the church to nurture us, so we have resources when we are tired and confused or in trouble.

If we want our children to know they are not alone, we need to remind each other of the same thing.

The death of a parent is always a traumatic event, and one that has inspired a lot of great writers to grapple with the meaning of death, grief, and life. But as Ms. Sales concludes, "When authors omit parents for the sake of convenience, I take issue—as an editor, and as a reader. Because a convenient story is not the same as a good story."

That's why it's so important to learn how to read on the level of ideas: trying, testing, and approving all things in the light of Truth.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Your History and His Story

Welcome to October!

As crisp days and cooler nights send our families out to work, play, study, and gather to celebrate together, I want to pass on an exercise from R.C. Sproul called "Making History Count."

Sproul challenges you to do three things:

1. Jot down the five most meaningful compliments you’ve ever received.

2. Write down the five most important events in your life. Write briefly why these “historic” moments are so important to you.

3. Ask, if Rembrandt could paint only one portrait of you, what would he have you doing in the portrait? What is your fruitful moment?

(See the blog post for full details.)

This is a great exercise for families to share together over a meal, in the evening as you recap your day, or before bed. Why?

Sproul says, "Our history is not the result of blind fate or the impersonal forces of chance. My personal history and yours are bound up with the Author and Lord of history, who makes my personal history count forever."

Each of our stories, and those of our family and friends, are part of a larger story. Not only that, but our experiences of joy, forgiveness, and grace echo back His story: His joy over us (Zephaniah 3:17); His mercy (Isaiah 30:18); and His gift of grace (Romans 5:7-8).

So go ahead--tell your story, and echo in celebration as a family today!

Friday, October 1, 2010