The Play's the Thing: Does Great Literature Make Great Readers?
September 16, 2020
In This Issue:
Mercy Every Minute  
Try Everything!

My husband has a story. He was a struggling reader through his preteens. He was excruciatingly slow. But in his teens, he started building radio-controlled airplanes and flying them. He had such a great desire to learn about this hobby, that he purchased a magazine and read everything he could on the subject. This is where he says he began to really read and understand. 

His passion led his progress!

I have had children who have been very early readers and very late readers and everywhere in between. And all have had opportunities to read everything they have been delighted in, whether it was poetry books, animal training, how to build things or sell things, how to raise fish or mount insects, jewelry making or breeding finches.

Books about people and places and every subject that caught their eye at the library. Even things like Peterson Field Guides for nature studies could ignite the desire to read and keep reading.

At the same time, I had them read great literature, classics, missionary biographies, and I would also read aloud the books I thought were important for them. 

My advice in making great readers: try a little of everything! Try every subject, every style of writing, and books for every age group. It all helps. Try quiet times with books, one classic book per semester, books written by experts in their fields, real life history stories, and literature textbooks. Try creative play while listening to an audio book series or watching the movie after you have read the book.

The best true life stories and life changing applications are found in their own Bibles. Reading the Bible should be a daily event in the life of each child (and parents set the example). This is the main reason to teach our children to read, so that they would know the mind of God, know how to live this life in righteousness, and glorify the One Who made them. It is all about the good news in written form to be lived out in each child. 

This is all possible because you have this amazing intellectual, academic, and spiritual freedom as you keep them Home Where They Belong.


P.S. For our Canadian readers, do you know we have a Canadian division of The Old Schoolhouse®? See what we've got for you on that section of the site: The Canadian Schoolhouse and sign up to get the weekly e-mail focused on homeschooling with a Canadian perspective.
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Literature Impacting Minds, Affecting Hearts: Choose Wisely!

Teaching our children to be wise and discerning is paramount to a fulfilled life. Words flowing through our minds through the books we read, leave an impression, touch the heart, impacting lives for good or evil. Literature reflecting moral truth develops great thinkers with sound judgment, and ultimately, great leaders.

We are living in a culture where Biblical standards are being compromised and absolute truths are no longer embraced. It reminds me of Judges 21:25 when “everyone did as they saw fit.” Growing in wisdom is key for our children to develop sound judgment and discernment.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10) As we teach by Biblical principles, children will learn to become men and women of integrity, purity, sound mind, other-focused rather than self-focused, purpose driven individuals striving for excellence. God created us to live life with meaning and purpose. As we instruct our children by keeping God’s Word at the heart of our teaching and home, we are training them to become men and women with strength of character and servants' hearts. This is the essence of great leaders in whatever capacity the Lord leads.
Our minds greatly impact our mental, emotional, and spiritual growth. We must be diligent in bringing books and literary works into our teachings that will not only build academic strength (for knowledge in itself is meaningless) but also instill spiritual truth, encouraging emotional well-being.

God created each of us with unique gifts and talents to impact the world around us for His kingdom. Bringing the truths of God’s Word to the forefront of our teaching, prepares the hearts and minds of our children to work out their God-given destiny.

In response to the Lord’s calling, I write books that bring Biblical truth to the heart of each one. With easy access to the Scriptures, these books are enjoyed and used as tools to assist parents in applying God’s Word in practical ways to daily living. Teaching by the truth of the Scriptures, develops hearts of wisdom and discernment, equipping children to fulfill their God-given purpose. Purchase from my website for your signed copy @ and apply the discount code schoolhouse20, for additional savings. You can also subscribe to my newsletter and receive a beautiful free gift! God bless you!
Shaping Your Child's Conscience with Great Literature

What if I could offer you an all-expense-paid tour around the world, visiting every culture and country in existence? What if I could provide you with a time travel machine that could zoom back to previous portals of existence and meet men and women from eras long ago? How could you refuse? Such an opportunity does exist for you and your student if you ditch dull readers written in staccato sentences and dive into great literature, the classics of every culture. Great literature can help shape the very conscience of a child as well as develop empathy for every race and creed and provide a bank of resources for facing life's trials. 

When your students mine the treasures from great literature, they will learn to discern right from almost right. As Christians, we keep God's Word as the center of our worldview. Truth is truth, and we should never waver from God's instruction. In great literature, the heroes and villains live out their motives and choices. As we turn the pages, we see first hand their journeys intertwined with backstories and circumstances. The complexity of great literature provides topics for rich discussion between you and your student. The gold of reading great literature is your student's growing ability to notice the distinctive details and confidently know and understand what's the right thing to do. 

Great literature can also help your children develop empathy and compassion for another. In the safety of your home snuggled up on your couch, you can introduce your child to all sorts of people and gain an understanding of how culture and worldview shape an individual. A well-rounded education must include how-to instruction when it comes to recognizing and interpreting the emotions of others. Great literature teaches a child to walk in another's shoes. 

And finally, as your children read great literature, they will bank a host of resources for facing trials. Who can falter in a trial when one reads Heidi and meets a girl who softens her grumpy grandfather and everyone around her with love and kindness. Or how about Oliver, the orphaned boy in Oliver Twist, who kept his character and his hope when faced with grave injustices? Who can ignore Corrie Ten Boom in The Hiding Place as she wrestled with forgiving the unforgivable? Great literature will help your child face adversity well. 

Story is a powerful communicator of truth that grows empathy and gives us examples of courage to emulate. "The play's the thing wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king,” Hamlet said in the famous play that bears his name. Hamlet knew that a story, a great story, moves a heart like nothing else. In this era of STEM, do not neglect great literature to shape and grow your children.

You can find Beth Mora jogging while singing off-key near her home in Washington. She is the creator and teacher-on-camera for Here to Help Learning's Homeschool Writing Program for grades 1-6. She is a welcomed speaker at homeschool conferences and women's events. She loves blogging at Home to Home, and Peak Performance, HTHL's blogs for moms and homeschool businesses. Every week, she serves up HTHL's Writing Tip of the Week for those who are serious about teaching their kiddos how to write. Everything she does, whether laughable or heart gripping, is done to honor One, without apology. God's grace is the salve that has healed her own life, and God's grace is what she offers liberally to others.
Looking to have more meaningful conversations about stories? Unlock the secret to engaging literary discussion with the Teaching the Classics method. Learn more at
A Daring Quest. True Consequences. Moral Courage. Hamelin Stoop’s adventure begins. Learn more about this young adult fantasy series by Robert B. Sloan at
Trim Healthy Mama
Serene Allison & Pearl Barrett,
Smart Glycemic Living

You’ve probably heard from your dentist, doctor, and even family members that sugar is bad for you . . . WHY? Certain foods can raise your body’s blood sugar faster and higher than others. Sugar causes your blood sugar to go up like a rocket! 

Your body’s blood sugar is not the same white powder you see in a bowl. In your blood, sugar is called glucose. Eating smart glycemic foods simply means the foods you eat will have a gentle impact on your blood sugar levels, keeping them in a safe range. 

Sugar, on the other hand, is what we call a blood sugar spiker. It, along with other foods like white flour, spikes your blood sugar up too high and fast and way out of a safe range. Then later on, it falls down to a low point and you feel tired and crabby. 

Have you ever noticed that happen when you drink soda or eat a lot of candy? You feel energized for a while, but later you feel drained? It is SUPER important to stop the cycle of having too high and too low blood sugar in your blood stream. It makes your body over work and causes a lot of damage that you can’t see. 

The Trim Healthy story started with sisters Serene Allison & Pearl Barrett who wrote a self-published book about food freedom and called it Trim Healthy Mama.

The message caught on as people shared their health transformations with others, and now millions have reclaimed their health and slimmed down living the family-friendly Trim Healhy Mama lifestyle. Serene and Pearl have 19 kids between them and have homeschooled all of them.

The sisters, their husbands, and families all work together to run the Trim Healthy Mama company, turning a lifetime of experiences into a movement that is transforming lives every day.

Their new Trim Healthy You homeschool curriculum is now available at

Trim Healthy Mama is produced by Trim Healthy Mama LLC. This company is not owned by The Old Schoolhouse, LLC (TOS), and TOS is not responsible for the content produced by Trim Healthy Mama. TOS may not approve of or endorse all content, resources, and other companies promoted by Trim Healthy Mama in its columns. The views and opinions expressed in this column or newsletter are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TOS on any subject matter. The nutritional, health, and exercise advice and recommendations promoted by Trim Healthy Mama are not a substitute for medical advice. You should consult qualified health professionals for health, nutritional, and exercise guidance tailored to your individual needs. 
Let 'em Read

I just looked up the word literature; did you know the word “literally” means "things made from letters”? That’s pretty broad and could include anything . . . made with letters (Duh?).

Here’s the deal with me and literature . . . it just seems like a dumb thing to teach when a better way is to just read it. I know certain, brainiac-people care about the meter, protagonist, and antagonist . . . but I don’t. It seems to me like it’s just a bunch of whooie for those who have nothing better to do.

I just want my kids to read. Some of my kids like to read classics, others like history, and one likes bugs and science. I don’t care if they can attach labels to their sentence parts—in fact, sometimes all those labels can ruin the story, along with the love of reading. Plus . . . who CARES?

So, my very simple thoughts on this over-complicated subject are. . . 

Find the books your children enjoy reading and then…

Just let them read!

Note: We also have a few children who don’t find enjoyment in reading, and that’s okay, too. We still make them read but are not distraught if they don’t “love” doing so.

Be real,

P.S. Need a great list of books for your children? Check out Jan Bloom’s book Who Should We Then Read?
Let The Impending Storm by Terry and Mallory Tripp take you to the beautiful realm of Campestri; a beautiful land with a secret hidden deep within its history. Join William Tarkington and the men of the Guild on their adventure, as they uncover the evil hiding amongst the shadows. 
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Shakespeare is THE most well-known and celebrated playwright in history. Is your student familiar with his works? Check out the Simply Shakespeare course on Study and perform Shakespeare in your own home. Enrich your literature studies and understand the plays from a Biblical worldview. You can also study Shakespeare in light of the Bible with our Shakespeare, Dickens, and the Bible course.
in the summer issue of
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.
Congratulations to Jennifer Chandler from Alabama who won our June giveaway!
Contest Corner
for the month of September

The Hidden Message of the Great Seal

Michael Kanis

The Hidden Message of the Great Seal is a well-researched historical book about the United States’ great seal. The author, Michael Kanis, goes through each image and word within the seal and explains the meaning behind it all. Through the author’s explanations, he seeks to show how significant the great seal is and the implications it has today.

This soft-covered book is just over 250 pages. It contains numerous images of historical documents, paintings, and drawings. Various charts and graphs scattered throughout the book help organize information nicely.

Here's part of a review of The Secret Life of Homeschoolers from a Review Crew member.

As you read The Hidden Message of the Great Seal: How Foundational Truth from the Dawn of Liberty May Rescue a Republic in Peril, you will see there is a trust every one of us has inherited as a keeper of this great republic. What a journey we can go on, with our children, as we explore different places, uncover the meaning behind historical symbols, and find the message hidden within.

See how Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin not only designed these symbols for a seal but also used allegory to place a hidden message within them. As each page is turned, find clues to piece this puzzle together and find a powerful truth. 

The message of freedom expands as we go back to see how it relates to the covenant God established with Abraham. Learn about the roots of democracy and how they draw us ever nearer to the love of God. 


This is a shortened description of The Hidden Message of the Great Seal. You can see the whole description and 53 reviews from homeschool moms describing their families’ experience with this book on the Homeschool Review Crew site. 

Go to the contest page of our site where you can ENTER TO WIN this engaging historical book.

Enter the contest for your chance to win The Hidden Message of the Great Seal. You can enter several times!
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