Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Runaway Ralph Book Study

Runaway Ralph, like other Beverly Cleary books, is a classic in children's literature, and I used it as part of our home school reading curriculum in the early elementary grades. Great for young readers, it is the second book in Cleary's Ralph series, so be sure to read the whole series!

I found this reading guide to be very helpful.

Also, I made a vocabulary word search and cross word puzzle using this website. Make your own, or use mine!

Runaway Ralph Vocabulary Crossword (PDF)

Runaway Ralph Vocabulary Word Find (PDF)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Homeschool Free Market Economics

Our homeschooler is taking high school economics, so I spent a lot of time hunting down resources that heavily favored free markets (i.e. Austrian Economics -- for a graphic that explains the difference between Austrian and Keynesian economics, see here). I thought I'd share my finds in case it can help someone else.

For our primary text, I used Lessons for the Young Economist by Bob Murphy. It was recommended by my brother, who was heavily consulted during my research because he happens to have a PhD in economics (Murphy's book is also recommended here). The textbook is available for free here, but the hard copy textbook is reasonably priced if you like the real thing. While intended for youth, it would actually be a good read for adults who are new to free market economics.

The Teacher's Manual for the textbook is also available for free, but be aware -- the answers have been deleted from the free version. I'd recommend buying a hard copy. It contains many supplemental readings, projects, and YouTube videos that meaningfully augment the material.

Chapter 10 of Murphy's textbook is entitled "Robinson Crusoe Economics," so if you like to add classic literature to a course of study, here's your opportunity! For my student, I just downloaded the free Kindle version here.

If your student is capable, the Introduction and Chapter 1 of Shawn Ritenour's Foundations of Economics has an excellent explanation of the philosophy of economics from a Christian perspective. It is philosophy, so be sure to consider the ability and educational background of your student. It's not going to be an easy read for most high schoolers, but it's good stuff. You should read it too!

I, Pencil is a great, short video based on Leonard Read's classic essay explaining how individuals freely working together can create great things.

Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? from the Uncle Eric series is often recommended in my homeschool circles. While the content is good and relatively easy to read, I thought it wasn't as thorough as Murphy's text, so I just used it for supplemental readings.

The Bluestocking Guide to Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? I found to be too challenging for a student new to the topic of economics and a little dry (although it is economics). The readings assumed an understanding of some terms and concepts (e.g mortgage, federal interest rates, specie reserve) that weren't fully explained in the text. Because I thought it would be frustrating for a newcomer to economics, I just used it for a few supplemental readings.

The Foundation for Economic Education, or FEE, was founded by Leonard Read for the primary purpose of educating youth on the importance of individual liberty and free market principles. During the summer months, they offer free seminars for high schoolers available via application and acceptance. Our student participated in one and had a good experience. If one is scheduled close by, it's worth the drive. FEE also offers a wide variety of free resources on their website.

Additional Resources:

Economics for Everybody is a 12-lesson DVD series that provides a unique way of learning free market economics from a distinctly Christian perspective. The high quality production thoroughly covers the moral facets involved in our economic perspective. Sample lessons are available free online and they offer a variety of purchasing options. For someone new to economics, it's a lot of content to absorb in 12 lessons, so I opted for the text option. The DVD lessons, though, would be great as a way to reinforce concepts or as review.

Henry Hazlitt's classic Economics in One Lesson is, as it claims, "the shortest and surest way to understand basic economics." I used it as an extra-credit assignment, but it could easily be used to provide a general overview prior to beginning the course.

The Money Mystery and Economics: A Free Market Reader, also in the Uncle Eric series, are additional good reading options that support free market economics. I ended up not using them because I thought the concepts were covered already with the other materials, but they are good resources if needed.

Hope this helps!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Different Perspective on Thanksgiving

Most retellings of the Thanksgiving story start with the Pilgrims' arduous journey on the Mayflower. This one, however, begins not in 1620, but in 1608 with the kidnapping of a young Patuxet native named Squanto. Squanto's amazing story shows how he was uniquely prepared to help the Pilgrims when he later walked into their Plymouth village. Author Eric Metaxas (of Bonhoeffer fame) shows how God's provision for the Pilgrims began long before the Mayflower set sail. Although this book is written for young readers, it's a history that has a message for all ages.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card

In the far-off future, humanity stands on the edge of extinction. Even though they’ve prepared thousands of years for interplanetary war, they never truly expected to be threatened by aliens. Now, the aliens have attacked twice and almost finished the job. The military is drafting kids who they believe can command an army and turn the tides in humanity’s favor. Their next potential candidate is Andrew “Ender” Wiggins, a young genius. However, he is also very compassionate, thus leading the military to try to mold him into the perfect commander. Will Ender withstand these trials in the deadly Battle Room, or is humanity truly finished?

Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game is definitely deserving of the awards it has received. Containing action, drama, and sci-fi, this book will appeal to all kinds of people, even if they don’t favor sci-fi adventures. Look for Ender's Game with Harrison Ford in theaters this fall, and watch the trailer here.