The Great Courses

Investing in Family Education

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I am very excited about some purchases I have made or am considering. I would say it is a worthy way to spend part of my yearly bonus.

  1. Teaching the Classics” – I have been wanting to get this for awhile. I think this will help with understanding and getting the most from reading the classics, not only for my kids but for my wife and I as well. Right now I am focusing on a lot of science material, but I am still aching to read more Austen and Dickens.
  2. Teaching the Classics: Worldview Supplement” – I have been wanting to get this supplement for a while as well. I have read Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey and am realizing how little I understand that word “worldview,” yet it is so important to understand my own worldview and decipher that of these great minds of literature. I would count the subject of worldview as the biggest concept I have stumbled upon within the last year.
  3. How to Write a Story” – This is mainly for my middle daughter at 10 years old, who has developed a desire to write her own stories. I told her about getting this and her eyes brightened!
  4. A Guide to Writing Your Novel” – This is mainly for my oldest daughter at 15 years old now, who has about 10 story lines going but with no end product. She is extremely creative and I would describe “generously non-linear.” I think she needs help with structure and flow in her stories, and I think this will help a lot.
  5. Foundations of Western Civilization” – I recieved “junk mail” from this company, but I might be very very glad I did. It has a lot of courses I am myself am interested in, but this could also be used as the main course for home schooling. (Not just Western Civilization, but American History, philosophy, etc.) All the courses are “up to 80% off.” I am usually skeptical about these claims, knowing the original price is probably obscenely inflated. I decided to purchase this course as a trial run. It is taught by university professors, so I am thinking the instruction will be excellent, but may be too dry or advanced for the kids. Another advantage, though, is that the lectures may contain secular and humanistic themes which can be addressed and discussed in the home. If my kids are able to think critically of a college level course, separating fact from philosophy, I think they will be far better prepared to (1) develop their own beliefs and convictions and (2) defend them.
  6. Rosetta Stone Spanish Lvls 1-4 (Latin America) – We have not purchased this yet, but I saw this at Costco for $315. A quick search on Amazon showed the levels 1-3 at $399, and 1-5 at $499. Why only 1-4? Perhaps it is discontinued, as people either go 1-3 or 1-5, and Costco got a good price on it. I think there are potential drawbacks to this software, though: (1) it may not really teach as it claims. After level 4, how proficient are we (yes, I want to use it too!) going to be? That is a lot of money to just throw away on good marketing. But I did the level 1 German a while back, and liked it. (2) if we want to go the level 5, we can’t do it, to my knowledge. You have to buy them as a set. I have considered this software for some time now, and I think I am going to move this deal.