Propaganda is More Dangerous than Silence

Telling people that if they do not hate an entire group of people that they hate you….is propaganda.

Insisting that people take your word for the reality of centuries worth of complex history without thinking for themselves…is propaganda.

Implying or stating that people have to be broken or burdened in ways identical to your own in order to quality as a decent human….is propaganda.

Creating a false dichotomy out of any two emotions, thoughts, or perspectives…is propaganda.

Insisting that people post about or speak about the issue that you’re passionate about in the way that you deem acceptable…is propaganda.

Telling people that they can’t simultaneously feel compassion for two groups of people and that they can’t feel more than one emotion at once…is propaganda.

Reducing an incredibly layered and complicated conversation down to sound bites and expecting immediate endorsement…is propaganda.

Dehumanizing, creating straw men, making reductionist statements, practicing extremism, and committing the ad hominem fallacy….are all and always propaganda.

No matter how passionate you feel about something, propaganda is always the lowest hanging fruit and it is always a sinister and dangerous way to communicate your perspective.

Propaganda is lazy and zeal is no excuse to resort to it.

Dialogue and thoughtful conversation is always possible, no matter the circumstances, and if you’re choosing not to have it then the blame lies solely with you and not with the enemy that you have decided everyone has to abhor.

Propaganda isn’t activism and it can never be part of any solution.

You can use your platform to share what you’re passionate about; but using it to spread propaganda in the name of the cause you care about is ineffective, unkind, lazy, and dangerous.

If you’re going to share, I exhort you to do so logically, thoughtfully, intelligently, mindfully, and compassionately.

Logical and thoughtful posts will never feel as good or be as gratifying in the moment, but the goal should not be your own gratification to begin with.

If you can’t do it well, then silence is better. 

Advent Music and Christmas Music are Not the Same Thing


Advent music is marked by the sober reality of waiting. In songs like “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus” and “O Come, O Come Emanuel”, we find a somber contract to the joy and celebration that Christmas ushers in.

“Joy to the World”, although technically an Easter song referring to Christ’s second Advent, is a song appropriate for the season of Christmas, which begins on December 25th.

The Church’s year begins at this intersection between Advent’s waiting and the celebration of Christmas. 

Advent is a time of anticipation and an opportunity to enter into the suffering and sober reality of those who longed for a Messiah for generations.

Christmas, then, is a time of rapturous joy when the wait is over.

For the weeks of Advent, we remember and we recalibrate.

For the twelve days of Christmas, we laugh and we feast and we celebrate.

Advent is remembrance.
Christmas is a party.

Now, of course, if you sing “Go Tell it on the Mountain” during Advent, your joy is no less worthy.

There is no need to let legalism overshadow an opportunity for the beauty of liturgy.

Liturgy is a gift, not a set of shackles.

Liturgy is an act of intentionality.

It is a refusal to be swept through days upon days of living mindlessly and to insist instead upon remembrance of the beautiful realities of the believing life.

Liturgy is an act of resistance to modernity’s brand of forgetfulness and a seizing of the beauty of mindful living.

Liturgy is traditional and memory, entered in as the collective and global Church.

The Church’s year is a treasure but it is a treasure largely forgotten by evangelicalism.

As we’ve (rightfully) embraced our freedom, we’ve oft forgotten that remembrance and tradition aren’t antithetical to liberty.

There is something immeasurably sacred about observing and remembering the coming of Christ “alongside” millions of believers from every tribe and tongue as we briefly enter into the past and remember what it gifted us before turning our eyes to the future glory to come.

The distinction between Advent and Christmas music is just one of many opportunities to embrace liturgy….wait, then celebrate. 

Good Faith Conversations Should Be the Only Ones We’ve Having


You don’t have to school far to find conversations being held here (or being provoked) that are not “Good Faith Conversations”.

In fact, you don’t have to go many places offline to witness Bad Faith Conversations either.

But, the more I advocate for Good Faith Conversations, attempt to ensure that my own conversations are held in good faith, and celebrate them where I find them, the more that I see them.

So, there is hope.

What is a Good Faith Conversation?

A conversation held in “good faith”, assumes the best, hopes for the best, and gives the best.

A good faith question, comment, or conversation is presented in hope that both parties can gain something, whether or not their minds are changed.

In order to reflect the integrity, hope, and goodness that a good faith conversation is rooted in, they are held to strict standards of logical thinking, sound communication, and graciousness.

The opposite of a good faith conversation is one held in bad faith.

If a comment or question is presented with a tone of assumption that the other party is ignorant or nefarious, it is provoking a bad faith conversation.

If a question or comment is clearly not rooted in a desire to learn and to understand, it is provoking a bad faith conversation.

If a question or comment is underhanded, passive aggressive, accusatory, hypocritical, or reductionist, it is provoking a bad faith conversation. 

Although not a logical fallacy itself, a bad faith conversation is often riddled with fallacies such as:
Ad Hominem
Straw Man
False Dichotomy
False Equivalency
Red Herring
Appeal to Authority
Slippery Slope
Circular Reasoning

Because the primary aim of a bad faith conversation is to undermine the other party and to prove oneself right at any cost, logical and reasonable thinking and communication are not deemed necessary.

Because the aim of a good faith conversation is to hear, understand, learn, grow, and gain a new lens of perspective, logical reasoning and a gracious posture are essential.

A good faith conversation doesn’t have to change anyone’s mind…but it could actually change the world.

Exam Questions: Term 3 2023


I Love Exam Week.

Charlotte Mason Exams are one of the most vivid and beautiful portraits of the essence of a living education that our homeschool contains. 

During Exam Week, we culminate and celebrate and commemorate our pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty over the past term. 

We bring together all that we've learned over 12 weeks and each child shares the ideas that have shaped them and become part of them. 

We celebrate all that we've encountered, discovered, mastered, persevered through, loved, endured, grown our affections for and been nourished by. 

We culminate our pursuit of ideas by drawing connections between them and choosing the best of them to share, narrate, create work inspired by, recite, and record. 

We commemorate twelve weeks of effort, diligence, breeding good tastes, edification, togetherness, pursuit of goodness, awe, wonder, frustration, perseverance, growth, beauty, and nourishment. 

It is truly a wonderful time. 

If you are new to the idea of Exams in a living education, I have written about them in this article, I have an IG highlight discussing them, and my Exams Workshop will walk you through them in depth and in detail. 

Here are all of our Exam Questions for Term 3 of our 2023 school year. 
I have an 8th Grader (T) and a 4th Grader (S).

Both Boys: 
(These are Exams conducted together, but you can see the variation in some of the questions for each. These are conducted together because I draw my children together for communal learning as much as I possibly can, and because one can do drawn narrations while I record oral narrations for the other, or they can wait patiently, and they can learn from each other while listening. This also adds to the ongoing conversation of the ideas we've encountered and the commemoration of them.) 

T: What characteristic of God do you appreciate most in this season, and why? 
S: Tell me about a characteristic of God and how we experience it by knowing Him.  

Group Math-
T: Explain reflection, rotation, and symmetry. 
S: What are some ways that shapes can move? 

Describe the poetry of J. Patrick Lewis; do you like his work; why or why not? 

Composer Study- 
T: How would you describe the Planets Suite as a whole? What insight does it give into the work of Holst?  
S: How would you describe the Planets Suite; do you like it; why or why not? 

T: What is the difference between the mind and the brain, and how does a "growth mindset" occur in each differently?  
S: What is a "growth mindset" and what is happening in the brain when we have one? 

Finish your paper quilled turkey project. 

T: Tell me about the Space Race and moon landings. 
S: Tell me about the exploration of space.  

Illustrate and narrate a scene from Pax. 

Special Studies- 
Choose a planet or another feature of our solar system; draw a diagram and describe. 

Group Language- 
Find an example of a glossary, index, table of contents, title page, and copyright page in a book. Tell me how to use one of these. 
Cultural Studies- 
T: What are some of the world's major religions, and what are some of its minor ones? Why is it important to understand the practices, beliefs, origins, spread, and impact of religions?  
S: Tell me about a religion other than Christianity. 

Folk Songs- 
T: How does Wellerman compare to other Sea Shanties and what does it communicate about the power of music? Illustrate Wellerman's lyrics.  
S: How does Wellerman compare to other Sea Shanties? Illustrate Wellerman's lyrics. 

Choose two skills that are important to being a qualified spy and a) tell me about them b)demonstrate them and c)tell me why they're important. 

Financial Math/Economics- 
T: Tell me about bartering, trade, currency, and supply and demand. 
S: What is barter and trade? 

Modern History- 
T: Tell me about the causes and impact of WWII.  
S: Tell me about the impact of WWII. 

What options do we have when we witness or experience cyber bullying? 

Career Studies- 
T: Choose two space related careers that you are interested in to compare and contrast; which do you believe you'd be better at and why? 
S: Choose a space related career to tell me about; would you be good at this career; why or why not? 

Nature Study-
What type of flora exists in your new yard? 

Picture Study- 
T: Tell me about the distinct types of work in the catalog of Georgia O'Keefe; which do you prefer and why; which do you think influenced modern art most significantly? 
S: Describe the art of Geogia O'Keefe; which work is your favorite and why?  

What is tidiness, why is it important, and how can the habit of tidiness be maintained? 

T: Choose two Presidents to compare and contrast; how did each impact the trajectory of US Politics? 
S: Tell me about a President you find interesting. 

Choose any piece of art and identify its color scheme. Make a replica in a different scheme. 

Tell me something interesting about London.  

Critical Thinking- 
T: What is a stereotype and how it impede good thinking and communication? 
S: What is a stereotype? Why should we avoid them? 

British History-
T: What was the Jazz Age like in Great Britain, and what did this indicate about the country's state? 
S: What was the Jazz Age like in Great Britain? 

T- Compare and contrast two types of fairies. 
S- Tell me about a specific type of fairy. 

T- Why do you think Shakespeare ended Hamlet in the way that he did; what did this communicate? 
S- Tell me about the end of Hamlet. 

Illustrate and tell me about one of the world's unique structures that fascinates you. 

Recite Romans 8:12-17

Teddy (8th Grade) 

1. 8/9-3/6
2. 3/4x 1/2 
3. 99.09-98.29
4. 5.6 x 6.41

Life Skills- 
What types of intelligence are there and why is it important to know the difference? 

Language Arts- 
Tell me about two aspects of fiction and how they are used by authors to craft a story. 

What is the definition of judgement and what does a judgement unite or separate. Give me an example of a judgement and tell me what has been united or separated by this particular judgement. 

Sheldon (4th Grade) 

1. Draw an obtuse angle. 
2. 8:50 is _______ minutes to________. 
3. Shade 4/5 of the circle. 
4. 3/8 is _____ of ______ parts. 
5. If there are 572 boys and 629 girls, how many children are there in total? 

Read aloud a poem of choice.  

Life Skills- 
How can emotions be similar but vary in intensity; give me an example; why is this important? 

Other Exam Week Activities: 
Exam Week Checklists &
Exam Week Interviews 

Display Work for Dad
(The boys are each choosing 5 pieces of work that they are proud of or that they believe showcase the ideas of the term and are sharing those with Dad, narrating them and discussing them.) 

If you want to read through more Exam Week Questions for other grades, I have previously posted our questions for several terms.

We Contain Multitudes; So Should our Feast of Ideas

The deaths of both Tim Keller and Matthew Perry impacted me deeply. 

Because the lives of both men impacted me profoundly.

One taught me to exegete both Scripture and culture with integrity, to reach across aisles in pursuit of unity, and to embody a settled faith.

The other taught me to connect through authenticity, the courage of vulnerability, and the power of shared laughter.

Both made me a better thinker, a better story teller, and a better human.

Both poured themselves out for the world, making an indelible mark with their respective crafts.

I loved them both, and despite the differences between their lives and work, I (and so many thousands of others) am more than I would have been if either had not existed…

Because, like Whitman 😘, I too contain multitudes.

I too need to experience the fullness of art and ideas and beauty and goodness and thought in order to experience the fullness of this life and of myself.

My reflection of Matthew Perry’s life and legacy, caused me to examine the ways in which my grief reminded me of and returned me to a short time ago when I was grieving Tim Keller, and I thought about how much I’ve learned about thought and ideas and the nature of the human mind.

Our minds need a multiplicity of ideas from every age and of every form and from so many kinds of people.

We need a multiplicity because we ourselves are precisely that.

We need humor and we need theology.

We need wisdom from varied sources and we need the gift of seeing through many sets of eyes.

We need art that takes on many forms and invokes responses from many depths within us.

We need the page and we need the stage.

We need to share in comedy and we need to sit with one another in tragedy.

We need to laugh and we need to see them told in our books and on our screens and in our living rooms.

We need academia and we need the academy of arts.

I’ve come to know with all of my being that the wells of thought that we’re drawing from must be wide in order to be deep.