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Review: No Christian Silence on Science by Margaret Helder


No Christian Silence on Science

Your teen is interested in science and, as a Christian parent, you worry about what an evolution-dominated university education will do to his or her faith. Many years ago, the father of a bright young girl named Margaret worried the same way, but he needn’t have. Now this Margaret, who has become Dr. Helder, is one of the most prominent women in creation science, and her recent book will help you and your teen.

After many years of writing, speaking, and lecturing—as well as raising six children and teaching science to homeschoolers from K-12—Dr. Helder has written a book that will inform, guide, and encourage young people interested in studying science. No Christian Silence on Science: Science from a Christian Perspective aims ‘to show that science, when critically evaluated, does not threaten a biblical understanding of how we came to be here.’

No Christian Silence on Science

Although this book is not written specifically for high school students, it can be used to teach teens who want to understand science from a biblical point of view and be able to talk about it wisely. This slim book covers a lot of ground; each of its five chapters is distinctly different, and some will be easier for teens than others, but all are worthwhile.

…To read more about the book itself, please see my complete review of No Christian Silence on Science on the Curriculum Choice.  For more discussion of the book, continue reading below.

Although Dr. Helder does not emphasize it explicitly, the key to her book and to all Christian scholarship is to realize that discoveries in the world God created will not contradict the Word he gave.  With that firm confidence, one is able to ask questions, to understand societal issues, and to deal with ethical issues in all disciplines.  Of course, it requires both Bible knowledge and a deeper knowledge of their fields than students currently have, but just knowing that this is a possibility can be an encouragement.  And learning some of these ideas while still in high school will begin to equip young people.

After studying high school biology a teen will, with effort, be able to understand much of the science in this book.  No Christian Silence on Science also discusses history and some philosophy, and as such is not an easy book.  In fact, since research level science is being discussed, the reader must fully expect to not understand everything, and rather learn to delight in what can be understood.  But that, too, is a common part of learning about God’s creation.  Lord willing, my girls will be studying this book after they finish Apologia’s Biology.

No Christian Silence on Science is a must-read resource for all Christian young people interested in science, whether they are in high school or university. It will remind them of the influence of prior beliefs, show them the ever-increasing problems with evolutionary theory both in science and in society, and equip them to challenge inaccurate scientific claims with grace and confidence.  It is a challenging book, but anyone planning to study science should learn to accept the fact that there will be things they will not be able to understand. Ideally, all older Christian teens and adults will read this book.

Although No Christian Silence on Science is not written for homeschoolers, it could be used in the homeschool as extra reading for a biology course, or in a Bible, apologetics, worldview, or career planning course.  It is a versatile book with many possible options and it could be one of the most worthwhile books your teens will ever study, because it will strengthen them to stand firm in their faith and even to be able to reach out to others.

…To read more about the book itself and for purchase information, see my complete review of No Christian Silence on Science on the Curriculum Choice.

…For some fascinating online science articles, ideal for homeschool science reading, see my list of Dr. Helder’s online articles.

If you enjoyed this article, you might want to follow me on Google+, where I often mention helpful or interesting ideas, friend me on Facebook where I am just a newbie, or connect with me on GoodReads where I, eventually, share what I read. 

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book; my opinions and thoughts are my own and I am not compensated for them.

Harvest, Health, and Thanksgiving


raspberries

We have been busy harvesting these weeks: raspberries, those delicious bits of goodness, as well as endless piles of tomatoes, a study full of apples, pails of sauerkraut fermenting on the counter, crispy fall salads, luscious melons, and so much more.

Now that I have better balance, doing all these things is more possible.  We are so thankful, not only for the food but also for the ability to harvest and preserve it!

We ask God for health and for food.  He gives them, but I’ve been realizing again how much he makes us work for them, and how the work is part of the answer to our prayers for health.  Yes, our garden is full of healthy food, but the planting, weeding, caring, picking, and preserving each contribute to health as well.  Sun, fresh air, gentle exercise, and the beauty and smells of growing plants are blessings as much as the harvest is, even though at times we see only the work.

This thanksgiving week, I give thanks for the food we were able to grow and for the work we were and are able to do for it.

I am also pondering how all this relates to the biblical command to work out our own salvation as I continue to work out my own health and our harvest.  Somehow the gift and the duty are so closely related that they are aspects of the same thing.

I pray that we all may see what God has given us to do and then do these things wisely and well, realizing that the work and duty themselves are a gift, not just a means to God’s gifts, and that without God’s care we would not have the ability to work, nor the work itself, nor its results.

So, let’s be thankful and let’s get working!  May God bless us all.

Related posts:

The Best is Yet to Come —for when it feels like there’s not much in your life to be thankful for.

Looking for Health:  Balance

Harvesting and Homeschooling

If you enjoyed article, you might want to follow me on Google+, where I mention helpful or interesting ideas, friend me on Facebook where I occasionally show up, or connect with me on GoodReads where I eventually share what I read. 

This article may be linked to Inspire Me Monday, Raising Homemakers, Friendship Friday, Make My Saturday Sweet.

Looking for Health: Balance

Very early one recent morning I took a little walk.  A fox bounded laboriously through the tall meadow grasses and I could hear the swish of each jump.  So did our dogs.  A fuzzy black and white caterpillar twisted its way through the lawn, and up above I heard the dry woosh of wings as a small skein of geese circled indecisively.

Other mornings I step into fog or watch the sunrise glint off a spider web that resonates in the breeze a vibrating drum in a physics textbook.

I have been able to go for such little walks for a few weeks now.  Before that, walking and standing took an enormous amount of physical and mental effort because I had balance issues.

Balance issues can be related to inner ear or even brain problems, but then they are often accompanied by dizziness and vertigo.  Since I’ve been taking regular, long-term supplements of vitamin B12 (see below) the dizziness and vertigo have almost completely disappeared, but I’ve still needed to hold onto things or people to stand for any length of time. I’ve regularly used shopping carts as walkers, even considering getting a real walker or cane for myself, and my family and friends have often steadied me as I walked short distances, although at times I was able to walk well myself.

But now I can regularly go walking, by myself, over uneven ground, in a straight line, completely effortlessly, and all it took was a person trained in neurokinetic therapy to discover and correct muscle imbalances that had developed over the years.  First she worked on the back and forth swaying that made standing a difficult task requiring conscious and sustained effort.  That correction exaggerated the side to side wandering that made it so difficult for me to walk in a straight line even while concentrating, but she fixed that as well, in just 10 (painful) minutes!

So now I can walk a straight line while thinking about other things and can stand effortlessly when chatting with my friends.  I also have more energy for everyday life now that the ‘simple’ tasks of standing and walking no longer take up so much of it.

How did these muscle imbalances develop?  Perhaps they began when I was seriously dizzy a lot of the time, or when I was too weak to walk much, or because I have been driving a lot (one of the imbalanced muscles is in my leg).  Who knows?

All I know is that God created bodies in an amazingly complex way.  Of the many things that can go wrong, some are easy to fix, and I am very grateful to have discovered this.

To do if you have balance issues: 

Obviously, see your doctor for a thorough check up.

If you are both unsteady and dizzy and suspect B12 deficiency (and the likelihood of this increases as one ages or if one has absorption issues such as celiac disease), it’s worth your while to ask your doctor to test your B12 level.  If your B12 level is low, then take B12 as a sublingual (dissolves under the tongue) tablet, being sure to buy the more effective methylcobalamin form.  (Not all doctors will tell you these details.)  If your B12 level is very low, you should ask for an injection or a series of injections.

If you are unsteady as you walk but not really dizzy, it might be worth your while to see a person who knows neurokinetic therapy.  These therapists are often chiropractors, massage therapists, etc. who have learned this relatively new technique.

If, however, you are unsteady due to a concussion, try to find a doctor who specializes in post-concussion syndrome who will likely refer you to an array of other specialists, depending on the nature of the damage.

If you stumble because the ground seems uneven although it isn’t (the disorienting feeling of the ground not being where it should be), this is worth mentioning to a physical therapist as well.

Miranda Esmonde-White mentions balance in her practical books Forever Painless and Aging Backwards, and Norman Doidge shares cutting edge research for extreme balance issues in The Brain’s Way of Healing.

If you are in eastern Ontario, I can pass on the name of the neurokinetic therapist who ‘rebalanced’ me as well as the name of a pediatric concussion specialist.

Disclaimer:  I am not a medical doctor of any kind and am just sharing what I learn as I try to regain my own health, things that might be worth looking into for anyone else for whom standing and walking are difficult due to balance issues.  I am sharing this information because it is not easy to find, and many doctors do not seem to know about it.  Yet these suggestions are safe, simple ways, supported by medical research, to get your life back.

If you enjoyed this article, you might want to follow me on Google+, where I often mention helpful or interesting ideas, friend me on Facebook where I occasionally show up, or connect with me on GoodReads where I eventually share what I read. 

This article may be linked to Saturday Reviews, Booknificent Thursdays, 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge, Literacy Musings Monday, and The Book Nook  as well as to Inspire Me Monday, Raising Homemakers, Friendship Friday, Make My Saturday Sweet.

Table of Genders of French Nouns from French Three Years

One of the tricky things about learning French is learning the gender of the nouns.  This is important because several words in a sentence can depend on a noun’s gender, and if you get that wrong, much of the sentence is wrong.

Traditionally, you just learn which nouns are masculine and feminine as you learn the vocabulary.  This works well in ideal cases.

If you are learning a lot of vocabulary, though, it can be easy to default to the tactic of a relative of ours who arbitrarily assigned one gender to all the nouns he wasn’t sure of.  This way, he explained to us, he would be right, on average, about 50% of the time which isn’t too bad.

However, there are some generalizations about which nouns are masculine and which are feminine.  These are not commonly known (I do not recall ever learning them myself) and our relative did not seem to know about them, but they are oh-so-helpful.

So, for any serious student of French, here’s a table of genders of French nouns from the excellent text French Three Years by Blume and Stein.  Memorize this and you will get the genders right a whole lot more than 50% of the time.

masculine feminine
-acle le spectacle -ade l’orangeade
-age* le village -ale la capitale
-al le journal -ance la connaissance
-eau* le bureau -ence la compétence
-et le cabinet -ette la raquette
-ier le cahier -ie la biologie
-isme le cyclisme -ique la république
-ment l’établissement -oire la victoire
-sion la télévision
-tion la nation
-ure la coiffure

*Note these exceptions:  la page, la plage; l’eau, la pneau. (p 235)

As for the rest of the French Three Years, it covers essentially all French grammar in an organized and clear way with many exercises to help students practice each topic.  The 600 page book is divided into four parts:

  • Verbal Structures
  • Noun Structures, Pronoun Structures, Prepositions
  • Adjective/Adverb and Related Structures
  • Civilization

The final part, about French civilization, covers geography, history, agriculture, industry, commerce, daily life, literature, fine arts, music, and sciences.  It, too, has review exercises.

The book finishes with a comprehensive test and several useful appendices, but there are no chapter quizzes.  For chapter quizzes I have just assigned various exercise questions from the chapter in the past, but this time around I’m formally testing key grammar concepts as well.

Note that French Three Years contains no formal oral or conversation component at all, but that is easy to add in by doing some exercises orally or by reading Part Four of the book out loud and discussing it. Of course, at this level it is also easy to find another book or resource for oral work.

The book is can be written in, but one can also use it as a textbook and do the exercises on paper.

There is a small, very helpful answer key that makes the course possible to teach even for someone whose French has gotten a bit rusty.  That being said, to teach French Three Years effectively you will need to know French to an advanced intermediate level.

French Three Years is best taken after earlier French courses covering all the tenses and other basic grammar as well as a significant amount of vocabulary.  For example, French 2 from Bob Jones University Press and French is Fun 2 by Stein and Wald each provide a solid preparation for this book.

In conclusion, if you are looking for an organized, comprehensive review and consolidation of French grammar and vocabulary, French Three Years is an excellent choice.

Related Reviews:  

I am grateful to my favorite university students who asked me to help them learn French using this textbook and thus encouraged me to relearn it as well.

If you enjoyed this review, you might want to follow me on Google+, where I often mention helpful or interesting ideas, friend me on Facebook where I occasionally show up, or connect with me on GoodReads where I eventually share what I read. 

Disclosure: I bought this book years ago and am not compensated for this review.

This article may be linked to Saturday Reviews, Booknificent Thursdays, 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge, Literacy Musings Monday, and The Book Nook  as well as to Inspire Me Monday, Raising Homemakers, Friendship Friday, Make My Saturday Sweet.

Harvesting and Homeschooling

Today I plan to freeze tomatoes, pick raspberries, and dry lemon balm—in the car of all places(!), something I learned from Traditional Cooking’s Dehydrating course.  We also need to clean up windfall apples in our little apple orchard and, on top of that, there is schoolwork to do.

This is a problem, because it is just too much for one day.

Harvesting is important, homeschooling is important, and a day has only 24 hours.  As I said, this is a problem, a big one that I addressed recently at the Curriculum Choice:

We have gardened seriously for about fifteen years, and serious gardening leads to serious harvesting, something that usually happens during the first weeks of the traditional school year.

Each year this bothers me.  I hate to interrupt the beginning of formal learning just to make sauerkraut or salsa, or to dry herbs, or to freeze produce

So each year I remind myself that harvesting is a learning activity, too.  Our children need to know how to gather food, ideally for themselves and their future families, but also for a knowledge of where food comes from and how people in history lived.  As a culture we are distancing ourselves from the very basics of life—like food production, useful physical activity, and an awareness of nature— and as homeschoolers we can address that by participating in the harvest, whether from our own gardens, from local orchards, from farmers’ markets, or from seasonal produce in the grocery store.  

Over the years I’ve learned that the harvesting is itself the curriculum.  It involves learning, skills, and even creativity, such as when my daughter discovered a better way to pit plums for jam and sauce.  Of course, we start the year’s math, science, Bible, and literature as well, but by changing my mindset and acknowledging the educational value of this hands-on work, I can be at peace in the midst of the flurry.

So, school is not closed for the harvest.  The harvest is part of school.

With both girls nearing the end of high school, there is a lot of schoolwork to be done.  This year I try to minimize their harvest involvement to just enough for learning, but that is not always possible.  So they pick and peel and dry and slice. What’s more, they watch me try to juggle it all gratefully and calmly, accepting that there is enough time to do what God has given me to do, asking for his help, and thanking him for his bountiful goodness.

And perhaps these lessons are more important than things in books.

For more ideas about homeschooling in harvest season, including field trip ideas and resources, check out “The Harvest Homeschool” at the Curriculum Choice.

If you enjoyed article, you might want to follow me on Google+, where I mention helpful or interesting ideas, friend me on Facebook where I occasionally show up, or connect with me on GoodReads where I eventually share what I read. 

This article may be linked to Inspire Me Monday, Raising Homemakers, Friendship Friday, Make My Saturday Sweet.

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