Big Red House Logo The Big Red House

Developers of Curriculum for Christian Homeschoolers, Gifted Students and Others

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This page last updated
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History and Mission Statement

The Big Red House ("BRH") began as a service to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania area homeschoolers who wanted their children to have some classroom-type experience, and who had expressed interest in the course content that we were offering at that time.

We began by giving craft-type classes at our home on Main Street in Lititz. Throughout the "school" year, we offered other content-oriented courses, including an Ancient History Seminar, our Pennsylvania History Day, a class based on the American Girls dolls, a course on writing the Research Paper, and began teaching at several homeschooling co-op. We also conducted various parent's seminars, including one on Learning Styles that was well-received. As our student base expanded, it became evident that those driving some distance were inconvenienced by classes that met multiple times. many of our classes at sponsor's homes; we then began to hold classes in sponsor's homes--we did the distance driving, rather than the class's moms. When the blizzard of '96 came, it canceled classes for almost a month, causing our income to plummet. Spring brought recovery, and renewed vision.

In considering prayerfully what direction BRH should take in the future, we felt that our philosophy and goals were not something we should change. In addition, we also felt that local classes and the development and marketing of curriculum to encourage independent learners nation-wide was also a worthwhile mission. Our heart has always been to encourage moms and dads who wanted to raise independent learners and who were not content with pre-packaged, text-book style curriculums. There are many good materials out there; the advent of the Internet has brought even more possibilities. But just having them available does not make a good curriculum within your homeschool any more than living near the Library of Congress does; hence our vision for discovery-based curriculum materials that had enough structure to allow adequate tracking & guidance, yet open-ended so as to allow the student to discover the knowledge "on his own."

Our vision has widened to homeschoolers globally, who can utilize a discovery-based curricula that is God-honoring, yet allows the student to question and arrive at conclusions critically. While we are still offering classes locally, we are drawing upon that experience to develop our curriculum via the Internet.

God Bless!!

Personal Info and Qualifications

Dennis W. Faix holds a BA in Bible from Bob Jones University, Greenville, SC. He completed additional master's-level courses at Westminster Theological Seminary and Biblical Seminary, and other course work at Furman University and Beaver College. His classroom teaching experiences range from adult education to work with at-risk high-schoolers, most of whom had been referred by the juvenile justice system. He has worked with learning disabled and troubled students where adequate behavioral structures made the use of drug therapies (such as ritalin) unnecessary. Himself a National Merit Scholar, Dennis is also very interested in the education of the gifted; he also has experience within pre-school education, also having served as an officer of a local NAEYC chapter. Dennis is a avid cook and herb gardener.

Pamela G. Faix holds a degree in Early Childhood Education, also from Bob Jones University. Her interests include alternative medicine, doll making/collecting, and is an avid coupon-saver and garage sale shopper.

Mike (age 16) and Anne (age 11) are homeschooled here in Lititz (founded 1756) in the heart of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Mike's career interests lean toward pathology, while Anne is planning to become a veterinarian. She is also making/repairing/collecting dolls. Our "Big Red House" is a c. 1803 brick-covered-in-ivy in the heart of the historic district. We are right next to the Moravian Church, including the Brother's House, which served as a revolutionary war hospital for General Washington's troops while camping in Valley Forge.

Educational Philosophy

We believe that education should free a child to discover the world God has created, that the child should be allowed to question, to explore, and to reach conclusions. A child's mind is more like a muscle that must be exercised, than a lump of clay which must be molded. In our classes, we utilize a semi-Socratic method, which encourages questions; this is not to imply that guidance cannot be given, and that limits must not be set.

Learning, after all, is simply an outcome--even a by-product. It is a consequence of experience (including imaginative experience) that is meaningful, that we can participate in, and that we can relate to ourselves. Learning comes with doing things we can sense, and, in so doing, perks our interest. Learning, like physical growth, is not a consequence of external pressure (we don't grow taller by scrunching up our necks and trying real hard!!). Likewise, we don't learn by trying harder; each of us has experienced failure to learn something we wanted to learn, despite intense motivation and effort. Yet, in other things, we make no particular effort to memorize things (major news items, gossip, the scores in a sport in which we are interested), yet we find them imprinted on our minds-without special effort on our part.

When learning is forced (such as holding a telephone number until we dial it-or cramming for a test), it has a half-life of a few hours (or at most a few days); as such it is useless for educational purposes. True learning (education, if you will) is like physical growth in that it usually occurs without our being aware of it, it is long-lasting, and it requires a nurturing environment. It takes place as a result of social relationships (including those with authors and characters within a book) and it pivots on personal identification. We learn from the kind of person we see ourselves as being like. Such conditions are annihilated by an information-transmission model of teaching.

At one end of the curriculum spectrum are those who use only textbooks. A textbook (or programmed learning approach) is essentially a control device; It says to the student This is important--learn it. At the other end of the curriculum spectrum are those who say that all that the student needs to learn is that which is important to him. Elements of both, in our opinion, are necessary. (An excellent overview of both the "flavors" of homeschooling philosophy, as well as resources, is the Elijah Company) Historically, many leaders of the church, including the Apostle Paul, had the widest available education of their time; we recognize that God's revealed Word is the only accurate measure of ultimate truth (See our four presuppositions), and all other endeavors must be gauged in relation to that truth. We have confidence in the triumph of that truth, while allowing for honest questioning, knowing that such questioning may be aimed at some of the fundamental beliefs held by the parent. (That can be heart-rending; Focus on the Family has excellent resources for such trying experiences.) We trust God to guide while arranging our children's experiential (though sometimes vicarious) learning experiences.

We support the use of text-books as a guide to the spectrum of knowledge, as well as a check against "scope & sequence" concerns of educational administrators. The purpose of our classes is to stimulate additional learning activities, not to "pour" information into students. We attempt to bring the student along the learning continuum of "familiarity with-interest in-appreciation for…."

The utilization of methods of obtaining information, the processing of that information within the thinking-level of the student, and applying critical thinking skills to sources of information found will become increasingly important in the age of the Internet. We do a disservice to our students if we program them to passively sit to be fed knowledge from a (hopefully) trustworthy instructor, rather than equip them to actively pursue the quest for knowledge through research skills, personal involvement (projects and internships) and inter-personal relationships.

Portions of the preceding two paragraphs from "Let's Declare Education a Disaster and Get on with Our Lives", by Frank Smith, in Phi Delta Kappan, April 1995

Learning Styles in Home Education

Personality and Learning Style are different, but related; whereas personality deals with introversion/extroversion, aggression/"laid-back" characteristics, etc. (the ways in which the person reacts to information), learning style deals with the basic ways that people process information.

For example, An introverted but structured person may become a research librarian, whereas an extroverted, yet still structured person might become a campaign fund-raiser; both require an organized mind, but are quite different.

There are many different models used to explain learning styles; we have attempted to simplify the information into four different children. For those of you wrestling with a child who has a learning style quite different from your own, take heart: a peek twenty years from now!!

Additional information on Learning Styles:

Structured Sam/Sally

Sam's Room is organized, if not always clean. Probably has lots of little boxes with pieces of toys other kids lost the first day the game was opened. Intense Sam's have their sock drawer organized by color. . .

Structured Sam is on-time, prepared, and scheduled. Sam delights in bringing order from chaos. If no structure exists for something, he'll invent some!! Sam's been using a Day-Timer since he was about 9 years old, and is most comfortable in situations where the outcome can be predicted and controlled.

Because of his orderly nature, Sam wants facts presented sequentially; he must "set up his file drawer" before being ready to "file the papers." Sam has no trouble memorizing and categorizing facts, outlines, dates, etc.

Actually, Sam is the homeschool mom's dream-usually. Her big complaint about Sam is that he is finished the day's assignments before she's gotten the breakfast dishes off the table!! Sam works well from textbooks, or any orderly presentation of facts. The challenge of working with Sam is to make more of him than a walking Britannica, to get him to understand the concepts, not merely remember the facts.

Using BRH's Online Units with Structured Sam/Sally:

Sam will, with his normal organized gusto, dig right in to gather facts, define the terms, and be "done!" If for example, he chooses to study The Race to the Moon, he'll immediately follow the links to NASA, and get the names of the astronauts and mission dates. He may even become fascinated with Apollo 13 (especially if he's seen the movie) and the exact "what" of what happened. All of which our unit will address; but for Sams-who need to see the concepts-we'll add assignments on what products have come from the space program-how are they changing everyday lives 30 years later. If Sam has a Nurturing Nancy as a sister, who wants to participate in the course also (no additional charge, by the way), we'll study what it was like to be an astronaut's wife/family, etc. We'll also recommend lots of links and print materials to keep even the most voracious reader well supplied and learning independently!!

Links to Additional Curriculum Sources for Structured Sam/Sally:

Independent Ira/Irene

Ira's room, from a early age, has a sign on the door. MY Room… Keep Out. An independent thinker, Ira questions incessantly. Constantly analyzing, he can often think of new ways to consider old data. Not as comfortable with people as he is with facts or machines, Ira is often thought of as cold & calculating. Relationships are important to Ira, but only within clearly outlined parameters. Usually prefers to work alone, but, lacking a clearly defined path, is easily lured by "tangents." Easily combines randomly presented facts or concepts.

In contrast to Sam, Ira doesn't need a file drawer-a closet full of old shoe-boxes will work just fine!! And don't think Ira won't be able to find his favorite picture of Aunt Lucy's nose-in-the-grip-of-the-lobster!!! If it's important to Ira, he can find it!!!

Ira needs to be given the concepts, the connections. The series Connections II is a natural "hit" with Ira. Ira will resist memorizing or rote presentations; textbooks are usually not recommended for Ira, except as reference.

Ira can make sense on multiple things-all at the same time. Ira can be reading an article from the encyclopedia on the computer, listening to National Public Radio (and getting the information) and still be able to comment on the family conversation in the next room. He is a true "multi-tasker."

Because of his conceptual and "everything at once" way of learning, we recommend unit studies for Ira.

Utilizing BRH's OnLine Courses with Independent Ira:

Ira's mind easily jumps from one subject to another; the World Wide Web is the most natural thing in the world for an Ira; in a homeschooling environment, keeping a log of Ira's "jumps" can be a daunting task. The trick is to set the task up, give the parameters and goal, but leave the process open-ended enough to keep Ira interested. For example, in Polio & its Eradication-Public Health in America, in order to complete the research, the student must explore the process used to generate the polio vaccine; the mobilization of forces to get the entire country immunized, and the costs involved. He then must compare that to the current effort to control AIDS. The syllabus will give Ira many different "rabbit trails" to follow in each of those root explorations. The syllabus will also force Ira to compare the ethics of both situations.

Other suppliers of Unit Studies, recommended for Ira:

Please see our educational links; there are lots of prepared unit studies available, or you can make your own. We recommend Kathryn Stout's "Design a Study" series for make-ur-own.

Nurturing Ned/Nancy

Ned's room is filled with pictures and mementos-of people and pets. A romantic, Ned wears his heart on his sleeve; naturally interested in people, Ned won't push himself upon people (as might Andy), but when crisis occurs, everyone seeks Ned's steady, clam and understanding nature. Easily hurt, he may withdraw when others have wounded his sensitive nature, and others may not even realize they have offended Ned. Ned becomes personally involved in every project or learning situation. Emotions, understanding the people in a historical setting, etc. are the most successful approaches with Ned.

If you want to teach Ned about bacteria, start with a biology of Louis Pasteur; better yet, introduce him to a real-life biologist, or take them to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, A mentor who share what/WHY they do will make more of an impression than 14 well-written books on the subject.

Ned/Nancy can work well with the learning materials for Sam, Ira, or Andy; but to truly understand the material, there must be personal interaction; they is why the personal/emotional must be stressed.

Utilizing BRH's OnLine Courses with Nurturing Ned:

Whereas Sam would study the treaties, Ira might get entangled in the legalities, Ned will become interested in the personalities of Fishing Rights & International Treaties, Ned will want to explore case histories of those on both sides of the disagreement-what the news business calls "human interest stories.'' The syllabus will include sources on the net that will allow the homeschooled child to converse with those involved in real commerce and treaties; possibly even converse with children of those involved. This will pull in the real-life emotion and people that Ned needs to understand the material.

Other sources of materials to use with Nurturing Ned/Nancy:

The Sycamore Tree, as well as Greenleaf Press offers a view of history with a human face; these are recommended. Also, get involved with homeschooling organizations. With Ned/Nancy, most approaches can work, as long as there are relationships there. We also recommend the international Key Pals Organization.

Active Andy/Andrea

Andy's room is a dumping ground for his "stuff" as he dashes from one busy activity to the next. Always on the go, Andy learns by doing. Books are to build with--Only when on the verge of exhaustion might Andy think to open one! A risk-taker, this child, when motivated, will work feverishly to complete a task-just before the deadline. Usually very social, load, outgoing and brash. He doesn't hold a grudge, and is shocked when someone else does. Active learning that relates to his immediate surroundings is usually most successful.

There are perhaps twice as many homeschooled Andy's as any other group; Andy just doesn't fit well into the regular classroom. Many Andy's are mistakenly diagnosed as ADHD, when they are in reality just trying to learn the material IN THEIR OWN WAY.

Andy is focused on MOVEMENT. You may be sitting at a sports event, having a tough time figuring out who has the ball; Andy can not only tell you with 100% accuracy, but can also comment on several other "movements" on and off the field.

Andy absolutely "bombs" with a flat, motionless textbook. He also bombs with a flat, motionless teacher. A lively, animated teacher who moves, used charts, objects to handle and experiences has a better shot. So does multimedia on a computer-BUT, unlike Ira who you can put in front of Grolier's On-Line Encyclopedia, knowing something will get learned, with Andy you must define the playing field, and what needs to happen. Otherwise, the motion will not be purposeful.

Video learning can be helpful, but only if its high-quality and interactive; if the video is merely a taped lecture, Active Andy won't have enough motion to maintain his interest.

Factual knowledge isn't impossible for Andy-just use a motion oriented mnemonic. Find a song or rhythmic pattern to which you can attach the facts, one fact per beat, and you'll experience success.

Using BRH's Online Courses with Andy

One of the advantages of an OnLine Course for Andy is that he can "click" from one point to another, and the learning "moves" in front of him. Many of our units, for example, Ancient History, grew out of courses we've taught here in Lancaster County, and include lots of hands-on activities.

Other hands-on curriculums for use with Active Andy/Andrea:

Konos - an excellent hands-on curriculum, but requires a lot of preparation on mom's part. Books that have a lot of action on the page, such as Dorling Kindersly are also helpful.

Online Courses Availiable

General Information Concerning OnLine Classes:

The Big Red House offers three types of "on-line" courses:

Send inquiry to main welcome screen or registration/inquiry form

Shortcut to Information Sciences (000's) Philosophy/Ethics (100's) Religion (200's)

Social Sciences (300's) Language (400's) Science (500's) Useful Arts (600's)

Fine Arts (700's) Literature (800's) History/Geography (900's)

Current/Future Seminar Classes are just below!!

The Internet for Homeschool Moms: 6 weeks $ 45.00

Class starts January 8th; class size limited-register early!!!

  1. Week 1: History of the Internet, eMail, Telnet, FTP, and the World Wide Web. Introduction to finding information on the WWW. Discussion of safety on the "net".
  2. Week 2: Exploration of Educational Sites; Finding sites and lesson plans. Assignment of Projects: (You'll develop a unit using WWW and other Internet resources to present to the class!!)
  3. Week 3. Developing Lesson Plans using Internet sites, Part I
  4. Week 4: Developing Lesson Plans using Internet sites, Part II
  5. Week 5: Branching out: support groups, discussion groups, mailing lists and professional organizations online.
  6. Week 6: Project Presentations to the Group!!!

Catalog of On-Line Courses (updated to 11/1/96)

000's Information Science, General Works

The Bermuda Triangle--Mysteries and Histories (Grade Level 6-9)

Syllabus, 5 weeks, $ 45.00 Research Project $ 25.00

Explores the popular mythology surrounding the Bermuda Triangle; there will be exposure to many non-Biblical theories. No definitive answer is given other than "Man is not capable of full knowledge" and ultimately, "God is in control.

See the Seminar Course, the Internet for Moms, just above

100's Philosophy, Ethics

Throw-Away Children: The Ethics of Childcare under Romania's Ceausescu (11-12)

Research Project $ 25.00

The deprivation of any human emotion to thousands of children under his man's reign of terror is now well known. But what are the lasting effects? And how does this treatment compare to other times/places?

The Ethics of Space Colonization (9-12)

Syllabus, 4 Weeks, $35.00

The "lead-times" of deep space colonization are measured in terms of generations. Should societies today invest billions in research, or spend those billions on problems the earth faces now?

Cannibalism--A Cultural Exploration (10-12)

Research Project, $25.00

Explores the cultural similarities of cultures practicing cannibalism, as well as documented occurrences of cannibalism within other civilizations.

Freedom of Worship (10-12)

Syllabus, 6 weeks, $ 55.00

A comparison of Massachusetts Bay Colony, where Puritanism was law, compared to the seeming openness of today's "political correctness." Examines the ethics of pluralism in a society.

200's Religion

The Dead Sea Scrolls--Discovery & Importance (5-8)

Syllabus, 3 weeks, $ 25.00

Feel the excitement of discovering a treasure, the intrigue of getting these to scholars, and the importance of these manuscripts.

Christian Social Action--Are we "not of this world" or "the salt of the earth?" (8-12)

Syllabus, 6 weeks, $ 55.00

Some Christians believe that the political process is not to be the focus of attention, that salvation of others should be. Others see no conflict is legislating morality into a society. Examines many views, and forces the student to come to a guided decision.

Early Church History (10-12)

Core, 13 weeks, $ 125.00

Explores the history of the church from just after the time of the apostles to the Reformation; covers councils, creeds and the personalities of the period. Provides a structure to understand one's own doctrinal position. We are sensitive to the variations in doctrine among Christians; no dogmatic positions are espoused.

Bible Geography (7-10)

Core, 13 weeks, $ 125.00

Explores both OT and NT geography, traces footsteps of Abraham, Moses, David, the Exiles and of Jesus, Paul and the Seven Churches. Salt maps will be made, and web-visits to both modern and archeological sites.

The Life of David (6-8)

Core, 13 weeks, $125,00

Explores the life of Israel's Shepherd-King. From his earliest days through his outlaw wanderings, to his installation as king. Will also tie in Psalms to periods of David's life. Lots of excitement to keep Jr. High boys interested (including a reenactment of the cave scene with Saul!!).

300's Social Sciences, Business, Government

The Fast Food Experience--A Marketing Strategy Study (9-12)

Seminar Class, 6 weeks, Scheduled Spring '97, $ 75.00

Explores the marketing of the tasty but "bad for you" burger that American fast food is build upon. Also traces the re-tooling of menus as "healthy", etc. And how did a young "upstart" company like Wendy's grow to challenge the big two?

The History of Transportation (4-8)

Syllabus, 6 weeks, $55.00

The wheel, the boat, the hot-air balloon. Man has devised many ways to take himself and cargo from one place to another; an historical and time-line method of tracing this often elementary technology.

Capital Punishment (7-12)

Research Project, $ 25.00

Its use (for what crimes), methods, and alternatives. Historical survey, plus geographical survey of its use in modern times.

Computer Crime (8-12)

Research Project $25.00

"Hackers" break into government computers, banks, etc. Case Histories, current problems, etc.

Warships (4-8)

Syllabus, 3 weeks, $ 25.00

The use of war boats from Ancient Times to the Nuclear Navy.

"A Glory to Her" (5-8)

Syllabus, 4 Weeks, $35.00

Women's hairstyles from ancient to modern times. Some styles have been considered risqué, others so plain as to be "mannish." Inter-disciplinary through styles, cultural attitudes, and freedom of expression of individual differences.

Women's Suffrage to Feminism (11-12)

Research Project, $ 25.00

An analysis of the woman's movement in America, balancing the rights of women to vote, the question of equal rights in the workplace, and radical feminism and the recent China conference.

Fishing Rights & International Treaties--Co-op & Clashes (10-12)

Research Project, $ 25.00

The ocean belongs to everyone--but certain territorial fishing waters are claimed by nations. Off-shore areas are often regulated by treaty, but many times occur over factory boats, etc. Just how much legislation can be done by governments where private enterprise is concerned?

Is Nothing Sacred? Holidays & Commercialization (8-10)

Syllabus, 3 Weeks, $ 25.00

A cross-cultural examination; for example, are traditional holidays in Japan becoming commercialized just like Christmas is in America?

How Many Clams? (4-7)

Syllabus, 2 weeks, $ 15.00

A history of coins and currency through the ages. Emphasis on the unusual and exotic, to maintain interest. Problems of counting and exchange.

Hats--From uniforms to frilly to silly. (5-7)

Syllabus, 3 weeks, $ 25.00

A fun unit, lots of drawing--traces the hat as a costume and emblem; attitudes about hats are also explored.

A Crisis in Day Care: Parental Responsibility vs. Government Inspections (6-9)

Research Project, $ 25.00

In light of recent deaths at day care centers by leaving children in locked vans to cook to death, how much should government inspect/regulate day care centers? In so doing, can the government overstep the "line" and increase costs to parents unnecessarily?

Funny Money--Counterfeiting and Justice (4-7)

Syllabus, 4 weeks, $ 35.00

Our dollar bill is merely a printed piece of paper--why not just copy it? This unit studies some people who asked that very question. The techniques of detecting such counterfeits, and the real law-enforcement drama that unfolds make this unit interesting to the student.

Utopias--From Eden to Star Trek (8-12)

Research Project, $ 25.00

Stories of "heaven on earth" are numerous--man always seeking the ultimate good apart from God. This is an overview of those utopian thoughts, and seeks to find a common thread both in the aspirations and the tragic flaws that destroyed them.

Polio and its Eradication--Public Health in America (6-10)

Syllabus, 6 Weeks, $ 55.00

Jonas Salk found the vaccine against the polio virus, and everyone in America was vaccinated against this crippler. What was the role of the government? Is this a legitimate role for the public authorities? How does this precedent affect government efforts and expense for AIDS research?

400's Languages & Linguistics
Howdy Y'all!! (7-9)

Syllabus, 3 weeks, $ 35.00

Dialects and usage within American English; regional expressions. Explores how different words for the same object or action came into usage in various parts of the country.

Russian Language
Biblical Greek, Level I, Ii, III, IV (inquire)
I John in the Greek NT
We will customize these courses for students with interest; a browser capable of Cyrillic/Greek fonts necessary, unless lessons can be faxed. If interested, please inquire, we'll work out a solution.
500's Pure Sciences

Power Generation (4-8)

Syllabus, 3 weeks, $ 35.00

Explores electricity through taking apart old appliances (from Goodwill, etc.,), through to building a generator and turbine and taking them to a stream to explore hydro-electricity. Covers static electricity, current, and touches on magnetic fields.

Seasons (2-3)

Syllabus, 2 Weeks, $ 15.00

What causes the weather to cool in the fall? How does that signal the trees to change color and drop their leaves? Does the wind direction change? How does a snowstorm differ from a summer thunderstorm? A broad overview, includes suggestions for expanding into cooking, gardening, etc.

Reptiles & Amphibians (4-6)

Syllabus, 4 Weeks, $36.00

A life science unit, studying the various animals included in these classifications. Snake stories are included, as well as a brief discussion of amphibians "coming onto land" to "evolve" into "higher life."

Exploring the Ocean World (6-8)

Syllabus, 6 weeks, $ 55.00

Unit seeks to discover the geology, fish, mammals, and plants of the sea. An appreciation of currents, how tides work, and how storms (i.e. hurricanes) develop. An overview of oceanography.

Sharks & Shark Behavior (3-7)

Syllabus, 3 weeks, $ 25.00

An overview of how sharks really behave (as opposed to the Jaws hype). Also a view of the smaller sharks, and how they fit into the marine web of life.

Scientific Method in Thinking & Practice (6-8)

Syllabus, 4 weeks, $ 35.00

Observe, classify, hypothesize, experiment, analyze, re-hypothesize, etc. Seeks to introduce the student into legitimate scientific study, i.e. steering clear both of the view that "science is bad because it teaches non-Biblical things, like evolution" and adopting theories which cannot be experimented upon and analyzed in a laboratory setting.

Math to Communicate Facts (7-9)

Syllabus, 2 weeks, $ 15.00 Research Project, $ 15.00

The use of charts, statistics, etc. to communicate numerical information. Examples given are within the social sciences, and the ability to slant figures is covered.

Mirror Image (11-12)

Research Project, $ 25.00

The process, controversies, and future of cloning technology. Not only a survey of recent work in the field, but also the morality of such experimenting, and the risks, etc.

Nuclear Power (7-10)

Syllabus, 5 weeks, $ 45.00

Covers the process and benefits of nuclear power, but also raises the concerns of Green Peace and other groups to the aftermath of the nuclear age.

Weather Forecasting (7-9)

Syllabus, 6 weeks, $45.00

A hands-on unit, covering the recording of pertinent data in a home weather station, comparing that data with other "stations," and the role of historical data with forecasts

The Habitats of Life, from Tropical to Tundra (3-6)

Syllabus, 4 weeks, $35.00

Introduces the student that life "lives" somewhere, and that life was created as adapted to that environment. Also examines how man (being intelligent) has adapted to the conditions in which he lives. Explores the food chain and how habitats affect the activities of different creatures.

The Solar System (3-6)

Syllabus, 6 weeks, $ 55.00

A Planet by planet study of the planets in our solar system; explores not only the factual information, but also the fantasy and "science fiction" surrounding "men from Mars," etc.


Natural Disasters (4-6)

Syllabus, 4 weeks, $ 35.00

Looks at floods, volcanoes, hurricanes, fires, etc. Both a chronological and geographic survey, along with some attention to the affect these diasters have had upon people, our readiness today in handling them, etc.

The Race to the Moon (4-6)

Syllabus, 5 weeks, $ 45.00

The late 50's and 60's were an exciting time to grow up; every few months another astronaut was sent hurling into space. But adults knew what the race was all about; the Soviet menace brought to light by Sputnik. Open-ended unit, which can go into the politics, the technology, or the personalities of the men involved.


Core, 26 weeks, $ 250.00

A high-school level Biology course, with limited lab-work. We do not recommend this course for those intending to major in the sciences in college, but for the liberal arts people this will be fine.

Earth Science

Core, 13 weeks, $ 125.00

A Jr. High level course covering physics and geology, as well as a discussion of origins of the solar system, etc.


Core, 13 weeks, $125.00

Roughly equally divided time-wise, this course takes an overview of the both the oceans and "outer" space, including exploration, life (in the ocean) and what man has discovered in both frontiers.

600's Useful Arts

Our Daily Bread (5-8)

Syllabus, 3 weeks, $25.00

Breads, the ingredients, the baking process, and the nutrition of breads. Bread types (whole wheat, multi-grain) as well as seasoned breads popular in other cultures. Flat breads, etc. Chemical changes within the dough through the rising process, and the final nutrition of the finished product.

Life Before Calculators (8-12)

Syllabus, 3 weeks, $ 25.00

It's hard to imagine, but the manufacture of the jet airplane, and much of the theoretical work on the Mercury space program was done BEFORE electronic calculators were around. Explores the slide rule, and its use and why it works. Logarithms, etc. will be explored. Unit much enhanced if a slide rule can be borrowed.

Food, Feasts & Fasts (6-9)

Syllabus, 3 weeks, $ 36.00

Various religions of the world (including Judaism) used food for religious purposes; explores the cross-cultural and religious significance of foods (or the lack of) in religious context

700's Fine Arts

The Art of Children's Book Illustrators (6-8)

Syllabus, 4 weeks, $ 36.00

Explores the art that accompanies best-loved and highest-rewarded books. Organized by the artist, so that comparisons and continuity can be seen. Obviously inter-disciplinary with a literature-based reading program.

Buildings for God (8-12)

Syllabus, 4 weeks, $ 36.00

Temples, ziggurats, tabernacles, cathedrals, and reading rooms. Each sect or religion has a specific style of building dedicated to religious purposes. How are these architecturally related? Are themes evident throughout, or does the view of their god influence the style?

800's Literature

A Comparison of Thoreau's Walden to B.F. Skinner's Walden II--Humanism, Determinism, Freewill. (11-12)

Research Project, $ 35.00

A heavy-duty unit. Will ask the student to read both Thoreau's work and parts of B.F. Skinner's work, then compare them. Only to name is similar. An attempt will then be made to critique both in light of scripture.

The Sermon as Literary Form (11-12)

Syllabus, 6 weeks, $ 55.00

Preachers have a certain style; a study of their sermons reveal that style. Whereas Peter Marshall addressed learned people, Dr. Bob Jones's early messages were mostly to folk of the rural south. How did that affect the metaphors used? Would you characterize the sermon as hard-hitting or as philosophical? Etc. Sermons will be provided for analysis, and assignments will include responding to the sermons both as one's self, and as a projected member of the original audience.

John Donne: "No Man is An Island" (10-12)

Syllabus, 3 weeks, $30.00

Almost everyone knows the expression "no man is an island," but few recognize the Biblical scholar who first penned the words. A survey of Donne the man, his works, and an explication of the poem.

Propaganda--Its use in WW II

Syllabus, 5 weeks, $45.00

As news organizations, via radio and newsreels, were able to report back to the people at home, public opinion became as much a battle as any on land or sea. What steps did Hitler take toward misinformation, both in Germany and toward the Allies? And were the allies actively engaged in the same activities against the Axis?

American Literature

Core, 26 weeks, $250.00

A survey of American Literature, including genre, writing styles, and explication of poems, etc. Writing projects are also required.

British Literature

Core, 26 weeks, $ 250.00

Covers British Literature, especially early works, including Beowulf, Chaucer, Tyndale, etc. Shakespeare is also a large part of the curriculum.

English Composition

Core, 13 weeks, $ 125.00

Writing assignments (can be student chosen or assigned), with emphasis on style, grammar, and editing skills. Grammar will be taught as mistakes are made.

Grammar Intensive

Core, 13 weeks

Writing assignment (large-scale, creative) by the student, along with a critique to other published writing, in an effort to improve the student's writing skill. This will be intensive, with discussions of participles, subordinate clauses, and connotation/usage, etc.

900's History, Geography, Biography

U.S. Regionalism--One Nation under God or Regional Factions under Stress? (9-12)

Syllabus, 6 weeks, $ 55.00

How did the South develop, the Midwest? And are those early roots affecting politics today? How did the religious heritage of New England affect the region today? How do industrialized areas compete for federal dollars against the rural poor?

Pennsylvania History

Syllabus, 3 weeks, $ 25.00

Explores Pennsylvania's role in history, as well as the geography and political process within Pennsylvania. Covers Wm. Penn, Drake's oil well, the Columbia-Washington choice (as to which was to be the U.S. Capitol), etc.

Ancient Civilizations (8-10) (higher grades upon request)

As a Core Course, 13 weeks, $125.00 or as Syllabus, 5 Weeks, $ 45.00

Week 1: Egypt Week 2: Ancient Mesopotamia Week 3: Greece Week 4: Rome Week 5: Ancient Far East

This course has been taught to many groups in Lancaster County, PA., usually to mixed age groups, etc. I have lots of hands-on projects to make the units interesting for younger students (e.g. in a sibling group). On the other hand, if you have a high-schooler who has studied all of these before, I'm game for (as an example) a five-week project comparing the worship of Ra in Egypt, Zoroastrianiam in Mesopotamia and the gods of the Incas/Aztecs. Through the "magic" of the "net" we'll be able to visit places and get photos and information right from archives in the native country!

The core course will cover each area in more depth, and "fill in the holes" between each civilization, to appreciate the flow of ancient history.

Indians of North America--Eastern (2-5)

Indians of North America--Western (2-5)

Each, Syllabus, 3 weeks, $ 25.00

Children often get the mistaken notion that all the Indians were very much alike; they were not. These units explore the tribes & nations, their customs, beliefs, and history.

The Vikings (2-5)

Syllabus, 3 weeks, $ 25.00

Explores the history and legends of these fierce people of the north; highlights include a raiding party as well as a ship-building project.

Life on a Wagon--The Western Expansion (4-6)

Syllabus, 3 weeks, $25.00

What was it like to sell most everything, pack a wagon, and move west? Explores the whole western expansion of the United States, including the Oregon Trail and California Gold Rush.

The Caribbean Islands--A Cultural Exploration (7-10)

Syllabus, 3 weeks, $ 25.00

How is a culture affected by climate and tourism? How did the animalistic religions of the islands combine with the teaching of the early missionaries? Are Jamaicans different than Puerto Ricans? In what ways? Why?

The Legacy of the Incas (6-9)

Syllabus, 3 weeks, $ 25.00

The Incas ruled with absolute power an area almost as vast as Rome's, yet we have evidence of human sacrifice as well as incredible mathematical abilities. Explores the Inca from various viewpoints.

"Long May She Wave"--Flags in America (5-8)

Syllabus, two weeks, $ 15.00

What flag in the United States still waves today with 15 (instead of 13) stripes? Explores the use of various flags of battle, local flags, and the development of the flag we know today.

Growing up in America--5 Units (3-7)

Syllabus, each of five units two weeks long, each $ 15.00

Covers the history of America through the five periods portrayed in the American Girls book/doll series. Covers the Revolution, the Frontier, the Civil War, the Victorian Era and WW II.

Where'd Everybody Go?? Ghosts Towns of the World (5-8)

Research Project, $ 25.00

How do cities and towns die? What causes such decline as to render them useless to future inhabitants. Explores near-eastern cities as well as wild-west ghost towns, and asks the student to reach conclusions. Will be a stretch for some primary students.

Fringe Benefits--The Rise of Paternalism in Employment (9-12)

Research Project $ 25.00

One hundred years ago, medical insurance benefits from a company would have been a strange notion. Yet today, employers will pay to drug re-hab for their employees. What was the role of government, of unions? How have those policies affected the workplace?


Tea & Cakes--A Comparison of the French & American Revolutions (9-12)

Research Project (Intensive) $ 35.00

The French and American revolutions occurred within a century of each other, but they were fundamentally different. Explores those differences

The Magna Carta--Rights of Citizens vs. Power of Monarchs (7-9)

Syllabus, 4 weeks $ 35.00

The date 1215 is not usually a well recognized date among students, but it is the well-spring of 1776, as well as 1995 (OJ!!). Explores the events leading to the signing of the document, as well as the effects.

World Geography (7-8)

Core, 13 weeks, $ 125.00

Covers the geography and formation of the continents, the peoples and nations that inhabit them. Lots of map-work, charts, and visits to places on earth via the WWW.

U.S. History (9-10)

Core, 26 weeks, $ 250.00

Covers the history of the United States from Pre-Columbian through the Reagan presidency. Will have lots of dates and facts, but we'll also explore trends and whys, as well as the personalities behind the events.

U.S. Geography (6-9)

Core, 13 weeks, $ 125.00

Explores the regions of the United States, including exploration and settlement, and the ways in which regional differences are influenced by the natural resources and occupations in those regions. Salt-map making, trip planning, etc. are all used to enhance the unit.

European History since the Renaissance (11-12)

Core, 26 weeks, $ 250.00

Explores the rise of nations in Europe, nationalism, and the Monarchies of the various states. The origins of both World Wars, as well as the rise of socialism, fascism, and constitutional monarchies; also explores the changes in the economies of the nations of Europe.

Russian History (12)

Core, 13 weeks, $175.00

Traces the origins of the Russian people, the age of the Czars, the communist revolution, and glasnost. Lots of reading. A college-level course, adapted for high-school seniors.

Selected Educational Links for the Independent Learner

These links include educational opportunities and museums; these have been previewed, but I cannot guarantee that every image may be appropriate for every age level. I have attempted to bring you links not found elsewhere within the homeschooling community. If you are having difficulty finding information on a particular subject, (e.g. fractions) you can email us, and we'll try to help.

On-Line Museums

The Computer Museum of Boston

The Exploratorium

The Franklin Institute Science Museum

On Line Museum Tours

The Philadelphia Museum of Art

News and Magazines

Time Magazine OnLine

Discover Magazine

The Smithsonian Magazine

The Monster List of On-Line Magazines

Homeschooling Organizations/Sites

Homeschool Computing Magazine

The Learn at Home Site

The Homeschooling Zone

Jon's Homeschooling Page (the grand-daddy of them all)

The Homeschool Mall

K-12 Curriculum Index

Reidmore Textbook Publishers

Curriculum Exchanges/Starting Points

The History Net, a service of the National Historical Society

The Eric Clearinghouse


The Virtual Reference Desk

Internet Sites arranged by Dewey Decimal Number

K-12 Curriculum Resource List (MCIU)

Foreign Language Courses

Bill Nye the Science Guy!

The Free Library of Philadelphia

Shakespeare on the Net

ADD/ADHD Resources

ADD Or ADHD Infoline

ADD WareHouse Online Calatog

Alternative & Herbal Medicine

The Alternative Medicine Home Page

Good Health Magazine

Samara Bolane's Favorite Links

Ask Dr. Weil

Gifted Education

Gifted Child Society

Gifted Resources Home Page

Christian Links

The Bible Net

E-Prayer Home Page

The Internet for Christians

The Christian Link

Veterinary Medicine

The Healthy Pets Home Page

Gardening & Herbs

Garden/Herb Links

Our Four Presuppositions

Presupposition: (n): that which is held to be true, axiomatically and without the necessity for proof, as a basis for all other theses.

Truth is Absolute

Truth is Unified

Man is not capable of full knowledge.

The Bible is Truth

The Four Learning Styles in Twenty Years!!!

The risk-taking Andy has established two start-up companies; he's hired Sam to be his comptroller. Since the businesses are high-tech and research oriented, he's hired several Ira's to pursue the day-to-day research and development. He's found, however, that keeping the team from competing with one another, and to keep the communications flowing, he needed to hire Ned as Vice President of Operations. Andy has only a cursory knowledge of what new things are being worked on at his companies. But he does enjoy taking clients and his banker out to his box seat at the ballpark!!

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The Big Red House: Inquiry/Registration Form

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(If registering, please make check payable to Dennis W. Faix, The Big Red House, PO Box 181, Lititz, PA 17543-0181)

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Sample Unit

The Revolutionary War

This unit will discover not only the personalities (who was Benjamin Lincoln?) but the causes (why did the King put the squeeze on the colonies? --he should have known better . . .)

[this page under construction - Expected by 11/20]