343 | Why Homeschoolers Do Well in Science (Janice Campbell with Jay Wile)

343 | Why Homeschoolers Do Well in Science (Janice Campbell with Jay Wile)

Show Notes:

Why do homeschooled students do so well in science? Dr. Jay Wile joins Janice Campbell for a wide-ranging conversation about homeschoolers, science, reading, art, and more. You might be surprised by what makes homeschoolers such good science students, and you'll definitely come away with tips for helping your students learn well.

About Dr. Wile

Dr. Jay Wile has earned a Ph.D. from the University of Rochester in nuclear chemistry and a B.S. in chemistry from the same institution. He has won several awards for excellence in teaching and has presented many lectures on Nuclear Chemistry, Christian Apologetics, Homeschooling, and Creation vs. Evolution. He has also published lots of articles on these subjects in nationally recognized journals and has authored or co-authored 13 award-winning science textbooks designed to be used in a homeschool setting. His teaching credentials include: The University of Rochester, Indiana University, Ball State University, The Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics and Humanities (a high school for gifted and talented students).

About Janice

Janice Campbell, a lifelong reader and writer, loves to introduce students to great books and beautiful writing. She holds an English degree from Mary Baldwin College, and is the graduated homeschool mom of four sons. You’ll find more about reading, writing, planning, and education from a Charlotte Mason/Classical perspective at her websites, EverydayEducation.com, Excellence-in-Literature.com, and DoingWhatMatters.com.


Dr. Jay's favorite books:

Night by Elie Weisel

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

Dr. Jay's curriculum:

Berean Builders Products


Dr. Jay Wile | Website | Facebook

Janice Campbell | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Website

Homeschooling.mom | Instagram | Website

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Show Transcript:

Janice Campbell Hello and welcome to The Homeschool Solutions Show. My name is Janice Campbell and I am one of many hosts here on the podcast. Each week we bring you an encouraging conversation from this busy and blessed journey of educating our children at home. While the title of the show is Homeschool Solutions, we do not pretend to have the answer to every question related to homeschooling. It is our hope that this podcast will point you to Jesus Christ that you may seek His counsel as you train your children in the way they should go. We are so glad you joined us for today's conversation.

Janice Campbell Hi, I'm Janice Campbell. And today my guest is Dr. Jay Wile, homeschool's favorite science teacher. Welcome to the podcast, Jay.

Jay Wile Thank you. It's great to be here.

Janice Campbell It's been quite a few years since we met at the Great Homeschool conferences, I think it was?

Jay Wile Yes.

Janice Campbell Lots of years ago. And I have enjoyed watching your homeschooling curriculum grow from high school to everything, so that's been good to see. How long has it been since you met homeschoolers and realized this was the people you wanted to write for?

Jay Wile Well, I started— I met my first homeschooler probably in '92. He was a student of mine at university. He was in my university chemistry course and my best chemistry student. And that's what made me notice him was he was my best chemistry student that year and probably in my top five of my career.

Janice Campbell Wow.

Jay Wile And I didn't know anything about homeschooling. And he told me— you know, I asked him where he went to school and he said at home. And I thought that meant he was too sick to go to school. So I asked, "Did you have a tutor come and help you?" And, "No, my mom taught me." And so I actually said, "So she's a nuclear physicist then?" And he said, "No, she never went to college." And that was my first experience with a homeschooler. Right? Best chemistry student of the year had been taught by his mother who had never gone to college. And that's what kind of got me interested in it, so I started looking into it. I think I spoke at my first homeschool event in '94, '93 or '94.

Janice Campbell Wow.

Jay Wile I've been doing it for a long time now.

Janice Campbell It's been a while. So you're probably going to get to the stage where you're encountering parents who worked with your curriculum when they came through, and now they're introducing it to their children.

Jay Wile Oh yeah. I've already had that wonderful experience. The first time at a GHC where one of the parents came to my booth and said, "You know, I used your book. Probably it was the first edition. And now we're teaching and our kids at home." I actually took a selfie with him because I thought that was so cool.

Janice Campbell Yeah, it's amazing.

Jay Wile But now I've met a lot of these second generation homeschoolers who used my curriculum now and they're having their kids use my curriculum. So that's fun.

Janice Campbell That's great. And that says a lot for your curriculum because if they didn't enjoy it, they wouldn't be sharing it with their kids.

Jay Wile Well, that's probably true. It also says something about homeschooling, though, too, because there are a much higher percentage of second generation homeschoolers than, say, second generation preparatory academy students.

Janice Campbell Right.

Jay Wile So parents go to some high end private school and they might send their kids there. But it's not a high percentage of them. But up to 70 to 80% of homeschoolers that have at least been tracked are homeschooling their kids now. So homeschooling has a really good recidivism rate.

Janice Campbell I like that. That's awesome because, really, it's such a great way to educate in a very personal way. And that is one thing I loved about it with our boys. And so that was good. But you've talked about why homeschoolers do so well in the sciences. And I'm just really curious, because science and math are things that a lot of parents feel very insecure with, especially if they didn't go on to college and take lab sciences and really feel competent. So why do homeschoolers end up doing well?

Janice Campbell Well, since I came into homeschooling kind of backwards, I saw the results before I started investigating homeschoolers. I wasn't surprised because my experience was, you know, my best students on average were the homeschool graduates. But I've come to realize most people are very surprised by this because— and honestly, if you get a group of homeschooling parents together and say, "What's the subject you're worst at doing in homeschool?" it'll be science or math almost across the board. That's what everybody feels inadequate to do in homeschooling. And yet now with math, homeschoolers don't excel in math as much as they excel in other subjects. They still excel compared to the national average, but the difference between the national average and the average homeschooler is the lowest in math. They're still above average, but not quite as above average. Their highest is reading, but their second highest is science. So in the end— and reading doesn't surprise me. Most homeschoolers have to read in order to learn. And that's one of the crimes— honestly, I think one of the crimes of our school system—be it public or private—a smart student can go through all of their 12 years of school, get A's in every subject and never crack a book.

Janice Campbell Yes.

Jay Wile Because of the way it's designed. And that is a crime. Because in the end, you're depriving that student of discovering the joy of reading. Reading—like anything else—is hard work at first, and everybody blooms at a different time. I remember I didn't really start enjoying reading until I was in junior high school. I was an A student all the way through and read the books I had to read, but I wasn't interested in it. But then suddenly something clicked. And for me it was Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, not The Hobbit, actually. I started with The Lord of the Rings. That's what turned me on to reading. But if you aren't forced to read, you're almost never— almost certainly not going to learn to love reading.

Janice Campbell Right.

Jay Wile And so I do think that's one of the crimes. So anyway, homeschoolers do a very good job of reading because they have to. But they also do an incredible job at science. And I think there are lots of lots of reasons for this. But probably if I were to think of why my homeschool graduates were my best university students, it was because they were already experienced in trying to figure things out for themselves. If a student bothers to crack a book—crack a science book—and doesn't understand it, the student can always just wait till the teacher— wait till the class and the teacher will either explain it or I'll ask a question or something. A lot of times, especially in high school, students don't have that option because the parents can't explain it. The parent's job in high school as homeschool is more of a resource person. So you give a child a good resource, but even the greatest resources are going to fall short occasionally. So what do you do? Well, the typical publicly or privately school student would just throw up his or her hands and say, "I'm done. I don't understand this." But homeschoolers kind of get used to—by necessity—figuring things out on their own by reading other books, going to YouTube, whatever it is. And so because they're already experienced at that when they get to college, that's nothing new. And every university student has to learn something on his or her own in every class because there's just not enough time in class to cover everything, even if you have a good professor, and very few of the professors are good. So in the end, you've got these kids who are already experienced doing what college kids do before they ever get to college. And so that's probably the most important factor in them being good university science students. And hopefully parents understand— homeschooling parents understand that even though it can be difficult to get a student to do this—to get a student to figure things out on his or her own, and it can be frustrating for the student and maybe even the parent—it's still a very necessary part of education that public and private schools mostly leave out. And so in the end, a parent shouldn't feel inadequate because he or she can't teach a subject or can't find somebody to teach the subject to the child, because part of the value of homeschooling is training the child to learn on his or her own.

Janice Campbell I entirely agree with all of that because that is in large part how I learned. I didn't go to a high end school at all, but I read incessantly and I learned to find out the things I wanted to know. I haunted the library. I dug through books, all of those things. And just teaching kids to take the time to do that, to be the kind of students that they need to be in order to succeed in college— college professors are so excited to get them it seems like. You hear feedback whenever you meet a professor who's encountered that, they're really excited to get that.

Janice Campbell Well, that's why they're good college students in science. But I honestly think they have a better grasp of the sciences regardless of whether they go to college or to go straight into the workforce or whatever. A homeschool student who has been educated at home in the sciences gets a couple of really strong benefits that most school students don't get. And one of them is—simply because of the nature of homeschool curriculum, even if a homeschooling parent isn't necessarily religious—the nature of most homeschool curriculum presents things from a more Christian world view. And I think that does two very important things for science. The father of the scientific method, Roger Bacon—not Francis Bacon; he comes later—Roger Bacon. He actually says that "the grace of faith illuminates greatly". What he means is if you're a Christian, you're going to think better scientifically because at least you understand you're studying a designed thing, you're studying something that's been well made and well put together and thought out. This was back in the 1100s he was writing this. He said that those of us who are Christians are going to do better science. And I honestly do agree with that. You look at probably the single greatest synthetic organic chemist in the world is James Tour, and he admits he prays for guidance in his chemistry. When a grad student comes to him with a problem that seems intractable, he prays about it to try and get some of this grace of faith that illuminates greatly. So I think that's one thing. The other thing is—once again, because of this religious nature of most homeschool curriculums—it gives the student a competing perspective. And honestly, one of the things that's really missing in science education today is the idea that we should be contrasting competing ideas. That's something that science was always about. I mean, the big role of universities initially in the sciences wasn't to train the scientists. That was a byproduct. The real reason the universities benefited science— they were there to train clergy, but the reason they benefited science is it gave the scientists a chance to get together and debate ideas, and they would debate them publicly and show their results and try and say, "This is what I think my results mean." And some other scientists could get up and say, "You're crazy. That's not what it means." And that's the way science used to be done. And it's still done like that in the literature. But students don't see that anymore. But homeschooled students typically do because in the end, they're reading this curriculum that's generally arguing against some aspect of the mainstream view of science, whether it's creation, evolution, climate change, whatever it is. Homeschool curriculum tends to go against the mainstream here and there. And a lot of people say, "That's bad. We've got to try and regulate that." But in fact, all the research in education indicates this is really good. There's been a lot of research into what's your most effective activity for educating. You know, so you've got to read, you got a lecture, but what other things do you do to try and promote reading? And in sciences three of the big ones are doing experiments, doing group projects, or debating contrasting scientific ideas. And so over the years, lots of studies have been done. One group gets a group project, one group does the experiments, and one group does the debate, and they try and see who learns the subject the best. And multiple studies have shown that actually debate is the most effective way to learn a subject. I think that's where classical education hits it right on the nose, too, because in the end, when you get to the rhetoric stage, that's what you're really learning at that point because now you're contrasting competing ideas. And so all the literature says this, and not surprisingly, group projects are always the lowest. So it's usually debates, number one, experiments are number two, and the group projects come in at a really, really low three.

Janice Campbell I guarantee they do, because there's always one person who ends up doing all the work and everybody else is like tuned out. Sometimes you want them to be tuned out.

Jay Wile But what's really interesting about these studies—not all of them did this, but a group of these studies that have been done this way—actually in the debate part, included ideas that were wrong. So for example, in learning the earth science, but not all of earth science, just like the structure of the earth and things like that, they actually had them debate round earth versus flat earth.

Janice Campbell Nice.

Jay Wile And in the end, even when one of the positions was known to be wrong, the students still learned the subject better.

Janice Campbell Oh, I'm sure. Yeah, I'm sure because when you learn to articulate a thought in words in an organized way, you've ordered your mind as well, because an ordered sentence can't come from a disordered thought process.

Jay Wile True. Absolutely. But most scientists would just bristle at the idea that you would even expose kids to the flat earth. Because we know it's wrong, why would you bother teaching it? Well, it turns out that in a debate setting, it works really well for teaching what the real structure of the earth is. So in the end, I think that's just really, really quite interesting.

Janice Campbell It does help. And that kind of takes me to my next question. If homeschooling parents are wanting to increase their children's chance of success in sciences when the kids are maybe pre science—a little young, preschool age, toddlers and on up even, but a little bit young for debate—what can they do to help them prepare? And later, I want to talk a little tiny bit about how to work in some debate.

Jay Wile Yeah. And I do think—and this is another place classical education, I think, hits it right on the nose—initially, kids are black and white thinkers, so you don't do a lot of debate when they're really young because it's not beneficial. So I agree with that. I think when they're really young, the most important thing to do is math. Hit the math as hard as you can, no matter how much it hurts. Now, obviously, you've got to find that sweet spot where the kid is not overwhelmed but also remains challenged. And that's the sweet spot of education, and that's different for every child. But honestly, math teaches you a very structured way of thinking, which applies to science once you've got enough facts to start thinking scientifically. And so we see this all the time that students who do better in elementary math tend to start out in science better. Now, whether they continue depends on a lot of factors. But if we just think of the seventh grade— I get them in seventh grade and I take an aptitude test in math and science— those those numbers track really well. High aptitude in math means high aptitude in science. But then what happens after that depends on all sorts of social factors.

Janice Campbell Sure.

Jay Wile So, anyway, that's what I say. Hit the math, because math is training your brain to think scientifically. And you can find a lot of great scientists who aren't very good at math. But most of them have taken a lot of math. Even though they're not good at it, they've taken it because— whether just because they were required to or because somebody figured it out, in the end, that helped them train their brain to be a great scientist even if they aren't a great mathematician. Although generally speaking, good in science means good math.

Janice Campbell Right. I can see that. But I can see also how math can just be like calisthenics for the brain like grammar might be calisthenics for writing. And that makes perfect sense. Now, I notice that you've approached your elementary school science in an interesting and somewhat unusual way. It's exactly the way I would have wanted to learn science because I approach most things— my easiest approach, my most interesting approach is through story. So you have started with the stories with talking about scientists. Can you talk a bit about why you chose that path?

Jay Wile Well, yeah, for a couple reasons. First of all, I swore I'd never write anything but chemistry and physics, and I ended up writing a whole slew of 7-12 stuff. But then when I was done with that, I swore up and down I'd never do elementary. But in the end, when I decided to tackle elementary— actually what happened was a well-known publisher, My Father's World, asked me to write a book that kind of followed the format of a book that was going out of print that they used and they couldn't get the rights to reprint it so they were going to lose this book. And it was basically science ordered according to the days of creation. So first you study light, and then you study air and water, and all of that. And I thought, well, you know, I could do that. And so I did that, and it was really fun, and it was very hands-on. I had to come up with a lot of experiments and so forth. When I got done with that, I thought, well, you know, creation is sort of the beginning of history. So what if I just continued on after creation and started learning science as we learned it in history? And the main reason I decided to do it was it seemed to go really naturally with just finishing creation, but also nobody had done it. And I was like, okay, I can write another elementary series that has botany and zoology and that and that. But there are a lot of those and many of them are really good. Jeannie Fulbright's curriculum is just fantastic, and it does it that way, topically. And so I was like, I'm certainly not going to write better than Jeannie Fulbright, especially for that age. So in the end, I thought, well, you know, I got to do something different or I'm not making a contribution. That's kind of the scientist in me. If I'm not doing something different, I'm not making a contribution. So nobody had really done this to any significant extent at all. So I decided to try, and I had nothing to lose. That was kind of a nice thing because I already— I could retire now if I wasn't just so restless. So this was more of a fun project for me just to see if it would work. And I actually wrote two of the books before I even published one of them. So Science in the Ancient World and then Science in the Scientific Revolution. I didn't finish Science in the Scientific Revolution before publishing the first one, but I was kind of close because I really wanted to make sure it would work. And I wasn't sure it was going to work. But after I got through essentially 1600 years of science of—no, I guess 2000 years of science—and everything was fine, I figured I can get the next 400 years pretty easily. Anyway, it was just kind of fun to do. And it turns out— now it's not for everybody. A lot of students don't like it. A lot of people think scientifically in categories, and so they don't want to change topics all the time. But when you're studying science as it develops, then you're seeing it change all the time. So you study music, and the next thing you're studying the heartbeat, and then the next thing— you know, you're just studying all sorts of different things. So it's kind of random in that sense. But what ties it together is the story of how science is progressing, and that's where you actually get some debate. Because in the end it's not really debate in the classic sense where you don't know the answer, but it's a debate in the sense that, okay, Vesalius, a really important anatomist who started this—along with Copernicus—started the scientific revolution, he didn't think the heart was part of the circulatory system.

Janice Campbell Wow.

Jay Wile Yeah. He didn't think— he knew blood passed through it. You learn that. Just by dissecting live animals, you see the blood passes through the heart. But what he thought the heart did was added— he called it animal spirits, but what we would call it is mechanical energy. He didn't mean anything occult by that, that's just how they said it back then.

Janice Campbell Right.

Jay Wile So it added mechanical energy to the blood so that people could move. So the reason you could move was your heart added something to your blood. So it wasn't pumping your blood, but the squeezing of the heart wasn't pushing these animal spirits into the blood. Right? So in his diagram of the circulatory system, there's no heart. It's just all the veins and arteries and stuff.

Janice Campbell Wow.

Jay Wile Well eventually it's William Harvey—no, not William Harvey, probably ——— before him—but eventually we learn, yeah, the heart's a really important part of the circulatory system. So you see the wrong idea, and then you see the data leads to the right idea, and that sort of debate— now, it's a debate where you know the answer, but you're— at least, retrospectively, you're debating Vesalius and ——— for example.

Janice Campbell And to me, something like that is absolutely unforgettable. I mean, as I was coming through elementary school and getting all of the elementary school science level standard, I would go read these landmark biographies or other biographies of the scientists, and that was how I remembered why stuff happened, because it's all about context. It's tying it into the history and moving through time, in a way. I mean, I do feel that homeschoolers tend to have a better ordered view of history simply because you can tie the other subjects into history itself like that.

Janice Campbell And the real interesting thing about this is you learn a lot of these facts that we know now were discovered a lot earlier than you would think. So we now know that the Earth is an oblate spheroid. It's a little fatter on the equator, a little flatter on the poles because of the way it spins. And that was actually discovered during the reign of King Louis the 15th. So this is the mid 1700s. They didn't have satellites or anything, but they were able to figure out that the earth is wider at the equator because they sent an expedition to the equator and an expedition to near the North Pole and they had them both use stars to navigate walking 1/360 of the way around the earth. And they found that 1/360 of the way around the Earth is longer at the equator because it's fatter there. And to me— no space imaging equipment or anything. You can't get to the outside of the earth and look at it. But just by walking on the earth, these guys were able to figure out. And of course, back in 200 B.C., Eratosthenes measured the distance around the earth by walking 500 miles and measuring the change in the length of a stick's shadow.

Janice Campbell That relates back to what you talked about. Learning how to discover, learning how to learn, teaching yourself how to find the information you need.

Jay Wile And whenever you get surprised by that, you tend to remember it really well.

Janice Campbell Oh, yes.

Jay Wile So you tend to remember that. Yeah. It's like, wow, somebody in 200 B.C. figured out how far around the earth was? And he was correct to within 2% of today's accepted satellite measured value.

Janice Campbell Wow. That's incredible. I love that. That's a perfect entry for your— you know, if you do learning notebooks or things like that from students who do things like that. I noticed there was an article on the Berean Builders blog that someone else had written related to science notebooks. And that's one thing that I liked doing as well, because you write those little stories down and you've got them.

Jay Wile Yeah, got them.

Janice Campbell Or you illustrate them. You just illustrate them badly and it all works. So in case we have only a few more minutes, given the fact that this says it's going to be 40 minutes, I wanted to ask you one more question. So since we live in an age of specialization, I think that the modernist would expect a scientist to just do science things. But I know that you have also participated in the arts.

Jay Wile Oh, yeah.

Janice Campbell What has been the fun of that? And just what do you do and what's been the fun of it? And does it tie into your scientific mindset at all?

Jay Wile Yeah, it does that. And honestly, I've said this from the time I was a graduate student— I know plenty of fantastic scientists who can sit down a piano and play a great Chopin sonata, who can recite something to bring you to tears, who can make a great painting. I don't know a lot of artists who can solve a differential equation. And so in the end, I honestly think this idea that scientists are kind of narrowly focused is wrong to begin with. I think one reason they aren't narrowly focused is because science—as an endeavor—is very creative. You have to be creative to be a scientist. Honestly, to get a Ph.D. in science, you have to discover something new or you don't get a Ph.D. Your PhD thesis has to shed new light on something in your field. And so if you're going to discover something new in a field that's been studied for umpteen years, you're really going to have to be creative about what you do. And so I think science is a naturally creative process. And I think typically people who are good scientists tend to be naturally creative. And because they're naturally creative, they do other things in their lives that are naturally creative. For me, it actually got me into science because I started my life as a professional actor, and I was going to act all my life and I was going to go to Broadway and all that good stuff. That was before I realized that there are 100 people more talented than me who are going for that part as well. But anyway, I was going to go to Broadway and all this stuff. So I did secure a professional gig for about a year, and during that time— it was a rec theater, so you do a lot of different plays. And in a lot of the plays I did, we used chemistry for special effects. And so when I was Dracula, I had to look at a cigarette and make it light. Well, there was a chemical trick to that— a delayed fuze and all that kind of stuff. So in the end, when I decided I needed to get a real job that, there I'm not talented enough to make it on Broadway or whatever, then I thought, well, you know, I've had fun doing chemistry on stage. Let's see if chemistry is something to study. So that actually got me into it. But even once I was into science and everything, I still continued doing—especially plays. I still to this day do a lot of plays because it's a creative outlet for me that helps me think of things in a completely different way. And I truly do love it. I just—last year—did The Elephant Man, and I wasn't one of the lead characters, but I played three different roles. It was a small theater, and so you don't want a lot of actors backstage. So anyway, I played three different roles. I had to play the carnival barker, who first promotes the elephant man. Then I played the bishop who helps with his spiritual education once he goes to the hospital. And then I play the uneducated attendant that discovers him dead. And all three of those were radically different characters. And I had a great time doing that because it made me think, how can I make each one of these roles—even though it's my face, different costumes, but my face—how can I make each one of these roles truly unique? And that was a lot of fun. It's been a long time since I've been challenged like that. So that's one thing acting is as well. It's a way to respond to challenge. When I played Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha, which is my all-time favorite role— it's right up there on the poster you can see; the listeners can't see it. But when I played that, that's a role that if you really want to make it real, it has to be relatable. And the relationship between him and the serving wench, Alabanza, has to be totally real. And so the woman who played Alabanza and I worked really hard on that. It's a very, very challenging thing to do because you could play him way over the top for laughs. But then it doesn't work. Then his night character isn't real. And you could play the relationship between him and the serving wench as very medieval, very, very distant and so forth. But that wouldn't make it real. So it was a really, really challenging thing to do. And then, of course, I'm not that great a singer. He does a lot of singing. So that's always challenging when I have to stay on key for several notes.

Janice Campbell Oh but quite fun.

Jay Wile Oh yeah. It's a great— so it's another way of challenging myself, but it stretches that creative muscle. Since I'm not doing as much scientific research as I used to do—I still do a little bit, but not nearly as much—it's just another way of being creative.

Janice Campbell Yeah. And doesn't it all just feed into developing the mind and helping you become better at all of the aspects of your life? Being a well-rounded human being is critical.

Jay Wile Yeah. And I think some people don't understand the value of being very well-rounded, and honestly, even from a spiritual sense— one of my favorite quotes, I can't remember the guy who said it. He said, "Art is a contract between the artist and God, and the less the artist does, the better." And I really like that because I do think art is one way we as human beings can bring ourselves into the spiritual realm or at least participate in the spirit realm. Anything that separates us from the animals has got to have something to do with our Imago Dei. So in the end, I do think art is a part of that.

Janice Campbell That's such a good thought. We are nearing the end of our available time. So if you were going to recommend— just one quick last question and then we'll say goodbye to our listeners. We have four minutes left about. Is there any particular book— your favorite book, any book that you would like to recommend to some of the homeschooling parents or anything like that?

Jay Wile Well probably my all-time favorite book is called Night, and I think it's written by Elie Wiesel, and it's his experience as a teen in the concentration camps. It's a quick read and it's very, very honest. You do have to get the latest printing, the latest edition, which is in the 2000s, because he wrote it in his native language. It was translated into English and it was obviously translated wrongly because his wife was reading the English versions many, many years later and said, "This doesn't match up with what you've told me." And it turns out it was translated wrongly, so by that time, he knew enough English that he and his wife translated it again. So the newer editions are the ones you want. But that's just an incredible book. It really talks— I mean, it's the human spirit. There's this wonderful scene—I use it in a lot of speeches I give—where these Jews have been packed into this barracks and they have to be there because otherwise they're going to die of the elements outside. But they're so packed that many people on the bottom are dying. And so it's just this miserable situation. And suddenly in the middle of this, a violin starts playing. One of the one of the prisoners has brought his violin.

Janice Campbell Wow.

Jay Wile And he crawls his way to the surface and starts playing just to say there's still something human in here. It's really amazing. In my opinion, a very amazing book. But if you really are a fan of long, long books, I love the actual tale Don Quixote.

Janice Campbell Oh, yes. Me, too. It's lovely.

Jay Wile It's lovely.

Janice Campbell It's not just humorous. It's not just— it's amazing.

Jay Wile It's a beautiful mixture of how you use humor to do really emotional truths. Some would say he spends way too much time describing things. But I love the book. And so that's something I'd recommend for anybody. And someone asked me what my favorite epic is, and by far, I consider that an epic. And I would call that my favorite epic.

Janice Campbell Awesome. Those are great recommendations. I so appreciate you coming on today, especially at such short notice.

Jay Wile My pleasure.

Janice Campbell So, listeners, remember you can learn more about Dr. Jay and his books at BereanBuilders.com, and you can connect with me, Janice Campbell, at EverydayEducation.com, DoingWhatMatters.com, and Excellence-in-Literature.com.

Jay Wile And if you don't recognize what Berean Builders means—because some don't—Paul talks about the Bereans from the Church of Berea, who did not take anything he said until they checked it against Scripture. So they studied the Scripture to make sure what he was saying is right. We're trying to build that kind of brand.

Janice Campbell I love that. And I just— that name really resonates because that's— the homeschooling world, we have the ability to help our children develop into those Bereans. All righty, thanks again.

Jay Wile It was great to be here.

Janice Campbell Yep. Thank you, listeners. And goodbye for now.

Janice Campbell Thank you for joining us this week on The Homeschool Solutions Show. You can find show notes and links to all the resources mentioned at Homeschooling.mom. If you haven't already, please subscribe to the podcast, and while you're there, leave us a review. Tell us what you love about the show. This will help other homeschooling parents like you to connect with our community. And finally, tag us on Instagram @homeschoolingdotmom to let us know what you thought of today's episode. Have you joined us at one of the Great Homeschool Conventions? The Great Homeschool Conventions are the homeschooling events of the year, offering outstanding speakers, hundreds of workshops covering today's top parenting and homeschooling topics, and the largest homeschool curriculum exhibit halls in the U.S. Find out more at GreatHomeschoolConventions.com. I hope to see you there.

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