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Once Ray and I finished proofreading the 150 lessons of Exploring World History, it was time to make the corrections. Not only have we learned that the best way to proofread is in pairs, but the best way for us to make corrections is in pairs–or even in triples. For the last week, Ray and I have been sitting for hours each day (and many nights) in front of my computer screen while we watch our son John’s computer screen in Missouri as he makes the corrections. As Ray says often: “What an age we live in!”

We are three perfectionists when it comes to a project like this. We all have our opinions and feel free to voice them.

“Why don’t you try moving that picture over there?”

“But I liked it over here.”

“Hey, John, can I take control of the computer for a minute?”

“Dad, can you give us one more sentence about South Africa so both columns will match up?”

“Will a fourteen-year-old understand that word?”

“Have we told them yet what nationalism means?”

“John, you are such a perfectionist.”

“I know . . . ”

On and on we go, line by line, paragraph by paragraph, column by column, page by page. It has been a blast–exhausting, yes, but a blast. I tell you, I’m going to feel two ways when this gets sent off: thrilled it’s finished and missing all this packed-in time together.

Our family entered the digital age in 1985 when some friends gave us an Atari. The first computer we bought was a Commodore 64. Some time later a friend gave us his old PC.

The first homeschool project I remember having the children do together on the PC was a book: John, Bethany, and Mary Evelyn . . . In Their Own Words. I had each of them write an autobiography. The result was 37 pages of large type, illustrated with photos. We made copies, punched holes in them, and put them in three-ring binders . . .

In Their Own Words 001. . . slipped the title into the spine of each one . . .

In Their Own Words 003. . . and gave a copy to each set of grandparents for Christmas.

In Their Own Words 005

Our book had three autobiographical chapters: “Observations” by John, “Planet Bethany” by Bethany, and “The Life of a Southern Yankee” by Mary Evelyn.

Of course I cherish my copy. After Ray’s dad died, we got the Notgrasses’ copy, too.

Teaching writing and getting children to write are common struggles for homeschooling moms. Somewhere along the way I learned that writing is more fun for children when that writing has a purpose. I encourage you to have your children write their autobiographies with the purpose of sharing them. For us it was fun to share them with their grandparents.

An autobiography is the story of a life. Maybe your next homeschool writing assignment will be the story of a precious life, the life of your child.

Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground,
and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;
and man became a living being.
Genesis 2:7, NASB

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