The Proofreaders and the Noble Peach

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I just got through doing something I have never done before. I read the history of the world in two weeks–6,000 years in two weeks. It was exciting, sad, thought-provoking, amazing, and thrilling. Let me summarize. God created the world. People messed up. Jesus came to fix it. God has it all under control. The best is yet to be.

So, why did I read all of that in two weeks? We are coming out with a new edition of our high school Exploring World History. We had a date set for when we should have it ready to go to the printer–December 31.  Yeah, right. We are going to finish a project that big right after Christmas. Not a chance. So, here we are again, pushing to the last minute trying to get it to the printer ASAP. Every time we work on a big project, Ray says we are not going get in this pickle next time, but we always do.

Among our big tasks to get this out the door (I mean sent to the printer through cyberspace) is proofreading and correcting. We have learned that a good way to catch mistakes is to proofread in pairs. Two people sit together, each with a review copy in hand. We both look at it while one reads aloud. This time I was part of every team of two, which means that I was the only person who got the blessing of reading the whole thing in such a short time. Here I am with my favorite proofreading partner.

Proofreading 241

EW (as we call it around the office) has 150 lessons and each is about 4 to 6 pages each. With pictures on almost every page that is quite manageable one lesson at a time, but imagine reading 150 high school history lessons in a row. When you add in the introductory pages for each unit, I read well over 800 pages–and most of them aloud.

Now, think with me a minute about what a proofreader is trying to do–make sure that every picture and every word and indeed every letter is exactly right. Can you guess how many words are on that many pages, not to mention how many letters?

We try to do it perfectly, but we just can’t ever get every single letter exactly right. We keep trying. We proof and proof and proof again. One of my favorite proofreading oops happened a couple of years ago when we first published America the Beautiful. Thankfully we just ordered a few hundred in the first printing. I call it the Noble Peach edition.

One day after the books came back, Bethany called me and said, “Mom, you have to laugh. You can’t get upset. You said that Woodrow Wilson won the Noble Peach Prize.” That’s right. That’s what it said. You see, you only have to mix up one letter in each word to turn Nobel Peace into Noble Peach. Oops. Don’t worry. We fixed it; current editions say “N-o-b-e-l P-e-a-c-e.” Whew!

One thing that is true about us humans is that we just can’t get everything exactly right. It’s sad really when you think about what it was like when we were in school. Maybe some of you had perfect 100s and A’s on every single paper that you ever turned in. Most of us missed the mark–at least occasionally, right? And, then we had those awful red marks on our papers.

As homeschooling moms, isn’t it tough to know what to do about red marks? Do we rejoice that Seth got most of his problems right this time or do we point out every one that was wrong? What is a homeschooling mother to do? Pray for wisdom. Realize that the answer to that question won’t be the same every time for every child in every situation. Treat our kids the way we want to be treated.

And, by the way, when I proofread this blog just now, I found three mistakes. I think I’ve fixed them, but see what I mean? We just can’t get it all right!

In everything, therefore, treat people
the same way you want them to treat you,
for this is the Law and the Prophets.
Matthew 7:12, NASB

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