Affiliate Help Page

This is a page for those who are affiliates for our programs (especially The Writing Course). Once you own one of the courses, you will receive instructions for how you can join this program (which currently is paying out 30% of gross sales). If you have not been invited to join this program, then please contact us and let us know what program you own. -Dr. Fred Ray Lybrand

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The Subtle Danger of Television and the Media (A Guest Blog)

Television and media

The following is a book review by Holmes Lybrand (At the time – 18 year old High School Senior).  “The book should be required reading.” -Dr. Fred Ray Lybrand

Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

The title of this book does a very good job of explaining the premise and prophecy Neil Postman believes about America.  This book attempts to help us see the immediate threat that Television/Show Business presents to every areas of our lives (especially the educational, religious, political).  Postman’s main point, much like Aldous Huxley’s in A Brave New World is   “…not that they were laughing instead of thinking, but that they did not know what they were laughing about and why they had stopped thinking,” that the influence Television has on us now is not only unproductive, but it is also very harmful.

Postman explains that even when television is used for educational purposes it is still quite harmful, and at the least is a waste of the student and teacher’s time, saying that they are not asking, “What is education good for?” but  instead pondering what TV is can be used for.   Television is good for drama & amusement, and America has figure out how to draw the public to this business so very well.   Postman dives deeply into how and why TV sets the course for our culture, and makes very clear why this is a terrible, terrible thing.

I really have nothing bad to say about this book (except that people won’t read it ;-).   It was short and direct, I didn’t ever feel preached to, more of just encouraged to see the uncompromising truth of things.  I started out thinking, “Perhaps his views are a tad too extreme?” but by the end of this book, that thought now doesn’t even cross my mind.  I think we as humans do need to see things for how they are, television is amusement (or drama, you might say), that is all.  To ask, “Yeah, but can drama be used to help…like with the news?” is only to miss the point.  Amusing news is still essentially amusement.  Amusement, from a-muse simply means ‘not to think’…and so with the news as well.

I really enjoyed this book, although I still have things to think through concerning it.  Neil Postman is surely right, and the last 30+ years (since Amusing Ourselves to Death was published) has only proved his point with emphasis.  Hopefully people might begin to realize it , especially in the area of the news.  Television is amusement, and only when we fully understand that can we be masters over it, and not the other way around.

Holmes Lybrand

Amazon: Amusing Ourselves to Death

Why is It so Hard to Teach Children to Write?

It’s always nice to find out you are not alone 🙂 I ran across this article not too long ago and felt like I wasn’t alone for a moment. Of course, you are not alone either!

 

Writing requires a million different skills all at once.

We underestimate or are unaware of the mental demands that writing places on young learners.
 
I often told my kindergarteners and 1st grade students that I would rather read a juicy interesting story with a few spelling errors than a boring story with perfect spelling. Was I letting my students off the hook? Was I lowering my standards? No, because I contextualized my statements and explained that writing is a process. Read more… We Teach Children to Hate Writing | Barbershop Books
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It is exactly this very problem that hurts all kids in writing…but especially those with learning disabilities (LD). If we can get the million things out of a child’s head by encouraging her to write in 3 Steps…the first being the MOST important…she tends to change dramatically:

(1) WRITE SOMETHING JUST OK AT FIRST

There is little more for a child to practice than writing with this question in mind:

Can I write something OK about ______________ (pick a story idea , item to describe, event to tell about, etc.)?

 

If a child can write something and you can help him see it really is OK, then you are both on a new path. Focus grows from beginning with OK, and so the ‘million things’ can settle down into the distant background of a child’s mind.

Go give it a try by making the new writing rule
“We are only allowed to write something OK in this family at first.”

You can say that better, but it’s OK 😉

Off to learn,

Fred Ray Lybrand
We Cure Reluctant Writers

Bible Study Aid (Video): How to Do an Online Bible Search (Concordance)

I know many homeschool families (especially) are interested in the Bible, and making sense of it. Jody and I are the same and have found great wisdom and comfort in the Scriptures.

One of the neglected areas of study is to notice the patterns in the Bible, and to use them for insight and understanding (or curiosity to spur on learning).

Studying the use of terms in books or sections of the Bible can be very useful. For example:

The term 'disciple' is never used after Acts 21:16

"Repent" does not occur in the Book of John and only once in the Book of Romans

Believe is found 98 times in the Book of John

Barnabus is never mentioned again after his conflict with Paul ​

​I mention these things because they are both interesting and give us many hints about how certain truths 'fit together' in the Bible.

Here's a tool that you might find very helpful (it's a video I made for a group of men I meet with weekly):

Off to learn,

Fred Ray Lybrand


 

 

Only One Skill Should be the True Goal of Education

 

 

EDUCATION IS THE ACQUISITION OF THE ART OF THE UTILISATION OF KNOWLEDGE
-Alfred North Whitehead

While I wouldn’t say I commend Whitehead’s views on education without discernment, I do believe his basic definition endorses the most strategic aim of education: SKILL
We live in a day that seems to value ‘knowing stuff’ rather than acquiring the skills to learn anything. Jody and I used a curriculum called the Robinson Curriculum to focus our kids on 3 primary skills:

Reading (Comprehension)
Math (Logical Problem-Solving)
Writing (Clarity and Effectiveness)

In our case, all of our 5 children have grown to excel in school and any area they have chosen to pursue. We didn’t pay for their college, but they are all grads (or will be before long). We never stressed career, but only ‘learning how to learn…and loving what you do’.
PLEASE: Focus on developing the SKILLS your student needs to learn. The ability to teach oneself is worth everything because it is the essential of wisdom. It is the ability to use knowledge. The goal of education is not knowledge. The goal of education is to gain the power to get and use any knowledge you need whenever you need it…talk about job security (you can learn a new career anytime)!

Blessings,
Dr. Fred Ray Lybrand

 

EDUCATION IS THE ACQUISITION OF THE ART OF THE UTILISATION OF KNOWLEDGE
-Alfred North Whitehead

 

While I wouldn’t say I commend Whitehead’s views on education without discernment, I do believe his basic definition endorses the most strategic aim of education: SKILL

We live in a day that seems to value ‘knowing stuff’ rather than acquiring the skills to learn anything. Jody and I used a curriculum called the Robinson Curriculum to focus our kids on 3 primary skills:

Reading (Comprehension)
Math (Logical Problem-Solving)
Writing (Clarity and Effectiveness)

In our case, all of our 5 children have grown to excel in school and any area they have chosen to pursue. We didn’t pay for their college, but they are all grads (or will be before long). We never stressed career, but only ‘learning how to learn…and loving what you do’.

PLEASE: Focus on developing the SKILLS your student needs to learn. The ability to teach oneself is worth everything because it is the essential of wisdom. It is the ability to use knowledge. The goal of education is not knowledge. The goal of education is to gain the power to get and use any knowledge you need whenever you need it…talk about job security (you can learn a new career anytime)!

Blessings,

Dr. Fred Ray Lybrand

The 6 Rules of Writing Practice

writing

i-lovewritingOne of the big challenges I face in teaching kids to write is getting mom and dad to chill out about writing well. Most of us lock up when too much is on the line! The Ugly Truth is that no one can learn much of anything without practice (especially writing)…AND…when there is too much of an emphasis on writing well during practice, then almost no learning can ever helpfully happen.

Writing needs practice in order for a student to tap into her own language instinct talent. My suggestion for homeschoolers (and others) is to allow your child a day of writing WITHOUT ANY CORRECTIONS by following Natalie Goldberg’s Rules—

 

The Six Basic Rules of Writing Practice

 

1. Keep your hand moving

Don’t take your fingers from your keyboard or put down your pen because you want to check email, attend to a chore or get something.

Instead, much like during meditation, you must stay present with whatever you are writing.

2. Don’t cross out

If you cross out while you write, you are editing your work. There’s a time for self-censorship and for removing what you didn’t mean; it’s after your writing practice is done.

3. Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation or grammar

Natalie adds that writers who use pen and paper should write between the lines and on the margins of their notepads.

Again, there’s a time for proof-reading and it’s not during first drafts.

4. Lose control

The purpose of writing practice is to free yourself, write on “waves of emotion”, and say things you hadn’t thought possible.

This loss of control is difficult to achieve, and I’ve found it only comes deep into a writing practice session.

5. Don’t think. Don’t get logical

Natalie practices Zen (a topic she relates to writing practice in her book), and she cautions against over-thinking the words that appear on the blank page.

6. Go for the jugular

Natalie says writers in the middle of writing practice shouldn’t back down from an idea that’s scary or an idea that makes us feel naked.

We should “dive in” because these ideas have “lots of energy”. In other words, if you feel uncomfortable writing about a topic, you need to write about it.

From: becomeawritertoday.com/writing-practice-can-help/

…………………………

What a powerful gift if your child begins to practice outside of ‘class time’ because he learned to see the power of learning. Practice is like running everyday, rather than making every run like a race. Daily writing doesn’t need to be perfect, but it does need to be done.

Like running, the more you do it, the better you get at it. Some days you don’t want to run and you resist every step of the three miles, but you do it anyway. You practice whether you want to or not. You don’t wait around for inspiration and a deep desire to run

Hope this helps.

Off to learn,

 

Dr. Fred Ray Lybrand

10 Minutes a Day – We Can Teach Your Kid to Write

 

IS THIS THE RIGHT PERSON FOR ME? 10 Questions That Point the Way…

right person

Relationship Quiz: Is this the Right Person?

By Fred Lybrand, author of Glaen

Mark your answers from 1 to 10, with 1 being “No Way” and 10 being “I Think So”

1.     I can easily picture being with this person 10 years from now.

2.     We agree on everything that is really important to me.

3.     We finally solve our conflicts, even if it takes a while.

4.     If this person stays just the same forever, I’ll be pretty happy.

5.     I feel good chemistry with this person at least once a week.

6.     Our closest friends have good relationships.

7.     I believe growing a soul mate is as right as finding a soul mate.

8.     We always give each other the freedom to say “No” without getting in trouble.

9.     I’ve read or listened to a talk to help my relating to others within the past year.

10.    I am sure I would not be the one to call it quits in this relationship.

Add up you points and consider this common sense scale:

90-100   Fantasy Land (please re-take the Quiz with a little less pretending)

75-90     You are as close to a sure bet as it gets in a world without guarantees

55-75     You have a good relationship that would likely blossom with a little work

40-55     You probably need to find some outside help from some wise friends or mentors

25-40     The relationship needs professional help (pastor, counselor, etc.)

<25        The relationship has almost no chance until you change your mind

 

The 3 Must Haves for Successful Relationships

Friends who won’t speak. A husband and wife who are ‘done’ with the whole thing. Co-workers who no longer look each other in the eye. These three have far more in common than you might think.

Every year around Valentine’s Day, we all elevate our thinking about love and friendship to the sublime idea of Romantic Love. More than affection, this kind of love makes are hearts skip and keep our minds distracted. Surely all of us experience this kind of fantastic imaginary ideal at least once in our lives, if not again and again from time to time.   While romance has been romanticized, it is still the fondness and commitment that makes relationships really feel like what they are—a deep connection between two persons. All of these relationships can run aground in the sea of life. The reason for a shipwreck, however, is that what really works in a relationship is neglected.

It isn’t about love languages, or fresh ideas, or even listening (though all of these are fine). Instead, it is at the heart of Glaen’s message and it can be describe by three simple ideas.

At its core, every successful relationship has three essential elements.

1.     The Point

2.     The People

3.     The Price

The Point simply refers to what a relationship is about at its core. It is not about what you can get, what you can give, or how well two people can change one another. The point of a relationship is relating…which means connecting. We use words like bonding and being on the same wave length. In a romantic context it has as its aim a more intense version of connection called oneness. Honestly, the names don’t matter, but the point does. Relationships that work stay on point and they keep connecting together. Fights are division, coolness is distance, and silence is death. The point of connecting together can only happen in real time (that means, right now). Connecting again and again in real time is what builds strength in the bond; be it friendship, romantic love, or to team members pitching in together at work.

The People are the second essential and refers to the influence those around us wield on our lives. Glaen says, “You’ll never be like the people you don’t hang around.” The truth is that you will drift toward the character and interests (on some level) of the people you are in the greatest connection with. This explains why getting new friends distances you from old ones. It also explains why there is a repetition of connecting with one failure after another (sorry for the bluntness). A failure to recognize this plain fact is a step toward the destruction of the relationships you have or want. Sometimes it is uncomfortable because we really need to change, but in fact, starting with a vision for the kind of person you want to be can lead you to find, keep, and grow the relationships you long to have.

The Price for successful relationships is Truth. Yes, it is telling and living the truth. “But the truth about what?” you might ask. The question itself already says you are in trouble! It is the truth as anything (and everything) comes to the forefront. It is the truth about beliefs, and goals, and faith, and politics. Why does Truth matter? Well, the simple fact is that a successful relationship is an authentic connection with another person you’d like to be like (more or less). For that connection to happen, it is absolutely necessary that you are the ‘real you’ and the other person is the ‘real them’ in the relationship. This truth-based being real means that you and they are connecting and relating and growing together as the real thing. As soon as a mask goes up, the game’s afoot. The best you can hope for without truth is a good relationship with someone you don’t really know…which, of course, isn’t a success by any measure.

For more information about Glaen:

A Novel Message on Romance, Love & Relating,

Friendships, dating, romance, and marriage—it’s all confusing to college grad-student Annie until the day a white-haired stranger appears in her life. Glaen is an unusual professor and unconventional mentor who guides Annie on a path of discovery that unlocks the secrets of real relationships. Annie discovers the mystifying affect of how learning to tell the truth changes everything in friendship, family, and love.   The solutions Dr. Fred Lybrand offers in Glaen book will astound and free you to quit doing the very things that take away your ability to find the love and friendship you want. More importantly, you’ll discover a fresh path to the possibility of greater connections with those you care most about.

 

glaen

 

 

 

18 Reasons to Add a Writing Course to Your Education

As a writer, the creator of The Writing Course, and the father of 5 children who write quite well, I can tell you that there are some really good reasons to work on writing. In fact, I can tell you that my own ability to write as been greatly enhance by courses and books.

And too...nothing quite helps like writing itself. Here are my 18 reasons you (or your kids) should add a writing course to your life-learning:​

  1. If you can write well you are ahead of most of the people you’ll ever meet
  2. The ability to write-on-demand (at will) can catapult a college or business career
  3. Once reluctance to write is gone the skill can be learned…which turns out to be true as a great lesson for many areas in life.
  4. Learning to write well usually means readiness for school and job applications, SAT, essay competitions, college applications, etc.
  5. Once a student knows how to write, conflict leaves in this area so schooling and relationships can get a little better. I’d say it this way, “A child feels closer to a mother who isn’t seen as the source of his tears.”
  6. Closeness and family friendship increases with the sharing of written stories
  7. People often can share more honest, and intimate, thoughts in writing than in person
  8. Writing is rightly known as thinking on paper…learning the skill of writing is also training in the skill of clear thought
  9. Writing well tends to improve the ability to read well
  10. Entire career choices (and college majors) can be considered as legitimate options by the one who can write effectively and easily
  11. The skill of writing is actually essential to learning most subjects
  12. Overcoming the fear of writing translates into how to overcome almost any fear
  13. If you think about it, every year thousands of students flunk out of (or quit) school because of the lack of writing skill alone. In other words, if they could write well, they’d still be in school…
  14. Winning your appeal of grades, insurance claims, tax issues, legal matters, etc., are very often dependent on the ability to write clearly and effectively
  15. Writing for oneself (journaling-type activities) have been proved to be incredibly helpful in personal growth…which is what learning by writing is all about
  16. The pen IS mightier than the sword…more power and more protection than learning a martial art
  17. Writing is a great way to ‘good company’ when you are alone
  18. Writers can impact the world by daring to write

Finally, practicing writing is the key. Of course, FEAR is the biggest reason we don't write (or practice). The Writing Course is a powerful study and how we conquered fear as a family in this area...including such things as others' opinions, grammar, spelling, punctuation, how to get ideas, and how to guarantee interestingness, etc.

​Check it out and tell me what you think.

Off to learn,

Dr. Fred Ray Lybrand

Click to Learn About the Writing Course