The Roe family in Peru in January of 2010. From L-R: Amy, Rachel, Chris, Don
I (Chris) was an avid reader as a child and I’ve chosen to read books as a leisure activity throughout my life. When Amy, our first daughter, was born, one of my goals for her was that reading would become an important part of her life. I had the same goal for our second daughter, Rachel. Both girls are now adults; they love to read and they choose to read in their leisure time.
I graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1993 with a B.A.S. in Elementary Education. As I worked toward that degree, I particularly enjoyed the Teaching Reading and Children’s Literature classes. Most elementary teachers develop an area of special interest; I soon realized that reading is that special area for me. I thoroughly enjoy sharing book treasures with people.
After I graduated, I thought I would seek a job at a local Christian school and take my children with me. Plans changed, however, and we began homeschooling in fall of 1994. Although we were only going to homeschool for two years, the lifestyle worked so well for our family that we homeschooled for ten years. As I taught my children at home, two main philosophies emerged:
1) Elementary students do not need to be overwhelmed to learn necessary concepts. If they are overwhelmed, they can lose their love of learning.
2) A fun, effective way to teach history is to put the “meat on the bones”: Read historical fiction books and interesting biographies when studying an historical time period. Simple hands-on activities (games, crafts, baking) related to the books/time period create a fun, effective learning atmosphere for the entire family.
From these philosophies came a teaching style that is the foundation for Christian Novel Studies’ materials. Through using a CNS study, students will learn more about a book than they would from a quick read-through, but they will not overanalyze it (and spend an extraordinarily long time reading/studying it) so that they never want to see it again. Also, simple hands-on activities are included in all CNS studies.
I began homeschooling Amy in fourth grade and she graduated from high school as a homeschooled student. As a junior and a senior in high school, she took classes at two local colleges as part of the PSEO (Post Secondary Enrollment Option) program in Minnesota. Amy graduated from high school with 40 college credits so she was able to graduate from the University of Minnesota with two bachelor’s degrees three years after she graduated from high school. She taught Spanish for three years and worked on the course work for a master’s degree in linguistics through a summer program at the University of North Dakota. During the 2009-2010 school year Amy taught at a university in Lima, Peru and collected data for her master's thesis. Amy is currently teaching Spanish to 6th graders and 8th graders at Fort Worth Country Day School in Fort Worth, TX; she is also writing her master's thesis.
Amy has written/compiled a number of booklets for CNS: Good Books for Teenage Girls and the guides for the books in the Lord of the Rings series. She also has worked as an editor.
I homeschooled Rachel from Kindergarten through eighth grade. She attended a charter high school for three years, took PSEO classes as a senior, and graduated from our home school. Rachel graduated in spring of 2012 from the College of St. Scholastica with a degree in Secondary Education with a focus in English. She is working as an AmeriCorps volunteer at Homecroft Elementary School in Duluth, MN. Rachel helped compile a Basic Booklet (Great Reading for Girls) and works for CNS as an editor.
My husband Don works as a C.R.N.A. We live in the country on a lake; in his leisure time Don enjoys building boats, fishing, canoeing, and hunting. We often ride our bicycles, take walks, and canoe together. Don purchases many items for CNS, keeps printers and computers running, provides technical support, helps make decisions, and continually encourages. He is also the co-author of the At Home With Writing Series.
As a family we are (and always have been) active in a local church. One of the unique things about our family is that we own an island on the lake on which we live. We feel very blessed to own the island, so we like to share it: We’ve hosted many youth group events, church activities, and neighborhood gatherings on it. It is a wonderful place for fellowship!
Eagles nested on the island for a number of years, so the girls named the island "Eagle Lookout Island." Even though there hasn't been an eagle nest on the island for several years, eagles still can be seen perched on the tops of trees so the name of the island is still apppropriate.
In 2008 and in spring of 2010 loons have nested on the island. Don got a picture of the eggs, a loon sitting on the eggs, and the baby riding on one of its parent's back:
Note: We discovered that only one egg hatched; the other one is still in the abandoned nest.
July, 2010: The baby is growing rapidly. We now know why it is so unusual to see a baby loon on one of its parents' backs: After one or two weeks they get too big to get on a back!