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  2003 by Amelia Harper. All rights reserved

 

My name is Amelia Harper. I live in the country outside of a small town in North Carolina. I have a B.A. degree in English from Bob Jones University and have taught at four private schools and a community college. I sometimes teach local English tutoring courses in my local area. In addition, I have homeschooled my own kids for over 18 years.  All of them are absolutely brilliant (of course), in my own humble opinion. The older kids now correct MY grammar, which is one of the chief dangers of educating your children.

    My oldest is 30 years old, which is amazing since I was sure that I was only 35.  Jonathan, my number one son, has graduated college with a degree in Bible and has married Jen,  a lovely pianist. He plan to go to Romania for mission work when he completes his next phase of education.

    My next son, Thomas,  is now 27 and graduated college with a degree in History  He now has a Masters degree in History Education and teaches in Saipan, which is 8000 miles away and has made friends with many in the Asian community. So much for timid, unsocialized homescholars.... 

    Bradley, who is 23, majored in International Business with a Minor in German. He graduated with Magna Cum Laude (which means 4.o average) which makes me happy that his homeschool education did not ruin him. He loves to play basketball and to sing. Bradley also received his Masters in Cross Cultural Studies, which is a seminary degree and is now working toward his CPA certification. His desire at this point is to one day work in Germany and help with church planting in that country. Don't ask me why all my children, whom I homeschooled all those years, wish to move as far away as possible. I prefer to believe that they are mission-minded kids with a global vision. I am sure it has nothing to do with me. Really.

    Andrew is his 16 year old brother, who understands all things politcal and could easily solve the world's problems--if adults would only let him. Andrew is considering pursuing a career in Criminal Justice and will either make a great detective or a master criminal. We are hoping he chooses the side of good. Andrew is still at home with his sweet sister...

    Keren, who finally arrived after four more males were introduced into the world. Keren, age 14,  is  angelic, musical, and delightful, despite her brother's constant attempts to draw her to the dark side of boyish play. So she ocassionally wears a sword to church and loves dragons. These things happen in the best of families, don't they?

    My husband, Bill, is the pastor of an Independent Baptist church here and a wonderful preacher and father. He loves to plant huge gardens so that we can spend our precious summers canning and freezing veggies. He claims this builds character. My kids think they have enough character already. We have now sabotaged his tractor for the good of all concerned...

    I also tutor secondary level English classes for some home school students. Some of my students think that I am obsessed with The Lord of the Rings merely because we celebrate Frodo's birthday, the Gondorian New Year, and the Coronation of King Ellesar. I think, however, that these are perfectly legitimate excuses for a party and that obsession is a very relative term.

    I am a Tolkien and Lewis scholar (which simply means that I study them!) I am privileged to be a contributor to the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia which was published by Routledge Reference in the fall of 2006. I also recently presented an academic paper on "The Role of Fantasy in Conveying Truth" at a C.S. Lewis conference in Nashville, TN and was able to interview Douglas Gresham, the stepson of C.S. Lewis.

    In my spare time (I hear you homeschool moms rolling on the floor laughing), I write for a weekly newspaper where I write occasional feature articles and cover town meetings where the worst of human nature is displayed. To my utter disbelief, I recently won an award for Investigative Journalism from the NC Press Association for coverage of one of these town meetings. I also write a column for the Old Schoolhouse Magazine, a really great national quarterly homeschool publication, and I do free-lance writing and speaking as well. I also occasionally write poetry and am working on my own fantasy novel in the time I waste at stoplights.

     For almost two years, I worked diligently on a literature curriculum about Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, a book which I adore. Fortunately, some other smart people have helped me with that project and have helped edit my work, providing great suggestions for improvement, and making sure that it is educationally sound.

    If you want to more about the creation of this project, check out this interview in Eclectic Homeschool Online. Here are some of the important people who aided in this project.

    The first of these is Sharon Mack. Sharon introduced me to The Lord of the Rings when I was fifteen and changed my life. This was one the books that inspired me to want to study English Literature and to someday be a writer. Sharon and I spent many long hours discussing and debating the book during the torture we endured while working summer jobs together as teenagers. Now, she has a B.A in Education. When I began this project, I asked her to help, since she was the only person I know who has read the book almost as many times as I have (I stopped counting at 25). I was delighted to find that she was still an enthusiastic Tolkien-lover. In fact, she has invented her own personal Lord of the Rings Trivia Game! She now teaches music and strings in a public school district in Pennsylvania. In addition to her many other talents, she is a professional composer and has written several pieces inspired by Middle Earth. Sharon has offered valuable insight on the book and has been of enormous help in checking my facts and literary insights, as well correcting orc-droppings (grammar errors of a typographical nature). which are occasionally slipped in by some ill-intentioned servants of the Nameless One.

Senior Editor Rachel Pannell has a AA in Secondary Education from Lorain County Community College, OH, a BA in English from Meredith College, NC, and a Masters in Middle Grades Education from NCSU.  Since then, she has worked professionally as a proofreader, editor, and as a literature and writing instructor. She currently homeschools her son, Jon.
 

    Lisa Leech has a M.A. in Medieval Legal History and Literature. She  actually knows how to read Old English and has been of enormous help in checking my facts about Linguistics, Old English, and Middle English Literature. She is a delightful cat-lover and a true Renaissance Woman. Since she seldom has Medieval clients to defend, she spends most of her time teaching violin and viola lessons.

    Diane Scudder has a M.A. in Reading Instruction. She had helped edit the book  and made suggestions on how to make it easier for students (and parents) to use. Diane has home-schooled for many years. She is also the busy wife of a pastor of an inner-city church in Philadelphia. Without her valuable help, this book would not be possible.


Michelle Smith (who assures me her name is not an alias) is a homeschool mom of 3. Prior to becoming a homeschool mom, Michelle earned  B.A. degrees in English, German, and Secondary Education. After teaching for a short time in public school junior high, she went back to the university to work on her master's degree in English. Michelle studied English at the graduate level in the early 1990's, studying such diverse topics as epic literature, the history of the English language, Shakespearean studies, and western American literature. Michelle now educates her children according to the classical Christian homeschooling method, and she participates in or co-moderates a few classical homeschooling email loops.

    I would like especially to express my appreciation to renowned Tolkien artist, John Howe. Mr. Howe has produced several Tolkien calendars and was one of the art directors for the award-winning New Line Cinema movie version of The Lord of the Rings. He has been very supportive and has graciously allowed me to use some of his powerful artwork in the book and for the beautiful cover design. You can see more of his artwork here.

   I am truly excited about this project and hope to get to know you soon. May God bless you. If you want to contact me, please email me at theharper7@earthlink.net and I will try to respond as soon as I can. 

Amelia Harper

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