Monday, January 13, 2014

Interview with Author and Educator Stacy Farrell


This is my first (of hopefully many) author interviews. Today's post is a bit different, in that Stacy does not write picture books or kidlit, but non-fiction educational guides. But, since many of you are educators, this may be of interest.

 I was privileged to meet Stacy Farrell at the Illinois Christian Home Educator's convention two years ago. I was fascinated with her newly created product "The Philosophy Adventure".  I was so excited about using this product with my teens in our homeschool curriculum, that I joined her Beta program to test the product, and I never looked back.

And neither has Stacy.  What an innovator and visionary she is! Her latest is a companion guide to C.S. Lewis's work, "Mere Christianity", entitled, "Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal" which comes out this week!  You can preorder it here at a 15% pre-publish discount until Wednesday, January 15th at Midnight (PT) 


Well, let me tell you about this amazing lady!


Stacy Farrell’s worldview changed when she embarked on her homeschooling adventure in 2002.
Her background as a consultant and writer well-prepared her to teach communication skills; however, only hands-on experience (and much time spent on her knees) equipped her to mentor her sons through the character-transformation required to help them work toward their full potential.
     Stacy has spoken at a variety of homeschool conferences and has published articles in leading Christian magazines. She wrote scripts for Willow Creek’s youth ministry, copy for Pastor Bill Hybel’s “Defining Moments” Audio Newsletter, and a broad range of material for corporate and non-profit clients. She also managed a law firm that specialized in civil rights litigation and constitutional law. Today, she loves to help empower students to recover territory lost by “fuzzy thinking” and low expectations. To that end, she created:

  • Philosophy Adventure™—Pre-Socratics – designed to help students 6th-12th grade cultivate and defend a biblical worldview by teaching them how to write skillfully, think critically, and speak articulately as they explore the history of ideas
  • Philippians in 28 Weeks™ — a simple and painless way to memorize an entire book of Scripture
  • The Wise Woman with Literary Analysis Journal Questions – an enchanting fable that unmasks the ugliness of pride and selfishness
  • Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal -- a powerful tool to strengthen critical thinking while cultivating a biblical worldview.

Although Stacy loves to write, speak, and teach, she considers her role as wife to Roger and mother to two precious sons to be her greatest work and privilege. You can learn more about her resources at http://www.homeschooladventure.com.


So now, I have a few questions for Stacy:


1. When planning a new book, how do you go about planning for it? Do you have a method you use, or is each one different? 

Proverbs 16:9 declares: “In his heart, a man makes his plans, but the Lord determines his steps.” If you had asked me this question 20 years ago, I would have told you how I outlined and scheduled and planned. I’m a planner by nature. However, I have learned the hard way that “unless the Lord builds the house, the workers labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1).

Each book I have written for Home School Adventure Co. has a unique story behind it—and not one would have been completed without the support of many faithful prayer warriors.


2. Do you have a certain writing space, somewhere you go *just* to write your books? An office, a lake cabin, a hotel? What do you love about that space? How does it inspire you?

Writing resources for Home School Adventure Co. has pretty much demanded everything I can give to it (and more!). So, wherever I go, my writing goes with me.
 I am especially grateful to my sons for helping me lug around the backpack and bags that contain my laptop and research materials.


3. What would you say to a young person who aspires to be a writer? What advice would you give? Also, what would you tell his/her parents in order to help them be supportive in their child's efforts to pursue writing as a career?

     Writing is hard work. Sometimes inspiration hits and the words simply flow. However, the writer who consistently writes can ultimately surpass a more talented writer who waits for the Muse before picking up his or her pen (or keyboard).
     Think of eternity, always. Imagine that moment when you will stand before God and give an account for what you have done with the talents He entrusted to you. Let that guide all your decisions.
      Parents, encourage your students to write every day. Then take the time to read and comment on what they write. Even if you do not consider yourself a writer, surely you consider yourself a reader. What is clear? What is confusing? Applaud their efforts and tell them the truth.


4. Would your advice be any different (from question #3) for an adult who would like to break into the business? How?

Pray. Listen. Obey.

“Count the cost.”

    Luke 14:28 tells us to consider the price we must pay before undertaking a work, but there is also a cost associated with not undertaking a work to which He calls us.
    That said, as parents and family members, we would be wise to maintain a measure of balance. Remember Solomon’s words: “The writing of many books is endless” (Ecc. 12:12). Books will pass away; people are eternal.
     Do not allow your writing to interfere with your loving.

5. What is your goal with writing? Is it the same with every book?

My goal for every book is the same as my goal for life. I pray that all my efforts help people more fully know and love Jesus.
  
6. What is one lesson you learned from writing this book?

Simple truth packs a punch.

In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis tackles some hefty questions. Yet, upon pondering his answers, I realized that much of what he says distills down to common sense.

(Voltaire would argue that “common sense is not so common.”)

7. What books have most influenced you?

Different books have impacted me during different seasons of my life.

8. With all of the duties that you juggle, when do you fit in the time to write?

This is a great question. There is no denying that writing requires many sacrifices. Truth be told, all too often my sons have heard me say, “I need to concentrate. Please don’t talk to me right now!” However, because my sons need and deserve my focused attention during our school days, much of my writing is done before dawn (while my household sleeps), or late at night.

9. What Scripture verse would you call your favorite?

At a writer’s conference some years ago, I came to believe that Philippians 2:14-16 might be my “life verse.” I could not pick a favorite verse, but I can say that I feel particularly convicted to live out Philippians 2:14-16: 
“Do everything without grumbling or arguing,
so that you may become
blameless and pure,
children of God without fault
in a warped and crooked generation.
Then you will shine like stars in the sky
as you hold out the word of life.”


For more information, or, to order these innovative and thoughtful guides and curricula, visit her link here at HomeSchool Adventure


Stay tuned for a product review of the Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal in the days ahead!

4 comments:

  1. It's amazing how much we can accomplish through the Lord.
    Best wishes to Stacy

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    1. You are so right, Lynda. Thanks for stopping!

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  2. Wonderful interview, Stacy & Jarm. Jarm, how DO you homeschool high school? I go crazy just doing 6th and 3rd grades with my two kids. Thanks for a Christian perspective and reminder about how everything we write we're accountable for.

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    Replies
    1. You are welcome, and thanks, Tina! I homeschool my teens with much grace and strength from The Lord. We used a classical curriculum, which I absolutely loved!

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