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Far Above Rubies

by Lynda Coats

Reviewed by Martha Robinson

Purchase details: Far Above Rubies by Lynda Coats. Approximately 700 3-hole-punched pages. $69.95. Available from Lynda

Far Above Rubies is designed to be a four to six year unit study for young ladies who have completed sixth grade. Based loosely upon the description of an ideal wife in Proverbs 31, the program covers homemaking skills, history, life in the current time, practical or applied math, health, reading, composition, and more.

The introductory section begins with a discussion of the philosophies behind Far Above Rubies. Mrs. Coats expresses the importance of immersion in Scripture, involvement of the parents in education, beginning to give adult responsibility to children when they become thirteen, and the need for every girl and woman to be under the head of "her God-ordained head," her father, husband, or a man appointed by the elders of her church if there is neither a husband nor father. Mrs. Coats then enumerates the characteristics of four learning styles: the builder, the memorizer, the questioner, and the cooperator. She next expresses what she feels are the six "R"s of education, adding research, responsibility, and righteousness to the often stated reading, writing, and arithmetic. After a letter to the parents and to the student, Mrs. Coats explains the coding system in Far Above Rubies and how to keep records for high school credit. Four reproducible forms are included to assist with the planning and record keeping process. Some basic information on using notebooks and timelines and "mindmapping," or brainstorming, is then provided. The introductory section concludes with a brief outline of how to do chronological history with Far Above Rubies and a list of essential and strongly recommended materials and books needed.

The twenty units of Far Above Rubies are titled with a verse or two from Proverbs 31. Each unit has from three to five "mini-units" under it that relate "directly or indirectly" to the verse. Under each mini unit there are several hundred suggested activities, some easily accomplished, some involving research, and some field trips. As this program was originally written for the Coats' daughter, many of the field trips are oriented toward the South where they live. Each unit has the topics grouped by subject.

The appendix suggests additional references and texts that are needed and places to buy them. For college bound girls, more advanced math and science are recommended.

Far Above Rubies is written from a conservative Protestant point of view. Some suggested topics of study include headcoverings, the wearing of pants for women, Calvin's doctrines, and Luther's theses. The author tries to avoid taking a stand on controversial issues and encourages the student to research the doctrine of her own church. Bible study is included in every single unit and is the key component to the entire program.

Recommendation: Far Above Rubies offers many, many creative ideas for study. Some suggested field trips, such as tours of tour ships, freighters, farms, embassies, and Coast Guard cutters, may prove to be infeasible for many families. Other ideas, such as the disease mononucleosis being directly related to dating, should be questioned by the student and the parent. With the hundreds and hundreds of ideas presented, the family should be able to choose activities that have merit for their situation.

The format of Far Above Rubies encourages the student to become more self-directed. It could work well for the organized child, but a less self-motivated child will need a great deal of help from an organized mother. As many of the activities encourage the child to talk with and work with her mother, it would be difficult to implement the program when the mother is not readily available. On the other hand, many of the ideas involving the mother are ones that are probably being done already -- laundry, cooking, etc. Much thought and planning on implemention and goals of Far Above Rubies will need to be done before beginning.

Many additional books and materials are recommended for use with Far Above Rubies. The budget conscious family may find that using this program as a base could be difficult.

Far Above Rubies is so full of ideas and activities that it would make an interesting supplement to almost any program. With careful planning and involvement of the mother, it will be a program that will give mom and daughter a closer relationship with each other and their faith. resources related to this review:

Review of Raising Maidens of Virtue
Review of Polished Cornerstones
Review of God Called a Girl's Homemaking Section

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