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Our Story: For Homeschoolers

by Dr. T.M. Kemnitz, President

homeschool publisher

Royal Fireworks Publishing was founded in 1977 to provide educators with completely different materials with which to educate children. We believe that education should be child-centered. Education is an individual process, and each individual is different. In order to be effective at the highest level, educational materials should be flexible and adaptable to each individual child.

We believe that education should be joyous, filled with fun, humor, and art; educational materials should not be sloughs through dry, dull material that has to be covered. We believe that children should be impelled rather than compelled to study the material we want them to learn. We believe that if we challenge them and expect great things from them and give them books that appeal on many levels, we can help them to attain high levels in their learning. Honey really is more attractive than vinegar.

At Royal Fireworks, we seek to develop curricula to inspire the imagination of children, to engage them affectively as well as cognitively, to transmit joy and fun and creativity and a sense of wonder and excitement about the world around us. Books—particularly textbooks—have to be designed with the child in mind, formulated in two-page spreads to convey an idea, a concept, an understanding that works in that space.

Textbooks should have art. They should open vistas for children to explore a wider world. They should be fun. Frequently our texts do not look like the texts of other publishers. We sometimes do odd things with type because it helps kids to understand a point. We use subtle colors. If a child has to be cajoled to read one of our texts, we have failed.

We do not use worksheets. We believe that they are the neutron bombs of education; they kill all intelligent life while leaving the textbook intact. Coping with a worksheet sends a child in search of a short answer that will fit on a short line. We would prefer children to seek large panoramas of ideas and relationships. To worksheet a subject is to trivialize it.

While we have a sense of intellectual and artistic play, we do not sacrifice what we believe children must know. We think that there is a core of knowledge that educated people should have. We would never shortchange that; our view of core knowledge is far more extensive than that of other educational publishers. We do not dumb down material, and we do not abide low expectations.

We are unusual among educational publishers in that we publish many novels for children. Novels are an important part of the art, the world of the imagination, that we offer to kids. Historical novels are particularly useful in engaging children’s imaginations in worlds that are otherwise remote and unlike our own. They also allow us to discuss topics in ways that enable children to feel emotion instead of simply trying to deal with abstract ideas. We have taken pains to ensure that our novels are free of the inappropriate language, situations, and behaviors that so often characterize modern novels for young readers.

There is a parallel between what we do with books for children and what you do in educating your kids at home. Some parents are determined to do everything possible to ensure that their children are truly educated. Others are content to do their duty, to hand out the worksheets, to offer up the textbooks, to proffer the assignments and the tests, and to let it go at that. We try to publish special materials for those parents who want to make the extra effort to ensure that their kids succeed. For you we are prepared to go the extra mile with what we publish to help you help your children.

We don’t always get it right, just as you don’t always get it right. We all learn as we go. We do the best we can today, and we try to do better tomorrow. We have learned to listen to you and to pay attention to what you tell us. We have found that some of our materials are less than what you need, and during the past few years we have sent many of our books to be recycled as we produce better editions. We will continue to do that. We will make our books more attractive, more approachable, and more appealing whenever we see the possibility for improvement. We will remain committed to you and your success with your children. We welcome your input, criticisms, and suggestions, and we hope that you will continue to be a partner to us in producing better materials for you and your children. We hope that we can be a worthy partner to you in your endeavor to give your children the very best you can offer them. We want that very best to have a red truck on it that says Royal Fireworks Press.

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