How many pages did you write?

Dwane Thomas’ Tip of the Week – November 4, 2017

Are you a writer?  Do you sometimes wonder how much you are writing?

Maybe that’s a strange question.  Let me explain.  Every week Grammarly sends me a report like this one:

Generally, I ignore the reports.  But, this report stunned me.   373,000 words?  What does that even mean?  I needed the information in pages.  Number of words?  That just doesn’t make any sense to me.

I feel the same when talking to teenagers about cell phones.  Gigabytes?  Megabytes?  Kilobytes?  Oreo bites?  What are we talking about?  I need the information presented to me in a different format.  How many audiobooks can my phone hold?  THAT Is a measurement I can understand.

I could go on.   In fact, I think I will.

How old am I?  I have been alive 533 months, or just over 11 Olympiads.

How tall am I? 69 inches.

How much do I weigh?  Hey.  That’s none of your business.

Soooo… 373,000 words?  What does THAT mean?  Obviously, It means that my family was busy, and I was terribly bored.  But, what does it mean in pages?  Fortunately, there’s a way to find out.  Simply go to this site:

Make a few adjustments.  For example, I switched the font to Times New Roman, switched the size to 12 point font, and switched the spacing to single.  (Be careful with the last one.  If you have multiple tabs open on your computer, you might accidentally switch your relationship status to single.  That could get you into trouble.  Seriously, be careful.)

After plugging in the information you will know the number of pages you wrote.  During my very long week of boredom, it turns out, I wrote 914 pages.  If you’re wondering where those pages are, they’re on my site.  I was transferring student answers over to the members’ section that week.

Incidentally, that week inspired me to try it again.  I haven’t written a book since 2013.  I don’t know why I stopped.  I’ve been waiting around for permission to write another book.  Or, maybe I’ve just been waiting around for the extra time.   Or, maybe I just found it easier to make excuses.

I needed a jolt.  About a week ago, I read a book by Bob Bly on Writing E-books.  Inspired, I decided to go for it again.  In fact, I decided to follow his instructions in painstaking detail.  Not only that, I challenged myself to complete the book in one month.  If I can write 914 pages in a week, then maybe I can write, edit, self-publish and sell another ebook in a month.  I’m about 40 pages into it already.  My goal is to have the book available November 30.  We will see.

If you’re a writer, you now know how to count those pages.

Unfortunately, I can’t explain gigabytes to you.  Go find a teenager.  Those guys can help.

Have a great weekend!


Here’s the book I wrote in 2013.  For the most part, it’s about learning Latin.  The tips and tricks I share, however, do apply to other subjects.  Check it out here:


Behind in Latin?  Need help with Henle Latin?  You can join one of my classes anytime.  Help is here:


How would you like to be able to read the New Testament in Greek?  I can take you there.  It’s not going to be easy, but I can take you there  Join the class here:


Every Saturday, I send out a tip of the week.  I also include announcements, upcoming classes, and so on.  If you would like to hear from me every weekend, sign up for my weekly updates here:

Stolen Money.

Warning.  Rant coming.

I am a hard-core opponent of the public school system.  But, let’s get something straight.

I am not mad at the kids in the system.  They are victims.  Why would I be angry at the victims?

Why am I so opposed to the public school system?  Simple.  The U.S. government uses its badges and its guns to extract money from me.  They then use this money to educate children in atheism.

I am not a Roman Catholic.  But, it does not upset me at all that the Roman Catholic Church has a school in my town.  Why?  Because no Roman Catholic priest is ever going to show up at my house with a badge and a gun demanding that I pay for the education of all those Catholic boys and girls.

I am sick of hearing about the “good schools” here in middle Tennessee… or anywhere in America, for that matter.  Sorry.  “Good schools” do not use force to extract money from unwilling citizens.

I am sorry, Virginia.  I know you don’t want to hear this, but, there is no such thing as a “good” public school.  Just in case you are not following, I will say it again.  “Good” schools don’t send guns and badges to take my money.  If I don’t want to pay for a product, I should not have to pay for it.

Most of my property taxes go to public school funding.  I have been a homeowner since 1997.  I have spent an average of $2,000 per year on property taxes since 1997.  Soooo, that’s about $40,000.

$40,000 for a product I didn’t want, didn’t use, and vehemently oppose.

I suspect I will be a homeowner for the next 40 years, or so.  Another $80,000 down the drain.

I know what you are going to say.  “But, there are good Christian teachers in the public school system!”  What of it?  Would you call me a good teacher if I extracted money from you by force in order to teach every one Latin?

I am a good teacher.  I know I am.  I have seen the emails.  I have heard the praise.  I even have a page dedicated to the subject:

Yet, I have never taken money from any of my students, or their families, by force.  I am proud of that fact.  I have never worked for the government school system and I never will.  Why?  I will never work for them because they would pay me.  They would pay me with my neighbor’s money.  I am not entitled to my neighbor’s money.  It isn’t mine.  I will not take it.

But, what if the teaching of the public schools lined up with my beliefs?  Would I support them then?

Nope.  Not at all.  I would not care if the schools taught only my beliefs.  They could even name schools after me.  I would still oppose them.  Why?  Because, ultimately, the government schools are based on theft.

I would love to opt out of the system.  I would love to stop sending $2,000 a year to an incompetent system.  But, can I?  If I stop paying my taxes, I would lose the condominium I live in.  The government would seize it.

By the way, why do I live in a condominium… not a house?  I live in a condominium because I tried to make it in the free market as a teacher.   As a result, I earned about half the income I would have earned had I worked for the government.  Instead of earning $50,000 to $75,000 a year with benefits, I spent 20 years earning $25,000 to $35,000 a year with no benefits.

My kids didn’t grow up with much money and in many ways, it hurt. But, at least it wasn’t stolen money.  I can live with that.

I end my rant with a couple of disturbing quotes.  The first is by H. L. Mencken:

“The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues, and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else.”

The second is from Alexis de Tocqueville.

[The power of government] covers the surface of so­ciety with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power… does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, until each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and hard-working animals, of which the government is the shepherd.’

Notice how nicely the two quotes dovetail?  How does the government train its timid and hardworking animals?

I am a teacher.  I will write a quiz for you.

Q: How does the government train its timid, hardworking animals?  The government trains its timid, hardworking animals with…

  1. homeschools
  2. private schools
  3. Catholic schools
  4. public schools funded with your money

If you chose number 4, give yourself an A.  They do it with the public education system.  And, with your money.

If you chose “none of the above, because I hate you Mr. Thomas” then look within.  You may have been trained to be submissive and obedient to your government.

So, how do we change it all?

First, wake up.  H. L. Mencken again:

“The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself…  Almost inevitably, he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable.”

Second, pull your kids out of the system.  Make the sacrifice.  Stop whining.  I did.  For seven years, my family lived in a 2 bedroom condominium.  For seven years, my wife and I slept on a mattress on the living room floor.  Our children shared the bedrooms.   We moved to a larger condominium later.  We still live there.  But, it’s still a condo.  My wife knows that she may never have a house.  I hate it.  It tears me up inside.  I want to buy a house for her.  But, I chose to swim upstream.  I chose to fight the system.  Sometimes, I regret my choice, but I will never regret refusing to live on stolen money.