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Posts Tagged ‘education’

Do you ever ask yourself why you should read a book? Anthony Esolen has, and he thinks Common Core has entirely the wrong attitude. I suspect you’ll agree, once you hear him out.

 

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… that not driving kids nuts by strangling their play time has beneficial results.

Who’d have guessed, right?

hat tip: Scott Ott on Facebook

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While discussing Common Core’s Substandard Writing Standards, Anthony Esolen talks about what goes into good writing (and it may not be what you think, especially coming from a grammar expert).

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7 Quick Takes Friday

1. Are you a woman about to get married? Are you considering going to a hyphenated last name? Read this first. Actually, you might want to read it even if you don’t fit the description I just gave, because it’s funny, and has good advice.

2. The plot to save America. Actually, it’s a look at currently popular ideas kicking around to revive the Constitution, and to kickstart the proper power of the states again, but we need to start somewhere.

3. How about a fun, totally clean, biology lesson? Check out the gears on the back legs of this little creature. Yes, gears. The planthopper is set up so both hind legs move together.

4. Put your thinking cap on. Deep Roots at Home has compiled a list of a hundred-plus “whole-hearted” books for children. What would you add to the list?

Shortly before coming across that list this week, I started reading Robinson Crusoe on my Kindle. That puts me at fifth grade on the list… Hey, what can I say? I’m a boomer. We were pretty much deprived of classics in school, right up through college, and I’m still catching up to my ancestors, who were better read, over all.

5. Speaking of that, I finished Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens this week. As usual, Dickens has some wonderful observations and great characters, and it was well worth the read. But he lost me on a few corners on this one. I had to go back and reread parts of it along the way, and after I’d finished I went online to check a couple of things, to make sure I understood him correctly. If it had just been something that would have been current in his day, but unfamiliar in mine, I probably wouldn’t mention it – but it wasn’t that. I had to conclude that, at least in literature and history, I wasn’t up to the standards of the general public of Dickens’ day. It’s not like he was writing for elites, after all.

It also struck me while reading this book that if I didn’t know the Bible, I would have missed a lot. And I mean a lot. That’s true of most Western literature up until recently, I’ve found.

6. Speaking of literature, words, and standards, Anthony Esolen’s Word of the Day column is usually entertaining as well as learned. Sometimes it’s useful, too, although I might as well admit that sometimes it sails right over my head. Still, it’s a good resource, and it’s free. And did I mention that it’s often fun?

7. Speaking of Anthony Esolen, have you seen his five-minute Prager University video addressing Were the Middle Ages Dark? Good stuff.

For more 7 Quick Takes Friday posts, please visit Conversion Diary.

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I rather like this 2011 commencement address by Robert Blackstock. A taste:

There it is. A start. We want you to think well and often. The point bears mention, of course, because the difficulties we face as a nation, and the difficulties which you will face in college this fall, were caused in no small part by successive generations of leaders who did not think well. It’s not so much that they lack acuity or native intelligence. Rather, they have lost track of which ideas bore good fruit and which ill.

Having marched up the long and arduous road from 1776 to unprecedented freedom and prosperity, we as a nation have forgotten the ideas on which this freedom and this prosperity were first built. The danger is real and it is present. We stand to lose the blessings of liberty, if we do not reclaim those principles and habits without which those blessings cannot stand. This is an urgent concern for you, because the national conversation about ideas is especially pointed and especially off-track in our colleges and universities.

 

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Not really. Anthony Esolen explains, in this short video at Prager University.

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You may have heard by now about the college class in Florida where students were told to write “Jesus” on a piece of paper, then put the paper on the floor and stomp on it? Such exercises have been around for a while, sad to say, and not just in classrooms. Let Anthony Sacramone give you a brief look at how it played out in Japan for a while. (New Addition to Core Curriculum: Stomp on the Name of Jesus, Intercollegiate Review, March 26, 2013.)

hat tip: Lars Walker, on Facebook

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Anthony Esolen has a series of posts over at Front Porch Republic addressing Life Under Compulsion. I’ve only scanned a couple of them (the latest, and the first), but I suspect they’re all worth a read (his posts generally are good food for thought), and so…

Life Under Compulsion uses the life and observations of author Sigrid Undset as a starting point.

Life Under Compulsion: From Schoolhouse to School Bus

Life Under Compulsion: The Billows Teaching Machine

Life Under Compulsion: If Teachers Were Plumbers

Life Under Compulsion: Human-Scale Tools and the Slavish Education State

Life Under Compulsion: Curricular Mire

Life Under Compulsion: Bad University

Life Under Compulsion: The Dehumanities

 

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In the course of a biographical sketch of Joseph Hardy Neesima (Niijima J­ō), 1843-1890, Glenn Sunshine also lays out the background of Christianity in Japan, including this:

Unfortunately, the missionaries made two mistakes that would cost the Catholic Church in Japan dearly. First, the Spanish arrived and promoted the Franciscans and Dominicans as rivals to the Portuguese Jesuits in a bid to get their own trading concessions in Japan. Second, the Jesuits had all the converts take on Portuguese names and begin wearing Western clothing. Both of these had the effect of making the missionaries look like they were covertly advancing colonial interests, and the converts look like foreign agents.

As a result, there were outbreaks of persecution in 1597, 1613, 1630, and 1632. After a rebellion in 1637-38, Christianity was officially outlawed and Japan closed off to all foreigners except the Dutch. About 30,000 Catholics continued to worship in secret as kakure kirishitan (“hidden Christians”), only coming into the open after the Meiji Restoration in the mid-1800s, when Japan allowed freedom of religion.

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I haven’t done this in a while – but here we go, joining with bloggers galore and our 7 Quick Takes Friday hostess, Jennifer Fulwiler, at Conversion Diary.

1. Speaking of Conversion Diary, did you see her recent post on The secret of a domestic monestary? Good stuff on pushing back on the world’s expectations, so you can concentrate on what matters more.

2. This post at The Common Room has what was to me a surprising way of teaching children honesty. After a bit of thought, it made all the sense in the world, but it just never occurred to me before. Nature walks. Yes, nature walks. Pop over for the explanation.

3. I usually clean the house a few days ahead of Thanksgiving, so the cleaning smells are gone before the food smells get turned loose, and I try to vacuum a couple of days ahead, so there aren’t vacuum tracks in the carpet. This year, I did get clutter stashed away or thrown out, and got vacuuming done the night before, but very little else got done. I had the sort of visitors who probably didn’t notice, and who wouldn’t have cared if they had noticed, but it still would have been nice to have pulled it off in the usual way. I got the floors waxed the Saturday after, and today I finally got the stains out of the carpet and the bathroom counter polished and the bathroom cabinets re-oiled. Better late than never, right?

4. One reason I didn’t get the cleaning done is that I was doing major slicing and dicing on the book-in-progress. One chapter was moved forward and merged with another. Also, I realized that a hike I had folks doing in one day would take two, so I had to add an overnight stop. That wasn’t all bad; it let me add a fun chapter that set things up better for what was to come, and let me toss in some local history. I’d inadvertently moved a river too far north, too. Oops. I cut all that misplaced river nonsense, and other stuff that was fun but not tied to the main plot, and did other edits, and sent a formatted copy off to be printed, so I can do the next edit run in trade paperback format. Plan A was to put the project aside until the proof got here, so I could read the book with fresher eyes. Plan A did not count on me realizing after the proof was shipped that somehow I’d forgotten about a different river that cuts through the country to the north. No, the book is not called The River Curse. I just tried to do too much from memory in the first draft. I’m old enough to know better. Maps are wonderful inventions, if you actually use them.

5. Taking a guess based on how wildly book rankings are changing hour by hour at Amazon, I’m predicting that a lot of people are getting books for Christmas this year. Certainly, a mind-boggling number of books are being bought, just through that one retailer. Wow, even.

6. Speaking of Christmas gifts…

. ThinkBeforeYouGive001

7. Last night after I went to bed, I got a phone call from the lady who runs the prayer chain at our church. Usually she sends emails, but this was late enough and dire enough – a congregation member had been airlifted to a hospital and wasn’t doing well – that she called. Recently, I missed two Sundays in a row at church, the first for illness, the second because I was visiting elsewhere, and the pastor showed up on my doorstep on Monday, to see for himself if there was any problem he needed to know about. Yes, Virginia, there are churches like that. Really.

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