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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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