Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Positives

As I promised, I will write out the positive things I picked out from the book.  

1.  "As students become familiar with and eventually conversant with the great ideas of humanity, they learn how to think, how to lead, and how to become great." (pg. 40) 

"At a deeper level, knowing how other think, feel and act allows us to predict behavior and lead accordingly.  We can develop empathy, compassion, wisdom and self-discipline without subjecting our relationships to a more painful learning curve."  (pg 62)

I really think he has a good point here--besides being a little corny about the great part.  Reading classics seems like a great way to learn about humanity and philosophies.  I feel that by reading a wide and deep level of books you begin to recognize the patterns and behaviors of people and begin to understand how life has not varied much for humans for thousands of years.  It gives you a larger perspective and I think makes you less narrow-minded and prejudiced.

2. "When Scholars do an assignment, either say 'great work' or 'do it again.'  You can help them, but have them do most of the work and never accept a low quality submission or performance." (pg. 46)

I think this is a brilliant idea.  And I was extremely impressed to see how Andrea applied it in her classroom.  If I ever homeschool, this is one method that I would really like to apply.

""Multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, and other such exams measure memory of facts only, which requires little thinking." (pg 76)

I agree again completely.

3.  "People sup together, play together, travel together, but they do not think together.  Hardly any homes have any intellectual life whatsoever, let alone one that informs the vital interests of life.  Educational TV marks the high tide for family intellectual life." (pg 60)

Indeed!  I really need to find ways to introduce more "intellectual" conversion into our home.  My parents were really good at this--mostly we discussed books.  My husband doesn't like to read so that makes that strategy hard. Our good friends from Europe say that's the most annoying thing they find about living in the U.S.: that guys only talk about sports and women only talk about tv shows and the like.  I guess I take that as a compliment that they like having us over. 

4.  "The classics can be hard work, and that is exactly what is needed to learn to think.  Thinking is hard; deep thinking is not entertaining or easy.  Thinking is like exercise, it requires consistency and rigor.  Like barbells in a weightlifting room, the classics force us to either put them down or exert our minds.  They require us to think. Not just in a rote memory way, either.  The classics make us struggle, search, ponder, seek, analyze, discover, decide, and reconsider.  As with physical exercise, the exertion leads to pleasing results as we metamorphose and experience the pleasure of doing something wholesome and difficult that changes us for the better."  (pg 65)

As far as I'm concerned, this is the best argument in the entire book for his methodology and his best idea altogether.  This is exactly why I'm participating in this blog and reading random books on the Cold War. 

5. "The arts are perhaps the most important because they deal in the medium of feeling and expressing.  Writing comes before reading because most students, if left to their own devices, will ask how to write their name before they seek to learn to read.  That is, self expression comes before the desire to study others.  Art comes before writing.  Children can be practicing artists before they study great art, and their studies will be the better for it."  (pg. 88)

As a wishful artist, I just liked this thought.

1 comment:

Andrea said...

Random books about the cold war??? You mean random books about the universe and enigma's and whatever else you made me add onto this list. Don't try to make me look like the weird one!!! :)

But I did appreciate that comment especially, because it was that idea that sold me on TJEd (at least parts of it). Really, reading, writing, and discussing are profound educational tools and stretching your brain is exciting. I am so glad we started this blog!!!