Monday, March 30, 2009

Harvard Research Proves the Pope (and God) Right

I am not Catholic, but the Pope bravely laid the truth on the line with his words & was scoffed at by people who don't accept God's rules for safety and happiness. And, lookie, lookie, those who agree with God's Word are right, those who disagree are wrong.

Harvard Research Proves the Pope (and God) Right:

"If they want to stop AIDS, then they’ll have to stop encouraging promiscuity and adultery and teach abstinence and monogamy."

How to Use Your Children to Annoy a Liberal

Selwyn Duke -- How to Use Your Children to Annoy a Liberal

Lastly, if a liberal asks you why you have so many kids, you can just explain how survival of the fittest ensures that the right members of a species breed and inherit the Earth. And be sure to follow up with, “Besides, every time I have another child, there’s one more person in this world to pray for you.”

Enjoy Mr. Duke's very tongue-in-cheek article at the link above.

I'm still snickering to myself.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Lewis and Tolkien: Scholars and Friends

Professor Christopher Mitchell of Wheaton College opens the door to insights and events publicly observed in the lives of writers C. S. Lewis and J.R. R. Tolkien and their fascinating relationships with members of the literary elite. Series: Let There Be Light [8/2003] [Humanities] [Show ID: 7694]

Friday, March 27, 2009


For this and other reasons long lost, I decided to teach Moby Dick to my eighth-grade classes. Including the dumb ones. I discovered right away the white whale was just too big for forty-five-minute bell breaks; I couldn’t divide it comfortably to fit the schedule. Melville’s book is too vast to say just what the right way to teach it really is. It speaks to every reader privately. To grapple with it demanded elastic time, not the fixed bell breaks of junior high. Indeed, it offered so many choices of purpose—some aesthetic, some historical, some social, some philosophical, some theological, some dramatic, some economic—that compelling the attention of a room full of young people to any one aspect seemed willful and arbitrary.

Soon after I began teaching Moby Dick I realized the school edition wasn’t a real book but a kind of disguised indoctrination providing all the questions, a scientific addition to the original text designed to make the book teacher-proof and student-proof. If you even read those questions (let alone answered them) there would be no chance ever again for a private exchange between you and Melville; the invisible editor would have preempted it.

The school text of Moby Dick had been subtly denatured; worse than useless, it was actually dangerous. So I pitched it out and bought a set of undoctored books with my own money. The school edition of Moby Dick asked all the right questions, so I had to throw it away. Real books don’t do that. Real books demand people actively participate by asking their own questions. Books that show you the best questions to ask aren’t just stupid, they hurt the mind under the guise of helping it—exactly the way standardized tests do. Real books, unlike schoolbooks, can’t be standardized. They are eccentric; no book fits everyone.

From Eyeless in Gaza, which is Chapter Three of The Underground History of American Education

I think John Taylor Gatto would agree with Charlotte Mason's approach to literature. In fact, while we may want guidance as home school teachers because of our own paltry educations, great literature must be approached as a conversation with the author and not as a formula to be memorized. So we keep learning ourselves.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

21st Century Tea Party

21st Century Tea Party:
"The 21st Century Tea Party
A Digital March on Washington
Friday March 27th 2009
We must try to stop the bleeding. We must demand that congress stop spending NOW! Whether you’re right, left or center you will agree that Washington spending is out of control and bankrupting our nation. We can’t begin to heal our wounds if we don’t stop the bleeding. Please join me in a march on the information super highway; straight to Congress and the mass Media. If we can unite as one nation with one voice and shout “STOP SPENDING”, we can get their attention. This will also make our upcoming Tea Parties much more effective.

All day this coming Friday - call, fax and email.
Tell them to STOP spending now.
The faxes and emails can be pictures of the original Tea Party that read “STOP SPENDING”.
Go to their websites all day to look for responses.

Spread the word, tell every one you know, send out their contact information,which can be found on this site under archived blogs.

I suggest we concentrate on all members of the House and Senate Budget Committees, Majority and Minority Leaders in the House and Senate, and the media outlets listed under media.

Imagine the response if they received MILLIONS of communications in one day!"

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Purging the Memory of Our Christian Roots

Berit Kjos has written a great article pulling together many cogent points. I read Schaeffer many years ago, & my kids study him in their Worldviews of the Western World high school curriculum, but I had forgotten just how much he foresaw. She also references the popular book, The Giver, showing how it's used to prep kids for a "benevolent" Orwellian future. This is not an emotional appeal to panic. She lays it out straight.

Purging the Memory of Our Christian Roots:

"'At that point the words left or right will make no difference. They are only two roads to the same end. There is no difference between an authoritarian government from the right or the left: the results are the same. An elite, an authoritarianism as such, will gradually force [a totalitarian] form on society so that it will not go on to chaos.... And most people will accept it... That is just what Rome did....'"

However, The Wide, Wide World she refers to as British was actually American (see the Wiki. If you want to read the books, there are links to both volumes at the bottom of the Wiki page.

I Can't Hear it Either!

Bonnet to the the DHM at The Common Room. My 17yo DD & 12yo DS both jerked off the earphones. Said it was very loud and irritating. The boy likened it to something from The Transformers movie. I heard nada, nilo, nothing.

Train Horns

Created by Train Horns

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Aim of Public Education

That erroneous assumption is to the effect that the aim of public education is to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence, and so make them fit to discharge the duties of citizenship in an enlightened and independent manner. Nothing could be further from the truth. 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.
—H. L. Menken in American Mercury Magazine, April 1924

Friday, March 13, 2009


Music is a strange and useless thing.
It doesn't offer cover from the storm.
It doesn't (really) ease the sting
of living; nor nourish us, nor keep us warm.
And men expend their lives in search of sound,
learning how to juggle bits of noise,
and by their swift illusions to confound
the heart with fleeting and evasive joys.
Yet I am full of quaking gratitude
that this exalted folly still exists,
that in an age of cold computer mood,
a piper still can whistle in the mists.
His notes are pebbles falling into time.
How sweetly mad it is, and how divine.

Gene Lees

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

How to Acquire an Elite College Education for Less Than $7000 by Joe O'Donnell

File this one under College at Home:

How to Acquire an Elite College Education for Less Than $7000 by Joe O'Donnell:

"After attending college in the late 80’s I became skeptical of the 'received wisdom' approach to education I encountered there. I strongly believed that real truth and understanding could only be found through a Socratic Dialogue of systematic doubt. Instead each course was taught as if the facts presented were truths handed down by God to be memorized."

Do you agree with Mr. O'Donnell's choices? What books would you choose? Do you think this beats a regular college education of today?

I think I would have a great deal of trouble with Structure & Interpretation of Computer Programs and Feynman. And as for Russell, well I definitely prefer Schaeffer for the history of western philosophy.

And there are so many more books...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Okay, This is Just Weird

In Google Blog Alerts, it's not unusual to see bogus blogs, set up just for the ad traffic, I guess. After the page loads, you realize that it has nothing to do with anything with which you are remotely interested. But this lead in to a blog post in one of the alerts is just plain weird.

"Homeschooling - Hiring Tutors?
By admin
Amar Mahallati asked: Homeschooling is a very positive educational decision; however, some parents are not equipped to educate others. While they want to give. ... While more structured in its approach, the Classical method is shapely after religious education and is quite popular. The students are presented with a set of demanding challenges that debase their minds. These tutors are highly wanted after because they are very knowledgeable and have stabbing minds. ..."

The URL is dot de, so it seems safe to say that the writer is not a native English speaker, but this is bad. I've had online contact with people from that area of Europe & find their English very good.

But it does make me think... my youngest is 12, so maybe one day I'll be knowledgeable enough to be wanted after. My 12 year old would probably say that I already have a stabbing mind.

I could use some of that shapeliness, too.