Friday, December 21, 2007

economics and more

I tried to read this a couple of years ago. Maybe it will go better if I follow along with others this time.

Liam started talking to me about Spinoza and Hobbes the other day. At his college this year they are talking about government and rights and responsibilities of rulers. If you go here and scroll down to the junior year you can see some of the books on his course list. This is really interesting stuff. I totally missed Government in high school because I was getting a British O-Level education in Switzerland at the time. My history teacher Mr Schumann was a first rate teacher and I still remember all kinds of things I learned about the 20th century, but nothing much about civics or political theory. It's one of those areas where I wish I could fit an extra 3-4 hours in the day because in one way, it's not necessary to wade through all the erroneous theories of the Enlightenment but in another way it would probably explain a lot that's puzzling about the way the world looks today. I know Charlotte Mason was quite well-read in the Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment philosophers and knowing more about those would help me understand her writings better too.

Sigh... anyway, just for starters, I think I'll try to keep up with the Economics in One Lesson schedule. We'll see. Even though I didn't finish the book the first time through, I well remember his premise about watching out for the unintended secondary consequences. I talk to my kids about that quite a bit. The principle applies to schooling and medical interventions and therapeutic interventions like HeadStart, and to parenting as well.

I am just finishing reading Socrates meets Marx by Peter Kreeft. It is a cute series, if you want a readable way to introduce major schools of thought to a highschooler. I am not saying "cute" in a derogatory way, either -- after all, cute used to mean "acute" even up past the turn of the 19th century -- ask my daughter, who is presently reading the Aubrey/Maturin series by Patrick O'Brian. The Peter Kreeft "Socrates" (I've also read The Unaborted Socrates and The Best Things in Life) books are "acute" in bits, and amusing in others, and sometimes a teeny bit hokey, because after all, putting words in the mouth of Socrates and Marx and Descartes and various others is no easy task. I know I couldn't do it.

4 comments:

Faith said...

Willa, when do you find time to read? I really need to carve out time other than the few minutes before I fall asleep.

I've been planning a civics course for high schoolers for next year but I'm thinking of just using the textbook they use here in the county. Nice and simple and basically focusing on definitions and systems and just giving a general overview behind the philosophy of government and economics. Just a survey/into kind of things.

Willa said...

Here are some things that work for me:

1. I do the bulk of my reading on vacation breaks. On this break I can read almost a book a day; on regular homeschool days it's probably about 30 minutes.
2. I read fast on the first run through... ... and then reread the parts that are worth closer study. This helps me get through lots of books where it isn't necessary to read every single word carefully.
3. I bring a book almost everywhere so I can read during waiting moments.... in the car, in waiting rooms.
4. I read when I should be doing something else, like cleaning the house. (But really, sometimes it does seem like a fair trade-off -- I can clean the house tomorrow).
5. I dislike TV and movies and video games so I never watch them or do them unless my kids or husband talk me into it.
6. Believe it or not, I usually don't even spend that much time on blogging -- I only catch up on other blogs about once or twice a week, and I can usually type mine out pretty fast.
7. We live in the country so there are not a whole lot of other things going on -- this has pluses and minuses, but the extra time is a plus.

I hope this helps, Faith. If I wanted to try to read a bit more I would plan out a small corner of time somewhere in the day -- when I knew the kids were likely to be otherwise occupied. I think a lot of TJEers get up early to study but Aidan always wakes up as soon as I do -- he seems to spend the night waiting for someone to get up so he can get up too.

Brenda said...

Just to add to Willa's comment, the idea behind TJed is to read with your children in the afternoons. This has increased my reading time by 2 hours every day!

Willa said...

Brenda, I wish you had a blog. What are some things you read to your children?