Saturday, September 06, 2008


Since I'm still having trouble putting two thoughts together in writing -- a combination of starting the school year, plus a mild case of the blues, plus trying to catch up on political issues in time for November, plus some kind of blog identity crisis -- I thought I would try to just start writing and see what happened. You know what happened last time. But maybe this time it will go better.

(and Lissla? I am going to email probably tomorrow! Just in case you don't read through all this!)

Some links:

On the Necessity of Long Sentences
from Quiddity. It reminded me of what Mary Daly says about diagramming sentences. She says more in her Whole Book of Diagrams. ... to the effect that most people nowadays aren't able to read sentences with clauses or sentences with more than 12 words, because we have not grown up either learning Latin OR reading the kind of syntactically complex vernacular prose (and poetry) of earlier centuries. Dr Vavra says something similar. Syntax is essentially logic. The object of teaching grammar is teaching understanding. Textbooks, for instance, often use extremely simple syntax in order to get content across; I forget where I read it, but it is possible that this defeats the purpose by emphasizing content at the expense of the more sophisticated thinking frameworks that are encouraged by more sophisticated sentence structures.

Morningside Family on Cradles of Eminence. I am reading this right now after getting the title from Laura's blog so it's nice to follow her thoughts on it as I read. I don't know if I'll be able to finish the book before I have to give it back to the library. I keep reading a bit and then stopping to think, and as you see above, thinking is not going particularly well right now. So I may have to re-request it some time in the future to read the rest.

Educational Apples and Oranges -- from The Common Room. Since my 15 year old is going to school this year -- the first family school experience (besides college) since my oldest three went to parochial school way back in their primary years, I have a chance to compare bit by bit. Conclusion? it's just different. The way they do things is of necessity different from the way we do things, and vice versa. My son's school does welcome parental involvement, but it has to be a different sort of involvement than what we take for granted in the homeschool.

Dawdling and Dreaming as Educational Pursuits -- and maybe this helps explain why homeschooling is different. When a kid gets on the schoolbus just after 7 am, comes home on the late bus at 6 pm and still has homework to do, there is just not that much time for notable educational pursuits in the dawdling and dreaming department. I managed to accomplish these two D's while occupying space in a school building, though -- you can do it if you're determined enough ;-).

Actually, this goes back a bit to what Laura wrote about Cradles of Eminence. One notable trait in the eminent people, besides their often strong and determinedly unconventional families, was their lack of success in conventional education. You all know how Edison was called a dunce and how Einstein did poorly in his schools. The list can be multiplied. Schools can apparently play a toughening-by-adversity role though. People are stronger than the constrictions in their lives. The worst kind of servitude is mental, I guess -- like the story of the elephants I read in a recent book, that can be held in one place by a slender rope on a stake. So maybe those daydreaming, under-achieving kids in school, or even the kid balking a bit against the homeschool routine, are helping themselves developmentally in a way hard to reproduce by any other means.

Finally, Harmony Art Mom, a blog I just found because of Katie at CM, Children and Lots of Grace, has a post on Albert Bierstadt: My Painter of Light. I don't think I can make it connect to anything else in this post, but I totally agree with her take on Bierstadt. My daughter does too. We live in the area that Bierstadt often painted, and it really REALLY does look like that sometimes.

1 comment:

Laura A said...

I like that about the long sentences. I'm another one who tends to write with multiple parenthetical interpolations.

I think that reading Cradles of Eminence in itself can give a person a case of the blues, especially in some of the more dysfunctional chapters. I experienced that both times I read it. So, don't be embarrassed to give it a rest for emotional recovery purposes.

Like you, I managed to do a lot of daydreaming in school, and a lot of learning on my own after school. But I do think that by the time I graduated, I had some elephant-like tendencies that it took a long time to unlearn.

Is the hardship of school a good thing? I think that's what people mean when they say, "I went to school and I turned out just fine." They are remembering that they overcame some kind of adversity there. That might be good in some cases, but what makes one person, breaks another, and besides, my husband is given to responding, "The fact that you think you turned out okay only confirms my point quite well." (How he gets away with this, I don't know.) At any rate, I think that in the case of these future-eminent children, the mold was set before they ever started school.