Friday, January 09, 2009

Post Roundup #3


Richard Wilbur, Orchard Trees, January (at Laudator Temporis Actis)

It's not the case, though some might wish it so
Who from a window watch the blizzard blow

White riot through their branches vague and stark,
That they keep snug beneath their pelted bark.

They take affliction in until it jells
To crystal ice between their frozen cells,

And each of them is inwardly a vault
Of jewels rigorous and free of fault,

Unglimpsed until in May it gently bears
A sudden crop of green-pronged solitaires.


Young bright dyslexics need to learn that they are late bloomers - and that once they bloom, they will be able to achieve at high levels in diverse creative occupations. The gloomiest time for dyslexics will be their elementary school and middle school years. In high school, college, and graduate school if they choose it, work will become easier and successes more common.
SWOT stands for:
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Opportunities
  • Threats

Surrounding young children – yea, students of all ages - with metaphors in literature, poetry and life develops children’s ability to express the imagination that God has given them. It also cultivates the skills they need to make sense of the abstract nature of truth and reality and enables them to communicate poetically and appropriately.

The recent book by Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers, examines an array of factors that allows people to excel. As he points out, often arbitrary external discontinuities create conditions for success that have nothing to do with absolute potential for success.

For example, looking at highly successful hockey players, you find they are almost all born within a few months of each other – and this has been true for many years. There’s not something magical in the angle of the sun – rather, it’s tied to arbitrary cut-off dates for ages in various leagues, which automatically give an advantage to those kids who are bigger, i.e., older, at the point where that arbitrary cut-off applies. These kids then do better in their first year as tots, which gets them into better next-year programs, and so forth – the cycle of reinforcement of an arbitrary environmental variable early on ends up restricting who becomes a great hockey player...

.Our educational system needs more options – a continuum of environments in which all kids can find themselves as challenged as they can stand it (wherever that level is for each child), and which support the hard work over many years that is the only route to mastery.


  • Colic-- Starry Sky Ranch -- beautiful reflection on "babydance", quoting from an old book:

...recollect what you learned about pain during labor.....Apply these insights to helping your baby. With one major difference: your baby perceives the feeling of others more directly than you did during labor.
(I'm not expecting a baby or anything, but this all rang true to me in mothering through the needy times when a baby is most vulnerable)

  • About 52 Books, by St Theophan Academy -- I'm trying to decide if I should do this???

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