Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pride and Prejudice Bicentennial Anniversary

The internet has been abuzz with the news of the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Undoubtedly her most famous novel and one whose relevance only seems to increase as time passes, Pride and Prejudice has been firmly established as one of the classics. It's growing popularity in recent years has been helped along by movie adaptation, mini-series, bizarre sequels and retellings (including one that involved zombies). While I'm a purist when it comes to the stories and I refuse to read any of the many "sequels" that contemporary writers have put forth (in my mind it's pure arrogance on the part of any writer to attempt to "finish" the story of Elizabeth and Darcy), I have enjoyed some of the movie adaptations. The BBC version with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle is second to none. In my opinion later film versions have been wanting and the idea of casting Keira Knightly in the role of Elizabeth was unpardonable although there are people in my family who would disagree. Anyway, Jane Austen's ability to create distinct characters who are fully developed, unique, and able to express themselves in entirely different voices is nearly unparalleled. The fact that the world is celebrating this book 200 years after its publication bears witness to the universality of its themes, it's ability to capture human nature and the imagination. So much more than a love story, Austen provides commentary on human ambition, our ability to deceive ourselves, the folly of human pride, social structures, wealth, gender roles, and so much more. Here's some of the fun things that have been popping up in celebration. Enjoy!

Pride and Prejudice Hypertext: wonderfully useful guide to each character and all the ins and outs of the plot.
The peaks and troughs of Darcy and Elizabeth's popularity over time: interesting info-graphic from the Economist.

Pride and Prejudice Movie Roundup: clips and commentary on the four movie versions.

The best covers: an excellent slide show featuring the best cover designs for the various editions of Pride and Prejudice. One has a spelling error, can you spot it?

'A woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper' … Alison Steadman as Mrs Bennet in the 1995 BBC adaptation. Photograph: BBC
Reading Austen to Avoid Becoming Mrs. Bennet: my mom, Rea Berg, wrote a great blog entry on the intolerable Mrs. Bennet.
Brief illustrated version of Pride and Prejudice: in honor of the bicentennial, Jen Sorensen came up with clever version. 

Jane Austen's Regency World: a fun source of information on all things Austen. 

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Monday, January 28, 2013

"Connection and love"

Following the series of blog entries on the American educational system (available here and here), we thought it would be nice to share something much more positive! Below is an entry from Vanessa Hill. You may remember Samantha's great entries on her experience switching from a classical program to BFB this year. Well, Samantha and Vanessa are friends and are both in the midst of their first year using our curriculums. In light of the downfalls of the industrial model of education, we find it so encouraging to see mothers like Samantha and Vanessa standing up and taking a different route. This takes courage, tenacity, time, and diligence and we feel honored to be able to partner with them on this educational journey. Without further ado, here is Vanessa:

I hope this finds you well as I describe my homeschooling experience and the gem I stumbled upon with Beautiful Feet Books. Currently, I am going on my third year of homeschooling with my 10-year-old nephew and 15-year-old daughter. Both of my kids are adopted and come from much heartache and backgrounds of trauma. Homeschooling has been the best thing that has happened to our family. Last year, at one of the Great Homeschool Conventions, I heard Rea Berg speak on the importance of children’s literature and was moved. I then visited her booth and after much discussion, laughter, and insight, I realized that I wanted what she had. Treasured memories and countless deposits of love developed throughout the years by reading rich literature with her children. I was hoping to gain the same. Well, it’s almost been one year of doing two curriculums with two different aged children, and the bonding is unexplainable. First, I feel like my 10 year old finds the details of history so intriguing and his appreciation is expanding so much more. His favorite time of the day is cuddling on the couch and laughing together while we read together. Now, what is happening between my best friend, my daughter and I, has been truly transcending. We read Uncle Tom’s Cabin together and so many emotions surface my heart and soul just thinking about it. The connection of mother and daughter being together and apart, the tears we wept, and the spiritual lessons that were learned were more than I expected. My children, who have learned to deal with real struggle and pain, can correlate their experiences to the hardships of the men and women they are now learning about. I am convinced that history through literature and great children’s literature did wonders for my children who yearned for true connection in their inmost beings. This way helps gear us to just that and I would recommend it to anyone and any family. Thank you Rea and Beautiful Feet for inspiring me and my home to gear towards what really matters….connection and love.
Thank You,
Vanessa Hill

Thank you Vanessa! I love her story because it shows that reading aloud is something that can continue long past the time your children learn to read themselves. Keep making time to read with your older children! It may seem unnecessary or awkward at first but it will be so worth the effort. Sharing the experience of stories like Uncle Tom's Cabin, To Kill a Mockingbird, Shakespeare's plays and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales opens doors of communication that can otherwise remain firmly shut. Sharing great stories together allows bonds to form and trust develop even in wary teenagers who are asserting their independence. Discussing stories together can allow children to develop and express their own opinions as well as encourage compassion and empathy. No, reading together will not solve all the problems you may face with a hormonal teenager, but it will provide a shared experience that may very will encourage communication and, as Vanessa so beautifully states, "connection and love."

For those of you who are interested, Vanessa is currently using our U. S. and World History, Geography Through Literature and our Early American History for primary students.

You may also enjoy these other entries written by homeschooling moms:

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Children as Resources

Today we're continuing with our examination of the compulsory educational model as evaluated in a series of essays from the Front Porch Republic. Today we're looking at the third essay entitled Life Under Compulsion: The Billows Teaching Machine. Just as we have talked before about the industrial model of standardized education, this essay provides a withering critique of a system that views people as resources and bows to the dictates of a tyrannical clock.

Anthony Esolen draws a connection between our school systems (even that phrase connotes a mechanization of learning) and the farcical skit of Charlie Chaplin working in a factory. The effects of a day divided into units of production dehumanizes Chaplin to the point that he becomes a part of the machine, frantically tightening screws even after he's left work. Productivity is the name of the game and the day is divided into segments designed for efficiency but completely devoid of those things that make life worthwhile. There is no "time" for human connection, creativity, affection, making mistakes. Esolen then shows how the industrial model is seen in the divisions of an average school day. Of the current scholastic model, he observes the following:
We are so accustomed to its ways that we can scarcely imagine any alternative.  Children must be segregated by age.  Why?  Is that natural?  Do all children learn the same things at the same time and the same rate?  Uniformity is the product of a machine, not of a living organism, much less the living spiritual being called man.  Children must be hustled from room to room, or from subject to subject, at the ringing of a bell.  Why?  Do all subjects that merit study fit neatly into forty-two minute cubbyholes?  What if a child’s interest in the subject is just then beginning to kindle?  Doesn’t that matter?  What if it just takes longer to read a chapter of Treasure Island?  Should the child have to curtail the reading in mid-event – as if freezing the characters in place?
The end result of such an unquestioning acceptance of the importance of productivity and efficiency is children ruled by a compulsion to hurtle forward without the gift of free time. Imaginations are stunted, curiosity is discouraged, and conformity is the virtue of the day. As I'm reading through these essays and thinking about education it is striking to me how quickly this model became the accepted way of doing things. In the course of human history, this is all relatively new. I've been listening to lectures from Marilynne Robinson, Krista Tippet, Brené Brown, and others and they speak about the process of true learning and the importance of curiosity and how the neglect of these elements has profound consequences. I will be sharing the links to these talks later as they dovetail so perfectly with the essays we are currently reading through. For now, I wanted to mention them because I think we are at the beginning of a movement that is looking at our failed educational models and seeking an alternative. Interestingly enough, most of the inspiration is coming from the past, from historical models that worked for centuries. Esolen goes on to observe the same thing:

Homeschoolers know what I am getting at here.  When Socrates and Phaedrus were sitting under the plane tree on the country road from Athens, no alarm rang on the old man’s watch to tell him it was time to move from moral philosophy to metaphysics.  “Sorry, Phaedrus, but your time is up” – no one can imagine Socrates saying such a thing.  When Jesus sat upon the hillside and taught the crowds, he and they were so taken up into meditation upon the kingdom of God that they lost all sense of time, and soon the sun was setting and – well, unless you are a reader of The New York Times or a graduate of Harvard you know the rest of the story.  When, in Paradise Lost, Adam and Eve are sitting in the cool of the evening, recalling when they first met and praising the goodness of God, Eve expresses a joy that teachers and students should know, but rarely have the chance to know:
     With thee conversing I forget all time,
     All seasons and their change, all please alike.
That was, of course, when people measured their works according to the place of the sun, and the state of the weather; the whole world was their time.  That whole world had not yet been concentrated into the electric clicks of a machine on a wall.
I'm currently reading through Plato's account of Socrates and Phaedrus discussing virtue, ethics, and justice and it's true, these are not subjects that can be taught in 45 minute segments. They are subjects that take exploration, questioning, pondering. And, this also shows the absolute importance of knowing our history. In our modern world of scientific explanation we've valued "fact" over wonder, answers over questions, and correctness over contemplation.

I would love to hear what you think about these essays and their content. Share your experiences in moving towards an educational model that addresses students in a more holistic manner. How do you encourage questioning, contemplation, and wonder? In my experience great books are essential. Curriculums that encourage critical thinking and probing for answers not provided in an answer key is one aspect of our approach at BFB, as is providing outlets for creative expression. What about you?

You may also enjoy:

Education as Legacy

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Compulsory Education

Mt. Zion One Room School House

Anthony Esolen, over at Front Porch Republic, has a series of stimulating essays on education. I've thoroughly enjoyed reading through them and think that you will also find them thought-provoking. The first of the essays sets up his groundwork for the series of six essays on compulsory education and I am working my way through each one. I thought I would share some thoughts from the second essay, "Life Under Compulsion: From Schoolhouse to School Bus".  

In this essay Esolen traces the development of educational institutions from the well-loved one room school house to its modern form. He makes a convincing argument that the element of compulsion has transformed education from an extension of the community to something very different. He begins by describing the schools that once had a place in every small town across the States:
The school looks in part like a home, or a small town hall, or a chapel.  Appropriately so, since it is a public extension of the home, in harmony with the virtues encouraged by the church.  As at home, as in church, children intermingle, the older ones seeing to the younger ones.  There is no unnatural separation by year of birth.  The teacher is hired by the people, for their purposes; he or she is not a member of a cabal intent upon subverting the purposes of their employers.  The school belongs to the people who live there.  It is their free and liberty-making creation.
He argues that these little schools were the products of communities that formed naturally, one might say organically. The education received by children enrolled reflected the values held by the community and prepared students for the lives most of them would go on to live.

The transportation revolution and the introduction of bussing transformed this form of education. School bussing programs allowed schools to consolidate, move away from their immediate communities, and eventually paved the way for the adoption of state mandated curriculum standards. Esolen sees this as a very unnatural development and one that has had devastating effects on the education of our children.

He also sees the movement away from community directed education as one that has disenfranchised parents. The obstacle of distance combined with state and federally mandated curriculums has pushed parents to the sidelines. While there are many schools that welcome parental involvement the system is neither easy to navigate and sometimes downright hostile.

As this movement away from community progressed, it was aided by the advent of "scientifically" based educational models:
But what really killed it [the community school], as it seems to me, was the new “science” of education peddled at the teachers’ colleges.  It hardly matters what that “science” would decree.  It might have, in a Dewey-less world, decreed a classical education for everyone; that would have been superior to the flattening pseudo-democratic education it did decree, but it still would have carried the bacilli of compulsion.  The point is that teachers, usually of modest intellectual attainments, came to feel themselves armed with “science,” as against the “prejudices” of their employers the parents, whom it was their sacred duty to oppose, if need be.  Hence came the wave upon wave of educational “innovation,” all impossible without the precondition of compulsion.  No smart-aleck teacher, alone in a small schoolhouse, would have dared to introduce anything so staggeringly stupid as the basal reader or the New Math (that is, Set Theory for little children) or the replacement of history with current events or the wholesale ditching of geography or the introduction of modish obscenity in English classes. . .without being fired – after having had to face the withering scorn of the employers, the parents, some of whom, for keenness of intellect, could no doubt have used that teacher to mop the floor. 
Isn't that interesting? I will be going through the other essays over the next weeks and hope you find them interesting. As people who have stood in the face of these trends and have fought for your right to educate your own children, I think you will find the series interesting. If you want to read the series click on the hyperlinks above and you will be able to find links to all the essays.

You may also enjoy:

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Wednesday, January 09, 2013

An Education in Classics

Are you all familiar with the Harvard Classics? It's also known as "Dr. Eliot's Five Foot Shelf" and is the result of several speeches given by the aforementioned Dr. Eliot, the president of Harvard University from 1869-1909. Apparently Dr. Eliot had stated in several speeches that it was possible to obtain an education in the elements of classics by reading for fifteen minutes each day from a collection of books that would fit on a five foot shelf. How clever is that? 

A publishing company took notice and soon Dr. Eliot was working on compiling that five foot bookshelf! The collection came to be known as The Harvard Classics and the originals are highly collectible. Thankfully for those of us who don't have $2500.00 to plunk down for one of the beautifully bound sets from 1910, many of these works are now available as inexpensive paperbacks, free downloads, and of course, you can always check them out from the library. 

At BFB we love the classics and take the opportunity to incorporate them into our history curriculums. Beowulf takes its place in our Medieval History Through Literature, along with The Song of Roland, Canterbury Tales and many other great works of the medieval times. Students using our Ancient History Through Literature are introduced to the writings of Homer and the ideas of Aristotle. The classics, those books that have stood the test of time, are essential parts of a well-rounded education. 

For those of you who are curious as to what makes up this five foot book shelf, here's the list of works. I would love to reach a point in my literary pursuits when I will have read each and every piece. Maybe taking that 15 minute per day challenge is something I should consider? Have you read any of these works? All of them? Would you be interested in spending 15 minutes each day in pursuit of a liberal arts education? Since this collection was assembled at the beginning of the 20th century many books considered "modern classics" are missing. Many of the selections also represent a world view firmly steeped in western culture and a growing faith in the ability of science to explain all. What do you think of this? Would you add books to provide more balance? What books would you add?

Volume 1
Benjamin Franklin: "His Autobiography"
John Woolman: "The Journal of John Woolman"
William Penn: "Some Fruits of Solitude, In Reflections and Maxims, Part I" and "More Fruits of Solitude, Being the Second Part of Reflections and Maxims."

Volume 2
Plato: "The Apology", "Phaedo", "Crito"
Epictetus: "The Golden Sayings of Epictetus"
Marcus Aurelius: "The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius"

Volume 3
Francis Bacon: "Essays or Counsels - Civil and Moral" (59 essays in all), "The New Atlantis"
John Milton's Prose: "Areopagitica", "Tractate on Education"
Thomas Browne: "Religio Medici"

Volume 4
The Complete Poems in English, John Milton. Includes all his poems, also "Paradise Lost" and "Paradise Regained".

Volume 5
Ralph Waldo Emerson -- Essays: "The American Scholar", "An Address", "Man the Reformer", "Self-Reliance", "Compensation", "Friendship", "Heroism", "The Over-Soul", "Circles", "The Poet", "Character", "Manners", "Gifts", "Nature", "Politics", "New England Reformers", "Worship", "Beauty".
Also includes Emerson's "English Traits".

Volume 6
Poems and Songs, Robert Burns (Includes Poems with Scottish words / spellings.)

Volume 7
"The Confessions" of St. Augustine and "The Imitation of Christ" by Thomas A. Kempis

Volume 8
Nine Greek Dramas:
"The House of Atreus" Trilogy by Aeschylus: "Agamemnon", "The Libation-Bearers" and "The Furies".
"Prometheus Bound" by Aeschylus
"Oedipus the King" by Sophocles
"Antigone" by Sophocles
"Hippolytus" by Euripides
"The Bacchae" by Euripides
"The Frogs" by Aristophanes

Volume 9
Letters and Treatises of Cicero and Pliny
Cicero: "On Friendship", "On Old Age", "Letters"
Pliny: "Letters"

Volume 10
"Wealth of Nations" by Adam Smith

Volume 11
"Origin of Species", by Charles Darwin

Volume 12
Plutarch's Lives; "Themistocles", "Pericles", "Aristides", "Alcibiades", "Coriolanus", "Comparison of Alcibiades with Coriolanus", "Demosthenes", "Cicero", "Comparision of Demosthense and Cicero", "Caesar", "(Mark) Antony".

Volume 13
"The Aeneid", by Virgil

Volume 14
"Don Quixote, Part I", Miguel Cervantes

Volume 15
"Pilgrim's Progress", by John Bunyan
"The Lives of Donne and George Herbert", by Izaak Walton

Volume 16
"The Thousand and One Nights"

Volume 17
Folk Lore and Fable,
Aesop: (82 fables)
Grimm: (41 fairy tales)
Andersen: (20 fairy tales)

Volume 18
Modern English Drama
"All for Love, or, The World Well Lost", by John Dryden
"The School for Scandal", by Richard Brinsley Sheridan
"She Stoops to Conquer", by David Garrick
"The Cenci", by Percy Bysshe Shelley
"A Blot on the 'Scutcheon", by Robert Browning
"Manfried", by Lord Byron

Volume 19
"Faust Part I", "Egmont", "Hermann and Dorothea", by Goethe
"Doctor Faustus", by Christopher Marlowe

Volume 20
"The Divine Comedy" Dante

Volume 21
"I Promessi Sposi", Manzoni

Volume 22
"The Odyssey", by Homer

Volume 23
"Two Years Before the Mast", Dana

Volume 24
Writings of Edmund Burke: "On Taste", "On the Sublime and the Beautiful", "Reflections of the French Revolution", "A Letter to a Noble Lord"

Volume 25
J.S. Mill: "Autobiography of John Stuart Mill", "On Liberty"
Thomas Carlyle: "Characteristics", "Inaugural Address at Edinburgh", "Sir Walter Scott"

Volume 26
Continental Drama
"Life is a Dream", Pedro Calderon de la Barca
"Polyeucte", Pierre Corneille
"Phaedra", Jean Baptiste Racine
"Tartuffe, or the Hypocrite", Jean Baptiste Molière
"Minna von Barnhelm, or The Soldier's Fortune", Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
"William Tell", Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller

Volume 27
English Essays
"The Defence of Poesy", Sir Philip Sidney
"On Shakespeare", "On Bacon", Ben Johnson
"Of Agriculture" Abraham Cowley
"The Vision of Mirza", "Westminster Abbey", Joseph Addison
"The Spectator Club", Sir Richard Steele
"Hints Towards an Essay on Conversation", "A Treatise on Good Manners and Breeding", "A Letter of Advice to a Young Poet", "On the Death of Esther Johnson (Stella)", Jonathan Swift
"The Shortest-Way with the Dissenters", "The Education of Women", Daniel Defoe
"Life of Addison, 1672-1719", Samuel Johnson
"On the Standard of Taste", David Hume
"Fallacies of Anti-Reformers", Sydney Smith
"On Poesy or Art", Samuel Taylor Coleridge
"Of Persons One Would Wish to Have Seen", William Hazlitt
"Deaths of Little Children", "On the Realities of Imagination", Leigh Hunt
"On the Tragedies of Shakespeare", Charles Lamb
"Levana and Our Ladies of Sorrow", Thomas de Quincey
"A Defence of Poetry", Percy Bysshe Shelley
"Machiavelli", Thomas Babington Macaulay

Volume 28
Essays, English and American
"The Idea of a University", John Henry Newman
"The Study of Poetry", Matthew Arnold
"Sesame and Lilies: Lecture I. Sesame, of King's Treasuries. Lecture II. Lilies, Of Queen's Gardens", John Ruskin
"John Milton", Walter Bagehot
"Science and Culture", Thomas Henry Huxley
"Truth of Intercourse", "Samuel Pepys", Robert Louis Stevenson
"On the Elevation of the Labouring Classes", William Ellery Channing
"The Poetic Principle", Edgar Allan Poe
"Walking", Henry David Thoreau
"Abraham Lincoln", "Democracy", James Russell Lowell

Volume 29
"Voyage of the Beagle", Darwin

Volume 30
Scientific Papers; Physics,Chemistry, Astronomy, Geology
"The Forces of Matter", The Chemical History of a Candle", Michael Faraday
"On the Conversation of Force", "Ice and Glaciers", Hermann von Helmholtz
"The Wave Theory of Light", "The Tides", Sir William Thomson
"The Extent of the Universe", Simon Newcomb
"Geographical Evolution", Sir Archibald Geike

Volume 31
"Autobiography", by Benvenuto Cellini

Volume 32
"That We Should Not Judge of Our Happiness Until After Our Death", "That to Philosophise is to Learne How to Die", "Of the Institution and Education of Children", "Of Friendship", "Of Bookes", Montaigne
"Montaigne", "What is a Classic?", Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve
"The Poetry of the Celtic Races", Ernst Renan
"The Education of the Human Race", Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
"Letters Upon the Aesthetic Education of Man", Schiller
"Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals", "Transition from Popular Moral Philosophy to the Metaphysic", Immanuel Kant
"Byron and Goethe", Giuseppe Mazzini

Volume 33
Voyages and Travels
"An Account of Egypt", Herodotus
"Germany", Tacitus
"Sir Francis Drake Revived", Sir Francis Drake
"Sir Francis Drake's Famous Voyage Around the World", Francis Pretty
"Drake's Great Armada", Cpt. Walter Bigges
"Sir Humphrey Gilbert's Voyage to Newfoundland", Edward Haies
"The Discovery of Guiana", Sir Walter Raleigh

Volume 34
"Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting the Reason and Seeking the Truth in the Sciences," René Descartes,
"Letters on the English", Voltaire
"A Discourse Upon the Origin and the Foundation of the Inequality Among Mankind", J.J. Rousseau
"Of Man, Being the First Part of Leviathan", Thomas Hobbes

Volume 35
"The Campaign of Crecy", "The Battle of Poitiers", "Wat Tyler's Rebellion", "The Battle of Otterburn", from the Chronicles of Froissart
"The Holy Grail", from the Caxton Edition of "The Morte d'Arthur" by Sir Thomas Malory
"A Description of Elizabethan England Written by William Harrison for Holinshed's Chronicles", Holinshed

Volume 36
"The Prince", Machiavelli
"The Life of Sir Thomas More", William Roper
"Utopia", Sir Thomas More
"Ninety-five Theses", "Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation Respecting the Reformation of the Christian Estate", "Concerning Christian Liberty", Martin Luther

Volume 37
"Some Thoughts Concerning Education", John Locke
"Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous in Opposition to Sceptics and Atheists", George Berkeley,
"An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding", David Hume

Volume 38
"The Oath of Hippocrates", "The Law of Hippocrates", Hippocrate
"Journeys in Diverse Places", Ambroise Paré
"On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals", "William Harvey", William Harvey
"The Three Original Publications on Vaccination Against Smallpox", Edward Jenner
"The Contagiousness of Puerperal Fever", O.W. Holmes
"On the Antiseptic Principle of the Practise of Surgery", Lord Lister
"The Physiological Theory of Fermentation", "The Germ Theory and its Application to Medicine and Surgery", "On the Extension of the the Germ Theory to the Etiology of Certain Common Diseases", Louis Pasteur
"Prejudices which have Retard the Progress of Geology",
"Uniformity in the Series of Past Changes in the Animate and Inanimate World", Sir Charles Lyell

Volume 39
Famous Prefaces
"Title, Prologue and Epilogues to the Recuyell of the Histories of Troy", "Epilogue to Dictes and Saying of the Philosophers", Prologue to Golden Legend", "Prologue to Caton", "Epilogue to Aesop", "Proem to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales", "Prologue to Malory's King Arthur", "Prologue to Virgil's Eneydos", William Caxton
"Dedication to the Institutes of the Christian Religion", John Calvin
"Dedication of the Revolutions of the Heavenly Bodies", Nicolaus Copernicus
"Preface to the History of the Reformation in Scotland", John Knox
"Prefatory Letter to Sir Walter Raleigh on the Faerie Queen", Edmund Spenser
"Preface to the History of the World", Sir Walter Raleigh
"Proemium, Epistle, Dedicatory, Preface, and Plan of the Insturatio Magna, Etc.", "Preface to the Novum Organum", Francis Bacon
"Preface to the First Folio Edition of Shakespeare's Plays", Heminge and Condell
"Preface to the Philosophiae Naturalis Principa Mathematica", Sir Isaac Newton
"Preface to Fables, Ancient and Modern", John Dryden
"Preface to Joseph Andrews", Henry Fielding
"Preface to the English Dictionary", "Preface to Shakespeare", Samuel Johnson
"Introduction to the Propylaen", J.W. von Goethe
"Prefaces to Various Volumes of Poems", "Appendix to Lyrical Ballads", "Essay Supplementary to Preface", William Wordsworth
"Preface to Cromwell", Victor Hugo
"Preface to Leaves of Grass", Walt Whitman
"Introduction to the History of English Literature", H.A. Taine

Volume 40
Selections of English Poetry 1
Chaucer to Gray

Volume 41
English Poetry 2
Collins to Fitzgerald

Volume 42
English Poetry 3
Tennyson to Whitman

Volume 43
American Historical Documents
"The Voyages to Vinland (c. 1000)"
"The Letter of Columbus to Luis de Saint Angel Announcing His Discovery (1493)"
"Amerigo Vespucci's Account of His First Voyage (1497)"
"John Cabot's Discovery of North America (1497)"
"First Charter of Virginia (1606)"
"The Mayflower Compact (1620)"
"The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut (1639)"
"The Massachusetts Body of Liberties (1641)"
"Arbitrary Government Described and the Government of the Massachusetts Vindicated from that Apersion, by John Winthrop (1644)"
"The Instrument of Government (1653)"
"A Healing Question, by Sir Henry Vane (1656)"
"John Eliot's Brief Narrative (1670)"
"Declaration of Rights (1756)"
"The Declaration of Independence (1776)"
"Articles of Confederation (1777)"
"Articles of Capitulation, Yorktown (1781)"
"Treaty with Great Britain (1783)"
"Constitution of the United States (1787)"
"The Federalist, Nos. 1 and 2" (1787)"
"Opinion of Chief Justice Marshall, in the Case of McCulloch vs. The State of Maryland (1819)"
"Washington's First Inaugural Address (1789)"
"Treaty with the Six Nations (1794)"
"Washington's Farewell Address (1796)"
"Treaty with France, Louisiana Purchase (1803)"
"Treaty with Great Britain, End of War of 1812 (1814)"
"Arrangement as to the Naval Force to be Respectively Maintained on the American Lakes (1817)"
"Treaty with Spain, Acquisition of Florida (1842)"
"The Monroe Doctrine (1823)"
"Webster-Ashburn Treaty with Great Britain (1842)"
"Treaty with Mexico (1848)"
"Fugitive Slave Act (1850)"
"Lincoln's First Inaugural Address (1861)"
"Emancipation Proclamation (1863)"
"Haskell's Account of the Battle of Gettysburg"
"Lincoln's Gettysburg Address (1863)"
"Proclamation of Amnesty (1863)"
"Lincoln's Letter to Mrs. Bixby (1864)"
"Terms of Lee's Surrender at Appomattox (1865)"
"Lee's Farewell to his Army (1865)"
"Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address (1865)"
"Proclamation Declaring the Insurrection at and End (1866)"
"Treaty with Russia, Alaska Purchase (1867)"
"Annexation of the Hawaiian Islands (1898)"
"Recognition of the Independence of Cub (1898)"
"Treaty with Spain, Cession of Puerto Rico and the Philippines (1898)"
"Convention between the United States and the Republic of Panama, (1904)"

Volume 44
Sacred Writings 1
Confucian; The Sayings of Confucius
Hebrew: The Book of Job, The Book of Psalms, Ecclesiastes; or The Preacher
Christian: Luke's Gospel, The Acts of the Apostles

Volume 45
Sacred Writings 2
Christian: First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, Second Epistle to the Corinthians, Hymns of the Christian Church
Buddist: Buddist writings
Hindu: The Bhagavad-Gita, or Song Celestial
Mohammedan: Chapters from the Koran

Volume 46
Elizabethan Drama 1
"Edward the Second", Christopher Marlowe
"Hamlet", "King Lear", "Macbeth", "The Tempest", Shakespeare

Volume 47
Elizabethan Drama 2
"The Shoemaker's Holiday", Thomas Dekker
"The Alchemist", Ben Johnson
"Philaster", Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher
"The Duchess of Malfi", John Webster
"A New Way to Pay Old Debts", Philip Massinger

Volume 48
"Thoughts", "Letters", "Minor Works", Pascal

Volume 49
Epic and Saga
"The Song of Roland"
"The Destruction of Dá Derga's Hostel"
"The Story of the Volsungs and Niblungs"
"Songs from the Elder Edda"

Monday, January 07, 2013

E-books on the decline

We've talked about the emergence of e-books and you all chimed in. Most of you said that you really didn't think there was any sort of substitute to the real paper-and-ink book. And apparently most people agree with you!

Here's a great article on the diminishing market share of e-readers.
Don't Burn Your Books–Print Is Here To Stay

College Applications for Home Schooled Students

In a sign that home schooling is becoming increasingly mainstream, New York Magazine has launched a special section on their website for urban home educators. It's called The Everything Guide to Urban Home Schooling.  I think home schoolers in the NYC area will find it helpful and for those going to visit the city, you may want to check it out for field trip ideas.

One of the most helpful articles I found was from the director of Harvard's admissions department. She clearly states that colleges no longer look with suspicion on students taught at home and also emphasizes the importance of good record keeping. When I applied to colleges fifteen years ago, most of the schools I contacted said the same thing. Home schooling was not an obstacle to be overcome, in fact, many colleges look favorably on home schoolers. Of course, the application process is a bit more difficult than it would be for a mainstream student as colleges generally require more documentation of classes taken and grades earned along with proof of extracurriculars. This is not insurmountable but it is worth considering whenever a home schooled student begins high school. Record keeping is essential if college is the goal.

Another article from The Everything Guide to Urban Home Schooling that I enjoyed was Meet a Homeschooling Family. Here the reader is introduced to five families who have made the decision to keep their children home for a variety of reasons. I think you'll find it interesting.

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Education as Legacy

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