• books,  culture,  education

    The Meaning of Reading

    Nicholas Carr’s book The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains includes the following: Theuth describes the art of writing to Thamus and argues that the Egyptians should be allowed to share in its blessings. It will, he says, “make the people of Egypt wiser and improve their memories,” for it “provides a recipe for memory and wisdom.” Thamus disagrees. He reminds the god that an inventor is not the most reliable judge of the value of his creation: “O man full of arts, to one is it given to create the things of art, and to another to judge what measure of harm and of profit they…

  • education,  homeschooling

    Reflections on education, inspired by a book on Ancient Rome

     A few weeks ago I was reading the book Education in Ancient Rome, by Stanley F Bonner, and finding it interesting not just as a picture of what life was like for young Romans but also for the question of what it means to be educated. What kind of education is important? Speech was very important to the upper class Ancient Romans so their education emphasized it. Does public speaking matter much now? Possibly more because what we say can so easily be captured and preserved on video. However, the Ancient Romans weren’t just concerned with having enough courage to speak clearly in front of a crowd but also with how to…

  • education,  homeschooling,  mathematics,  religion,  science

    science, math and religion, or how do you know what you know?

    This morning my kids and I read a short book called Maybe Yes, Maybe No, a skeptics guide for kids. It goes through a story of a little girl being told that there are ghosts in a friend’s house, and her figuring out what the ghosts really were. Then it talks about other strange things people believe, and some rules of science such as finding ways to test things, repeating the test, being honest, etc. My six year old’s big disappointment about the book was that it doesn’t tell him where to find ideas about things to test. He was almost crying about it. He said he wanted to do real…

  • education,  history,  meaning of life

    situated within history

    Today I am thinking about the places that inspire me. I am thinking about Arcadia Village, and about Victoria Settlement. I am thinking about the ornamental and vegetable garden at the Botanical Gardens in Montreal, and how I was drawn to it despite it being one of the plainer uglier parts of the garden because I found it inspiration to think of people historically cultivating a much wider collection of the plants than most gardeners today, and with more of a dependency upon those plants. I am thinking of libraries filled with books, a recording of thoughts past, a source of knowledge. I’m thinking about why these places inspire me. I’m thinking…