[FoRK] Humanities...

Corinna < corinna.schultz at gmail.com > on > Fri Jun 9 21:23:10 PDT 2006

[Sorry about the formatting. Gmane doesn't have 
a nice posting UI]

> How could you find Moby Dick dull?  

I think I never really got "into" his use of 
language and his style. One problem
I've always had with "literature" is that it's 
old, and so the language is hard
to enter into (for me). HG Wells, and Doyle 
(and Borroughs, but he doesn't count
as literature) are probably the most accessible 
(and exciting, and sci-fi-ish),
and that's what I chose to read as a kid. 

In school, I really only enjoyed the more 
modern stuff, probably because of the
use of language - Demian, for instance, 
and Grendel, really stand out in my memory.

I find Thomas Jefferson difficult to follow, 
for instance, and Darwin, too.

On a slightly related note, I have a hard 
time seeing value in Shakespeare and
most poetry (Shel silverstein is pretty 
good, though, as is Edward Lear :D ) 
 
>> On a more serious note, I think that it's my responsibility 
>> to myself and my kids to at least gain a basic education in 
>> the humanities at this point.
> 
> Why?  It's your responsibility to expose them to the humanities, 
> literature, math, and all the other creations of man.  You only need 
> enough education in those fields to direct them to the people or books 
> where they can find their own answers.

That's kinda what I mean when I say "basic 
education"! (Yes, my education in
literature is sadly lacking) More to 
the point, though, I feel like I should be
able to talk about most things they would 
reading about (at least be familiar
enough to be able to discuss major themes, 
and so forth). And also to say, if
you liked this, try X. Or wait a couple 
of years before you read Y because it's
a bit heavy for you right now.  As 
homeschoolers, the responsibility is a bit
heavier I think (compared to ordinary kids 
who will get assigned readings), at
least until they're old enough to know how 
to seek things out for themselves.

To be honest, my thinking on humanities 
education in general isn't as developed
as my thinking in math, science, and writing, 
because early education mostly
deals with core competencies, and because 
my own interests are geared towards
logical areas. My husband has a much stronger 
interest in the humanities, and a
better education in that regard too.

My son is almost 9 (daughter almost 6), and 
over the last few months, the
bedtime reading has been getting more 
literary (Treasure Island, Moby Dick -
abridged, Hound of the Baskervilles, War of 
the Worlds, Tom Swift) in order to
expose them to things they might not 
choose to read for themselves. 

> Read whatever interests you, 

It hard to tell what might be interesting. 
Like Lawrence -- I'm still not sure
if it's interesting, but I'm giving it a 
shot.  I was pleasantly surprised to
find I liked Kipling's stories - I didn't 
expect such depth from the Jungle
Books (and his other stories, notably, Baa 
Baa Black Sheep). A couple of years
ago I read the autobiography of Artie Shaw,
and was surprised at how moving it
was, and how intelligent he was, too.

I've been reading children's books, too, in 
order to steer my kids' selections
at the library towards higher quality works 
(not just mystery stories!).

Recently, I picked up a book on what birds 
and other small creatures do in
winter, and it's really fascinating; a book 
of collected period writings
concerning the South in the years surrounding 
the Civil War; also a book called
"Nature through a knothole" - each time you 
turn a page, there's a photo, and on
the opposite page there's some kind of 
musing related to the photo in some way.
It's been a great book to sit down with a 
glass of wine... or a kid in my lap,
as the case may be!

This is what they mean by "lifelong learning", 
I suppose.

-Corinna


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