Friday, September 28, 2007

MIT Entrance Examination, 1869-70: Exhibits: : Institute Archives & Special Collections: MIT

MIT Entrance Examination, 1869-70: Exhibits: : Institute Archives & Special Collections: MIT

This is pretty cool and fairly tough. These are scans of the test questions and are not for the faint of brain.

If you are homeschooling it is a glimpse into what was important to people then and that is important to know. It is a way to think about how you might want to test your own children and see what is important to you.

I wonder if the tests actually got them the poeple they were looking fo or someone else. These tests are there to exclude people. But were they the right ones to exclude?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

TCS Daily - CEOs Learning About Education

TCS Daily - CEOs Learning About Education: "They also recognize that restrictions induced by the federal No Child Left Behind act 'have made it more difficult for high schools to take a radically different approach to curriculum and instruction.' In other words, the autonomy required for the replication of successful enterprises is currently stifled by central planning."

It is amazing how some well meaning group can spend so much money to learn something that a million+ people figured out without spending any money at all.

The school system is tied up in its own red tape and cannot change. The administrators are going to do everything in their power to protect their jobs, that is natural. Everyone wants to protect their income and therefore their family.

We, the people, just need to make it painful enough for them to make it in their interest to change. But that doesn;t help our children so we homeschool.

We've been officaially homeschooling for a couple of weeks now and she is generally quite excited about schooltime. Not always but then she is 5 and that is okay we toss plan A and pull out plan B and see what she would like to do and add some material to it to make it more educational.

It is the full Moon right now and we were driving around and she mentioned that the Moon was following us. I explained why it looked that way. And so it goes.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Significant Literature

The article linked above (from hatrack) really hammers home something I ran across before, that modern literature doesn't seem to do any heavy thinking any more. I've noticed in school that a lot of the books I read in my English classes where rather meaningless. They didn't really go anywhere and didn't do anything or have anything to say at the end of the trip. Finishing the book was like finishing a sit-com, that was a waste of my time.

I've long been a fan of sci-fi and fantasy and now Harry Potter. They tended to wrestle with hard problems come out with something that may or may not work.

Almost everyone ignores or disdains those genres, and that is okay by me. It's really for the best. What they don't know can't challenge their mindset.

The thing is I remember when Star Wars came out. I saw it 9 times and drove my parents crazy about it. They see what they believe is everything that it is about. A space shoot-em-up and rescue the princess story. Eventually it made its way through the Iron Curtain, and the censors saw the same things: a nice safe space western, no threat to the Party. Talking to my cousins after they'd seen it, they saw what I saw, the little guy can make a difference and destroy the empire. I might not be the Luke but I can be the Biggs that let's Luke get his shot off.

People see what they expect to see. There was someone railing against Harry Potter because it isn't Christian because it is set after the ministry Christ and doesn't talk about it, while The Lord of the Rings is okay since it is set before. That just made my head spin and I had to stop reading, it made no sense to me whatsoever.

If you want to write something that is going to do some serious thinking forget about trying to get into traditional literature, you have to go into the children's or fantasy genres to do it. Pixar is doing the same thing very well. The Incredibles taught that happiness is found through honesty to ourselves and families. Cars; there is more to life then work, and Ratatouille explores loyalty to self, family and friends. Much deeper then the comedies they appear to be.