Middle School Reading Lists 100 Years Ago vs. Today | The Federalist Papers

This is sad. ~ The Federalist Papers

Source: Middle School Reading Lists 100 Years Ago vs. Today | The Federalist Papers

I agree with The Federalist Papers. Here are some quotes from the post:

One of the striking features of the Edina list is how recent the titles are. Many of the selections were published in the 21st century. In fact, only four of the selections are more than 20 years old. In comparison, over half of the titles on the first list were at least 20 years old in 1908, with many of them averaging between 50 to 100 years old.

Older is not necessarily better, but the books on the first list suggest that schools of the past were more likely to give their students time-tested, classic literature, rather than books whose popularity may happen to be a passing fad…

A second striking difference between the two book lists are the themes they explore. The first is full of historical references and settings which stretch from ancient Greece (Tanglewood Tales) to the Middle Ages (Harold, Last of Saxon Kings) to the founding of America (Courtship of Miles Standish). Through highly recognized authors such as Longfellow, Stevenson, Kipling, and Dickens, these titles introduce children to a vast array of themes crucial to understanding the foundations upon which America and western civilization were built…

It’s good for children to understand the world in which they live, but as with any area in life, you can have too much of a good thing. A continual focus on modern literature narrows the lens through which children can view and interpret the world. Would it not be better to broaden their horizons and expose them to a balance of both old and new literature?

Click through the link and read on for more.

Two thoughts brought to mind by the above:

and this:

Indeed.

5 Steps To Raising A Viking Child

Here are five steps to help you raise your own little Viking, Scandinavian-style, through outdoor play.

Source: 5 Steps To Raising A Viking Child

Sweden has gotten a bit of a bad rap (not entirely without justification) recently, in some quarters, for bringing a butt-load (*) of misery on itself by its misguided and excessively lenient immigration policies. Or perhaps one should say, by adopting, rather than resisting, ones foisted on it by the EU, and doing so with rather more enthusiasm than was wise…

(* … a medieval reference to a large wine-cask, not a derriere)

But there are some things that Sweden has done, and is continuing to do, very well, and this is one of them! As this article points out,

“In Sweden, 80% of children between the ages of one to five years, attend Swedish daycare which promotes play, napping and eating meals outdoors. There are also some preschools that have no physical building as all of their learning occurs outdoors—in nature’s classroom…

“Outdoor play offers not only physical benefits like increased balance, endurance, and hand-eye coordination but has also shown to improve cognitive and social/emotional development. When outdoors, children are more likely to invent games and understand why rules are necessary — something that does not happen when playing a pre-programmed game on a tablet or the computer.”

Follow the link to discover the “five steps to help you raise your own little Viking through outdoor play“!

Those ‘Snowflakes’ Have Chilling Effects Even Beyond the Campus – WSJ

Academic intolerance is the product of ideological aggression, not a psychological disorder.

Source: Those ‘Snowflakes’ Have Chilling Effects Even Beyond the Campus – WSJ

I have commented previously that when you have students rioting to prevent a gay Jewish man from speaking on campus, one is forced to question exactly who are the “Nazis” and the “fascists” (and clearly I am not the only one who feels that way).

But it is not just Milo Yiannopoulos, whose flamboyant attitude and provocative, often controversial, lifestyle make him (not without justification) a lightning rod for criticism. But any and all conservative commentators are meeting increased agitation and resistance if they dare to step onto today’s college and university campuses.

And even some who are not, themselves, conservative at all: one thinks, for example, of Professor Allison Stanger of Middlebury College in Vermont, who ended up in the emergency room after protests against controversial American Enterprise Institute scholar Charles Murray – invited to campus for a presentation Professor Stanger had agreed to moderate, out of her belief in fairness and the free exchange of ideas – turned violent.

But while this incident was sufficiently troubling to cause even some left-leaning academics to examine both their own assumptions and the actions of some of their fellow-travelers, it was not unique. Unfortunately, exposure to ideas with which one may not agree – once a staple of higher education – is being actively protested and suppressed in all too many colleges and universities: at least, if those ideas come from the conservative end of the political spectrum.

This essay, by one victim of such aggression – Heather MacDonald – addresses the popular view that this is simply a psychological disorder, a symptom of an excessively-coddled upbringing:

“Campus intolerance is at root not a psychological phenomenon but an ideological one. At its center is a worldview that sees Western culture as endemically racist and sexist. The overriding goal of the educational establishment is to teach young people within the ever-growing list of official victim classifications to view themselves as existentially oppressed. One outcome of that teaching is the forceful silencing of contrarian speech…

“Many observers dismiss such ignorant tantrums as a phase that will end once the ‘snowflakes’ encounter the real world. But the graduates of the academic victimology complex are remaking the world in their image. The assumption of inevitable discrimination against women and minorities plagues every nonacademic institution today, resulting in hiring and promotion based on sex and race at the expense of merit…

“Faculty and campus administrators must start defending the Enlightenment legacy of reason and civil debate. But even if dissenting thought were welcome on college campuses, the ideology of victimhood would still wreak havoc on American society and civil harmony. The silencing of speech is a massive problem, but it is a symptom of an even more profound distortion of reality.”

To which I can only respond, indeed.

The End of the University by Roger Scruton | Articles | First Things

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Spring scenes on West Campus, Duke University. Students on the Academic Quad with Perkins Library in background.

Source: The End of the University by Roger Scruton | Articles | First Things

Philosopher Roger Scruton shares some typically penetrating and enlightening, but rather sobering, thoughts on the role of the university, and how modern universities are abandoning this vital function. Inter alia:

Universities exist to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and culture that will prepare them for life, while enhancing the intellectual capital upon which we all depend. Evidently the two purposes are distinct.

One concerns the growth of the individual, the other our shared need for knowledge. But they are also intertwined, so that damage to the one purpose is damage to the other. That is what we are now seeing, as our universities increasingly turn against the culture that created them, withholding it from the young.

The years spent at university belong with the rites of initiation studied by the Victorian anthropologists, in which those born into the tribe assume the burden of perpetuating it. If we lose sight of this, it seems to me, then we are in danger of detaching the university from its social and moral purpose, which is that of handing on both a store of knowledge and the culture that makes sense of it.

Sadly, I fear that we are more than “in danger” of detaching the university from its social and moral purpose. I think this has already happened, and the rift is widening! Nonetheless, this is definitely worth a read, as is just about everything written by Scruton.

This state school in England teaches kids how to shoot, and to gut and cook pigeons.

Source: Channel 4 News | Facebook

Amazing state school in the UK teaches children from “a varied demographic,” most of whose families are on various forms of social assistance, how to shoot, hunt, dress and cook the game they take, and otherwise function effectively in the outdoors.

The video shows them gutting squirrels, plucking pigeons, splitting wood for the fire with a mallet and fro, and cooking and eating the proceeds.

The most dangerous thing you can do to a child is to not expose them to an element of risk and danger.” – Mike Fairclough, Headteacher, West Rise Junior School, who adds that “If children are excited about coming to school, if they’re being inspired and enthused by being outside, then that has an impact back in the classroom.”

The school gets the best exam results in the area, and won the 2015 T.E.S. Best School of the Year award, according to the video. “Teaching the children to shoot is controversial,” the video notes. “But the school argues it teaches discipline and responsibility.”

“The cotton-wool culture of Britain has got a little bit out of control,” Fairclough comments, referring to the modern desire on the part of many – schools, parents, media, etc. – to wrap children up and insulate them from many of the realities of life. “It’s only really peoples own sort of limiting beliefs, and a few media myths that people have invested in, which have stopped children from having these sorts of activities.”

Kudos to Mike Fairclough and West Rise Junior! You’re doing it right.


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Texas School Triples Recess Time, Solves Attention Deficit Disorder

Public education is more stressful than ever for our children, as standardized testing requirements increase and programs like art, music and physical education are being phased out. The result of this type of environment is predictable, and the medical establishment and big pharma are making a killing by drugging active children with ADHD medications …

Source: Texas School Triples Recess Time, Solves Attention Deficit Disorder

Is it just me, or is this one of those “duh!” moments…? Children are actually allowed to do what children are biologically and evolutionarily intended to do, which is have a decent amount of time to play outside, and their attention span when they return to their lessons increases? Wow, y’don’t say! *shakes head* So, what does this have to do with traditionalism?

Well, in the words of Maria Montessori, founder of Montessori education, “Play is the work of the child.” Through nearly all of human evolution, play was how children developed their minds and bodies, and how (along with helping their parents and older siblings, and listening to the adults tell stories around the campfire) they learned what they needed to learn to survive, and help their tribe or folk survive. Play is a manifestly and supremely traditional art form! We forget that at our peril — and that of our children, and therefore, our future.

From the linked article:

“Students don’t have to be drugged to do well. Meditation in schools is highly effective at reducing school violence and increasing concentration for learning. Higher quality nutritious and organic foods, rather than processed snack foods and fast foods, when served in school cafeterias are another part of creating an environment more conducive to the needs of children.

“The most common sense, natural solution to inattentive behavior in school children, however, may be the basic idea of giving children more time to free play and to engage their bodies in physical activity. It’s such a simple notion in such unusual times that it actually sounds revolutionary, and several schools in Texas are being hailed for trying a new program which solves behavioral problems by doing nothing more than allowing children to play outside more often during the school day.”

See also Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder, by Richard Louv, for more on the many benefits to children of unstructured outdoor play and interaction with the natural world. It may not be the cure-all in each and every case, but (especially if combined with the aforementioned high-quality, nutrient-dense, natural / organic foods), can only help the situation.

While I appreciate the benefits of modern, allopathic medicine — I might not be alive without it — I am also more than a little suspicious of both the motivations and the outcomes of “big pharma” and our pharmaceutical culture. If we actively promote the idea that there is a pill for every problem, and medication is our go-to for all behavior problems from childhood on, can we really be surprised that so many people select various forms of “self-medication” to deal with stressful issues in their lives?

Hippocrates famously said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” He wasn’t talking about pills or injections, synthesized in the laboratory! Let’s be grateful for allopathic medicine, and make careful and considered use of it, where necessary and appropriate. But the more we can do with healthful foods, meditation, obtaining sufficient high-quality sleep, and spending time outdoors in natural surroundings, the better, in my opinion. And even more so when it comes to children!

A “safe space” from the likes of Chaucer and Shakespeare…?

“It takes a deeply impoverished imagination to read Shakespeare and regard him simply as an agent of the patriarchy.”

Shakespeare_William
William Shakespeare, “the Bard of Avon”

Source: Yale Students: Major English Poets Curriculum Has Too Many White Males | National Review

“In a petition to the English department, Yale undergraduates declare that a required two-semester seminar on Major English Poets is a danger to their well-being. Never mind that the offending poets – Shakespeare, Chaucer, Donne, Milton, Wordsworth, et al. – are the foundational writers in the English language. It’s as if chemistry students objected to learning the periodic table or math students rose up against the teaching of differential calculus.”

A cogent comparison. These are the very authors and poets whose works have formed the English language, and shaped Anglophone Western culture in ways too numerous to count. These pusillanimous petitioners – who owe what little ability to express themselves coherently which they may possess to the masters of literary expression they would, ironically, dispossess – may as well complain that the very oxygen in the air they breathe burns their lungs.

“The petition whines that “a year spent around a seminar table where the literary contributions of women, people of color, and queer folk are absent actively harms all students, regardless of their identity.”

It does, eh? Strange that it is only since the kulturkampf of the late 1960s that this alleged “harm” has existed.

Has it occurred to any of these arrogant, ignorant, sniveling idiots that America’s greatest years occurred during a time when the great works of the Western Canon wrought by the towering creative intellects now dismissed as mere “dead white males” were the only works – save for a few from other cultures that had similarly stood the test of time, and achieved like stature – that were seriously studied?

And that the beginning of America’s loss of motivation, drive, and standing in the world (mirrored, sadly, by the rest of the West) can be dated with some precision to the time period, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the kind of tripe represented by this petition first started to gain traction?

And yes, I know that correlation does not equal causation. But I also know that if there’s enough smoke, there’s bound to be some fire somewhere. And I know, further, that a tree cut off from its roots is bound to wither and die; the same can be said of a culture or society. Absent some sort of drastic and successful intervention, Western culture is dying; this petition is both another ax-blow to the roots, and also symptomatic of its death-throes.

As the article further notes,

“The petition’s implicit contention is that the major poets are too circumscribed by their race and gender to speak to today’s socially aware students, when, in point of fact, it is the students who are too blinkered by race and gender to marvel at great works of art.”

Amen. I would like to think that Yale – that highly esteemed Ivy League institution of higher learning – would laugh them out of the Dean’s office, if not expel them from its ranks. But I’m not going to hold my breath. I fear that Yale’s faculty, like most contemporary academics, having largely come of age during or after the aforementioned 1960s and 70s, is already too deeply in the thrall of the same disease as that infecting the petitioners. God help us!