On Education

On Education

Gerald at The Cafeteria is Closed had this quote on education (originally from NRO’s Corner). It was too good not to copy over. I love Father Rutler’s dry wit and this is a great example of the same. Plus, of course, the nuggets of truth. Delightful.

“I’d encourage your youngest one to abandon kindergarten altogether. Almost everything I learned was learned outside the classroom, and school itself interrupted my education. Moreover, school locks you in with your peers. That is a mistake. One’s social circle should never include one’s equals. From my earliest years I found children uninteresting and always preferred the company of adults. This was an advantage, because I got to know lots of folks who are dead now whom I never would have known if I had waited until I was an adult. – So I have a collective memory – and oral tradition – that goes back to the eighteenth century, having spoken with people who knew people who knew people who knew people who lived then. – The only real university is the universe and a city its microcosm. That is why an expression like “New York University” is foolish. New York City is the university�.Instead of school, children should spend some hours each day in hotel lobbies talking to the guests. They should spend time in restaurant kitchens and shops and garages of all kinds, learning from people who actually make the world work�.One day spent roaming through a real classical church building would be the equivalent of one academic term in any of our schools, and a little time spent inconspicuously in a police station would be more informative than all the hours wasted on bogus social sciences. Formal lessons would only be required for accuracy in spelling and proficiency in public speaking, for which the public speakers in our culture are not models, and in exchange for performing some menial services a child could learn the violin, harp, and piano from musicians in one of the better cocktail lounges, or from performers in the public subways�.So I urge you to keep your child out of kindergarten, because kindergarten will only lead to first grade and then the grim sequence of grade after grade begins and takes its inexorable toll on the mind born fertile but gradually numbed by the pedants who impose on the captive child the flotsam of their own infecundity.”

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  • Treasure those days!!!! I remember wishing my oldest child had never learned the word “again”. He wanted the same stories over and over and over. I could read Mr. Brown Can Moo with my eyes shut. Literally!

    Boom boom boom. Mr. Brown is a wonder. Boom boom boom….

  • I used to do that a lot too when I was young.  I’d always bother my dad to read to me, even if he was busy doing something important, like paying bills or reconciling his checkbook.  Sometimes he’d ask me to wait, most times he’d read to me.  He pointed to each word as he read to me and I was engrossed.  I learned to read that way; in fact I believe I was the only kid in my kindergarten who could read.  But even after I learned to read I’d still bug my dad to read to me just because I loved it when he did.

  • Wait until she starts to memorize the stories.  Then, she can correct you if you miss/alter a word or, God forbid, skip a page!  Their little minds have an amazing capacity to memorize.

  • My Little Cherub is just the same. She has taken to bashing me on the knee with a book until I read to her. And she has very determined ideas on exactly how many pages I am to read before she decides to switch books.

  • Cecilia does the same thing – although she often turns pages before I can finish reading them and gets the biggest kick out of pointing at images in the book she knows – ball and butterfly seem to be her favorites. Occassionally we have actually hid one or two books we were so tired of but she always has books available to her. I really hope her love of books continues but with more patience for us to finish reading the page before she turns it.

  • ah, and when she learns to read on her own, it is such a joy to know you’ve helped her on the reading path! It will become a wistful memory of when she’d let you read to her… And just think, she’ll be there to read to her little sibling and free up time for you later!!

  • Certainly. Melanie, you read to me so much when I was little that even when I’d learned to read capably on my own I remember nagging you to read to me when you were home on breaks from UD.