Saturday, August 15, 2015

Food for Thought ~ Encouragement, Science, Imagination, and More

Food for Thought @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

[Again, so much in one post. Help yourself to the buffet. Remember that you can always receive the links spread out over many courses by following my Facebook page.]


:: Compared to... @ Seth Godin

"Just because a thing can be noticed, or compared, or fretted over doesn't mean it's important, or even relevant. Better, I think, to decide what's important, what needs to change, what's worth accomplishing. And then ignore all comparisons that don't relate. The most important comparison, in fact, is comparing your work to what you're capable of. Sure, compare. But compare the things that matter to the journey you're on. The rest is noise."

:: I Am Not an Airplane @ Amongst Lovely Things

What if I treated my time like a budget?

What if I started our homeschool year, remembering that I’m a human person, not an airplane with the sky as the limit.

Teaching and Raising Children

:: When Success Leads to Failure: The pressure to achieve academically is a crime against learning @ The Atlantic

The truth—for this parent and so many others—is this: Her child has sacrificed her natural curiosity and love of learning at the altar of achievement, and it’s our fault. Marianna’s parents, her teachers, society at large—we are all implicated in this crime against learning. From her first day of school, we pointed her toward that altar and trained her to measure her progress by means of points, scores, and awards. We taught Marianna that her potential is tied to her intellect, and that her intellect is more important than her character. We taught her to come home proudly bearing As, championship trophies, and college acceptances, and we inadvertently taught her that we don’t really care how she obtains them. We taught her to protect her academic and extracurricular perfection at all costs and that it’s better to quit when things get challenging rather than risk marring that perfect record. Above all else, we taught her to fear failure. That fear is what has destroyed her love of learning.

:: The Difference Between Good Boys and Nice Boys in “Tom Sawyer” @ The Imaginative Conservative

"Goodness, then, demands integrity, honor, courage, and sacrifice—the manly, knightly virtues that Tom and his spirited friends practice in their boyish love of fun and adventure. The nice boys, on the other hand, do not take risks, venture beyond safe limits, or question the rules—even though some are silly and senseless. They like prizes, recognition, applause, and adulation. They do the minimum, they act their part, and they know how to curry favor. They show no life, no passion, no pluck. They act primarily on the basis of self-interest."


:: 5 Reasons the Church Should Embrace Science @ Relevant

Science needs all kinds of people. The task of science is seeking truth, and truth-seeking requires we put aside some of our assumptions. Ironically, this is one of the biggest reasons some see Christians as unfit to pursue science, but in reality, people of all faiths (or no faith) all bring assumptions. We simply can’t get rid of them.

But one way to combat our assumptions is to approach problems from a variety of angles. Collaborating with others who do not share our assumptions (whether directly on a project or more generally within the field) places checks on our assumptions. In addition, having a variety of points of view approaching a problem offers additional opportunities for problem-solving and new breakthroughs.

:: A world-famous chemist tells the truth: there’s no scientist alive today who understands macroevolution @ Uncommon Descent [I spent a very long time bending my brain to the content in this article and in the comments. I understand a minute fraction more than before.]

:: The Microscopic Structures of Dried Human Tears @ Smithsonian [This is an older article, but so fascinating!]

The Brain

:: How Walking in Nature Changes the Brain @ New York Times

:: Cognitive benefits of being a musician @ Pianodao


:: Harnessing the Power of Latin and Greek for Early Readers @ IMSE Journal

I love the image accompanying this article. Many of our ordinary, everyday words come from the Anglo-Saxon, but many of our intellectual, sophisticated words are Latin-based and our specialized words are often Greek-based.

“…upwards of ninety percent of our academic words in English…are derived from Latin and Greek.”

:: Ticket to Write, Part 1: A Crush on Words @ Story Warren [We are definitely going to be making word tickets!]

First, get out your scissors and sit down right in front of that stack of magazines and cut-up-able stuff. You’re going on a treasure hunt for words. Search for interesting, juicy, energetic, vivid words, cut them out, and tape or glue them to the blank side of the tickets. There are no rules about what words to include or not to include in your collection. Find words you like, words that are fun to say out loud, nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, words you don’t know that you have to look up in the dictionary, and phrases that are unusual or funny or beautiful…

:: Ticket to Write, Part 2: Painting with Words @ Story Warren

Using your markers or crayons or colored pencils, write the words you’ve gathered all over your picture. Write them in colors that fit the different parts of the photo—blues for the sky, greens and browns for the trees. Write them big or little or curvy or sideways. Be as artistic as you want.

When you’ve finished writing all of the words from your pile of word tickets, use your own imagination to add more words. Your photograph has no color, but imagine what colors the things in the photo might be, and write color words in those places. Think about all five senses and write sound words, smell words, taste words, and touch words as well as words that describe the things you see. Fill every space.


:: Cheating Calligraphy Tutorial @ The Postman’s Knock



Wise Imagination

"Properly taught, and learned—acquired—a liberal education awakens and keeps alive the imagination. By the imagination, I don’t mean fanciful things, but I mean the capacity to see beyond the end of your nose and beyond the object in front you. That is to see its implications, its origins, its potential, its danger, its charm. All the things that enable one to navigate in this difficult and complex world with a modicum of wisdom, with calm, not be alarmed with every little thing that happens and with resources that in moments of stress, and after retirement, in illness, and loneliness keep one’s soul and body alive. ~ Jacque Barzun, cultural historian and education philosopher." [HT: Paideia Fellowship]

“I believe that children in this country need a more robust literary diet than they are getting... It does not hurt them to read about good and evil, love and hate, life and death. Nor do I think they should read only about things that they understand. '...a man’s reach should exceed his grasp.' So should a child’s. For myself, I will never talk down to, or draw down to, children." -- Barbara Cooney [HT: A Mighty Girl]

:: Story Warren On World Radio: Fireballs, Fables, and Allies in Imagination [audio]

:: Landscapes with Dragons and Angels: Finding the Wise Imagination in Children’s Literature by Stratford Caldecott [This is a great essay about wise discernment of fantasy literature with several examples.] 

:: Speaking the Truths Only the Imagination May Grasp: An Essay on Myth &“Real Life” by Stratford Caldecott @ Touchstone [Go read the whole article!]

Why are such tales so endlessly fascinating, so universally told? Perhaps because it is just such a journey that gives meaning to our own existence. We read or listen to the storyteller in order to orient ourselves within—to learn how to behave in order to get where we are going. Each of us knows that our life is not merely a mechanical progress from cradle to grave; it is a search, a quest, even a pilgrimage. There is some elusive goal that motivates us in our work and our play.

:: The Classical Reader [What a fantastic resource!]

“When you are choosing what books your children or students will read, the stakes are especially high. That is why we have put years of research into The Classical Reader and this companion website, collecting and analyzing the K–12 reading recommendations of classical educators from around the country and seeking those readings that have been important and pleasurable to generations of students. It is an invaluable resource for every school and homeschool family for everything from book reports to reading for pleasure.”

Good Stuff

:: Boy Who Couldn’t Afford Books Asks Mailman For Junk Mail To Read; Mailman Responds Spectacularly @ Huff Post

:: Iowa barber gives haircuts to children in exchange for them reading stories to him @ Globe Gazette

:: The Secret to Love is Just Kindness @ The Atlantic

"130 newlywed couples were invited to spend the day at this retreat and watched them as they did what couples normally do on vacation: cook, clean, listen to music, eat, chat, and hang out. And Gottman made a critical discovery in this study — one that gets at the heart of why some relationships thrive while others languish."

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