An Incomplete Education

I wish I could remember where I picked this up. Might have been Hastings, but I get rid of their stickers as soon as possible because they put them in the most inconvenient places.

Anyway, I haven’t finished the book yet, but I probably never will. It will be a nightstand/end table fixture from now on.

This is the kind of book you just pick up on occasion and read random bits and pieces here and there. It really is packed with information and the writing style is mostly fun. I really enjoy the authors’ take on subjects I’m familiar with, but unfortunately that’s not too helpful if you’re trying to get a good grasp on things that continue to elude you. I took Economics in college three times and dropped out every time. It didn’t make sense then, and even after reading that section in this book several times, it doesn’t make sense now. But if you’ve a mind to explore in more detail, there are great clues here.

I like this book and would recommend it. In most cases, it makes light, easy reading of some interesting subjects.

Textkit

When you hit the home page at Textkit.com it looks pretty sad. The site is obviously broken, the image and CSS files having been stored and linked from a rackspacecloud.com account which seems to have expired. The Facebook page is also pretty much dead. But if you go to the forums you’ll see that the community is still thriving. It also seems that the files themselves are still available.

A forum thread addresses the recent absence of the site’s founder, Jeff Tirey, and the need for additional moderators to manage the forums.

As of this writing, the domain registration expires in 2019, so the site may disappear into the InterWebs black hole after that. Though the Internet Archive Wayback Machine frequently saves the site, as usually happens, the downloads aren’t archived. So if you think you might need them in the future, you should probably snag them at your earliest opportunity.

Digging around for my old Latin resources, I was relieved to find that the Study Guide to Wheelock’s Latin by Dale A. Grote was still freely available online. As we all know, however, when it comes to the InterWebs, too often “One day you’re in and the next day you’re OUT!” Well, Professor Grote already thought of that:

“I call the guides ‘Study Guide to Wheelock,’ and have made them available for free use to anyone who’d like use them. […] So far as I’m concerned they can be copied and sent anywhere.”

Taking this literally, I downloaded the HTML files and have uploaded them here. I did do some editing to update the pages in the original .ZIP file: The URL for Professor Grote’s page at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte had changed, as well as his email address.

It’s always best to go to the original page. But just in case that ever disappears, we’ve got a backup.

Update 19 February 2017: I’ve found another page for Professor Grote’s notes on Wheelock which includes an update from him.

Wheelock's Latin, 7th EditionWhy study Latin — or any language for that matter? For one, I’m lately finding several things I would like to read but have not been translated into English. Further, I’m becoming more cynical about translations in general — you really are at the mercy of the translator when it comes to interpretation. And language study in general is brain training.

As for Latin specifically: If you have even a basic knowledge of Latin, you will most likely be able to decipher the meaning of almost any word in any language, with a few exceptions.

Want to study Latin, but don’t know where to start? One of THE Latin texts is Wheelock’s Latin, in its seventh edition as of this writing. Just reading the text and doing the exercises is not, as you will soon discover, sufficient. This list is compiled from several sources, including the Wheelock’s FAQ from the Latin Study list and the discussion there.

  1. Read the chapter in Wheelock’s Latin.
  2. If you need to brush up on some of the grammar, do the appropriate lessons in English Grammar for Students of Latin (EGSL) by Norma W. Goldman.
  3. Practice the vocabulary. If you want to use flashcards, you can make up your own or you can buy them (Vocabulary Cards and Grammatical Forms Summary for Wheelock’s Latin by Richard A. LaFleur).
  4. Practice the pronunciations.
  5. Read the chapter in A Comprehensive Guide to Wheelock’s Latin (CGWL) by Dale A. Grote and do the exercises.
  6. Do the Self-Tutorial exercises in the back of Wheelock’s Latin.
  7. Do the Exercitationes (EX) exercises in Wheelock’s Latin.
  8. Do the Sententiae Antiquae (SA) in Wheelock’s Latin.
  9. Do the translations (TR) in Wheelock’s Latin.
  10. Do the chapter in 38 Latin Stories by Anne H. Groton and James M. May (G&M) OR
  11. Do the chapter in Scribblers, Sculptors, and Scribes by Richard A. LaFleur (SSS).
  12. Do the exercises in the Workbook for Wheelock’s Latin.

The Cornell Note-Taking System isn’t for everyone, or for every book — it’s actually designed for lecture notes — but it is extremely useful in the right setting. I created this template several years ago for my son to use and he found it quite beneficial for most of his work. I’ve found it quite useful myself.

It’s an .ODT document, so you can edit it to suit your needs, including saving it as a true template. The header for the pages is contained in the Properties > Description > Title dialog. This makes them easy to find in the Explorer window if you want to sort them by title. This works for Windows computers — I have no way to test it on other systems.

The Cornell Learning Strategies Center offers a pdf document which summarizes the note-taking system.

A version of How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler is available in PDF format from the Everglades High School website. Though not the same one I have in my library — this one is geared towards reading the Great Books — it still contains a lot of information that would be useful to high school students, or to anyone who loves to read but feels they might be missing something in the approach.

What I love about this book is that it discusses how to read books on different subjects. Of course you don’t read a science book in the same way you read a novel, but what exactly is the difference? Well, now you know. Not only is it illuminating, it’s also a relief. It took almost no time at all for me to realize why I had such trouble making heads or tails of such works. I look forward to diving into them now!

Though I really suggest you part with the ten bucks or so for the actual print book, this PDF version will give you a great idea of what to look forward to.

Lady Jane Grey
The Streatham portrait, discovered at the beginning of the 21st century and believed to be a copy of a contemporary portrait of Lady Jane Grey.

While I liked the book, it was not an easy read. I think it could have benefited *greatly* from an editor. Keep in mind, too, that I am an American reading a book on English history. A Brit might not have so much trouble with it?

This is the first Ives book I’ve read — I have a few more in the TBR pile, though — and I probably should have picked a different one for the first time out. I’ll find out soon enough when I start the next one.

If you aren’t seriously up-to-speed on 16th century English history, geography and naming conventions, you’re going to struggle here. You need to already know what he’s talking about to know what he’s talking about. The first few chapters, especially, are very confusing and seem to assume that “everyone already knows this stuff.” At this point, I considered not finishing the book. I’m glad I stuck with it, though, because it was easier to follow after the first section or two, but it never gets easy.

It was tough enough keeping up with the various Dudleys, Greys, Howards, etc. — not just parents and siblings, but also in-laws, nieces, nephews and distant cousins. But then he refers to them sometimes by their titles, sometimes by their given names, and does this while writing about several people from several families all in the same paragraph — sometimes in the same sentence.

(more…)

LibraryThingLibraryThing claims on their about page that it is “an online service to help people catalog their books easily.” There’s a lot more going on than that — so much so that you can get lost for hours just exploring the site.

I like LibraryThing and signed up to be a lifetime member almost immediately. It’s still only $25! Can’t beat a deal like that!

This log was created to conform to the Missouri homeschool regulations which require 1,000 hours of instruction during the school year, with at least 600 hours in the basics, which will be in reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science. You may need to customize the headings for your location.