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ElizaG last won the day on February 24 2014

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  1. Finally, some new material! EFL's third book, Beginning the Child's Education, was published in 1925 and entered the public domain this year. It's written in the form of letters to the mother of a preschooler. Some of the material was already published in her newspaper columns, but it's good to have it in one place.
  2. Thank you for posting. That edition looks lovely!
  3. I'm glad you're having success with Model English. Making a master list of topics is an excellent idea. I came across an old 9th grade composition text, Sentence and Theme, with a teacher's guide ("Pilot Book") that has a few pages about choosing composition topics. It's also dated, of course, but might suggest some more possibilities. For children younger than age 12, have you looked at Lewis Marsh's Literary Reading and Composition? One of my older children did part of one book, and a former board member used some of the series as well. I'm thinking about using them more with m
  4. Some other notes. 1) [deleted; realized that I already posted it above ] 2) I've found a wonderful Victorian book that was written for parents, as well as teachers and governesses. It's called Principles of Education by Elizabeth Missing Sewell. She was a traditional homeschooler of the EFL sort, understanding the need to come up with a flexible approach that works for the individual child, the parent, and their situation in life. Charlotte Mason's PNEU method, helpful as it is in some ways, looks like a sausage factory by comparison. The full book is online here.
  5. I don't know about using them as textbooks per se, but we like the Fabre nature books. Also, while we don't have a copy ourselves, the Book of Marvels seems very popular for geography for around age 10 or 11. By 7th and 8th grade, they should be reading adult non-fiction. This was widely recognized by school teachers and librarians in EFL's day. It's difficult, though, because it's hard to find suitable material that's up to date. Many recent books have "mature content" or questionable ideologies, and even if they don't, the literary value is often poor. Sometimes it seems as if ne
  6. In the 1940s, there were rumors that the US Navy planned to take over the campus of St. John's College in order to expand the naval academy. During an exchange of letters, Stringfellow Barr wrote that St. John's was considering reducing the curriculum from four years to three during wartime, by eliminating summer vacations. He also said they were considering taking students in their second year of high school, so that they would have completed their liberal education by the time they reached draft age. What's more, he said that taking students at this early age had been part of their plan s
  7. I found another introductory textbook that we might read together: The Art of Persuasion, by A. J. Grunthaler. The introduction gives an explanation of what rhetoric is, and describes its traditional importance in liberal arts education. The main body of the book is in the form of a reader, with selections from ancient authors on different aspects of the subject. Aristotle and Quintilian are represented the most. I was glad to see that St. Augustine's famous passage on Christian rhetoric made it in as well. Appendix A, "The Art of Argument," provides an overview of logic in the conte
  8. Sorry for all the meandering. I will try to get back to PJEP! It's just very interesting to look at the different ideas for liberal education that were being discussed at the time. I'm especially interested in modifications that were made to Great Books to bring it more in line with traditional methods. The St. John's approach seems distinctive, and I've noticed quite a few of their graduates writing and speaking in various venues, so maybe there's something to the way they've reintroduced the literary study of poetry and rhetoric. It's not the most prominent part of the curriculum,
  9. Okay, after some attempt at thinking, I've noticed two characteristics of "the new grammar" (i.e. linguistic methods) and "the new rhetoric" (as a general term). 1) The subject is generally approached as a science rather than as an art. This attitude sometimes makes it into the student materials, but even if it doesn't, it's a big part of the teacher training. And these methods usually require a lot of teacher training. In the case of the experiments with "the new English," it's hard to say whether the approach was good or bad in itself, but most people agree that it was taught ver
  10. It also turns out that the use of linguistic methods in foreign language teaching was heavily promoted and organized by the US government, most obviously as part of the WWII effort, and also for foreign relations goals in general. There's an article from 1964 about this here, and some blog posts here. Kind of a downer to realize that the best methods from a humanistic, literary perspective might not be the ones that get the research funding, but I guess we sort of knew that. And it seems likely that there's still some benefit to be gained there. The philosopher Richard McKeon starte
  11. It's interesting that although students at St. John's do very intensive language study, to prepare for literary translation work in a short time, they don't use the oral methods that are increasingly popular today. I was also just looking at the catalog for an elite American prep school, which only offers one year of Greek, but says that this prepares the students to read Plato and Homer. I wonder what methods they're using? The savings of time would certainly make the integrated classical approach to literary studies more feasible in our day, and puts a different perspective on the questi
  12. I've been trying to learn a bit more about the way St. John's College conducts their language tutorials. These are a separate part of the curriculum, held alongside the better known discussions of Great Books in translation. The language tutorials at Thomas Aquinas College are based on modern methods (Wheelock, essay-writing, etc.), but it turns out that the ones at SJC are much more traditional, in the sense of being centered on literature. When they translate a passage from an author, there's a lot of discussion of style. They write original literary pieces as well, which seem to be ins
  13. Yes, he must have been remarkably ill-suited to the task of defining ideal womanhood. And it's not as if these eccentricities were a secret. So why was he so popular? Just because he was famous, and said things about reading books? (Then again, looking at certain figures who are highly regarded in educational circles, maybe that is all it takes. Among homeschoolers, even the "famous" part might be optional.) EFL did have a tendency to cite dodgy authorities when she was starting out. The suggested reading list in Educating the Child at Home includes Spencer, Dewey, Rousseau, and
  14. It turns out that the woman who wrote the book I linked above, Georgian Education, also wrote some boosterish study notes for a 1920 school edition of Ruskin's essay on political economy, Unto This Last. This text was published as part of J. M. Dent's "Kings Treasuries of Literature" series, named after the first essay in Ruskin's Sesame and Lilies, which was chosen as the first volume. The Kings Treasuries stayed in print until the 1950s, and ended up containing over 200 titles. Unlike earlier school literature series I've looked at, it includes a lot of contemporary non-fiction (what CM w
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