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Old 05-17-2007, 10:05 AM   #11
Ron Nelson
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I like the Da Vinci approach mentioned by Yael. Be curious. Follow that.
Study what piques your interests and go from there.

Each year I try to focus on something different and it invariably ends up leading to something else. Believe it or not, this year it was baseball. Last year it was music. Nothing specific, just baseball and music. This year, baseball has led to business and economics. Studying exercise has led to diet, nutrition, body image, and psychology. Music got me started with biographies.

The other day, my daughter told me she didn't like astronomy because it freaked her out to think about the origins of the universe and just what was there before the origin on the universe (a.k.a. the Big Bang theory or whatever Stephen Hawking is proposing). I told her that was the exact reason I find astronomy fascinating and why I studied it in high school as opposed to physics or biology. Probably why I was a big Star Trek nerd as well.

Now, about them Dodgers. . .
"Have you seen my weiner?"

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Old 05-17-2007, 10:10 AM   #12
Danny John
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I was very impressed by the link to Shimer. I was a Great Books student all through elementary and I wish my high school would have had the program. My Poli Sci prof at USU wouldn't let us get out of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle...arguing that everything else in politics was a footnote.

I like to think (allow me the ego stroke here) that I took advantage of the opportunity to learn in my life. I can add the details, but I have to agree that "well rounded" includes physical and mental goals...
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Old 05-17-2007, 10:18 AM   #13
Robert McBee
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First, instill a joy for learning and intellectual curiosity. Curriculum won't matter much if the student has no interest in exploring it. How do you go about this? Tell me please. I do have a theory from observing my 5 yr. old that the Xbox runs counter to my above advice.

Second to Yael's "How to think...DaVinci" book reccomendation. Covers the bases and does offer a nice approach to making learning an 'adventure' now that I think about it.

"The Well Trained Mind" is another good game plan. Specific roadmap kind of stuff for teaching from basically infancy to university. There's surely a 'best' approach for almost everyone. Great thread topic....
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Old 05-17-2007, 11:00 AM   #14
Mike ODonnell
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Learn Spanish....you'll need it.....

Other than that I say follow your passions....become a passionate expert, not a jack of all trades....

If you want an engineering degree cheap, I don't use mine anymore so I'll sell it for like half price....best $50,000 you'll evere spend!!
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Old 05-17-2007, 11:35 AM   #15
Rene Renteria
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From "My Life as a Knowledge Worker," by Peter Drucker:

"The newspaper I worked for came out in the afternoon. We began work at 6 in the morning and finished by a quarter past 2 in the afternoon, when the last edition went to press. So I began to force myself to study afternoons and evenings: international relations and international law; the history of social and legal institutions; finance; and so on. Gradually, I developed a system. I still adhere to it. Every three or four years I pick a new subject. It may be Japanese art; it may be economics. Three years of study are by no means enough to master a subject, but they are enough to understand it. So for more than 60 years I have kept on studying one subject at a time. That not only has given me a substantial fund of knowledge. It has also forced me to be open to new disciplines and new approaches and new methods--for every one of the subjects I have studied makes different assumptions and employs a different methodology."

and this:

"Whenever a Jesuit priest or a Calvinist pastor does anything of significance--making a key decision, for instance--he is expected to write down what results he anticipates. Nine months later he traces back from the actual results to those anticipations. That very soon shows him what he did well and what his strengths are. It also shows him what he has to learn and what habits he has to change. Finally, it shows him what he has no gift for and cannot do well. I have followed that method for myself now for 50 years. It brings out what one's strengths are--and that is the most important thing an individual can know about himself or herself. It brings out areas where improvement is needed and suggests what kind of improvement is needed. Finally, it brings out things an individual cannot do and therefore should not even try to do. To know one's strengths, to know how to improve them, and to know what one cannot do--they are the keys to continuous learning."

The whole thing is very much worth reading; it's here:

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Old 05-17-2007, 11:55 AM   #16
Yael Grauer
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OMG, Dan John is impressed by my alma mater. That makes up for all the years of, "Where? Never heard of it!" I'm a member of the Center for the Study of the Great Ideas, but nothing will ever hold a candle to those seminar discussions around octagonal tables that continued around bonfires well into the night.

I did have to supplement what I learned with some basic first aid and wilderness survival skills, as well as home repair. Those have come in quite handy over the years. It's amazing how few people know how to make a fire, build a shelter, find water, etc. I'd probably add marksmanship in there as well.

And I guess this is woman stuff, but I am totally intrigued with books such as The Forgotten Arts and Crafts, particularly the "Kitchen Crafts" category (which includes salting and pickling, bottling and canning, etc.)... I've also been reading Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping Home, and it is this incredible compendium of lost skills with a modern flare that are all but gone in the age of housecleaners and microwave ovens. And for the guys: http://www.dangerousbookforboys.com/
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Old 05-17-2007, 12:26 PM   #17
Daniel Miller
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Great thread.

I thought about going to St Johns (another great books school) when I was a senior in college, but opted for a small Jesuit liberal arts school in Colorado. I was not and am not catholic but I can honestly say that my education there was one of the most expansive, reality shaking, and intriguing experiences I've ever had. I learned to think, ask questions, and write.

I am a strong proponent of being a generalist and dabbling a bit in everything as opposed to an expert on something.

I only took a few science classes in college, but a few years later I'm doing molecular biology research, writing papers, and starting med school in August.

I took physics at a community college after graduating. I don't think I would have been as interested as a 18 year compared to being 25 while taking physics. But, that might just have been me.

Physics, Cell bio, genetics, and O. Chem unlocked secrets for me but not without having learned to ask questions in socioogy, peace and justice studies, philosophy, literature, anthro, and history classes.

Last edited by Daniel Miller; 05-17-2007 at 12:29 PM. Reason: can't spell
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Old 05-17-2007, 06:19 PM   #18
Robert McBee
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I would be highly remiss not to make a case for "The Zombie Survival Guide" and "How to Survive a Robot Uprising: Tips on Defending Yourself Against the Coming Rebellion". I'm sure the Ivy League schools are huge advocates as well.
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Old 05-17-2007, 07:16 PM   #19
Neal Winkler
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Man, I wish I was smart!
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Old 05-24-2007, 09:43 PM   #20
Jamila Bey
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Me too!

It's pretty much over for me, but I'm planning to homeschool my kiddies. When we have them.

They'll learn argumentation, elocution, gymnastics and some fighting art. Spanish, maybe Japanese (where Daddy spent his first years). They'll get maths, sciences and visual arts someplace else- a homeschool co-op perhaps. I'll teach writing and criticism. Dad will teach guitar, piano and voice.

I have no faith at all in the American system of training up its young. There are exactly two high schools I would permit any boy of mine to attend; Bronx Science or St. Augustine in New Orleans.

I'll stop now before I wind up in my rant re: little black boys in US schools.

Last edited by Jamila Bey; 05-24-2007 at 09:45 PM. Reason: I'll sound saner
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