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30 November 2015

Resources for Learning Japanese



A friend asked me to recommend some materials for learning Japanese, and this is a list of materials and ideas that I use and like.

The very first thing I recommend doing is learning a little about written Japanese. There are categories of things to learn. First, there's hiragana and katakana. These are two ways to write the sounds used in Japanese: they are phonetic alphabets. Hiragana is used for words that are native to the Japanese language; Katakana is used for words borrowed from other languages (there's lots of those) and also for onomatopoeia (Boom! Crash! Pop!). It sounds scarier than it is though, because there's a lot of similarities, and I think it's a lot like learning the upper and lower case letters of the English alphabet. 

So you can learn to recognize and read them from Memrise.com, which is a flashcards site that I use pretty extensively. The boys are both learning to recognize hiragana using this course, and I plan to have Hero work with this one after that, to both solidify his recognition of hiragana, and also to practice reading and begin expanding his vocabulary. (That's less of a priority for Dragon, because he's still learning to read English.) After that, we'll do a search to find a katakana course for the boys to work on, but they're pretty slow. An adult could probably do both alphabets in a few days to a few weeks, depending on the time commitment they were willing to give.

That will teach you to read, but not to write. If you want to write, I think that's a great idea, and will help to solidify. Plus, Japanese writing is beautiful. The first rule of writing Japanese is that you must follow directions. There will be directions for what order to write characters' strokes, and what direction to write them in. This matters; it affects how things look. It really doesn't in English (if you draw the vertical line second, rather that first when you write your T it's not a big deal), but in Japanese, it matters. So when you're ready to tackle writing, pay attention to stroke order. All the dictionaries and other tools will have it for you. Starting out correctly will save you tons of time and trouble. Get something like this printable hiragana chart. I like this one because it shows the stroke order. You can find them for katakana as well, like this. But you don't have to learn to write right away if you don't want to. You can get quite far with the language before you have to learn to write. It will help solidify things and make it easier to remember the kana you learn to read, and I think it's beautiful and fun, but it doesn't have to be first.

Also right near the beginning of your journey, you'll want to find some audio lessons. There are a number of places you can do this. I like JapanesePod101.  They have audio lessons that you can listen to and download. This is a pay site, but it's not very much, and I feel like they're worth it. I've done more 100 of their lessons, and I like them. They cover a lot of practical situations you'd run into in visiting Japan, and have a fair amount of fun culture notes in the lessons. And they'll start to lay down some grammar foundation for you. You can also use Mango, which is available online, and also supposed to be available through quite a few American libraries. Mango is a subscription service, but when I was using it through our library, the library offered it as one of their services, and they picked up the tab.

You'll also want to get a Japanese-English dictionary. I have one on my smartphone, Imiwa, which I love. I use it daily. I learn the sample sentences (more about that in a minute). I listen to the recordings of the words to help my accent. Imiwa is fantastic. And it's not very expensive. Like, free. Also, you'll need a grammar resource. I like Tae Kim's Guide. It's got an app; I can't remember if or how much I paid. But it's a nice one. There's plenty of gammar books on Amazon, too. Some kind of grammar resource is invaluable.

So those are some of the baisc supplies. But wait! There's more! Here are some of the ideas and techniques for using some of those things to start building fluency. A lot of my ideas that I use come from Kahzumoto of All Japanese All the Time. Basically, I do to types of study: the first is pretty typical, the stuff that we think of when we think about studying. I do flashcards. I attempt to read stuff. I look at grammar. I try to do some of that every day. But I also aim to do my second type of study every day: passive exposure to the language. I want to hear native speakers... speaking. And singing. And using their language. I want input.


Theirs is the hypothesis that input (reading, listening) matters more than output (writing, speaking), and that input of high quality and quantity naturally leads to high quality output, without much effort. In English, that means stop talking before you hurt yourself. -Kahzumoto of AJATT


Kahz points out that, as native speakers of English, a very important part of how we learned to speak was that we were surrounded by English: we had a huge amount of passive exposure. And through that we developed a sense of what sounds right together. We don't teach babies grammar; we talk to them. And Kahz suggests that trying to reproduce some of that environmental input will greatly accelerate our acquisition of Japanese, as well as significantly improving our accent. And I've found that to be the case for me. So I listen to a number of news and food podcasts that I've found. 新聞って面白い is a news program. I don't understand much of what they say (yet- I'm getting better), but I find that when I play this for a while I talk to the kids with more Japanese, and I find Japanese floating in my mind more, and I think it helps my accent, too, though I don't have good feedback on that right now. I also like こどもと英語で話そう (click the top of each entry, by the episode numbers to go to the individual podcasts, or look it up in iTunes), because it's got phrases in both English and Japanese, so you can hear them together, and try to say them -- and it's the sort of things that you'd say to kids, which is a huge part of what I'm doing in our work with Japanese.

We also have several playlists that I've created on YouTube. This one is toddler songs. It's full of words for animals, colors, shapes, and the like. My kids like this one quite a lot. The "kira-kira song" that's up first was Peanut's favorite song for a long time.



This list has a bunch of songs from Disney movies, as well as other songs in Japanese.



Shimajiro is a Japanese cartoon aimed at about the same audience as Dora the Explorer or Blues Clues: little kids. Which makes it great for learners, because it's simple words and simple grammar much of the time. And it's for natives, by natives, so even though it  doesn't look like "serious" language learning stuff, it's fantastic.



Speaking of babies and little kids, here's another bit of wisdom from Kahz:


If you forget everything else, dear reader, remember this: when you begin something new, you are a baby. So cut yourself the same slack you would cut a baby, because like them, you’re just starting out, and you will eventually get good at it. Now, I’m not a Hindu, but as the Bible says: in the beginning there was the sucking. And it was good.

Be gentle with yourself. Learning a new language is a HUGE undertaking, and it's going to take time. Expect that. It's ok if progress is slow; slow progress is progress!

As you get into the process a little ways, then start to think about kanji (the characters that each mean a word). Most people will tell you that kanji is the enemy; that it's what makes the languages the Hardest Thing In The World and they'll tell you that kanji are Practically Impossible For Foreigners To Master. Lies! Lies! It's all lies - don't listen to those voices!

Kanji are amazing. Not only are they beautiful - enough that people turn them into art and hang them on walls, or tatoo them on their body, or whatever - but also they are your secret weapon for learning to read Japanese. See, in English, once you know the alphabet, you have to use those 27 symbols to make around 10,000 words that a fluent speaker uses. But the alphabet really doesn't help you with that process. Once you know B, that's great, but it doesn't give you any hints about the meaning of words that use B, not even Bob, or Bubble, which are practically all made from Bs. But kanji do. So when you know that 日 means day, and 今 means now, it's not too surprising when 今日 -now day- means today. That happens a lot. So there's about 2000 kanji on the official lists of kanji that Japanese kids learn in school (and those lists are widely available, and easy to find for study), and they take those 2000 kanji and make bunches and bunches of compound words with them. So, pretty soon after you finish learning the kana on Memrise (or wherever- I hear good things about Anki, too) then start working through a list of kanji. I'm using this one

When you get to where you know a few words, and you understand the most basic of sentences (think, "I am Bob"), then I suggest that you try another of Kahz's ideas: Learn 10,000 sentences. Seriously. His method is amazing. My learning really started to take off when I started doing this (though, I admit, I don't do step 4- write it out by hand). I find it's easier to learn words in context, and, by learning words in a group, you start to get a sense of which words belong together, which is hugely important. It keeps you from saying crazy stuff like, "All your base are belong to us."

Basically, what you're going to do is take sentences that natives made - they can be sample sentences from your dictionary and grammar book, or from the board books you find on Amazon, or websites, or whatever is interesting. But you want sentences from people who know the language; don't -DO NOT- just make up your own. That leads to crazy talk. Get sentences from people who know what they're doing. And make flashcards out of them. I believe that Anki can do that (and may have pre-made decks of cards you can download. There's rumors of such, but I don't use it, so I don't know.). I use StickyStudy, which I like a lot. My sentence deck has about 1,400 sentences in it, and of those, I've learned just over 250, and the rest are in progress. So I still have a long way to go to 10,000. But I'm happy to do it, because it works. And it works in the 5-10 minute chunks that I have available for learning.

So, once you have your sentences, then you make flashcards. And you "pass" a flashcard when you can read the whole thing, without furigana (little hiragana next to kanji to help you know how to pronounce it), and understand the meaning. Both Sticky Study and Anki are spaced repetition systems (SRS), which means that the more times you get your flashcard right, the less frequently they show it to you. So you have a nice balance between new cards you're still working on, and old ones that you are reviewing. Kahz has a more detailed explanation on his site.

And that's the method. I study a bit, every day. And I listen a bit, every day. And I'm making progress. It's exciting. The process takes time. Lots of it - I've been working on it for several years. But that's OK. Babies don't learn overnight - they take years to become fluent adults. Once you have your method, then it's just a matter of finding resources. YouTube has a lot. Our local used bookstore occasionally has Japanese picture books; I check them every few weeks and periodically get something new. Amazon.com has some books on their English site, (they segregate a lot onto Amazon.jp), so searching for "Japanese Edition" is the best search term I've found so far. We have a growing collection of picture books, which are great because it's possible to work your way through a whole book in a reasonable amount of time (harvesting sentences as you go), and finishing a whole book feels really good.

頑張って下さい!Good luck! Enjoy your journey to speaking and reading Japanese!


21 November 2015

FAN Club - In search of Gardners

We have a persistent brick wall on my family's Gardner line, back in Scotland. It's bugged me for years and years. I'm attempting to learn more about the area and the people around my ancestors, in an effort to find where they disappeared to in the preceding generations.  So. I'm told this is called FAN club research. Here's an introduction.



I also located some Family Search pages about the areas these people are from. I know of records that were made in Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland, as well as several parishes in Renfrewshire, Scotland. I've started making a list of all the locations they were in, and after watching the FAN Club video, I will probably move this to a spreadsheet, the more easily to organize and search as I widen my net.

Gonna be an adventure!

19 November 2015

Busy Day


Some days are busier than others. 


Today Dragon is very busy. He's building a library. 


It's serious business. They are happy to loan books. Or sell them, so you can keep then forever. I'm not at all sure which my librarian would prefer. But I did borrow one, and his sister promptly demanded that I read it. Dragon doesn't seem to have time for stories today; he has Things To Do.

Next, the library installed sleeping space. Looks a mite cramped to me, but Dragon is pleased. 


Our "Teddy Bear" joined the game (she says she's Daddy's Teddy Bear), and the library had another nice expansion, courtesy of the kitchen chairs.


I suppose I could have interrupted their play for the book learning I had planned this morning, but play is important. So I didn't. They kept at their game for several hours. We'll actually read a few of those books tomorrow; today they are props.

18 November 2015

Math Games

Every so often, I like to do a section where we just play math, and it's just about time to have a couple of those days. Happily, we have some fun ideas that I've been finding, and I think that we'll be playing for the next couple of days. There's square numbers with pennies, and we tried hexaflexagons before, but they didn't work for us (we learned other fun things, though, and it wasn't wasted time), but a friend sent me the page that she found with templates. These will be on the agenda. Soon.

First, we played a cool multiplication game that I found on Pinterest. We rolled some dice, and colored in a matching rectangle: 2x4 gave us two rows of four. I made a rule that you had to color the correct rectangle, no breaking it up to fit better. At the beginning of the game, this was no big deal. 


But as things went on, and our game board filled up, it became an important rule. 


Not only did we each forfeit rolls that couldn't be placed on the board, but it also became very apparent that, although 2x6 and 3x4 both result in 12 squares, they are not exactly the same - the difference in those two rectangles could make the difference between scoring or not at the end of the game.

We played until we had 12 forfeits in a row; then we added to see who won. 


Hero had never done extreme column addition before, and so this part was also challenging. I showed him how to break it up into manageable chunks, and how to carry when you need to carry a double-didget. It was fun! He wants to play again, and so do I.

Days where we play math are some of the best math days.

06 November 2015

On Classical Education: Cultivating Godly Character


This post is part of a series:

Character is the True Aim
Cultivation of Godly Character (this post)
What is a Student? 
Make Haste Slowly
Much Not Many 
Ordered Affections
Repetition is the Mother of Memory
Embodied Learning
Songs Chants and Jingles
Wonder and Curiosity
Educational Virtues
Contemplation
By Teaching We Learn
Classical Education is Like a Table


What is man, that thou art mindful of him? (Psalm 8:4)

What is man, that thou shouldst magnify him? (Job 7:17)


One need not grope for answers to these penetrating questions ... “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation” (1 Pet. 2:9). “Ye … are … a spiritual house, an holy priesthood” (1 Pet. 2:5).
-Thomas S. Monson, April 1988


Our little ones are no less than the Children of God. What education is suitable for God's children? What kind of education awakens and nurtures their divine spark, enabling them to obey the Savior's injunction to be perfect, and grow toward their potential as joint-heirs with Christ?

Given this view of the students, it makes perfect sense that the development of godly character should be the true aim of education. Knowing why provides the motivation, but there still remains the question of how best to go about offering this sort of education to my children. It will not, I think, be merely adding "character" classes to the lineup, alongside the math, history, science, and so on that we are already studying.

So, I began to ask myself, "How does one develop good character, and how can education be a tool in this process?" The first step is to reintroduce God to education.

“[T]he knowledge of God is the principal knowledge, and the chief end of education.
-Charlotte Mason, A Philosophy of Education




"Our children should be indoctrinated in the principles of the Gospel from their earliest childhood. They should be made familiar with the contents of the Bible, the Book of Mormon and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. These should be their chief text books, and everything should be done to establish and promote in their hearts genuine faith in God, in His Gospel and its ordinances, and in His works."
-Wilford Woodruff (source)


Wherever possible, scripture should be introduced into education. Handwriting practice can include verses from the Standard Works. Memorization of scripture, poetry, and other uplifting materials is appropriate for students of all ages. (The Scripture Memory System has been invaluable in our home for this.) Sacred history can and should be reintegrated into the study of history, and the hand of Providence, so often evident in the history of the world, should be discussed whenever it is noted. Current government school practice has made it the norm to divorce education from faith in any and every way, and to belittle, demean, or simply to ignore (as if He was of no consequence) the role of God in history, science, and all other areas of study. This tendency must be resisted. Doing as Wilford Woodruff suggested, and making scripture the first, chief, and most lasting textbook will go far in moulding our own character as well as that of our children, because it will impress upon us and them who they are, what their potential actually is, as well as cultivating the ability to perceive the active hand of our Father in shaping the fate of men and nations.

[T]he development of character comes only as we focus on who we really are. 
-Russell M. Nelson, Living by Scriptural Guidance

From a foundation of scripture, we then must seek for other ways to help our children grow into men and women of good character - and to help them understand why we are guiding them on this path, so that, when they are grown, they will continue along the same lines. Classical Education has a long history and well-worn paths, proven as effective methods of accomplishing these goals. Andrew Kern, quoted in "Classical Paradigm" said this: 

"Classical Education is the cultivation of wisdom and virtue through meditating on the good, the true, and the beautiful."

So we put the good, the true and the beautiful in front of our children at every opportunity. One way we can do this is through the use of high quality literature. Indeed, in times past, one of the principle reasons for learning Latin and Greek was to be able to meet the great literature of these cultures in its own language. But even without such accomplishment in foreign languages, there is a wealth of high quality literature available. And when we spend time reading it, all kinds of wonderful things happen. We are exposed to ideas that might otherwise be absent from our circle. And we meet personality types we might not otherwise meet as well. This can be a significant assist as we teach and prepare our children for the wider world, beyond the shelter of our home.

I think, with books, I can warn my children against certain character types long before we actually meet any of them without encouraging a judgmental and critical spirit, and without exposing them to personal unhappiness in the process.
Charlotte Mason, in common with many classical educators, suggests reading good books for their moral lessons as well as for their literary value. The better the literary quality, the more likely it is that the reader will gain something of moral value from his reading. Miss Mason thought that children should be put in touch with the great ideas, with information clothed in literary language provided by great minds. Good books - meaning well-written books - contribute good material for moral growth.
-Wendi Capehart, Books Build Character


I am delighted by this idea that we can use these fictional characters to discuss persons and personalities - all without using specific real world examples, so as to avoid pointing out others' flaws (always a hazardous and questionable occupation) or potentially hurting somebody's feelings. How useful! I think we've already done this, to a certain extent, but now I want to watch our stories not only for the good behavior they may inspire, but also for the less desirable behavior to discuss and ponder. It is a whole class of teaching moments that I hadn't fully recognized in both literature and scripture.

"We know that the pillar of Classical Education is classics. ... A classic is a book, or a work of art or music or anything, which you can read or appreciate again and again and again, and get more out of it each time. ... It's particularly apropos for Christian educators, because implies what is the great classic? The Bible. Which you could read an infinite number of times, and get more out of it each time." -Andrew Pudewa, "What Are We Really Doing Here?"

There are, of course, many other areas of character development. Family work - the process of teaching kids to participate in and value work - is also hugely important.

Work builds and refines character, creates beauty, and is the instrument of our service to one another and to God. I don't know that, classically, educators would have had to explicitly include learning to do physical in the curriculum, but in our day, with so many labor-saving devices, and the overly indulgent attitude towards childrearing  that has become prevalent, I find that it is helpful to specifically include work in our educational routine. And this also serves the ends of a Classical Education:

Work builds and refines character, creates beauty, and is the instrument of our service to one another and to God.
-D. Todd Chirstopherson, Reflections on a Consecrated Life

Including household chores in our routine serves to break up the day, keeping everyone from getting stale from sitting around doing the same thing all the time, it teaches necessary life skills, and is one aspect of how we can teach our children to work hard.

“All true Work is sacred; in all true Work, were it but true hand-labour, there is something of divineness. Labour, wide as the Earth, has its summit in Heaven.”
-Thomas Carlyle, quoted in Reflections on a Consecrated Life

This idea of climbing toward a heavenly summit is really the basis of what happens in a Classical Education. In that process of climbing toward the divine, we are likely to see such fruits as jobs and citizenship, but those things, worthy as they are, are not the end of education in themselves. The education of God's children is much, much more than mere training for a transitory mortal job. It is setting their feet firmly on the path toward their Eternal Home.




03 November 2015

An Example of the Believers (part 1)


At the most recent General Conference, I was really struck by President Monson's Sunday Morning talk, "Be An Example and a Light." He took two New Testament scriptures and made them the basis of his remarks: Matthew 5:16, where the Savior commands us to let our lights shine before men, and also 1 Timothy 4:12:


...but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.


I set this up as my first verse to ponderize, but when the first week was done, even though I picked a new verse, I found my thoughts drawn back to this verse. Our prophet struggled through his physical weakness so he could use this verse to teach us. That made a deep impression on me. So I'm spending some quality time studying and pondering this verse. It's not the first time President Monson has used this pair of verses; he also used these same two passages last October in the Priesthood session. Ten years ago this verse provided the title and theme for his remarks to the women of the church. In the time between, the Lord lead other speakers to use this verse nineteen times. I think it is safe to conclude that the Lord considers the message of this verse to be an important one for us to hear. So what is it about? There are six attributes listed. I thought it would be good to go through each of them, and spend some time on each attribute.


In Word

According to Strong's Concordance, word here comes from the Greek logos, which means something said, including thoughts; it's the reasoning and motive. 

We should be an example of the believers in the things we say, but the Lord, as always, is as much or more concerned with the inward parts; we should be an example of the believers in our thoughts, or reasoning, and our motives as well as in what we permit to actually come out of our mouths. It's not enough to say the right things; He wants us to say correct things for correct reasons. 

President Monson said:

Let us speak to others with love and respect, ever keeping our language clean and avoiding words or comments that would wound or offend. May we follow the example of the Savior, who spoke with tolerance and kindness throughout His ministry.



In Conversation

Strong's says that, in the Bible, when they talk about "conversation" they're actually talking about behavior, about the way we live our lives. It's our deportment; the way we conduct ourselves. That's so much more than just what happens when we exchange a few words chatting with someone. Even a lengthy chat.

Brigham Young said,

Kind looks, kind actions, kind words, and a lovely, holy deportment towards [children] will bind our children to us with bands that cannot easily be broken; while abuse and unkindness will drive them from us, and break asunder every holy tie, that should bind them to us and to the everlasting covenant in which we are all embraced. If my family … will not be obedient to me on the basis of kindness, and a commendable life before all men, and before the heavens, then farewell to all influence (Teachings, chapter 23).

That's the kind of "conversation" - our actions, words, and deportment towards others - that President Monson was recommending to us when he talked about modeling our lives the way that this verse suggests. Brother Brigham was speaking specifically about family, but there is no limitation on the verse from Paul - we should be an example of the believers in our conversation. Full stop. No exceptions.


In Charity

Charity is a fascinating thing. It really could have it's own series of posts. Charity is an important ingredient in unity - which we are commanded to have in our families, and in the church. Ultimately, we'll need it in the whole world. When asked what is the greatest commandment, Christ talked about love. Charity is a gift of love – of being able to love, to understand, even the most difficult of people. And, it is a Gift of the Spirit we are commanded to seek. Study charity in the scriptures. Pray for it. Practice it, and we will begin to have it in greater measure. And, perhaps even more importantly, we will begin to know the Lord better.

According to Strong's Concordance, the word "charity" appears in the New Testament 28 times. Almost half of them come from Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, where he famously discusses what charity is all about, and how critical it is for us to find it. In each case, the Greek word that became "charity" is agape. This is a word that appeared frequently in the Greek New Testament: more than a hundred times. This is, perhaps, not surprising, since the Two Great Commandments hinge on love. Christ said that the hallmark of discipleship is love.




Love is a difficult word to understand in the English language. For example, I could say to someone that “I love you.” ... We need to know who is speaking to whom in what context. The Greeks don’t have the same problem because they have three different words for love. The first is eros, or romantic love. The English word erotic comes from that Greek root. The second is philia, or brotherly love. The U.S. “City of Brotherly Love,” Philadelphia, gets its name from that Greek root. The third is agape, or Godlike love, the kind of love that enables our Father in Heaven and the Lord to love us even though we are not perfect. I understand that each time in the Greek text of the New Testament when the Lord commands us to love our enemies, it is agape that is used. Here is a very important point for all of us to remember. If we want to cultivate spirituality, we should love everyone at the levels of agape or philia...
-Elder Joe J. Christensen, Ten Ideas to Increase Your Spirituality

I believe that the hallmark of discipleship is love (specifically this agape-love) because we are trying to learn to become like our Father. To be like Him, we must be motivated by what motivates Him, and the motivation that drives what He does is love for His children. To the extent that we do become like Him, we will be so much the better able to love like He loves. And there is so much need for that kind of love in this world.

President Monson, in his Sunday morning talk, said:

The next attribute mentioned by Paul is charity, which has been defined as “the pure love of Christ. I am confident there are within our sphere of influence those who are lonely, those who are ill, and those who feel discouraged. Ours is the opportunity to help them and to lift their spirits. The Savior brought hope to the hopeless and strength to the weak. He healed the sick; He caused the lame to walk, the blind to see, the deaf to hear. He even raised the dead to life. Throughout His ministry He reached out in charity to any in need. As we emulate His example, we will bless lives, including our own.

Charity will heal the world's hurts. It will make us more like Him.



Part 2 is here.





01 November 2015

Commonplace Sampler: October

If to me you can be true,
Just as true as I to you,
It's one, two, three, four, five and six
Sing the Bells of Aberdovey.
One, two, three, four, five and six
It's one, two, three, four, five and six
Sing the bells of Aberdovey.
Boys do love to be in love,
And girls do love to marry.
But my love's for only one,
For Bess of Aberdovey.
If your love is just as true
As this love I have for you,
It's one, two, three, four, five and six,
From the bells of Aberdovey.

2. Bold with love I'm back once more
Just to camp against your door.
It's one, two, three, four, five and six
Sing the Bells of Aberdovey.
One, two, three, four, five and six
It's one, two, three, four, five and six
Sing the bells of Aberdovey.
Here's and end to all faint hearts,
Till truth it is you're pleading.
If you just meet be half way,
It wil be all I'm needing.
If your love is half as true
As this love I have for you,
It's one, two, three, four, five and six,
From the bells of Aberdovey.
-Welsh Folk Song, which is more fun sung:




In New Testament apocryphal writing, Paul is described as being "a man small of stature, with a bald head and crooked legs, in a good state of body, with eyebrows meeting and nose somewhat hooked, full of friendliness; for now he appeared like a man, and now he had the face of an angel.
Paul was small in size, and his personal appearance did not correspond with the greatness of his soul. He was ugly, stout, short, and stooping, and his broad shoulders awkwardly sustained a little bald head. His sallow contenance was half hidden in a thick beard, his nose was aquiline, his eyes piercing; and his eyebrows heavy and jointed across his forehead. Nor was there anything imposing in his speach, for his timid and embarrassed air gave but a poor idea of his eloquence.
-From Saul to Paul, p37-38


Some gardeners
Slash frantically
At the weed's
offending shoots -

And others
Labor steadily,
Loosening
It's roots.
-Carol Lynn Pearson


A wise teacher, in preparing any lesson, will have definite ojbectives in mind. He will decide beforehand what he wants to teach and why he wants to teach it.
-Boyd K. Packer, Teach Ye Diligently, p143


Eragon looked at him, confused. "I don't understand."
"Of course you don't," said Brom impatiently. "That's why I'm teaching you and not the other way around. Now stop talking or we'll never get anywhere."
-Eragon, p148


The easiest way to have control over those whom you teach is to teach them something - to feed them. Be well prepared and have an abundance of subject matter organized and ready to serve. As long as you are feeding students well, few discipline problems will occur.
-Boyd K. Packer, Teach Ye Diligently, p182


True education seeks to make men and women not only good mathematicians, proficient linguist, profound scientists, or brilliant literary lights, but also honest men with virtue, temperance, and brotherly love. It seeks to make men and women who prize truth, justice, wisdom, benevolence, and self-control as the choicest acquisitions of a successful life.
--President David O. McKay, quoted by Ted E. Brewerton, "Character - The True Aim of Education"


"It seems strange that women want to enter into professions and into work and into places in society on an equality with men, wanting to dress like men and carry on men's work. I don't deny the fact that women are capable of doing so, but as I read the scriptures, I find it hard to reconcile this with what the Lord has said about women---what he has said about the family, what he has said about children. It seems to me that in regard to men and women, even though they might be equal in many things, there is a differentiation between them that we fully understand. I hope the time never comes when women will be brought down to the level with men, although they seem to be making these demands in meetings held . . . all over the world"
-Howard W. Hunter (Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, 150)


If each chapter had a powerful central idea, and I read three chapters without stopping, I consumed one idea after another, and had no time in between for my soul to be instructed by each individual idea.
Afterthoughts Blog: Why Slow Reading Matters More Than You'd Think


"A stream can rise no higher than its source, so it is probable that no educational effort can rise above the whole scheme of thought which gives it birth..."
-Charlotte Mason, A Philosophy of Education


To measure the goodness of life by its delights and pleasures and safety is to apply a false standard. The abundant life does not consist of never ending luxury. It does not make itself content with commercially produced pleasure, mistaking it for joy and happiness. On the contrary, obedience to law, respect for others, mastery of self, joy in servicethese make up the abundant life.
-Thomas S Monson, In Search of an Abundant Life, emphasis original.
 

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