The Counsel of Trent

writing is thinking

Friday, August 31, 2007

Band name #3,274

And now, a big round of applause for...

Heather Needs Ovid...

Cardinal Dougherty

Cool, check it out.

Dennis Joseph Cardinal Dougherty (August 16, 1865 - May 31, 1951) was the 5th Bishop of Buffalo, New York and the Archbishop of Philadelphia and ranking prelate of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in the U.S.

His years in office in Philadelphia were marked by the greatest increase in diocesan schools in the history of the diocese. After his death in 1951, the largest Catholic high school in the world was built and named in Cardinal Dougherty's honor. Finished in 1956, Cardinal Dougherty High School was the first school of its kind.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Crime against humanity

Pasted from the website where I'm supposed to pick my health plan.

OPTION 4: Enroll in Family Insurance through UHS Insurance Cost: $9,728.88
Students with at least one dependent child can enroll in the University Quality Care Plan, an Aetna family insurance plan offered through the University. The fee is expected to increase on January 1. A sponsored option (i.e., the student and one child) is available for $8,445/year.

There is something very wrong going on with private insurance. Something very, very wrong.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Link of the day: Musicovery


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Trent's Tips: How to read a book

Actually, these come from my main man Mortimer J. Adler.They have served me well over the years and I've taught them in various courses in various contexts.Check out these maxims of intellectual etitiquite.The full text of the book is available here!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Homeschooling update: the love of reading

Here are some great tips which I endorse.

One I'm so glad to see on there is to avoid book reports. They suck the life out of reading.

Writing a precis of a piece of expository literature later in High School or maybe even Jr. High is something that sometimes needs to be done, but certainly not in grammar school. There it is just a chore which is a very effective instrument of making reading a chore.

And here's a great list of resolutions. We don't get it done every week--some of them more like once a month--but they are great goals to shoot for.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Site of the day: Nasa Observatory

This is cool. Keep forgetting to mention it.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Homeschooling follow-up

Examples ought to accompany exhortations. For the finest example of homeschooling I can think of, read the Little House books.

Update #2: Ma and Pa no doubt sacrificed mightily to purchase the few books they had, and often depended on the generosity of others--whether directly or through public and church libraries--to manifest their great love for learning (which is what I take to be the only secret to home-schooling and to have been greatly exemplified in Ma and Pa).

Thus I take it to be the duty (and joy) of every middle-class homeschooler to donate books in some capacity. I follow in the footsteps of a good friend of mine in tithing books. I recommend it.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Trent's Tips: How to homeschool

From an email to some friends about to begin their homeschooling adventure.


As a lover of Great Books and member of several curriculum comities I’ve designed—literally—hundreds of classes, even several K-12 curricula. It’s fun, but the content is nothing compared to the method. The method is instilling good intellectual *skills* and instilling the love of learning. This latter can’t be taught but only caught by observing the lives of intellectually adventurous parents (or other role-models).

Fiona’s “curricululm and instruction” has thus far amounted to excitedly telling her I think she might now be ready to read _______. First was Little House, then Anne of Green Gables, then Narnia, then Robinson Crusoe, then Hobbit, then Gilgamesh, then LOTR, now A Wrinkle in Time, with the Great Divorce and Out of the Silent Planet up next. Interspersed throughout here are lots and lots of horse books, probably all the one’s you’ve ever heard of. That’s fine to fill the gaps between the real stuff. Here and there she also read some kind of Classics for Children which gave her a run-through of Homer and Virgil.

Other than Dante and Milton (and real-Homer and real-Virgil) the rest is icing on the cake. We’ll just turn her loose on our bookshelves. All the classics both great and small are there for serendipitous discovery.

They see us reading constantly and excitedly discussing them. We get boxes of books often, we have shelves of books all over, we have piles of books all over, we go to book stores, book signings, etc. I honestly think our *décor* is as much a part of our curriculum as anything! It communicates what we value.

History is handled by my own obsession with it. I started with a very coarse timeline (and appropriate narrative) and started filling in the gaps. In a couple of years she’ll read Churchill’s HESP and then she can just follow up on what she’s interested in.

Science might be harder, but we just use Hirsch’s outline to make sure we’ve got the basics covered and the rest is serendipity. They are *constantly* asking about this or that and our active outdoor lifestyle is like biology on parade.

It’s all just so easy when it’s your lifestyle. Getting them to keep their room clean. That’s hard. Homeschooling is easy.

If polymathic learning is *not* one’s lifestyle then I wonder how one is motivated to homeschool in the first place and there’s no amount of planning that can make up for that gap. To them I say to read James Sire’s _Virtues of the Mind_ and the autobiographies of Mortimer J. Adler. If that doesn’t get you excited about reading then your kids are screwed anyway.

Friday, August 03, 2007

SCP at the ACPA: Virtue and Value

John Greco (now at SLU don't forget) is currently putting together a session for the Society of Christian Philosophers at the American Catholic Philosophical Association meeting. Jason Baehr will give a paper on open mindedness as an intellectual virtue and Stephen Grimm will give a paper on epistemic value. Daniel Breyer (Fordham) will comment on Jason's paper and I'll be commenting on Stephen's paper.

Call for Papers