ray’s arithmetic

Ray's New Primary ArithmeticRay’s Arithmetic is the nineteenth century equivalent of Guerber’s Histories – solid academics before modern dumbing down and progressive educational experimentation invaded the classic curriculum. I love Ray’s because it teaches traditional arithmetic, each concept building on the last in progression. It is mastery based, not grade based, so it is learn at your own pace. Ray’s can be purchased from Mott Media, or they are free from Google Books:

New Primary Arithmetic for Young Learners

Teaches concrete arithmetic concepts (objects before symbols).

New Intellectual Arithmetic

Teaches symbolic arithmetic (numbers and facts).

New Practical Arithmetic

Teaches arithmetic application.

New Higher Arithmetic

When a student has finished Higher Arithmetic, he is ready to go on to Algebra.

New Test Examples in Arithmetic for New Intellectual and Practical Arithmetics
Key to New Intellectual and Practical Arithmetics
Key to New Higher Arithmetic

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the heart which loves virtue

We saw that the goal of education is not only the learning of facts, but also the training of the mind to think, and think rightly. This is the power of the mind.

But the sum of a man is more than his mind and his ability to think. He also possesses a heart, which is the most important part of his being.

Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life. Pro 4:23

There are brilliant men who have the power of their minds, whose minds have been trained to think. But by their corrupt hearts, they remain fools, walking a path whose end is death. For wisdom and foolishness are not provinces of the mind, but of the heart.

The fool has said in his heart,
There is no God.”
They are corrupt,
They have done abominable works,
There is none who does good. Psa 14:1

“For the turning away of the simple will slay them,
And the complacency of fools will destroy them;
But whoever listens to me [wisdom] will dwell safely,
And will be secure, without fear of evil.” Pro 1:32-33

The first tenant or pillar of wisdom, is the fear of the Lord. Atheists, darwinists, medical doctors who are euthanizers … they may have acquired and operate in a great deal of knowledge, but they remain simple and foolish, not having arrived yet at the very first pillar of wisdom.

Wisdom has built her house,
She has hewn out her seven pillars; Pro 14:1

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Pro 9:10

Therefore a true education does more than train the mind to think. It also teaches the heart to love virtue and wisdom, which begins with loving the Lord God, the author of virtue and wisdom.

Time and attention spent on this aspect of education does not detract from acquiring the knowledge of academic subjects, what we normally think of as education. But attention spent on the heart, on virtue and wisdom, is actually foundational to acquiring the knowledge of academic subjects. Have you ever tried to teach algebra to a 14- year old child whose heart is closed to instruction? It is a fruitless and pointless endeavor.

The Abolition of Man by C. S. Lewis

The Abolition of Man by C. S. Lewis

And [those who despised wisdom] say
“How I have hated instruction,
And my heart despised correction!
I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers,
Nor inclined my ear to those who instructed me!” Pro 5:12-13

The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge,
But the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness. Pro 15:14

Pro 5:12-13 describes the foolish child’s attitude toward acquiring knowledge and instruction. Pro 15:14 describes the wise child’s attitude toward acquiring knowledge and instruction.

The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis discusses the problem of educating the mind while neglecting the heart, so that what is produced is “men without chests.”

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good mathematics

What makes a “good” mathematics curriculum, and what is meant by “good” anyway? A lot of folks before me have tackled this question. I like this explanation: True Standards that Parents can Use, and will be discussing why in upcoming education philosophy posts:

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) has developed a valuable set of Criteria for High-Quality Standards that can be used as a Standard by which we can judge Standards. The AFT criteria include the following:

Standards must focus on academics
Standards must be grounded in core disciplines
Standards must be specific enough to assure the development of a common core curriculum
Standards must be rigorous and world class
Standards must include performance standards

The premise of Mathematically Correct is that there is a mathematically correct solution for every mathematical problem. For a long time now, there has been an ideological battle raging in educational circles. In mathematics, this battle has been between traditional math (your great- grandfather’s mathematics) and new math, or new new math, or reform math.

Traditional math is mathematics as it has been taught and worked for thousands of years. It assumes a set body of knowledge that can be learned in progression, and worked through, to arrive at a correct, or true, solution – the only correct or true solution.

New math dislikes anything traditional, and considers this only one correct solution axiom limiting and disheartening for underprivileged, nontraditional, or creative students. It attempts to focus on the problem- solving process rather than (and often at the expense of) the correct solution. However, many careers and disciplines in our world depend on correctness. The next time you take a plane somewhere, your hope is that the engineer and mechanic who vetted the plane had their mathematical solutions correct, and the pilot, navigator, and air traffic controller also had their mathematical solutions correct when calculating and executing the flight path.

In defense of traditional math: what is reform math, anyway?

The latest standard- bearer for the reform math bandwagon is the Common Core State Standards initiative.

Michelle Malkin: My child’s Common Core-aligned Algebra book is crap

The Common Core Standards emphasize testing well on standardized tests (written, it turns out, by the CC folks themselves), often at the expense of learning the basic mathematical body of knowledge necessary to understand and use math as a tool in adulthood. One high school math teacher has already exposed the high stakes testing as a myth.

Why cant public schools get it right? One ex- teacher says his profession no longer exists, as teaching is being replaced by test training. Jamie Escalante of Stand and Deliver fame was not allowed to build on his success. The public loses superstar teachers like Escalante and New York State Teacher of the Year John Gatto, because the political arm of public education has different goals, often, than individual teachers or parents.

Saxon Algebra 1/2, first edition

Saxon Algebra 1/2, first edition

These true mathematics skills benchmarks will help anyone forced to side step the public system if they wish their children to be truly math literate.

Nitty gritty: recommended curriculum

1990s era Core Knowledge
Saxon Math first editions (about John Saxon)
1990s era Singapore Math

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elementary reading level 4-6: anthologies and poetry (1000 good books)

A child does not have to wait till 4th grade to begin on these books, nor must they begin these by 4th grade if they are still reading through the previous lists and not yet ready to move on. Rather, these books follow the previous lists in difficulty and can, and ought to, be read aloud to very young children even before they are ready to read them for themselves.

The Blue Fairy Book edited by Andrew Lang

The Blue Fairy Book edited by Andrew Lang

American Tall Tales by Adrien Stoutenburg
Beowulf, the Warrior by Ian Serraillier
Best-Loved Poems of the American People selected by Hazel Felleman
Blue Fairy Book and others by Andrew Lang, illustrated by H. J. Ford RA
Book of Americans by Rosemary and Stephen V. Benet
Book of Virtues by William Bennett
Cautionary Tales for Children by Hilaire Belloc
Child’s History of England by Charles Dickens
Child’s Geography of the World by V. M. Hillyer
Child’s History of Art by V. M. Hillyer
Child’s History of the World by V. M. Hillyer
Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Anderson RA
Favorite Poems Old and New by Helen Ferris
Hero Tales by Dave and Neta Jackson
Household Stories by the Brothers Grimm, illustrated by Walter Crane RA
John Gilpin’s Ride by William Cowper

My Book House edited by Olive Beaupre Miller

My Book House edited by Olive Beaupre Miller

Little Bookroom by Eleanor Farjeon
LuLu’s Library and other short story anthologies by Louisa May Alcott
McGuffey’s Second and Third Reader by William McGuffey RA
Moral Compass by William Bennett
My Book House (12 volumes) edited by Olive Beaupre Miller
Myths of the World by Padraic Colum
Perrault’s Complete Fairy Tales by Charles Perrault RA
Pied Piper of Hamelin by Robert Browning, illustrated by Kate Greenaway
Poems of Thomas Bailey Aldrich and others by Thomas Bailey Aldrich
Sketch Book by Washington Irving
Song of Hiawatha and other poems by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Stories of Great Americans by Edward Eggleston
Story of the Greeks and others by H. A. Guerber, edited by Christine Miller
Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne RA
Treasury of Children’s Literature by Armand Eisen
Wonder Book by Nathaniel Hawthorne RA
Wonder Clock by Howard Pyle

return to elementary reading level: 4-6
return to 1000 good books list

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educational philosophy

what is education? 2013 apr 22
the heart that loves virtue, 2013 apr 29

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what is education?

524267_10151612458218278_315880402_n (1)Albert Einstein said, “… Education is not the learning of many facts, but the training of the mind to think.” I agree with him, but would add this qualification: Education is not only the learning of facts. The mind cannot learn to think unless it has learned some facts – the those things which become the objects to be considered.

The word “educate” itself gives us a clue to its purpose. It is from the Latin e “out” + ducere “to lead.” To lead out. We are born in a certain state, and the process of education ought to lead us out of that state. But Einstein is right, education ought to be more than just the learning of facts or the progression from unknowing to knowing. What do we mean by “learning to think?”

“Most of those little gaucheries and solecisms [of incorrect grammar] that make us think that we ought to teach more grammar are only the habits of a mind in a certain condition, a condition to whose cure all of us have supposedly chosen to devote our lives.

“I know of no specific name for the condition I have in mind, and I find it hard to describe. Although it is a kind of thoughtlessness, or unknowing, it is not truly what we usually mean by ignorance–the simple lack of information. Nor is it dullness of mind, or stupidity, whatever we might mean by that. It is that condition in which the mind takes but little, or takes but rarely, the grasp of itself. Although it isn’t necessarily caused, or perpetuated by a lack of reading, or cured, either, by a glut of reading, it is nevertheless the condition to which we seem vaguely to point when we sit around and complain that our students seem never to have read anything.

“While I would not want to make a habit of it, I will for now call that condition ‘inducation,’ the state of being led into something, rather than out of it, as ‘education’ suggests. But even that idea is not quite enough, for the condition I have in mind is not accurately described as one into which we are led, but one in which we are left, and out of which we might be led. In its purest form, it is the condition in which the mind operates like an organ of the senses, thinking what it must think in response to the suggestions of its environment, as the ear hears whatever it can hear and the open eye must see whatever lies before it.

“As Holmes often remarked to Watson, it is not at all uncommon for the eye to see without noticing, and when the mind works like an organ of the senses, it is to be expected that it will do the same, which can perhaps be described as thinking without thinking about, without considering, reflecting, comparing, weighing, or judging. It is the condition in which the mind serves as a registry, a perpetual catalog of whatever presents itself. That condition is not only one in which we are born, but one into which we fall continually, and into which, it must be admitted, we had better fall in the ordinary course of daily life, lest we find ourselves walking into closed doors and driving our cars on the other side of the road.

“Consider now the opposite condition, the one in which the mind, still the hapless receiver of the world about it, can nevertheless withdraw far enough so that it can, and will, consider, reflect, compare, weigh, and judge–comment, as it were, on the items in its register.”

Richard Mitchell, Why Good Grammar?

That is what is meant by thinking: a mind given its power, able to withdraw from its senses and the information it has received, and consider it. That is a necessary goal, and one which most modern curriculum developers do not wish to inculcate. Thinkers live or seek to live in a state of freedom and self- determination, and are hard to control.

But even that is not far enough. An individual has not been truly educated until they have learned to consider, reflect, weigh, and judge rightly. When a desire has been ignited for the pursuit of truth, and the tools internalized to sift and separate truth from untruth – then a child has been given the power of their mind, and has received an education.

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primary reading level 1-3: advanced readers (1000 good books)

After your readers have become more fluent reading through the 1-3 Picture Books, they will be ready to begin on longer books and easy chapter books, which are included in this list.

Abraham Lincoln by Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire
Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse by Ursula Moray Williams
Adventures of Tom Bombadil by J. R. R. Tolkein
birt dowAlligator Case and others by William Pene du Bois
And Then What Happened, Paul Revere? by Jean Fritz
Angry Giant by Oscar Wilde
Apple and the Arrow by Mary Marsh Buff
Bard of Avon: the Story of William Shakespeare by Diane Stanley
Bear Called Paddington and others by Michael Bond
Bears on Hemlock Mountain and others by Alice Dalgliesh
Benjamin Franklin by Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire
Benjamin West and his Cat Grimlakin by Marguerite Henry
Betsy and Billy and others by Carolyn Haywood
Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill and others by Maude Lovelace
Billy and Blaze and others by C. W. Anderson
Book of Cowboys by Holling C. Holling
Book of Indians by Holling C. Holling
Box-Car Children and others by Gertrude Warner (the first 19 in the series)
Bright April by Marguerite de Angeli
Burt Dow, Deep Water Man by Robert McCloskey
Can’t You Make Them Behave, King George? by Jean Fritz
Capyboppy by Bill Peet
Castle by David Macauley
Cathedral by David Macaulay
Chalk Box Kid by Clyde Robert Bulla
Charles Dickens: the Man Who Had Great Expectations by Diane Stanley
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
City by David Macaulay
Cleopatra by Diane Stanley
Coll and His White Pig by Lloyd Alexander
Columbus by Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire
Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh
d’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths by Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire
d’Aulaire’s Norse Gods and Giants by Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire
Eric the Red and Leif the Lucky by Barbara Schiller
good queen bessFairy Doll by Rumer Godden
Finn Family Moomintroll and others by Tove Jansson
George Washington by Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire
George Washington’s Breakfast by Jean Fritz
Good Queen Bess by Diane Stanley
Grain of Rice by Helena Clare Pittman
Happy Hollisters and others by Jerry West
Happy Orpheline and others by Natalie Savage Carlson
Henner’s Lydia by Marguerite de Angeli
Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
Hundred Penny Box by Sharon Bell Mathis
I, Columbus and others by Peter and Connie Roop
In Search of Troy by Piero Ventura
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Just a Few Words, Mr. Lincoln by Jean Fritz
Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling RA
Kindle of Kittens by Rumer Godden
Least of All by Carol Purdy
Leave Horatio Alone by Eleanor Clymer
Leif the Lucky by Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire
Leonardo da Vinci by Diane Stanley
Lion to Guard Us by Clyde Robert Bulla
Little Pear by Eleanor Frances Lattimore
Marco Moonlight by Clyde Robert Bulla
Matchlock Gun by Walter Edmonds
Mercy Watson to the Rescue and others in the series by Kate DiCamillo
Michelangelo’s World by Piero Ventura
Mill by David Macaulay
minnMinn of the Mississippi by Holling C. Holling
Mouse House by Rumer Godden
Mouse on the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary
My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannet
Nothing is Impossible, The Story of Beatrix Potter by Dorothy Aldis
Old Mother West Wind and others by Thornton W. Burgess
Old Woman Who Lived in a Vinegar Bottle by Rumer Godden
Ordinary Princess by Mary Margaret Kaye
Paddle to the Sea by Holling C. Holling
Pagoo by Holling C. Holling
Peter the Great by Diane Stanley
Pilgrims of Plimoth by Marcia Sewall
Poppleton and others in the series by Cynthia Rylant
Puppy Summer by Meindert de Jong
Pyramid by David Macaulay
Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame
Rocking Horse Secret by Rumer Godden
Sarah Morton’s Day and others by Kate Waters
Seabird by Holling C. Holling
Shhhh … We’re Writing the Constitution by Jean Fritz
Ship by David Macaulay
Shoeshine Girl by Clyde Robert Bulla
Skippack School by Marguerite de Angeli
Snipp, Snapp, Snurr and the Red Shoes and others in the series by Maj Lindman
Song of the Swallows by Leo Politi
Squanto, Friend of the Pilgrims by Clyde Robert Bulla
St. Philip of the Joyous Heart by Francis X. Connolly
Tale of Jolly Robin and others by Arthur Scott Baily
Tale of Three Trees by Angela Hunt
They Were Strong and Good by Robert Lawson
Three Dollar Mule by Clyde Robert Bulla
Three Young Pilgrims by Cheryl Harness
Thy Friend, Obadiah by Brinton Turkle
Tree in the Trail by Holling C. Holling
Truthful Harp by Lloyd Alexander
Twenty and Ten by Claire Huchet Bishop
Twenty Elephant Restaurant by Russell Hoban
What’s the Big Idea, Ben Franklin? by Jean Fritz
Where do You Think You’re Going, Christopher Columbus? by Jean Fritz
Where Was Patrick Henry on the 29th of May? by Jean Fritz
Who’s That Stepping on Plymouth Rock? by Jean Fritz
Why Don’t You Get a Horse, Sam Adams? by Jean Fritz
Will You Sign Here, John Hancock? by Jean Fritz
Yellow and Pink by William Steig
Yonie Wondernose by Marguerite de Angeli

return to primary reading level: 1-3
return to 1000 good books list

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