What I do in my free time
I do one of two things... I either make things:
Here is my current project that, because of time constraints, has taken over every waking hour. So I guess it's not really during my free time anymore. The trouble with intensive project making is that all other things fall by the wayside. For instance, I haven't done laundry in two days. I must do some today or the situation in the basement will become critical.
Anybody want to guess what I'm so madly working on?
... or I read. (If only I could figure out how to sew and read a book at the same time!) My latest book is The Underground History of American Education by John Taylor Gatto. It's been on my list to read for a while now. Mr. Gatto was the New York State Teacher of the Year and has been given numerous teaching awards. He is now one of the most out-spoken critics of current educational practices around. It makes for some very interesting reading. You may not always agree with him but he does make you think. I warn you now that I may find this book so interesting that I will have to share bits of pieces with you. For instance, here are a couple of quotes from the prologue which I found particularly interesting.
from p. xxviii
"Somehow out of the industrial confusion which followed the Civil War, powerful men and dreamers became certain what kind of social order America needed. This realization didn't arise as a product of public debate as it should have in a democracy, but as a distillation of private discussion. Their ideas contradicted the original American charter but that didn't disturb them. They had a stupendous goal in mind -- the rationalization of everything. The end of unpredictable history and its transformation into something orderly.
From mid-century onwards certain utopian schemes to retard maturity in the interests of a greater good were put into play, following roughly the blueprint Rousseau laid down in the book Emile. At least rhetorically. The first goal, to be reached in stages, was an orderly, scientifically managed society, one in which the best people would make the decisions, unhampered by democratic tradition. After that, human breeding, the evolutionary destiny of the species, would be in reach. Universal institutionalized formal forced schooling was the prescription, extending the dependency of the young well into what had traditionally been early adult life. Individuals would be prevented from taking up important work until a relatively advanced age. Maturity was to be inhibited.
During the post-Civil War period, childhood was extended about four years. Later, a special label was created to describe very old children. It was called adolescence, a phenomenon hitherto unknown to the human race."
And one shorter one:
from p. xxxi
"The shocking possibility that dumb people don't exist in sufficient numbers to warrant the careers devoted to tending to them will seem incredible to you. Yet that is my proposition: Mass dumbness first had to be imagined, it isn't real."