Wednesday, April 25, 2012
"We live in a world where knowledge is increasing at an ever-accelerating rate. Drink deeply from this ever-springing well of wisdom and human experience. If you should stop now, you will only stunt you intellectual and spiritual growth. Keep everlastingly at it. Read. Read. Read. Read the word of God in sacred books of scripture. Read from the great literature of the ages. Read what is being said in our day and time and will be said in the future.” Gordon B. Hinckley Commencement Address, Brigham Young University 27 April 1995"
I try to read my scriptures daily. Presently, I am personally reading my way through a paperback copy of the Book of Mormon. I am marking it as if to a friend. When I am finished I will place my testimony in it and send it to my missionary son to give out on his mission. As a family we study the scriptures, as well. I am reading Anne of Green Gables aloud with my thirteen year-old daughter. I recently read Successward: A Young Man's Book for Young Men by Edward Bok, to my seventeen year-old son, it was his great grandfather's book, a family heirloom. Each evening we have an devotional with scripture, quotes, poetry, and stories. So, yes, I am getting some reading in! Between being a wife, a mother, homeschooling, co-owning two businesses with my daughter, and being ward primary president, I find extra time to read often slips through my fingers. I decided to do something about it. President Hinckley had often mentioned that he had and still read from the Harvard Classics that his father had bought:
"I have in my home a library set of the Harvard Classics that originally belonged to my father. Though he was not a man of great financial means, he was an educated and thoughtful man who placed high priority on language and learning. I still refer to this fifty-volume set of books, just as I did more than sixty years ago as a university student. It is a treasury of timeless literature, an encyclopedic presentation of great thoughts of men and women who, in their eras, struggled with serious problems, thought deeply, prayed mightily, and expressed themselves in ways both challenging and beautiful." Gordon B. Hinckley, Standing for Something: 10 Neglected Virtues That will Heal Our Hearts and Homes, page 60.
I must admit that I have often wanted to read the Harvard Classics, also known as the Five Foot Bookshelf, ever since I heard him fist mention the series. So, I did some research to find out abour the Harvard Classics. It is a 51 volume set, of which I had already read several of the works in my effort to gain a liberal arts education. I found that the editor of the Harvard Classics is Charles Eliot, and that he had served as President of Harvard for forty years, from 1869 to 1909. He had delivered a speech to working men stating that:
“In my opinion, a five-foot shelf would hold books enough to give a liberal education to any one who would read them with devotion, even if he could spare but fifteen minutes a day for reading.”
That was what I was aiming for-- "a liberal education." Liberal not in the political realm, but liberal as in generous, broad, and deep; liberal as in liberal arts-- the arts designed to help a person be free.
The publisher P. F. Collier and Sons, heard of Eliot's speeches and challenged Eliot, to put together a list of books they called "The Five Foot Bookshelf." When I read the quote suggesting as little as 15 minutes a day I must say I was intrigued. Could this really be true? Is it possible to get this kind of education in as little as 15 minutes a day? I thought that would be just wonderful for momculture, wherein a mom pursues increasing her education. I thought it would be great to have a class of busy moms (and others if they want to join us) moving forward with their education in as little as 15 minutes a day and discussing what they are reading once a week.;After all, the series came highly recommended by a modern prophet of God! This would definitely help with mooring us to the classics.
Before starting a class, I felt I needed to see how it works for me. Though I have read different works contained in the series, I have not read the set before. No, I do not need to read the whole series through before we start. I just need to see if I can develop the habit of setting aside 15 minutes a day for several months of busy life. I do realize that this series is not comprehensive and that there are so many things that have happened in the century since it was first published. Yet, it is a good place to start in getting a "liberal education." Could I, with my busy life, regularly read 15 minutes a day? I want to read just 15 minutes a day for the first 90 days; later I can read more in a day as time allows. So, I began my journey yesterday. I do not yet own the books, but I found them all digitized online-- here and here. Perhaps I will gather my own set, one at a time, as I read each book, kind of a reward for staying on track! Where did I begin? "I started at the very beginning, because that is a "very good place to start." I should be able to finish the first volume in a month.
Saturday, March 3, 2012
What can educationally be experienced in a single hour a day, added up week to week, for nine months a year, for four years? More than one can imagine!
It is said that one can count the apples in a seed, but one cannot count the seeds in an apple. Just as the seeds of an apple when planted can produce more apples than one can imagine, the Power of an Hour is bite sized learning that can really add up over time!
What can one explore in one hour, in a single day? A week? A month? Nine Months? Four Years? Let's take a look...
What can one be exposed to in a single day?
* A scripture episode.
* A read aloud from a classic.
* Enrichment through Power of an Hour, thus adding cultural breadth to one's educational experience. Read Full Post...