3,500+ Books/Works in 1 Hour per Day


Fables, fairy tales and scripture stories as a staple of early childhood have largely been replaced by Dora the Explorer and other books, TV shows, web sites, and classes that focus on the accumulation of information and skills at an early age over the development of relationships, character and the understanding of right and wrong, good and evil. In light of this, it's not really surprising to me that our culture doesn't seem to understand the principle taught in the fable of The Tortoise and the Hare. No one seems to believe that "Slow and steady wins the race" these days, in school or work. I would argue that it is still true, and will always be true. When my oldest child (now 15) was 5, I dropped the reading and math lessons, which were backfiring and making both of our lives miserable. Instead, I made a goal to read as many good books aloud to her as she and I both wanted. The idea came to me to keep track of all these books in a list. The list started as a Word document, and eventually became a spreadsheet. To date she has read over 3,000 books and read/seen/listened to 500-1000 other works of genius in art, theater, music, film, architecture, magazine articles, and talks. (We only recently started recording non-book works). And because of our Tortoise approach, she remembers most of them; she regards them as dear friends who have become part of who she is, not just information to be stored and retrieved when needed. What do I mean by 3,500+ works? In our system, reading a book 3 times counts as 3 books, as I believe you can learn something new, and go deeper, each time you read/observe a work of genius. However, I have not counted other works of genius more than once. (We may have listened to Hamilton 1,000 times.) What do I mean by one hour per day? One hour per day is the average amout of time *I* spend reading aloud to my daughter/children and discussing what we've read; it does not include the time my daughter has spent reading/studying on her own. I spend less time in the summer, but more in the winter. I did not count the time we have spent watching a play or on a tour at an art museum. This power hour of reading and exploring great works together has been the catalyst for my daughter to read more books and experience other works on her own time, which are included in the list. This is part of the exponential return on your one hour per day investment. Why study works of genius? When you study works of genius in every field, you are learning from the best. You are learning the language of genius; how to nourish your own genius within. Works of genius, both fiction and non-fiction, in all formats, are presented as whole stories and ideas that span various subjects and have a purpose. They draw connections. They are emotion-evoking, thought-provoking and open to interpretation and discussion. This makes them easier to understand and remember. Most didactic textbooks and lessons are presented as information by subject, are usually not emotion-evoking or open to interpretation and discussion. In short, conventional textbooks and lessons teach you what to think, while works of genius help you learn how to think. Why keep a log of works studied? 1. It's deeply satisfying to see what you've accomplished 2. It's a powerful motivator to continue to add to the list 3. It's helpful to be able to see, at a glance, where your gaps are, if your goal is a broad education; to learn how to think and not what to think. By "gaps" I am not just referring to subject matter. If your goal is to learn how to think, then it is important to study works from both men and women from various fields, cultures, countries, religions, from various time periods throughout history. 4. It is required of homeschoolers in many states to keep a log of student studies and to spend a certain amount of time teaching each subject. In this way, you can avoid using a curriculum, learn from the great works, and still be abiding by the law. You can start your own spreadsheet, or use my template, which I have pre-filled with 250 of my family's favorite works of genius, their author, year written/created (or written/created about), country of origin, and subject matter covered. I will be releasing this tool/curriculum creator in the next couple of weeks. I hope this has been inspiring and helpful to you, and wish you much love in the upcoming 2017-18 school year! Angel


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