Avoiding Pre-Packaged Fast-Food Schooling

We have been busily preparing our year end goals and accomplishments for a celebration party the last day of the year.  In preparation, the children (and adults) have been filling in our reading lists for the year as a guideline to keep us on track.   In some of my reading in my preparation for guiding the children in their education, I’ve been enjoying some letters from John and Abigail Adams and their son, John Quincy Adams in which are inspiring bits of history which have reminded me of the great importance of home education. 

High on our list is rediscovering the lost art of journaling and requiring our children to learn the lost discipline.   We have much to learn in the area of self-discipline ourselves and have much to teach our children.  These letters from Mr. and Mrs. Adams and John Quincy Adams were a strong reminder of how soft and weak modern education is and why we must steer clear of pre-packaged, fast-food “schooling”!

Consider this sampling….a letter from young John Quincy Adams who, at the age of 10 years old, began the habit of writing to his father to review his character development and education and to ask for parental instruction:

Braintree, June 2, 1777

Dear Sir,

I love to receive letters very well, much better than I love to write them. I make but a poor figure at composition; my head is much too fickle. My thoughts are running after birds’ eggs, play, and trifles, till I get vexed with myself. I have but just entered the third volume of Smollett, though I had designed to have got half through it by this time. I have determined this week to be more diligent, as Mr. Thaxter will be absent at court and I cannot pursue my other studies. I have set myself a stint, and determine to read the third volume half out. If I can but keep my resolution I will write again at the end of the week, and give a better account of myself. I wish, sir, you would give me some instructions with regard to my time, and advise me how to proportion my studies and my play, in writing, and I will keep them by me and endeavor to follow them. I am, dear sir, with a present determination of growing better,


John Quincy Adams

P.S. Sir, if you will be so good as to favor me with a blank book, I will transcribe the most remarkable occurrences I meet with in my reading, which will serve to fix them upon my mind.

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