I once struck up a conversation in the church nursery (a place well-designed for immediate and necessary friendship) with a woman who I have come to love with a passion. It was, of course, on the relevant topic of poetry. In the course of my lamentations on the disgustingness of so-called art, we came around to British literature. I am quite sure I put in a good word for Beowulf. In any case, it came out that she had a little set of college Brit lit books that she would be happy to lend to me.
Guess what I've been reading for the past few months.
Well, I got to page 530 or so of the second volume (appx. 1,050 pages, give or take a few hundred) and stumbled upon Sir Thomas More. Ever hear of Utopia? That's what I thought. It's a rather long book describing an idealistic, though admittedly strange, society. But his writing style -- his wit -- !
For instance, "In short, I’d rather be truthful than correct."
Or try, "Pride measures her advantages not by what she has but by what other people lack."
Or even, "I remembered what he had said about certain people who were afraid they might not appear wise unless they found out something to criticize in the ideas of others."
This post has nothing to do with Sir Thomas More, however much I like him. It really doesn't even have anything to do with the quote I submit as the post's impetus. Grab your dictionary and here we go:
I hear lots of homeschoolers (!) complaining about this or that...chemistry, grammar, algebra -- name it and we can hate it. I include myself on this wanted list.
Now without sounding like a progressive, I want to encourage everyone who has spoken ill of X subject to reconsider. Why do you hate it? Is it different? Is it difficult? Is it just plain weird? Does it make absolutely no sense?
The problem isn't it. It's you. It's perfectly content to be itself in its own entity: it doesn't need to change. We the students are the ones who do the changing. In short, we need to stretch ourselves. We need to tackle what's hard and different instead of complaining about its hardness. If you have to do it anyway, you might as well do it cheerfully.
What do we think learning is, anyway? Passing an easy test? Getting a cheap grade with little study? It's supposed to be hard. It's supposed to be different.
That's what an education is for.
Stretch yourself a bit. Bend down and touch your academic toes, so to speak. Expose yourself -- within reason, of course -- to different ideas, different ways of thinking, different areas of the brain. Do it as a challenge. Do it as a good thing. You'll be surprised how much you learn.