Starvation for intellectuals

I get a lot of free books in the mail because my not-homeschooling blog is so big. The topic of all the books is “how to have a great career” and I throw almost all of them out.

When I was dating the Farmer, he used to feed the extra books to the pigs. Now that I actually live on the farm with him I see that was sort of a farm trick. Real farmers wouldn’t do that because the books don’t have enough calories. Pigs won’t get fat on books.

This is the story I tell the boys while I force them to play Art Memory from the Chicago Art Institute. They want Sponge Bob memory, but I promise that if they put up with flipping Picasso instead of Patrick, I’ll tell them a funny story.

I wonder, though, what really is the value of tiny paintings turned face down? I fear the nutritional content might be similar to feeding books to pigs.

17 replies
  1. Karen
    Karen says:

    At their age, I seriously doubt that they will get any value at all from Picasso cards. When I first began homeschooling, I remembered that Camille Paglia once wrote that a proper liberal arts education could be completely built around the study of a book called “The Story of Art” by E.H Gombrich, so I ordered one. Great book, by the way. It came with another book called “A Child’s History of the World” and in it, I read that Gombrich believed that the study of art and art history was for teenagers, not young children who are not yet developmentally ready to appreciate the material. Stick with regular history, and lots of it, for the time being.

    C’mon Pen – get them the Spongebob cards.

  2. Someone in WI
    Someone in WI says:

    Penelope, I just found a book I think you should read. Can I do html in these comment boxes? Here goes: A Thomas Jefferson Education

    It says that homeschoolers will be the leaders in our future. I was so skeptical when you first said that, but here’s another person saying it.

    I’ve been homeschooling since the mid ’90s. Our two oldest kids are in college and doing well. Two more coming up. All have been homeschooled since kindergarten. No, make that, “since birth”. :)

    It’s not easy, not always smooth, not perfect, but then again nothing is.

  3. Jana Miller
    Jana Miller says:

    hahahaha…I think it’s great to expose them to good art. I used to have a big book of sister wendys art and I had my kids trace the pictures. That was fun.

    Or we would do narration where they would tell me everything they see in the painting. This was a great way to teach attention to detail and to look beyond what you see at first.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      I like that you wrote the goals there – attention to detail and look beyond what you see.

      Sometimes, I don’t know what I’m doing when we’re talking about the art. I love the art so much, I just find myself on insane tangents.

      So all week we’ve been talking about why Jackson Pollock killed himself. “Where did he put the gun?” comes up a lot. The kids thought maybe his ear. And I find myself thinking, “Is this an opportunity for a biology lesson or should I just shut up?”


  4. leftbrainfemale
    leftbrainfemale says:

    My girls *loved* A Child’s History of the World – I got a copy of the original, and they ate it up. Of course, they were probably the age of your boys, and I don’t think they recall much of it now, but things like that have a way of building in their minds, whether they remember it or not. Your boys are the age they would also *love* Holling C. Holling’s books probably – great for history/geography. Our favorites were “Paddle to the Sea” and “The Tree in the Trail”.

  5. Someone in WI
    Someone in WI says:

    Yes, yes, to leftbrainfemale’s comment!

    About those Holling C. Holling books (my kids love to say that name!): there is a set of maps and a guide you can buy that goes along with the books. Great geography and history lessons — and lots of sit-together-on-the-sofa-reading-aloud time — and the kids get to color in the maps themselves. Just the best.

    Also, check out Jim Weiss’s stories-on-CD. They are wonderful! Every birthday and Christmas, the kids got one of these. We all love the stories, there’s a timeline that tells you which stories go with each historical era, and the kids learn SO much from them.

    So many wonderful resources out there. Just remember you don’t have to teach them everything in one year, and you always have a second, or third, or fourth chance to teach it again in the future.

  6. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    Books for pigs.
    Homeschooled pigs. They’re smart but not that smart.
    Calorie count is out but then I thought about fiber content.
    Couldn’t find anything on that angle.
    However, I did find something that paper (i.e. – shredded paper) could be used for in niche pork production.
    Bedding management –
    According to this paper, though, you would need a LOT of books!

  7. pfj
    pfj says:

    Way late with this comment, but WTF, here it is anyway.

    Holling C. Holling — absolutely beautiful art.

    Penelope, are you familiar with E. Nesbit? Some of her books were “Five Children and It” and “The Phoenix and the Carpet” and “The Enchanted Castle.” Check them out.

    Also, “The Princess and Curdie” and “The Princess and the Goblin” by George MacDonald? Never mind the ‘princess’ part — they’re not namby-pamby. Maybe your boys will like them.

    About pigs eating books. Waaaay too much like the Nazis mixing sawdust in with other ingredients to make “bread” go farther. (Wikipedia says, “In English, “ersatz” arose as a pejorative during World War II because Ersatzbrot (replacement bread) was given frequently to the POWs, which was made of the lowest-grade flour, potato starch and frequently intermixed with other extenders such as sawdust.”

    I wouldn’t feed books to my pigs, even if I hated the books and hated the pigs.

  8. Jessika
    Jessika says:

    Hi everyone, my brother sent me this e-mail. I would love to learn everything about homeschooling. I live in puerto rico and schools here are not that great. The teachers are prepared but I want something different for my son. He is a year and 5 months. I’m a stay home mom. But a little scared about teaching my son. Does it matter that I’m not a teacher or good at math. The money is a little issue also. But I think if we were considering putting him in private school, that we can manage homeschooling. Just have to convince my husband who is a gym teacher. Please someone contact me on those issues. I would really appreciate it.

  9. Jessika
    Jessika says:

    Hi everyone. Love the articles. I would love to homeschool my son some day. He is a year and five months. What is the cost, does it matter if your not a teacher or good at math. How do you know what to teach. I’m a homemaker and I guess I’m a little scared about taking that step. My brother in the u.s.a sent me this e-mail. I live in puerto rico. And the education here isn’t the best. But I would also have to convince my husband who is a gym teacher and is looking forward to having his son attend his school. Please someone let me know. I would really appreciate it. you can send me a e-mail.

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