7 Phenomenal Books For Homeschooling, Self-Directed Learners & Autodidacts

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TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
March 26, 2017

“A mind needs books like as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”
– George R.R. Martin A Song Of Ice And Fire

“If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Real books disgust the totalitarian mind because they generate uncontrollable mental growth – and it cannot be monitored.”
– John Taylor Gatto, A Different Kind Of Teacher, p. 82.

Education is the most vital component of an individual’s repertoire.  Without it, the individual is like a ship without a rudder, drifting aimlessly amidst the seas of life

For that reason it is imperative to make sure individuals continue to educate themselves, no matter what stage of life they are in.  This is why the following list has been composed.

Each of the books reviewed below offer abundant wisdom from which to learn from.  Considering we are in an age where public schooling is about conformity, division, dumbing people down, and more, it would be wise for individuals to take their own education into their hands.

The books below will help individuals cement a firm foundation upon to be able to extract the most out of life and their individual journey.  If you wish to read more about the books, press the link on the book titles to heads towards the reviews.

Book #1:  Socratic Logic V3.1 by Peter Kreeft Ph.D

Out of all of these  7 books, this is hands down the most demanding one.  My contention though is that this book will net the most benefits because it couples into all the other subjects and areas of life, and well as each of your everyday endeavors.   While the other books below might be useful to you throughout your life, the lessons of this book will be useful every single day.  This is because logic is employed in everyday life, even if we sometimes do it automatically.

Although requiring considerable effort, the book is a much easier read than Aristotle’s Organnon, while still covering the core dynamics.  I would suggest still reading that one proceeding this one to make sure you have a firm grasp of logic.

Book #2:  The Trivium – The Liberal Arts Of Grammar, Logic & Rhetoric by Sister Miriam Joseph Ph.D.

Historically, the Trivium was taught as part of classical education.  That is no longer the case, however.  Because of that, it is imperative that books discussing classical education as The Trivium be ruminated upon since the trivium is one of the leading reasons why education decades and centuries ago was vastly superior than it is now.

The Trivium encompasses all aspects of grammar, logic and rhetoric.  This book is a thorough presentation on general grammar, fallacies, syllogisms, a solid logic introduction, enthymemes, poetics, figurative language , all with a hefty dose of examples from which to learn from.

Just as a house cannot be complete without a foundation, an individual’s education, no matter the age, cannot be complete without knowledge of the Trivium.

Book #3:  How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren

The title says it all.  If you want to extract the most out of all types of books, this book is a must read.  In fact, it would be a mistake not to have it because not following many of these tenets would mean only fractional understanding of certain subjects.  The book really is phenomenal and highly recommended.  It’s been popular for decades, and with good reason.

Book #4:  Philosophy 101 – An Introduction To Philosophy Via Plato’s Apology by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.

If you want an easy-to-follow introduction to philosophy, that is accessible to lay people but also stimulating enough to get your brain cells churning, ponder this book.  It’s a very unique way of looking at philosophy.

Book #5: 
The Complete Workbook For Arguments – A Complete Course In Critical Thinking [2nd Ed.] by David R. Morrow & Anthony Weston

This book hones your critical thinking skills better than any critical thinking class in high school does, seeing as there are no critical thinking courses in high school, and few in college.  This is ironic, because for a public school system that continues to fail, one would figure critical thinking would be at the top of agenda to implement within public schooling.  The book is affordable, has ample exercises, uses a reasonable approach that builds on itself and is easy to follow.  It’s complex enough, but not overly so.  It’s a book that’s referenced often and highly valuable.

Book #6: 
The Imaginative Argument – A Practical Manifesto For Writers by Frank L. Cioffi

Now, this piece by Cioffi brings outside-of-the-box thinking to argumentation to boot.  The author takes a rather unique approach I’ve never seen before, and one I wished was available in public schooling, but of course isn’t.  The book covers everything from essays, thesis, creative writing, paragraph design, audience considerations, writing prompts, fallacies and more.  If you’re a regular writer of any type, even if it’s not argumentation per se, I would still say this is a must read.  Or at least consider it.  As part of a homeschooling and self-directed course, this is definitely a must have though.

Book #7: Sherlock Holmes – The Complete Stories by Arthur Conan Doyle

This one’s an outside-of-the-box suggestion, but with good reason.  Sherlock Holmes hands down is the best book from which to learn critical thinking in fiction form.  If you have any suggestions to add, or better, I would really like to hear them because I am always open-minded and would like to read similar books in fictional form since it allows a reader to enjoy leisure time, while also honing the mind simultaneously.

Holmes uses his usual analytical approach that’s incisive in logic and precise in detail to solve every single case.  Some cases offer more for learning than others, but the book as a whole is something every person should read and is part of an individual’s robust cultural literacy as well.

What we as individuals accomplish in life, especially if you want to live life to the fullest, is directly proportional to what we know and are capable of.  Without robust capabilities an individual is like a leaf in the wind, merely flowing aimlessly in the wind without chosen direction.

This is why it’s crucial to make sure your education stands on firm ground.  Without it, we’re only merely ghosts of ourselves, carrying out only a fraction of what would be possible within our lives.

It’s never too late to get educated.

Seek to better yourself, every single day.

Seek to learn every day, from every person, in every instance.

Not only will that help solidify your intellectual faculties in an ironclad manner, but it will also imbue your life with more meaning than you could ever imagine.

After all, if we don’t continue our education, we surrender ourselves to self-chosen ignorance.

And who wants to do that?

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This article is free and open source. You are encouraged and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
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About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His own personal blog is BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com where his personal work is shared, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information usually ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

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Suggested resources reviewed below for those seeking ideas to self-teach and become autodidacts:

7 Phenomenal Books For Homeschoolers, Self-Directed Learners & Autodidacts
13 Great Reasons To Study Logic
Socratic Logic V3.1 by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
The Trivium – The Liberal Arts Of Grammar & Rhetoric by Sister Miriam Joseph Ph.D.
How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren
Philosophy 101 – An Introduction To Philosophy Via Plato’s Apology by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
The Complete Workbook For Arguments – A Complete Course In Critical Thinking [2nd Ed.] by David R. Morrow & Anthony Weston
The Imaginative Argument – A Practical Manifesto For Writers by Frank L. Cioffi
Sherlock Holmes – The Complete Stories by Arthur Conan Doyle

The following books reviewed below cover the disturbing issues within the public schooling system:

Rotten To The Common Core by Dr. Joseph P. Farrell Ph.D.& Gary Lawrence
Dumbing Us Down – The Hidden Curriculum Of Compulsory Schooling by John Taylor Gatto
A Different Kind Of Teacher – Solving The Crisis Of American Schooling by John Taylor Gatto
Weapons Of Mass Instruction by John Taylor Gatto
Drilling Through The Core, by Sandra Stotsky & Contributors

Dialectical Thinking – Zeno, Socrates, Kant, Marx by Tommi Juhani Hanjijarvi Ph.D.

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TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
March 10, 2017

This particular book is a great foray for those beginning to delve into dialectics.

In Dialectical Thinking – Zeno, Socrates, Kant, Marx by Tommi Juhani Hanjijarvi Ph.D., the author seeks to show how valuable dialectical thinking is as he examines the minds of former dialecticians.

To accomplish this, Hanjijarvi sifts through critical data points spoken by the likes of Socrates, Kant, Zeno and Marx.  The author does make it a point to supplant additional data and couple it to specific dialectics discussed when the need arises.

For instance, while analyzing Marx’s foray into dialectics, the author delves into information brought about by Engel, Bernstein, Lenin and such.

As the author makes clear, dialectics have extensive uses.  More importantly, as the author argues “Dialectics are always about the dynamics of the self.”

Being someone who is delving into formal dialectics for the first time, it was quite mentally invigorating seeing the different dialectics employed by the great dialecticians.  Moreover, it was also interesting to note where some of their ruminations dovetailed and what paths it led them on.  That said, there were times that the text demanded a bit more from the readers as its complexity increased some.  Still, what the book offers is plenty even if it might be intricate at certain junctures.

These days, the benefit of thinking from opposite spectrums, as dialecticians do and this book showcases, would be a great skillset for individuals to learn.  Rarely do people put themselves on both sides of an equation; people usually end up just simply fostering their points of views without taking the other person’s view into consideration.  For instance, the mainstream media is the greatest purveyor of this and shuns anybody who wishes to think outside the box or question anything that is passed off as fact.  And if they show two sides to a coin, it’s always to stoke the flames of the divide and conquer left right paradigm that we see manifesting in countless forms.

Of course, in reality, there are many sides to countless issues.  This reason is why this type of book is vital, since it helps lay a solid foundation as an introductory volume into the discipline of dialectics.

Thinking unilaterally about incisive issues won’t help people think critically, nor will it help people to think outside the box.  Predictably, this prevents individuals from grasping crucial issues at their core.

For those reasons, and many others, this book is definitely to be considered for the inquiring individual.  In fact, am even going to suggest this book to some friends for homeschooling.  Look forward to reading more books like this.

As an introduction to the dialectical thinking employed by some of the greatest dialecticians, this book carries out its premise rather well.

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This article is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.

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Suggested resources reviewed below for those seeking ideas to self-teach and become autodidacts:

Socratic Logic V3.1 by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
The Trivium – The Liberal Arts Of Grammar & Rhetoric by Sister Miriam Joseph Ph.D.
How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren
Philosophy 101 – An Introduction To Philosophy Via Plato’s Apology by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
The Complete Workbook For Arguments – A Complete Course In Critical Thinking [2nd Ed.] by David R. Morrow & Anthony Weston
The Imaginative Argument – A Practical Manifesto For Writers by Frank L. Cioffi

The following books reviewed below cover the disturbing issues within the public schooling system:

Rotten To The Common Core by Dr. Joseph P. Farrell Ph.D.& Gary Lawrence
Dumbing Us Down – The Hidden Curriculum Of Compulsory Schooling by John Taylor Gatto
A Different Kind Of Teacher – Solving The Crisis Of American Schooling by John Taylor Gatto
Weapons Of Mass Instruction by John Taylor Gatto
Drilling Through The Core, by Sandra Stotsky & Contributors

Common Core Crisis [Part 5] – What Led To Award Winning Teacher John Taylor Gatto To Quit Public Schooling

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TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
March 3, 2017

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”
– Aristotle

“Wherever a man desires to know, that is the place proper for his education; whenever he desires to know, that is the time proper for his instruction.”
– Socrates

The last few weeks we have begun to catalog many disturbing aspects of common core within public schooling.  Not only is American education on a catastrophic decline [see here], but as has been documented by insiders such as John Taylor Gatto, Charlotte Iserbyt, and others, that’s exactly what the system aims to do.

For those that might react in an askance manner to such statements, in previous posts [Example #1, Example #2, Example #3, Example #4] we have begun to slowly construct much of the downright nonsense individuals have to deal with within the corrupt public school system.

Continuing along the same lines, below follows a passage taken from award winning teacher John Taylor Gatto, which was shared by him in his phenomenal Underground History Of American Education.

Gatto states why he chose to resign from the corrupt system in 1991, and the troubling reasons follow below:

Gatto decided to throw in the towel in 1991, and the reasons for this follow below:

“In the first year of the last decade of the twentieth century during my thirtieth year as a school teacher in Community School District 3, Manhattan, after teaching in all five secondary schools in the district, crossing swords with one professional administration after another as they strove to rid themselves of me, after having my license suspended twice for insubordination and terminated covertly once while I was on medical leave of absence, after the City University of New York borrowed me for a five-year stint as a lecturer in the Education Department (and the faculty rating handbook published by the Student Council gave me the highest ratings in the department my last three years), after planning and bringing about the most successful permanent school fund-raiser in New York City history, after placing a single eighth-grade class into 30,000 hours of volunteer community service, after organizing and financing a student-run food cooperative, after securing over a thousand apprenticeships, directing the collection of tens of thousands of books for the construction of private student libraries, after producing four talking job dictionaries for the blind, writing two original student musicals, and launching an armada of other initiatives to reintegrate students within a larger human reality, I quit.

I was New York State Teacher of the Year when it happened. An accumulation of disgust and frustration which grew too heavy to be borne finally did me in. To test my resolve I sent a short essay to The Wall Street Journal titled “I Quit, I Think.” In it I explained my reasons for deciding to wrap it up, even though I had no savings and not the slightest idea what else I might do in my mid-fifties to pay the rent. In its entirety it read like this:

Government schooling is the most radical adventure in history. It kills the family by monopolizing the best times of childhood and by teaching disrespect for home and parents. The whole blueprint of school procedure is Egyptian, not Greek or Roman. It grows from the theological idea that human value is a scarce thing, represented symbolically by the narrow peak of a pyramid.

That idea passed into American history through the Puritans. It found its “scientific” presentation in the bell curve, along which talent supposedly apportions itself by some Iron Law of Biology. It’s a religious notion, School is its church. I offer rituals to keep heresy at bay. I provide documentation to justify the heavenly pyramid.

Socrates foresaw if teaching became a formal profession, something like this would happen. Professional interest is served by making what is easy to do seem hard; by subordinating the laity to the priesthood. School is too vital a jobs-project, contract giver and protector of the social order to allow itself to be “re-formed.” It has political allies to guard its marches, that’s why reforms come and go without changing much. Even reformers can’t imagine school much different.

David learns to read at age four; Rachel, at age nine: In normal development, when both are 13, you can’t tell which one learned first—the five-year spread means nothing at all. But in school I label Rachel “learning disabled” and slow David down a bit, too. For a paycheck, I adjust David to depend on me to tell him when to go and stop. He won’t outgrow that dependency. I identify Rachel as discount merchandise, “special education” fodder. She’ll be locked in her place forever.

In 30 years of teaching kids rich and poor I almost never met a learning disabled child; hardly ever met a gifted and talented one either. Like all school categories, these are sacred myths, created by human imagination. They derive from questionable values we never examine because they preserve the temple of schooling.

That’s the secret behind short-answer tests, bells, uniform time blocks, age grading, standardization, and all the rest of the school religion punishing our nation. There isn’t a right way to become educated; there are as many ways as fingerprints. We don’t need state-certified teachers to make education happen—that probably guarantees it won’t.

How much more evidence is necessary? Good schools don’t need more money or a longer year; they need real free-market choices, variety that speaks to every need and runs risks. We don’t need a national curriculum or national testing either. Both initiatives arise from ignorance of how people learn or deliberate indifference to it. I can’t teach this way any longer. If you hear of a job where I don’t have to hurt kids to make a living, let me know. Come fall I’ll be looking for work.”[1][Bold Emphasis Added]

Coming to terms with all of the above, can you really blame Gatto?  And to think, this took place over two decades ago.  The public schooling system has only gotten worse.

Those facts lead Gatto to speak over 750 times throughout the world in the following years to discuss the inherent issues within public schooling.  And he hasn’t stopped, thankfully.

Gatto found that individuals from all over the world were beginning to see the shadows of the system for what it was, and are were beginning to speak out, and rightly so.

The only way to avoid the conformity crisis is to breakaway from the system that makes you conform from the ground up.  Gatto and many others have spoken about this at length.

Seek to learn and teach children [and adults!] not only how to think critically [which school doesn’t teach], but how to employ logic [which modern schooling also doesn’t teach, although was taught for centuries in classical education].  Don’t allow others to make you, nor your children conform.  Strive to live life to the fullest extent, learning from moments – every single one of them, especially the bad ones – rather than by disciplines, or worse, methods. 

Life has everything you need to learn.  It only takes open eyes and an open mind to take it all in and use every day as a teaching platform as every opportunity is ruminated upon, pondered, learned from, and digested at length.

Anyone can teach another person something, and it happens on a day by day basis.

It’s just that we don’t get hammered to see those experiences as teaching.  The curious part is that, life lessons happen ALL the time, and it doesn’t take a public school system to teach that.  Not that schools teach that anyways.

Learn from every moment.

Learn from every person.

Learn from yourself.

And teach others what you have learned.

Then and only then are we going to begin creating a new system, from the ground up.

And all it takes is individuals rising up, as they have throughout history.

Don’t hold back.  Education is too important to forgo, or to leave to others.

Change starts with you.  Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.  For if we don’t take time to teach ourselves about the lessons of life, we will arrive at life’s end having learned nothing.

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Suggested resources reviewed below for those seeking ideas to self-teach and become autodidacts:

Socratic Logic V3.1 by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
The Trivium – The Liberal Arts Of Grammar & Rhetoric by Sister Miriam Joseph Ph.D.
How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren
Philosophy 101 – An Introduction To Philosophy Via Plato’s Apology by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
The Complete Workbook For Arguments – A Complete Course In Critical Thinking [2nd Ed.] by David R. Morrow & Anthony Weston
The Imaginative Argument – A Practical Manifesto For Writers by Frank L. Cioffi

The following books reviewed below cover the disturbing issues within the public schooling system:

Rotten To The Common Core by Dr. Joseph P. Farrell Ph.D.& Gary Lawrence
Dumbing Us Down – The Hidden Curriculum Of Compulsory Schooling by John Taylor Gatto
A Different Kind Of Teacher – Solving The Crisis Of American Schooling by John Taylor Gatto
Weapons Of Mass Instruction by John Taylor Gatto
Drilling Through The Core, by Sandra Stotsky & Contributors
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Source:

[1] John Taylor Gatto, Underground History Of American Education, pp. xv-xvi.

Book Review: A Workbook For Arguments – A Complete Course In Critical Thinking [2nd Ed.] by David R. Morrow & Anthony Weston

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TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
March 1, 2017

Having read A Rulebook For Arguments by Anthony Weston and finding it quite useful, the prospect of reading a book along very similar lines but offering more expanded thought seemed quite intriguing.  Thankfully, the following book delivered in spades.

A Workbook For Arguments – A Complete Course In Critical Thinking by David R. Morrow & Anthony Weston is a very comprehensive, incisive, and detailed foray into what it takes to create a critical thinker.

Not only does A Workbook For Arguments contain the text from A Rulebook For Arguments with further extensions which help the reader become more robust with the content broken down, but it also features simple, and yet acute advice for the individual to become more apt in argumentation.

In conjunction with that the authors break down about half the exercises in the book with model responses in the back of the book.  Most of these exercise detail real world issues one is likely to hear often, detailing the pros and cons of whatever answers were employed, and how each of those may affect an individual or society as a whole.

Also included in the book is a rundown of some of the most common fallacies, which is also useful since fallacies are employed far more often than most realize, and aren’t really taught in school, when in all actuality they should be.  Knowing these fallacies is vital to understand not only someone else’s argument and their inherent flaws, but also in constructing and fine-tuning one’s own.

Arguably, the most important part of this book is that from the beginning it guides the reader through the steps in constructing a critical argument in a very logical fashion.  Consistently throughout the book, new topics continually build on the prior ones, rather than there being no coherent design.

Personally, this is the kind of book whose contents should be mandatory to learn in school and should definitely not be overlooked for homeschooling, autodidacts and self-teachers.

Simply stated, anyone who is seeking to employ critical thinking, use logic in argumentation and become more robust in most key aspects of argumentation should get this book, if not file it under careful consideration.  If you think about it, even if it was priced at double or triple the price, it would STILL be worth it, because college courses covering the same subject are often more costly, and offer barely a fraction of what’s here, IF they offer anything of such high quality.

If you happened to have read A Rulebook For Arguments, and appreciated it, then get this one.  You will not regret it.  It’s worth it in more ways individuals could imagine.
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Suggested Book Review Reading:

Socratic Logic V3.1 by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
The Trivium – The Liberal Arts Of Grammar & Rhetoric by Sister Miriam Joseph Ph.D.
How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren
Philosophy 101 – An Introduction To Philosophy Via Plato’s Apology by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
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This article is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.

Book Review: Weapons Of Mass Instruction By John Taylor Gatto

weaponsofmassinstruction
TheBreakway
Zy Marquiez
February 20, 2017

For quite some time there has been a growing undercurrent of displeasure and outright disdain for the current public schooling system and its repeated failures throughout the years.  Predictably, driving reason for these displeasures are the consistent failures of students within a public schooling.

No matter how many new additional methods are added and no matter how much more money – usually in the hundreds of millions – is employed, the dumbing down of society continues, like clockwork.  And yet, the same suggestions by government and school officials keep getting mentioned, even though the results are abysmal at best, and exactly what some want, at worse.  Didn’t a wise man once say that doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results is text book lunacy?

A voice of reason that has come out swinging in this battle against pedagogical propaganda and this creature of conformity is John Taylor Gatto.

Not only is John Taylor Gatto the former NY City and NY State Teacher of the year [1991], but he has made numerous efforts in detailing not only the pervading dumbing down of the public school system which has been in play for many decades now, and which he touches upon Dumbing Us Down – The Hidden Curriculum Of Public Schooling, but Gatto also touches upon the conformity crisis that’s taking place with children brought about through the deliberate social engineering of youth from the bottom up.

For instance, as is detailed in the book, and has been mentioned in documentaries and other books:

“In our dreams, people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present education conventions of intellectual and character education fade from their minds, and, unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive folk.
We shall not try to make these people, or any of their children, into philosophers, or men of science. We have not to raise up from them authors, educators, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for great artists, painters, musicians nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen — of whom we have an ample supply
.  The task is simple. We will organize children and teach them in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way.”[1][Bold Emphasis Added]

There is no ‘beating around the bush’ here.  That’s the agenda, and has always been.  Countless quotes from this book and Gatto’s other book speak at length of this very issue.

In Weapons Of Mass Instruction, Gatto takes one step further and analyzes many of the components that set out to eviscerate imagination and critical thought in myriad ways.

Not to be outdone, Gatto not only shows why the public school system doesn’t work in its current form, but shows how particular individuals throughout history have performed downright amazing feats of human ingenuity without what the ‘experts’ would call ‘public schooling’.  Examples of these people are John Kanzius, who found a way to kill cancer that ‘experts’ hadn’t considered, and had no background in the field; Charles Webb, who wrote the film The Graduate; Ingvar Kamprad, who created IKEA; Frances Collins and Craig Venter, who had nigh no schooling, and wound up creating the human genome map for the Human Genome Project, and countless others.

Each of the above individuals did things, profound things, that went against the system, and showed that not only can you make it, but you can make it BIG as an individual.  And that’s also why Gatto’s words resonate with many.  Education is distinct to each individual, while public schooling is about homogenizing people and creating clones who are predictable, conform at the drop of the hat, and do not question anything, at all, whatsoever.

Don’t believe me?  Great, you’re skeptical, and even question, and that’s outstanding.  Now listen to what comes from one of the very people who pushed this indoctrination system on the masses.

To fully realize what’s taking place, let’s take a gander at what William Torrey Harris [the ‘premier Hegelian philosophers in America’], was thinking and mentioned about public schooling over a century ago:

Ninety-nine [students] out of a hundred are automata, careful to walk in prescribed paths, careful to follow the prescribed custom.  This is not an accident but the result of substantial education which, scientifically defined, is the subsumption of the individual…

The great purpose of school [self-alienation] can be realized better in dark, airless, ugly places…It is to master the physical self, to transcend the beauty of nature.  School should develop the power to withdraw from the external world.”[2]

It doesn’t get any more cut and dry than that.  And there are many more sourced quotes speaking of the intentional dumbing down of society, with verifiable sources, just like that, if not worse.  For additional information on this troublesome subject, please read Dumbing Us Down & A Different Kind Of Teacher, also by John Taylor Gatto.

In summation, if one could ever do a synopsis of such an issue that filters into the very strata of society, then what Gatto has been doing is nothing less than yeomen’s work in the field of Education – true education.  Not only has Gatto been active in fanning the fires of dissent within the corrupt public schooling system, but he’s also made it a point to show what it takes to breakaway from the current corrupt system and also what it takes for individuals to shine brightly enough to blare away the darkness.

If we as individuals and a society are ever going to regain the classical and robust education that we once had, at this moment in time we must do it ourselves – each and every one of us.  Furthermore, while becoming autodidacts and following paths of self-directed learning we need to show others the above truths and if need be take them under our wings and help them see the light of day.  We need to show them what’s possible because many individuals breakaway from the system and have rousing successes, as Gatto shows in his book.

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Sources & References

[1] John Taylor Gatto, quoting Rev. Frederick T. Gates, Business Advisor to John D. Rockefeller Sr., 1913, Occasional Letter Number One, General Education Board, Weapons Of Mass Destruction, p. 8
[2] John Taylor Gatto, quoting The Philosophy Of Education, 1908, Weapons Of Mass Instruction, p. 13

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Suggested resources reviewed below for those seeking ideas to self-teach and become autodidacts:

Socratic Logic V3.1 by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
The Trivium – The Liberal Arts Of Grammar & Rhetoric by Sister Miriam Joseph Ph.D.
How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren
Philosophy 101 – An Introduction To Philosophy Via Plato’s Apology by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
The Complete Workbook For Arguments – A Complete Course In Critical Thinking [2nd Ed.] by David R. Morrow & Anthony Weston
The Imaginative Argument – A Practical Manifesto For Writers by Frank L. Cioffi

The following books reviewed below cover the disturbing issues within the public schooling system:

Dumbing Us Down – The Hidden Curriculum Of Compulsory Schooling by John Taylor Gatto
Rotten To The Common Core by Dr. Joseph P. Farrell Ph.D.& Gary Lawrence
A Different Kind Of Teacher – Solving The Crisis Of American Schooling by John Taylor Gatto
Drilling Through The Core, by Sandra Stotsky & Contributors

Book Review: How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren

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TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
February 8, 2017

“A man is known by the books he reads.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Read not to contradict and confuse; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider.”
– Francis Bacon

This particular book is a book that helps you think better, shaper, more incisively.

At the behest of the author of Socratic Logic [review here], Peter Kreeft PhD, the following book was recommended.   Holding Kreeft’s opinion in high respect – and after doing some research into the book – getting this book seemed to be more than a safe bet.  In fact, it was much more than that.

How To Read A BookThe Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren is a phenomenal book in various ways.  Not only does it ‘teach’ the reader how to read different kinds of books – by reading proactively, by rather reactively – but it also provides essential tools for the synthesis of other great – and more meaningful – pieces of literature.  However, it also features much more than that.

As a caveat, the authors make the distinction in the fact different type of genres should be read in different ways.  To say it another way, poetry, plays or even fiction will be ready drastically different from nonfiction books.  This is something that’s not taught to individuals for the most part, and sometimes we miss out because of it.

Adler and Van Doren cover an extensive set of tools for reader’s to learn and implement – if they so choose – in order to maximize one’s understanding of the information held within books.  The book features a wide ranging set of suggestions that build on themselves throughout the chapters that help the reader navigate all the way from the basics to the more advanced.

Without a doubt, the authors show the lengths to which proper reading can be taken too, as well as the depth that can be gathered by undertaking their advice.  As an avid reader and researcher, the information within the pages of this book have helped me considerably not only in pushing myself as a reader, but in understanding – and even merging – the depth and scope of information that is stated, as well as sifting out deeper implications when information isn’t obvious.

Furthermore, covered within How To Read A Book are topics such as inspectional reading, systematic skimming, problems in comprehension, ‘x-raying’ a book, coming to terms with the author, criticizing a book fairly, reading aids, how to read practical books, how to read imaginative literature, suggestion for reading stories, plays and poems, how to read history, how to read philosophy as well as much, much more.

Particularly of interest to me related to the above point was the topic of syntopical reading, which is what the authors call ‘The Fourth Level Of Learning’..  In laymen terms, syntopical reading is the ability to essentially synthesize information from various sources.  Since synthesizing information is a process carried out [or attempted too] on nigh a daily basis by myself, the information for me in this particular section was quite noteworthy.  Admittedly, some of it was already being done by me since one learns how to streamline various components of one’s learning when done long enough, but the book still offered more than plenty in this and many other areas.

A book like How To Read A Book should be an integral component in everyone’s education, and that is no overstatement.  In an age where cognitive decline of education continues unabated, it’s those that push themselves into the realm of self-teaching or autodidacticism that will breakaway from the pack.

This book should function as a foundational piece in a school curriculum, because, after all, a large part of what individuals learn comes via reading.

All of the suggestions in this book seep into most if not all books [or reading] in some way shape or form.  When carried out, this undoubtedly filters into an individuals’ everyday lives proportional to how much its concepts are used.  It’s sure helped me in such a fashion.  There really isn’t too many books out there that urge the reader to go beyond the conventional baseline understanding of data within books, but this book is certainly one of those precious few.

Appreciatively, the authors also make it a point to strive for a greater education as individuals, to seek to further one’s education beyond the bounds of modern schooling.  Mind you, schooling and education are not the same thing, which is an important distinction because what society gets in America nowadays – given that we have strewn away from classical education – is barely a facsimile of schooling, and in no way shape or form the true education of times past.  Authors like award winning teacher John Taylor Gatto’s in his landmark Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling, Dr. Joseph P Farrell & Gary Lawrence’s Rotten To The Common Core , and Charlotte Iserbyt, who served as the Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education, in her The Deliberate Dumbing Down Of America outline the deliberate dumbing down of America quite saliently, and these authors by far are not even the only ones talking about it.

In any case, at the end of the book the authors also thankfully feature a set of the greatest books of all time, and after having read the list it’s hard to disagree.  Having read perhaps a dozen or so of them, out of the more-than-one-hundred books recommended, it’s definitely something that’s worth considering.

Furthermore, the authors postulate that there exists specific books which fall into the category of what they call ‘Great books’, such as The Illiad, The Odyssey, Organon, The Republic, Paradise Lost, The Divine Comedy, et al.

The authors also postulate that only 1% of the millions of book out there – if not less – fall within this category of ‘Great Books’.  What makes this particular category of great books so unique?  That the gems of knowledge contained within these books and growth the reader will attain will not only be extensive, given the depth and immensity of the concepts within the book, but these books will teach you the most about reading and about life.  Moreover, regardless of how many times one reads these books, they are so profound and demanding of the reader that one will always learn something from them.

If you appreciate books, reading, classical education, or are striving to demand more from yourself or even plan on building a home-schooling curriculum, GET THIS BOOK!  This book really is for everyone.  Educated minds have great foundations, and this book helps lay those foundations in an ironclad manner.

Book Review: Socratic Logic [V3.1] by Peter Kreeft PhD

An Indispensable Piece For The Autodidact; A Vital Component To Education For Individuals Of All Ages

socraticlogic
TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
January 17, 2017

Having not taken a logic course since the university, attempting to find a book on logic that would be ‘worth its weight in gold’ took a bit of time, but this particular book has more than delivered in spades.

Socratic Logic by Peter Kreeft PhD is an essential reading for anyone who values the use of logic.  In fact, going one step further, this book should be read by everyone, because we could all benefit from it in many ways.  Mostly though, most of us have not been taught logic in elementary nor high school, and rarely in college, especially how it was taught in the past.   This is taking place because logic, as well as the trivium have been nigh completely removed from most school curriculums and when they do have these courses, they are merely a facsimile of it, and nowhere near the quality of logic taught in times past.  You can conjecture yourself why this has taken place.

Moving forward, this particular book showcases a very in-depth approach into all the nuances that logic involves, while also keeping it simple so to speak.   Describing the book as ‘simple’ might be a misnomer, but when compared to The Organon by Aristotle, which is a much more complex/demanding read, this seems like a ‘walk in the park’.

Kreeft makes it a point to give the individual everything they might need to comprehend logic, sprinkled generously with many real world examples, historical quotes and issues that will make the book quite practical in its application once the concepts are mastered and implemented into one’s repertoire.

Socratic Logic serves as an excellent jump-off point into the realm of logic due to the pragmatic approach taken by Kreeft.

As the author himself states, the book is: simple, user friendly, practical, linguistic, readable, traditional, commonsensical, philosophical, constructive, clearly divided, flexible, short, selective, interactive, holistic, and classroom oriented [if the individual so decides], and those descriptions were rather apt.

Conveniently, the book also features a differentiation where one can find the basic sections (B) and the philosophical sections (P) marked in the table of contents.  This helps greatly in focusing on whatever specific area the reader might want to hone their skills in.

Also of note, the book – as mentioned by Kreef – may be used in at least 10 different ways:

[1] the basics only
[2] the basic sections plus the philosophical sections
[3] the basic sections plus the more advanced sections in logic
[4] the basic sections plus the practical application sections
[5] the basic sections plus any two of these three additions
[6] all of the book
[7] all or some of it supplemented by a text in symbolic logic
[8] all or some of it supplemented by a text in inductive logic
[9] all or some of it supplemented by a text in rhetoric or informal logic
[10] all or some of it supplement by readings in and applications to the great philosophers

What one gathers from the book will depend greatly on how much time one chooses to spend on it.  Socratic Logic may be studied independently for an autodidact, or used for schooling.  The book can be studied in single class lessons, once a week class lessons, semester formats, etc.

Another useful element in the book is that if featured a healthy amount of exercises throughout the book in order to further buttress one’s understanding of the material.  This definitely helps hammer in the concepts shown in the book with precision.

Taking all into account, Socratic Logic should have been the book taught in school.  In fact, it should be taught to everyone because our society lacks logic in myriad ways.  Then again, that is what happens with the removal of classical education and logic from the common-to-the-rotten-core type of school system we’re all “lucky” to have.

In the information age not being educated and not knowing foundational pieces of essential knowledge such as logic that venture into every crevice of our lives is folly.

And if conventional schooling continues on the downhill grade it’s at, knowledge in areas such as this will be worth more than its weight in gold, and that’s not an understatement.  With the student loans costing over a trillion dollars, and with real education dissipating right before our eyes within the conventional establishment, taking your education into your hands is not only responsible, but vital.

To seek or further one’s education is a choice, and luckily Socratic Logic makes it an easy to choice to make.

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Suggested resources reviewed below for those seeking ideas to self-teach and become autodidacts:

7 Phenomenal Books For Homeschoolers, Self-Directed Learners & Autodidacts
13 Great Reasons To Study Logic
The Trivium – The Liberal Arts Of Grammar & Rhetoric by Sister Miriam Joseph Ph.D.
How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren
Philosophy 101 – An Introduction To Philosophy Via Plato’s Apology by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
The Complete Workbook For Arguments – A Complete Course In Critical Thinking [2nd Ed.] by David R. Morrow & Anthony Weston
The Imaginative Argument – A Practical Manifesto For Writers by Frank L. Cioffi
Sherlock Holmes – The Complete Stories by Arthur Conan Doyle

The following books reviewed below cover the disturbing issues within the public schooling system:

Rotten To The Common Core by Dr. Joseph P. Farrell Ph.D.& Gary Lawrence
Dumbing Us Down – The Hidden Curriculum Of Compulsory Schooling by John Taylor Gatto
A Different Kind Of Teacher – Solving The Crisis Of American Schooling by John Taylor Gatto
Weapons Of Mass Instruction by John Taylor Gatto
Drilling Through The Core, by Sandra Stotsky & Contributors