Ideas Worth Sharing: On Learning, Practicing, Autism, Entrepreneurship, and Dressing Well — IWS #2

I have a habit of adding great articles to my reading list, so I can read them more than once. Sometimes I don’t get back to them for awhile, and usually when I do, the delight remains. Some of the best posts aren’t new, but “new” is not always synonymous with “great.” Here are a few recent favorites for your reading pleasure.

Learning Well

C. S. Lewis’s List of Ten Books that Influenced Him Most: I’m ridiculously pleased to discover that I’ve read all of half of them and parts of others. If you like Lewis’s writing, you may also enjoy some of the works that influenced him. And if you like Charlotte Mason, you might be pleased to know that she also enjoyed Wordsworth.

Home Education by Charlotte MasonThe Use and Misuse of Charlotte Mason’s First Principle at Afterthoughts: There are so many good points in this post; it is a must-read. The lines that ring true-blue for me: “All children deserve a broad and generous curriculum. The children do not get to choose, to self-limit due to their own ignorance. Instead, we offer them a feast. Some of them gobble all of it up, and others are extremely picky eaters. But all come to the same table.”

And that is how it should be. There will always be delight-directed learning opportunities, but they cannot define the extent of an education. Children cannot learn to love what they are not aware of, so it is only reasonable to spread a generous feast of all the best that has been thought, said, painted, built, and written (with apologies to Matthew Arnold).by Matthew Arnold

“Active imagination focuses attention.” Commencement speeches aren’t always worth staying awake for. Water Water Everywhere: Thirsting for Imagination? by Christopher Nelson, president of St. John’s College, is. This delightful romp through a classically inspired dreamscape winds up with a concise, memorable description of what it takes to be an ideal student. Don’t miss it!

How to Practice Well

8 Things Top Practicers Do Differently: In a study of college-level piano students, researchers found what works in practicing . . . and what doesn’t. I was somewhat surprised at some of the things that don’t work (like practicing longer or with more repetitions), but the description of what did work reminded me of the way Charlotte Mason approached spelling (Home Education, p. 240-243). Perhaps it’s because both methods are characterized by simplicity, order, and active engagement.

Autism and Antibiotics

I don’t remember where I came across An n=1 case report of a child with autism improving on antibiotics and a father’s quest to understand what it may mean, but I found it a thought-provoking article. The author, John Rodakis of the Autism Research Foundation, suggests that “There is compelling evidence of a link between autism and the microbiome in at least a subset of children,” and provides an interesting glimpse of his own son’s experience, as well as a look at current research (not much has been done) on this topic. It’s worth reading if your child or someone you know is affected by this disorder.


I’m always astonished by what is available free online. At Open Culture, you will find a vast array of learning resources. One of the most interesting for entrepreneurs is the linked list of 150 Free Online Business Courses. Topics range from taxes and management to social media, advertising, and agricultural futures and options, and more, and instructors include professors from many colleges including MIT and Oxford.

Dressing Well

On a different note, I have been reviewing the Dressing Your Truth program.  I don’t usually write about appearance, but I have been speaking this year on Becoming the Mom You Want Your Kids to Remember, and the focus in the talk is on shaping ourselves — inner lives and outer atmosphere — to become moms whose lives speak love and truth to our students.

There wasn’t anything in the talk about appearance, but it cropped up so often in conversations afterward that I was reminded of how many negative, sad messages we receive as women about ourselves, our appearance, and our clothing. Many women are conditioned to regard appearance as a superficial aspect of identity, but it truly isn’t. The way we feel about ourselves—our value as human beings—is often manifested in our appearance. Since moms pass on so much more than academics, it’s a good idea to discover a way of looking at appearance that is balanced and based on truth, rather than something based on society’s idea of what is beautiful.

Dressing Your Truth is one of the few resources I’ve seen that approaches the question of what to wear and how to wear it from a whole-person perspective. The course includes an extensive library of teaching videos (all featuring real people in all sizes, shapes, and colors), plus the DYT book, and other helpful tools. Everything from fit and clothing care, to beauty myths, putting together outfits (even on a tiny budget), and improving mother/daughter relationships is covered.

I appreciate that the outfits shown are suitable for an ordinary life — personality is fully expressed without resorting to scanty or impractical clothing. From what I have seen, it reminds me just a bit of the approach my high school sewing and tailoring teacher took when teaching us how to choose colors and patterns, but of course, it’s a lot more in-depth.

I recommend this course for

  • entrepreneurial moms
  • anyone with daughters
  • anyone whose self-concept and ideas about clothing have been shaped by a culture of comparison, shame, or fear
  • anyone who opens their closet and feels they haven’t anything to wear.

It can be incredibly freeing to finally discover that you can look and feel lovely, even if you aren’t at your ideal weight or place in life, and that knowledge is a great gift to give your daughters (and your husband).

Something Lovely

Adoremus by Libera, an astonishingly ethereal boys’ choir. There is a delightful short introduction at the end of this video, and you can hear more of their music at Libera Official.

Last notes

The Everyday Education site move has happened, and we are still testing pages and links and connecting things. There are a few pages still to go up, but overall it’s functional, and I know it will be so much easier for me to work with. I hope I can make it easy for you to navigate!

If you visit Everyday Education or this blog and something seems amiss, please let me know so I can fix it. Thank you!

I hope to see you at a conference soon!

*As always, this blog is partially about entrepreneurship, and I would be remiss if I didn’t model it when possible. Therefore, links that lead to purchasable items will often be affiliate links. Just know that I won’t share a book or resource if I don’t believe it has great value. I absorb books and information in absurd quantities, and I share relatively few things, so I hope you’ll enjoy what fits your needs.

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