What we're reading (August edition)...

Last month we decided to share a few blogs, articles and news that had captured our attention or sparked our imagination recently. We heard from a number of readers that they enjoyed seeing some of the things that our faculty and teachers were enjoying, so we have decided to make this a regular monthly feature on our blog.

This month, we have articles on the philosophy of spaces, the economics of Jane Austen, the misuse of the English language, the importance of learning cursive, how "goofing off" helps kids to learn, and more!

Thank you to our ILS parents who brought some of these great articles to our attention! Have you read and interesting article or blog post recently? We love it when you share things you've found of interest. Please feel free to leave a link in the comments section below!

Some languages, like French, have an official body that decides how words can and cannot be used.

English, as a flexible, global language, has no such designated referee.

Therefore, there is no definitive answer to whether you’re using a word “correctly.”

It’s all a matter of taste and context. But there are opinions. And some count more than others.
— Jessica Stillman, Harvard linguist reveals the most misued words in English
Austen was a year old when the modern science of economics was invented. Adam Smith, Jane’s neighbor to the north in Scotland, published An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, commonly known today by its pithier final four words. Its most famous line is the rallying banner for free marketeers even in 2014, a winning defense of the power and driving force of the very commercial self-interest that the established churches of Europe derided: “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from regard to their self interest.”
— Shannon Chamberlain, The Economics of Jane Austen
Savoring and gratitude are both forms of directed attention. But in contrast to that type of on-task focus, free-form attention is what the brain defaults to when it’s off-task, allowed to move in any direction it wants. It happens when the brain is in what scientists call the resting state. In the 1990s, neuropsychologists began to delve into free-form attention and found that it has many benefits, including for children’s learning and their brain development. To shift instantly into free-form attention, all an individual has to do is goof off.
— Lea Waters, Goofing Off Helps Kids Learn
People just don’t know what good literature is. Let’s face it — teachers are from the generation that was raised on Disney. They themselves simply don’t know a good book from a bad one, and they also don’t know anything about developmental stages in reading.*

It’s really hard to get people to understand that simply having “good doctrine” does not equal “building a civilization.” Yes, it’s a necessary prerequisite. But it’s not sufficient.
— Leila Marie Lawler, Thoughts on getting the reluctant child to read
After all, generations of British and American schoolchildren were reared on stories of the Spartans at Thermopylae, Joan of Arc, Nathaniel Hale, and, later, Martin Luther King Jr. Children were expected to learn virtue by seeing that courage transcends death, and that material prosperity is a poor fig in comparison to patriotism, faith, and self-sacrifice.
— Anna Mussmann, The West's Vision of "The Noble Death" Has Become Dark and Sinister
There’s a myth that in the era of computers we don’t need handwriting. That’s not what our research is showing. What we found was that children until about grade six were writing more words, writing faster, and expressing more ideas if they could use handwriting—printing or cursive—than if they used the keyboard...
— University of Washington professor Virginia Berninger (Quoted in Keyboards are overrated. Quartz.)

Other blogs and sites we enjoy... let us know what sites you find interesting and think we should check out!