Monday, July 23, 2007

Curiosity and desire

I was describing the Knowledge Base and the new Independent Learning forum to an acquaintance over the weekend, who commented that it must take a lot of discipline to study a subject on your own.
In some respect, I think it does, but I would tend to describe the required qualities differently. They would be curiosity and desire. Children tend to be curious, they are avid to explore the world around them, although I've known some who seldom asked questions, but were inclined if anything to act out their curiosity. As they get older, and especially as they are confined to the limited environment of a school, they tend to lose that curiosity. An independent student, a life-long learner has to keep or regain something of that quality.

Monday, July 16, 2007

What's up

I've been trying to develop contacts with someone in the unschooling community, without a lot of success.
Mostly in the last few days, I've been working on the knowledge base. About two years years back, I spent some time poring over chemistry books in the University library trying to figure out how to classify chemical reactions. After letting that information compost in the back of my mind since then, I was following a thread of curiosity and creating links sometime in the past three days, when I came across chemical reactions. A classification that fits what I remember about them sprang up and introduced itself. Next time I lay hands on a chemistry text, I'll have to see whether it really works. I've also been wandering back and forth across language and linguistics, and thought I'd resurrect some old notes on the subject, rather than leaving the page as a stub waiting for future developments. I've been wanting to get around to that subject for the longest time, and finally got there.
I've also been anxiously hovering over the Independent Learning Forum, so far, I'm pleased. I'm getting plenty of visits or visitors, and have picked up a few members and comments. The weblog analysis program my site host uses reports that quite a few of them are coming through here. Thanks to all my readers, whoever you are.
On top of that, I've been following current events and a couple of debates...I have some commentary on the past week's worth of that over on my other blog, From the Ground.
I took a break from all this to go over to the local Barnes & Noble and do some leisure reading I liked "The Ninth Talisman" by Lawrence Watt-Evans. I like his protagonists attitude of of "trying to do the right thing without being too sure what the right thing really is". I also took a look at "1635: The Baltic War", but really, the cast of that series is getting so big I can't keep track of who's who, especially when I don't have the last five books at hand to go remind myself. It's getting as bad as Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time, and won't everyone be relieved when that finally reaches the end.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

School emptiness

I was looking over one of the political blogs that I've been following lately, and ran across a link to this analysis of Why Nerds are Unpopular.

Rather than repeat his points and his powerful critique of the whole educational system, about all I can say is, Hear! Hear!

Monday, July 09, 2007

College level unschooling

One of the things I've found as I've looked into the various home schooling and unschooling movements is that most of the available sites concentrate on parents teaching their children. A great many are geared toward creating and selling curriculum. Sites intended for self-education for adults tend to focus on various degree-granting programs. There certainly don't seem to be many sites to support college-level unschooling, except in a few special areas.
That bothers me. As I browse the Intenet and see the various discussion boards, I'm apalled by the amount of name-calling, free substitution of personal opinion for verifiable fact, and horrendously sloppy reasoning on the part of supposedly educated men and women. It almost seems that if you want a true education, you just about have to go out and get it yourself.

Friday, July 06, 2007


Not long ago, a conversation with an acquaintance drifted to what I was doing with my life. I described my work on the Knowledge Base, and we talked a little about my disappointment that no one seemed to be interested. The conversation drifted to publicity and marketing, and he suggested that I needed to more clearly identify my target market, and since I had suggested home schoolers, he thought I might start there.
I set that idea aside, since I was wrestling with other things, but since then I've set up the Independent Learning Forum, which gives me a little more freedom to explore home-schooling and independent education. A Google search led to the Wikipeda article on home schooling, and it seems that my beliefs about education have a lot in common with those who advocate unschooling. So, as a believer in self-eduction, I'm about to go practice it and look into this more closely.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Independent Learning Forum

Since I set up this blog, I've had a lot less commentary from e-mail than I expected. Since I upgraded my web server account so that I now have access to statistics, I see that the Sapience Knowledge Base is indeed getting traffic, but no one is taking the trouble to give me any feedback on the site. For some time, I've been interested in trying to build a community of independent learners, and a web-based forum has been on my wish list. That wish has become a reality, and the Independent Learning Forum can be found now at This suggests another shift in emphasis for this particular blog, so I plan to be putting announcements about the Knowledge Base on that forum, while I talk here more about techniques of self-directed education.