My parents’ name is Titchenell. They called me F.J.R.,
A hint about my future and a lucky guess by far,
For J.R.R’s enduring world of evil versus good,
For Robins both of Locksley and the Hundred Acre Wood,
For Jane whose razor wit put all three Bronte girls to shame.
Fiona was my own before the ogre princess came.
They schooled me in my craft, but on my own I heard its call.
Whatever it gives back to me, I give this task my all.
I’ll trade my days to feed myself and keep my happy home,
My heart can spend them safely locked in some remembered tome.
I’ll even do them well, my every bread-acquiring sham,
But don’t confuse the things I have to do with what I am.
I’m through and through a storyteller. That’s all I can be,
No matter if by day or night, for crowds or only me.
The use of words on paper to encourage and explore
The beauty of the human heart and mind is what I’m for.
I do this not because it’s easy nor for profit’s sake.
This life’s the one that chose me and the only one I’d take.
She’s still working at her day job but her second book has just come out and she has a book signing at the Barnes and Noble in Glendale this Friday:
October 17th at 7:30pm:
Signing in Glendale http://www.facebook.com/events/291965677642760
Barnes & Noble Americana at Brand
210 Americana Way, Glendale, California 91210
This is one of the greatest examples of homeschooling correspondence in history — the communication and courtship of two of the most brilliant wordsmiths of the 19th century.
Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning
This Librivox audio recording of the work is incomplete and thus not yet in the Librivox catalog but it is beautifully done and all the important parts of the correspondence are covered.
Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett (later Browning) were two of the greatest homeschoolers, unschoolers, autodidacts in history and their correspondence is a monument to philology. As they had both taught themselves French, Latin and Greek before age 15 are were very widely read, their letters do contain a wealth of rather recondite references, but translations are handled well in the audiobook version.
The following verse, entitled “The Chaos” (by G. Nolst Trenité), is a compendium of all that is peculiar about English orthography. English is an immensely eclectic tongue, a fact that is responsible both for its vast expressive resources as well as utterly inscrutable spelling and pronunciation.
The challenge is to read the following poem using correct pronunciation, or (far harder) to take it down from dictation, spelled correctly. Give it a try.
West Potomac High School in Alexandria, Va., has stopped giving “F” grades, the Washington Post reports.
Earlier this year, the school all but eradicated the standard mark for “failure”, instead supplying wayward students with the letter “I” for incomplete.
A B C D E I
A Virginia High School found a way
To do what all schools must today
But oh! what did they find?
A question that you well may ask:
How West Potomac faced the task
Of “No Child Left Behind.”
“What happens when a kid’s too slow?
For other schools would like to know
Just how they this requirement met.
They hit upon a failsafe plan
Unique since highschools first began
They dropped “F” from the alphabet.
Why what a novel trick to play!
For when there is no other way
This tactic wins the prize.
For once one fathoms what they’ve done
This strategy is something one
could elsewhere utilize.
Those tasks we’ve shunned and matters hated
Could forthwith be eliminated!
There can’t be any doubt:
The first example has to be
That Mondays are a misery
Which man could do without.
Once we decide how we’d prefer
To modify the calendar
And likewise prune the alphabet
Then we can start on history
and end the awful mystery
of presidents we all forget.
When Millard Fillmore’s expurgated
And random others abrogated
The universe comes next.
But Pluto is already gone
They’ve thwarted us and purged it on
Some flimsier pretext.
So much of Greece and Rome’s excised
For sex that might have compromised
The norms of Christendom
Why teach us of the vapid arts?
And leave out all the juicy parts?
Cut out the tedium!
But then we find our scalpel dulled
For sauropods have just been culled
And dinosauric lore.
They’ve chosen to eradicate
And ex post facto deprecate
The dear old brontosaur
Selective trimmings have been made
to imprecate and to evade
What dogmatists abhor.
So why not make them serve the need
of those who struggle to succeed
When school is such a bore?
The McDonalds had a farm and children had they three.
They taught them as they had been taught — from bell and classroom free.
They did not send them off to school, but taught them ‘neath a tree.
With a moo moo here, and an oink oink there, the knowledge seeds they sow.
From book and brook and fruit and flute they learn all one need know.
Their school is not called E – I – E, but E – I – E – I – O