Advice on Education from Across Party Lines

Reading is one of my favorite activities, and right now I am reading a book by an author that I never would have dreamed that I would be reading.

Eleanor Roosevelt and I are on completely opposite sides of the political spectrum, yet I am thoroughly enjoying her book “You Learn By Living.”

Truth be told, I not only agree with much that she has to say, but I really agree with how she views education. And many of her philosophies of education have been used in our own home over the last 18 years. I imagine that she and Charlotte Mason would have hit it off splendidly.

Here are a few excerpts:

“The essential thing is to learn…when you stop learning you stop living in any vital and meaningful sense.”

“One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words: it is expressed in the choices one makes.”

“What I have learned from my own experience is that the most important ingredients in a child’s education are curiosity, interest, imagination and a sense of the adventure of life. You will find no courses in which these are taught, yet they are the qualities that make all learning rewarding…they are also the qualities that enable us to continue to grow a human beings to the last day of our life and to continue to learn.”

“Education provides the necessary tools, equipment by which we learn how to learn. The object of all our education and all the development which is a part of education is to give every one of us an instrument which we can use to acquire information at any time we need it.”

Speaking of a favorite teacher, she wrote:

“We sat on little chairs on either side of her fireplace, over which maps were hung. She would turn to the map of the area of the world we were learning about and tell us to remember geography because it affected history. Then she would give us a list of books to read and take up the particular point we were studying…our requirement was to do our reading and then write a paper on the assignment. The English girls were apt to remember what she had said and repeat it in their papers.I can still see her, as one of the girls was reading her paper aloud, standing over here with a long ruler in her hand, taking away the paper and tearing it up. “You are giving me back what I gave you, ” she said, “and it does not interest me. You have not sifted it through your own intelligence. Why was your mind given to you but to think things out for yourself?

“We obtain our education at home, at school and most important, from life itself. The learning process must go on as long as we live. Nothing alive can stand still. Life is interesting only as long as it is a process of growth.”

“What counts, in the long run is not what you read; it is what you sift through your own mind; it is the ideas and impressions that are aroused in you by your reading. It is the ideas stirred in your own mind, the ideas which are a reflection of your own thinking , which make you an interesting person.”

“Good talk, indeed, is important not only as a part of family life but as a part of education.”

“I think a child is particularly fortunate if he grows up in a family where his imagination can be fed, where there are a variety of intellectual interests, where someone loves music or does amateur painting of in engrossed in literature, reading aloud perhaps or just exchanging comments about what is being read.”

Thank you, Anne, for recommending this book!

Linked To Courtney

3 comments

  1. Oh, how I laughed at your intro! I relate, totally!

    Sarah, I picked out so many of those very same quotes–I can see my handwritten jottings from where I’m sitting right now!

    I’m so glad you enjoyed the book. I picked it up because I was curious, and because I had been so impressed with Abigail Adams I was eager to see what other first ladies of American history had to say. I was definitely surprised–very pleasantly–at what I found!

  2. Love that you chose to read it…did a report on Eleanor Roosevelt in 3rd grade and believe it or not…still remember a lot from her words/quotes….
    Love this post!

  3. Cora says:

    I’ve admired Eleanor Roosevelt for a long time…she was an amazing woman.

    What always surprises me is that people find themselves surprised that they agree with people from across the party/religious line. There shouldn’t be such a stark Us vs. Them mindset… people are people are people. I learn a lot from people who (on the surface) seem so different from myself (such as this blog!) but scratch the surface and we have far more in common =)