“We both taught school, indoors and out. Perhaps our kids had a weird education…but a girl who can shape a comfortable and handsome saddle starting with a dead mule and not much else, solve quadratics in her head, shoot straight with a gun or arrow, cook an omelet that is light and tasty, spout page after page of Shakespeare, butcher a hog and cure it can’t be called ignorant by New Beginnings standards. All our girls and boys could do all of that and more. I must admit that they spoke a rather florid brand of English, especially after they set up the New Globe Theatre and worked straight through every one of old Bill’s plays. No doubt this gave them odd notions of Old Earth’s culture and history, but I could not see that it hurt them. We had only a few bound books, mostly reference; the dozen-odd “fun” books were worked to death.
Our kids saw nothing strange in learning to read from As You Like It. No one told them it was too hard for them, and they ate it up, finding ‘tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones and good in every thing’.
Although it did sound odd to to hear a five-year-old girl speak in scansion and rolling periods, polysyllables falling gracefully from her baby lips. Still, I preferred it to ‘Run, Spot, run. See Spot run’ from a later era from Bill’s.”
Excerpt taken from Robert Heinlein’s Time Enough for Love.
This was one of my favourite books as a teenager. I didn’t know at the time that Heinlein was thought to be a misogynist (rather interesting discussion of many of the issues here).
I’m not sure where I stand on that – but I’ve always thought the above passage about education was interesting. I’d quite like my children to speak in scansion and rolling periods, if I was altogether sure what they were ;), and I’m trying to work out what I think the equivalent skills list should be for this society and this day and age. Thought I’d throw it open for discussion – thoughts?