Sunday, September 23, 2007

Reviewing the Basics

The Rev. Dr. Maurice Boyd said that people working with words should read a grammar text yearly. Well Peter is taking a refresher grammar and math course and I'm taking an interest in the texts. To be honest math and grammar were always a big snooze to me and I'm definitely coming to the conclusion that I did a lot of daydreaming in class when I was young. Surprisingly knowing each step of the building blocks of mathematics and grammary feels like exercising with 3 lb weights. It's simple enough that it doesn't feel like anything is happening but the synapses of the brain are enjoying themselves. Dr. Ryuta Kawashima's Train the Brain program is built around basic addition/multiplication facts, memorizing word lists and stroop tests (if the word "red" is printed in green ink, your eyes see red but the correct response is green). The North American mind with it's addiction to novelty isn't going to stick with a Kumon model. However, there is something to be said for refreshing the basics. The movie "Prime" talks about our being at our mathematical prime during our twenties. At the time I thought that was ridiculous but perhaps nimbleness of mind has more in common with nimbleness of the body than I thought. At 20, everything is a gift. After 50 - well you're not 20 anymore - so schedule in a workout.

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