Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Experimenting with Slip Stitch Crochet, cont.

So I've been doing some swatching, and I've learned why people do F/iB (and iF/B) instead of F/iF (or B/iB) ;) - it keeps the lines from the loops not being working in on just one side of the fabric, instead of both (not a problem working in the round, though). It can be a nice look, but the horizontal lines kill a vertical pattern. Going through both loops, alternating regular and inverse (call it SS/iSS), also solves the problem, but makes for a bit bulkier fabric.

Anyway, the front (non-lined) side of F/iB (and SS/iSS) has a nice vertical pattern that would serve well as the slip stitch stockinette equivalent. The back side has a horizontal pattern that could work ok for reverse stockinette, but I think I like the look of the non-lined side of B/iF better. Might depend on the application which works better.

I'll eventually get pics up - right now my swatches are especially rough ;).

Monday, December 5, 2011

Experimenting with Converting Knitting Patterns to Slip Stitch Crochet

I learned to crochet a few months ago - instant love :). I learned on #10 thread and then jumped straight into lace, including some in actual laceweight. Crocheting was so much fun I thought I'd learn to knit, too. Got some needles, and practiced knitting and purling till I got the hang of it. Learned k2tog, yo, and psso, and embarked on a simple lace scarf in worsted. I was slow, but I enjoyed the process of knitting.

Didn't really want a scarf, though :doh, so when I came across TECHknitter's Elizabeth Cap - designed so that it would fit over large updos :woohoo (there's not a lot of those in the stores ;)) - in was in garter stitch and I thought it would be a great first project. Got my yarn and needles (sprung for Addi Turbos, even), and set off. Enjoyable enough to knit, but I was slow as molasses (exacerbated by sock yarn on #3 needles), and, as I actually wanted to *wear* the hat this winter, I read up on how to knit more efficiently. And that was where the trouble started :sigh - in trying learn to knit more efficiently, I actually got slower :doh and started making mistakes to boot :grr.

So I decided to give knitting a rest and crochet the hat instead ;). (The entire time I was swatching I was feeling extreme happiness to not be knitting :lol.) I started with single crochet, which looked nice enough, but then I got the idea to google for crochet garter stitch, and that introduced me to slip stitch crochet. Played around with it and settled on the slip stitch equivalent of garter stitch - front loop only sl st (F) - with an I hook (to get reasonable drape, you have to go up several hook sizes). Here's what it looks like so far:

Pretty nice, huh? :)

Anyway, in my experimenting with the basic stitches - front loop only (F), back loop only (B), inverse front loop only (iF), and inverse back loop only (iB) - I realized that if F was the equivalent of the knit stitch, iF was the conceptual equivalent of the purl stitch (seriously - just like purl is knit done backwards, and you can purl by knitting left-handed, iF is F done backwards, exactly what you'd get if you did F left-handed, plus it feels similar to purling with how you change where the working yarn is). And B and iB are the equivalent of, respectively, knitting and purling in the back loops.

(It took a awhile to realize this, as the slip stitch version of stockinette is alternating rows of F and iB, and I had been thinking of iB as the purl equivalent. Which it may be, practically speaking, if you are trying to achieve the same *look*. But conceptually, slip stitch stockinette is alternating rows of F and iF. Which I found no examples of online :huh (but I'm crocheting one up now ;)). iF doesn't seem to be used much, and tends to be paired with B when it is, much as F and iB are paired.)

I came to this realization as I was flipping through my Learn-to-Knit Afghan book (I'll master knitting yet ;)), which led me straight to the idea of converting *any* knitting pattern to slip stitch crochet. It wouldn't look quite the same, but that's fine, as that's not my goal - if I want it to look and behave just like knitting, I'll knit it - but I bet it would look nice (and it avoids knitting ;)). I came up with a few ideas for twisted stitches, and something to try for cables. I'm all excited to get started - I very well may end up with a Learn-to-Slip-Stitch-Crochet Afghan ;). A near one-to-one conversion from knit to crochet (not completely, as gauge would be way different, and yarn substitution might be highly desirable) - how *awesome* is that!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Fairy Tales and Nursery Rhymes Around the World

This is our focus for Kindergarten (and tagalog K3 ;)) this year. I wanted to do something with world cultures and geography, and given how dd5 *loves* stories, I thought fairy tales were the way to go. Since dd2.5 will be tagging along, I threw in some world nursery rhymes, too.

The basic plan is simple - read the stories and rhymes in whatever order seems good at the time (and however many we are in the mood for), looking up each country on the map and marking it with a post-it arrow, and adding a "stamp" (in our case, a sticker ;)) to our passports. We also have Wee Sing Around the World, and the plan there is to focus on a song a week (or so), with me using my rusty violin skills as accompanist. We also have a few other books - Children Like Us, DK First Atlas - that we'll pull out every now and then.

As I made my giant master list of stories/rhymes by country today, I realized just how many there are (and most of our rhyme books have not arrived, and so aren't even in the list yet). I've no idea how long it will take to read them all, or even if we *will* get to them all. Just going to go with the flow. This is our first year - if we find our groove and dd5 learns to read (or is making progress on that front), Kindergarten will be a rousing success :).

Anyway, since I spent all afternoon typing up this (still only partial!) list, I thought I'd share it with the world, in the faint hope that some one else might find it useful.

Fairy Tales and Nursery Rhymes from Around the World

Books and Abbreviations (white = fairy tales, blue = nursery rhymes, pink = songs/other, italics = contents not in the list yet):

AWT - "Around the World in 80 Tales", by Saviour Pirotta
GMN - "Can You Guess My Name? Traditional Tales from Around the World", retold by Judy Sierra
Lang - "The Rainbow Fairy Book", edited by Andrew Lang, selected by Michael Hague
NT - "Nursery Tales Around the World", retold by Judy Sierra
SS - "Silly & Sillier: Read-Aloud Tales from Around the World", told by Judy Sierra
SAW - "Stories from Around the World", retold by Heather Amery

MV - "My Village: Rhymes from Around the World", collected by Danielle Wright
SAO - "Skip Across the Ocean: Nursery Rhymes from Around the World", compiled by Florella Benjamin
RRW - "Rhymes 'Round the World", by Kay Chorao

LB - "The Laughing Baby : Songs & Rhymes from Around the World", by Anne Scott

BR - "The Calico Book of Bedtime Rhymes from Around the World", by Mary Pope Osborne

WS - "Wee Sing Around the World"
VP - "Voices : Poetry and Art from Around the World", selected by Barbara Brenner
CLM - "Children Like Me"

DK - "DK First Atlas"

Note: MV, SAO, and WS contain both the native language and English versions.

Bahamas - Clever Mandy - SS
Canada - The White Bear - AWT
Canada - Going Over the Sea - WS
Cuba - The Charcoal Seller's Son - AWT
Guatemala - The Golden Horseshoe - AWT
Jamaica - Tingalay-o! - MV
Jamaica - Anasai and the Plantains - AWT
Jamaica - Anansi and the Pig - NT
Jamaica - Chi Chi Bud (Chi Chi Bird) - WS
Mexico - One Good Turn Deserves Another - SS
Mexico - Red Ant, Black Ant - AWT
Mexico - The Singing Toad - SAW
Mexico - The Ram in the Chile Patch - NT
Mexico - Pin Pon (Paper Doll) - WS
Puerto Rico - El Coqui (The Frog) - WS
Puerto Rico - The Half Chick - AWT
United States (Native American, Pueblo) - The Coyote and the Lizard - SS
United States (Native American, Pueblo) - The Coyote and the Rabbit - NT
United States - The More the Merrier - AWT
United States (Native American, Sioux, Dakota Plains) - The Three Spells - AWT
United States (Hawaii) - The Owl Battle - AWT
United States (African American) - Brer Rabbit Goes Fishing - AWT
United States (Native American, Northeastern tribes) - The Magic Doll - SAW
United States - The Gingerbread Man - NT
United States - I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly - NT
United States - Sody Sallyraytus - NT
United States (African American) - The Gunny Wolf - NT
United States (Native American, Cherokee) - NT
United States (Scottish American) - The Three Little Piggies and Old Mister Fox - GMN
United States (African American) - Big Pig, Little Pig, Speckled Pig, and Runt - GMN
United States (Anglo American) - How Jack Went to Seek His Fortune - GMN
United State (Native American) - The Cunning Hare - Lang
United States - Uhe Basho Sho (The Crooked Path) - WS
United States - Eentsy Weentsy Spider - WS
United States (Hawaii) - Nani Wale Na Hala (Pretty Hala Trees) - WS

West Indies - Tingalayo (Donkey Song) - WS

South America - How the Birds Got Their Bright Feathers - SAW
Argentina - Juan Bobo - SS
Argentina - The Man in the Moon - AWT
Argentina - Medio Pollito - GMN
Argentina - Mi Chacra (My Farm) - WS
Bolivia - The Armadillo's Song - AWT
Brazil - If This Street Were Mine - MV
Brazil - Jabuti and Jaguar Go Courting - SS
Brazil - The Three Oranges - AWT
Brazil - Ciranda (Circle Game) - WS
Chile - The Monk's Treasure - AWT
Columbia - The Lost Friend - AWT
Ecuador - Two for You, Three for Me - AWT
Guyana - Bring Girl in the Ring - WS
Paraguay - Toad in the Hole - AWT
Peru - Wish Upon a Star - AWT
Peru - Los Pollitos (Little Chicks) - WS
Venezuela - The Rainbow Snake - AWT

Europe (Andersen) - The Steadfast Tin Soldier - Lang
Europe (Andersen) - The Swineherd - Lang
Europe (Andersen) - The Nightingale - Lang
Europe (Andersen) - The Tinderbox - Lang
Europe (Perrault) - Little Red Riding Hood - Lang
Europe (Grimm) - The Twelve Dancing Princesses - Lang
Europe (Grimm) - The Six Swans - Lang
Austria - The Frog's Wedding - AWT
Belgium - The Lace Makers of Bruges - AWT
Britain - Dick Whittington - SAW
Bulgaria - Orfeo in the Underworld - AWT
Czech Republic - Kuratko the Terrible - SS
Czech Republic - Nail Soup - SAW
Denmark - Snowman Frost - MV
Denmark - A Real Princess - AWT
Denmark - En Enebær Busk (The Mulberry Bush) - WS

England - Silly and Sillier - SS
England - Cap o' Rushes - AWT
England - This is the House That Jack Built - NT
England - The Three Pigs - NT
England - The Three Pigs - Lang
England - The History of Jack the Giant Killer - Lang
England - Jack and the Beanstalk - Lang
England - Lavender's Blue - WS
Estonia - The Laziest Boy in the World - AWT
Finland - The Gift of the Sun - AWT
Finland - Piiri Pieni Pyörii (The Circle Goes Around) - WS
France - What is My Hand Doing? - MV
France - The Miller's Son - AWT
France - Puss in Boots - SAW
France - Jean and Jeannette - GMN
France (Perrault) - Cinderella - Lang
France (Perrault) - The Master Cat, or Puss in Boots - Lang
France - Father Grumbler - Lang
Germany - Dance, Little Child, Dance! - MV

Germany - The Dwarf's Gift - AWT
Germany - The Musicians of Bremen - SAW
Germany (Grimm) - Rapunzel - Lang
Germany - The Ratcatcher - Lang
Germany (Grimm) - The Fisherman and His Wife - Lang
Germany (Grimm) - Rumplestiltzkin - Lang
Germany (Grimm) - Hansel and Grettel - Lang
Germany - The Nixy - Lang
Germany (Grimm) - Snowdrop - Lang
Germany (Grimm) - Snow-white and Rose-red - Lang
Germany (Grimm) - The Street Musicians - Lang
Germany - Alle Meine Entchen (All My Little Ducklings) - WS
Greece - The Pirate's Punishment - AWT
Greece - How the Turtle Got its Shell - SAW
Greece - The Hair and the Tortoise - NT
Greece - Pou'n-do To Dachtilidi (Where Is the Ring?) - WS
Hungary - Thirsty are the Reeds - AWT
Iceland - Bye, Bye, Blacking - MV
Ireland - The Little Donkey - MV
Ireland - The Wonderful Pancake - SS
Ireland - The Giant's Causeway - AWT
Ireland - Wee Falorie Man - WS
Italy - Buggy Wuggy - SS
Italy - The Silver Goose - AWT
Italy - Buried Treasure - SAW
Italy - The Rooster and the Mouse - NT
Italy - The Three Geese - GMN
Italy - Mio Galletto (My Little Rooster) - WS
Lappland - The Elf Maiden - Lang
Latvia - The Fighting Fisherman - AWT
Lithuania - The Mermaid's Marriage - AWT
Malta - Green Figs, Purple Figs - AWT
Netherlands - Hans, the Hero of Haarlem - AWT
Netherlands (Holland) - Kortjakje is Always Sick - MV
Netherlands (Holland) - Brave Hendrick - SAW
Netherlands - Alle Eendjes (All the Ducklings) - WS
Norway - Rain - MV
Norway - Three Billy Goats Gruff - AWT
Norway - The Pancake - NT
Norway - East of the Sun & West of the Moon - Lang
Norway - Ro, Ro Til Fiskeskjær (Row, Row to the Fishing Spot) - WS
Poland - The Dreadful Dragon - AWT
Portugal - Roast Rooster - AWT
Romania - Keeping Secrets - AWT
Russia - Hush You Mice - MV
Russia - Bear Squash-You-All-Flat - SS
Russia - The Czar's Wedding Ring - AWT
Russia - Baba Yaga, the Witch - SAW
Russia - The Bun - NT
Russia - The Flying Ship - Lang
Scotland - The Selkie Wife - AWT
Scotland - Coulter's Candy - WS
Serbia - Little Singing Frog - GMN
Spain - A Helpful Friend - AWT
Spain - The Four Brothers - SAW
Spain - The Water of Life - Lang
Spain - Mi Burro (My Burro) - WS
Scandinavia - Thor's Hammer - SAW
Sweden - Nail Soup - AWT
Sweden - Titeliture - GMN
Sweden - Små Grodorna (Little Frogs) - WS
Switzerland - Joggeli, Can You Ride? - MV
Switzerland - The Herdsman's Song - AWT
Turkey - A Sleeve in the Soup - AWT
Turkey - Ali Baba'nin Çiftli?i (Ali Baba's Farm) - WS
Ukraine - Veselee Husi (Jolly, Happy Ganders) - WS
Wales - The Island of Fairies - AWT
Yugoslavia (former) - Ringe, Ringe Raja (Ring Around Raja) - WS

Africa - Stealing the Sun - SAW
Botswana - The Ostrich's Horns - AWT
Egypt - Counting Chickens - AWT
Ethiopia - White Pebbles - AWT
Ghana - Why Do Monkeys Live in Trees? - SS
Ghana - Rain Song - AWT
Ghana - Tue Tue (Clapping Game) - WS
Kenya - The Rabbit's Friend - AWT
Kenya - Kanyoni Kanja (Little Bird Outside) - WS
Madagascar - The Pheasant and the Hen - AWT
Morocco - The Lion's Dinner - AWT
Morocco - Clever Aisha - SAW
Nigeria - The Tortoise and the Iroko Man - SS
Nigeria - By Royal Command - AWT
Nigeria (Yoruba) - How Ijapa the Tortoise Tricked the Hippopotamus - GMN
Nigeria - Akwa Nwa Nere Nnwa (The Little Nanny Story) - WS
Somalia - Dinner for All - AWT
South Africa (Masai) - The Mighty Caterpillar - SS
South Africa - The Cheetah's Cubs - AWT
South Africa (Xhosa) - The Runaway Children - GMN
Sudan - Secrets are Hard to Keep - AWT
Swaziland - Princess Tombi-ende and the Frog - GMN
Tanzania - The Dancing Hyena - AWT
Tunisia - The King's Best Friend - AWT
Zaire - The Boy Who Tried to Fool His Father - NT
Zaire - Bebe Moke (Baby So Small) - WS
Zimbabwe - Beautiful Bird - MV
Zimbabwe - The Sunbirds - AWT
Zimbabwe - The Hero Makoma - Lang

Afghanistan - When Dreams Come True - AWT
Bangladesh - Toontoony Bird - SS
Cambodia - A Bag Full of Stories - SAW
China - Little Friends, Hand in Hand - MV
China - The Dragon Princess - AWT
China - The Fox and the Crab - NT
China (Hmong) - How a Warty Toad Became an Emperor - GMN
China - Hok Lee and the Dwarfs - Lang
China - Fong Swei (After School) - WS
India - Bathtime - MV
India - The Four Magicians - AWT
India - The Snake Charmer - SAW
India - The Cat and the Parrot - NT
India - The Snake Prince - Lang
India - Anilae Anilae (Chipmunk, Chipmunk) - WS
India - Kai Veechamma (Move Your Hand) - WS
Indonesia - My Village - MV
Indonesia - Clever Friends - AWT
Iran - Let's Play - MV

Iran - The Singing Pumpkin - SS
Iran - Precious Pearls - AWT
Iran - Attal Mattal (Rhythm Game) - WS
Iran (Persia) - Leyla and the Lamp - SAW
Israel - Finders Keepers - AWT
Israel - Zum Gali Gali (Work Song) - WS
Japan - Song of Kites - MV
Japan - Magical Mice - SS
Japan - The Crocodile Bridge - AWT
Japan - The Little Sparrow - SAW
Japan - Oniroku - GMN
Japan - The Crab and the Monkey - Lang
Japan - Ame, Ame (Rain Song) - WS
Korea (South) - Big Brother, Little Brother - AWT
Korea - Arirang (Arirang Hill) - WS
Malaysia - The Secret in the Package - AWT
Malaysia - Pok Amai, Amai (Clap Together) - WS
Mongolia - Evergreen - AWT
Myanmar (formerly Burma) - The Teeny Tiny Chick and the Sneaky Old Cat - SS
Myanmar (formerly Burma) - Master Thumb - GMN
Philippines - Don't Wake King Alimango - SS
Philippines - A Birthday Surprise - AWT
Philippines - Odon the Giant - NT
Saudi Arabia - Three Birds - AWT
Sri Lanka - It's Not My Fault - AWT
Sri Lanka - The Cake Tree - GMN
Thailand - The Parrot's Problem - AWT
Vietnam - Food for the Emperor - AWT

Australia - Grandfather - MV
Australia (Aborigine) - The Koala and the Kangeroo - SS
Australia (Aborigine) - Boomerang - AWT
Australia - Strong Magic - SAW
Australia - Kookaburra - WS
Borneo - Too Many Fish - SS
Fiji - Tapioca - MV
Fiji - Beware of the Shark! - AWT
New Zealand - Big Whale - MV
New Zealand - The Kiwi's Gift - AWT
New Zealand - The Magic Fish Hook - SAW
New Zealand - Epo I Tai Tai E (I Will Be Happy) - WS
Papua New Guinea - The Turtle's Shell - AWT
Samoa - Savalivali - MV
Tonga - Spotty Spider - MV

Once I get my passport stamp-stickers figured out, I'll post them here, too.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Memorize first, context second; or memorize with context

Especially since younger kids can easily and fairly happily memorize things without being capable of understanding the context. I'm thinking of Latin and math, particularly, but it applies to other subjects, too. And for the purposes of this post, I'm assuming that *both* memorization and conceptual understanding are necessary and desirable for complete mastery of a subject - the question at hand is whether memorization can/should come *before* conceptual understanding, or whether memorization and conceptual understanding ought/must go hand-in-hand.

So, my understanding of classical ed (both neo-classical and traditional classical) is that it is largely in favor of getting necessary memory work started in the younger years, and it's ok that they don't understand it right away - get the foundation laid now, and teach them how to use those facts when they are capable of it in later years/stages. Of course, if they *are* capable of it in younger/grammar years, then go ahead and provide the context - but I'm talking about where a given child, at least, just isn't capable of understanding the context/concepts yet, but *is* capable of memorizing the facts that will be necessary in order to use those concepts. Thus the emphasis on math facts and Latin paradigms without worrying overmuch if they can't understand the necessary math or grammar concepts yet - basically, that memorizing without context won't hurt them so long as you *do* bring in the context eventually. And in fact, delaying the memorization *until* they can understand the underlying concepts is actually counterproductive and slows down the overall mastery of the subject.

But evidence shows that, in many cases, students just never moved beyond memorization without understanding in math and Latin. Lots of ink has been spilled trying to sort out the problem (part of which is undoubtedly because many of those students were never *taught* anything beyond memorization in the first place ) - and one common answer is that students should *never* memorize without being able to understand the concepts - that once they get in the habit of thinking that all there is to a given subject/skill is rote memorization and all problems are/can be solved by straight regurgitation of memorized facts, it is very hard, and in some cases impossible, to now teach them to *think*, to break the habit of mindlessly regurgitating facts and instead *use* all those memorized facts to learn and apply the underlying concepts. Therefore, you should be training the proper habits of the mind from the start, teaching students to *think* from the start, and thus never have them memorize anything outside of the context in which it will be used.

And now, I'm sure, you see shades of the conceptual math debates, and the Latin debates over teaching the language as a logic puzzle versus as a language . I've been pretty strongly on the conceptual math side, as well as the Latin-as-a-language side, as a result of my own learning experiences and the end goals espoused by those positions (too many classical types don't seem to realize there is more to math than memorization and the standard school applications, and don't consider reading Latin as Latin to be worthwhile).

But as I'm starting to teach my dd4, I'm running headlong into reality , which is that she just doesn't get some math concepts, won't even let me show her them (they are apparently things that should not be ). And I'm waffling about whether I should stop any formal math until she is more ready, or keep on with the bits she likes, which undoubtedly are going to get into memorizing without understanding, or go whole hog on memorizing, and do lots of chants and such (which she'd like, I'm sure).

Also, I've been reading up on Latin teaching - Bennett's "Teaching Latin and Greek in the Secondary School", which is rec'd by Cheryl Lowe, and Distler's "Teach the Latin, I Pray You", which is rec'd by teach-Latin-as-a-language advocates - it's been interesting seeing the similarities and differences b/w the two approaches. I'm mostly in favor of Distler's approach, which is a rigorous, in-favor-of-memorization-and-drill approach (but always and only in context!) to teaching how to read Latin as Latin. But unless one's kids are language/grammar types, you would hit a wall really quickly if you started in the grammar years - a lot of the grammar topics are the sort that seem to require logic-stage thinking (and the book was about teaching high schoolers). So what is better? To stick with context, and thus memorize mostly vocab and a few forms, but you can use them all? Or to just not worry about context, memorize all the forms along with vocab, even though you can't use them yet, relying on memorized prayers/songs/etc to provide enough context to be getting on with until they are ready for real grammar/syntax study?

Classical advocates say the former makes the grammar/syntax study more difficult than it needs to be, since you have the memory burden on top of learning how to use all those forms. Reading-Latin-as-Latin advocates say getting in the habit of using the forms out of context makes learning to apply them *in* context much harder than if you'd done it right from the start. (And there's the related issue of whether an early emphasis on translation and otherwise constantly turning the Latin into English at every turn - seemingly inevitable with a memorize-first approach - sabotages later efforts to comprehend Latin without *having* to go through English.) Conceptual math debates tend to go along the same lines - does memorizing without understanding the concepts first inhibit learning the concepts later? And if so, how do you deal with kids who just can't seem to get the concepts at all - is it really best to just drop math entirely until they *are* able to understand?

And, just to make things more interesting, classical advocates are all about the necessity of memorizing in context when it comes to teaching reading. Memorizing sight words outside of the context of being able to divide the word into phonemes/syllables and sound it out - phonics - is considered a bad, bad thing. It is better to wait until the child is ready to comprehend phonics than to go ahead and memorize whole words now, figuring you'll go over phonics later, when the child is ready. Why? Because teaching sight words sets up bad habits, habits that take longer to break than just doing phonics from the start. For some kids, *years* longer, it seems. So classical educators *do* acknowledge the issue of out-of-context learning causing bad habits. (And cognitive science has established that we use different parts of our brains when we read via memorized words versus phonically.)

But on the other side of the coin, the idea that the best way to teach expert thinking in a subject is to teach those thought processes from the very first - no setting up bad habits of thinking wrongly or not at all - is likewise rejected by cognitive science. Expert thinking requires a *lot* of domain knowledge, and trying to reason like an expert *without* that domain knowledge is futile at best, and establishes its own bad habits at worst. Their findings support the classical idea that it is best to learn facts, lots and lots of facts, before trying to think about them. And certainly reality tells me that my kids are ready to memorize a *lot* earlier than they are ready to logically think through things.

But a lot of things can be memorized *with* enough context to be getting by - like history and science stories/sentences and poems and songs - even if the kids don't understand them now, what they've memorized still contains quite a bit of context, that is available to them with no further effort than growing up. But math facts and Latin paradigms aren't quite the same - on their own, they give little-to-no hint of how they will eventually be used (bare lists of history facts or science facts have the same problem). Which isn't a problem if they can be memorized without causing damaging bad habits - but is a *big* problem if the memory-work-without-context *does* build bad habits.

Wrt what sorts of memory work is more prone to causing bad habits of thought, the phonics/whole word thing seems to hinge around memorizing core facts - phonograms, say - versus memorizing facts that are actually composed of other facts - whole words. That the problem comes in when you memorize stuff that you really ought to have been logically figuring out. Like in math, maybe it's fine to rote memorize the basic number bonds up to 10 (the facts up to 18 and beyond can be logically determined from there, and are good practice in using math laws and learning mathy thinking), and skip counting through the multiples of 10/12/15/whatever (to get useful patterns into one's head without getting into the potential minefield of whether memorizing the mult/div facts without understanding mult/div causes problems). In Latin, I don't think rote memorizing the paradigms and being able to give specific forms - so long as you didn't get into the trap of using English all the time, and thus develop habits of turning Latin into English - would *hurt*, but I wonder if it is really the best use of time. By avoiding bad/false contexts, you are left with *no* context, hardly - other than looking at Latin sentences/passages and parsing by giving all possible options for the given endings, since you do *not* have the context required to actually figure out which one it probably is. The only point would be to rote memorize the endings, really - is it worth that?

And it seems that *some* level of context is required, because *way* too many people *do* end up thinking of math, or Latin, or history, or science - any school subject, really - as nothing more than a bunch of random crap to be memorized and regurgitated. They *never* get beyond that.

But *how much* context is the question . And how *specific*. Are lots of living books on the subject, read contemporaneously to the memorization, whether or not they apply to the specific things being memorized, sufficient? Or do they need to be specifically related to the things being memorized? Or is rote memorization - memorizing things without context - inherently going to cause bad thinking habits, for which no amount of secondary context - living books, real life applications, anything that is not *explicitly* how it will be used - can prevent?

I mean, whole language types are all about context - but the context they provide is secondary, the context of "why you want to read in the first place" - similar to the use of living books to flesh out memorizing - and in teaching how to read, it seems that, for many kids, that context just isn't good enough. They need the primary context that words are made out of phonemes, and are combined in these ways, and are sounded out like this. Do other subjects have that same issue? Or maybe just skill-based ones?