I had a very vivid dream last night/this morning that I had gone back to high school as an "adult student," but it was horribly chaotic and confusing, no one would tell me what classes I was signed up for, where I was supposed to go or what I was supposed to read. I had a math class but it was over by the time I found it and when I asked for the book, the teacher told me I had already failed. Then I went to my Classics class and though they gave us a big pile of books, the only thing we were supposed to do was watch I Claudius.
I have been thinking back on school lately, and wondering why exactly I hated it so much. At the time I didn't think much about why I hated it; I was too busy hating it. But it seems obvious now that it was a stupid idea to stick a kid like me, brought up to a nearly convent-like domestic silence and solitude, into a high school environment full of screeching thugs and half-crazed teachers.
I remember once in a physics class (which I loved) working out how much time my teacher, Bob Schwartz, spent each year telling kids to sit down, shut up and pay attention. I think it was something like 150 hours a year. He wasn't happy to hear it.
Does anyone learn anything in high school? I know I had a lot of curiosity about things, as I still do. I wanted to know about literature and insects and history and weather and geology and languages and music and art and all manner of things. But looking back on it, I'm surprised I was able just to survive it with sanity barely preserved.
Here's a bunch of sites, using mostly YouTube where you can amuse yourself learning about stuff.
500 free courses from "top" universities.
Free Film Noir.
Khan Academy - science and math lessons on YouTube
New Scientist YouTube channel.
Poetry Readings - something to listen to while we draw.
Research channel of the American Museum of Natural History.(Watch out! Scary close-up pics of live spiders on this page! Ick!)
Arkive blog: lots and lots of nature videos to bring out your inner amateur naturalist.
The BBC teaches you Italian.
Learn Italian on iTunes
Let's learn Italian in five-minute increments
Lots of other languages.
Pilates exercise videos
Bunch more Pilates vids.
Documentaries, documentaries, documentaries.
Atlantis! Dinosaurs! Freemasons! Alien conspiracy videos!
Art of the Western World video series
The Western Canon: audio course on the civilisation-building literature
and The Western Tradition, for those who couldn't afford TAC.
Real Classics: Xenophon's Oeconomicus, a year-long audio course from St. John's College in Annapolis
Learn to draw with John Ruskin's methods: Oxford
Aesthetics and the philosophy of art: Oxford