Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Our 16th President

I received one of my home school magazines yesterday in the mail. There is an article about Abraham Lincoln in this issue. It was an article about his early life with many good books to reference to learn even more about him. He really had an interesting life. Not easy...but interesting. He really only attended formal school for about a year in rural Indiana. When I say formal I just mean a log cabin school house that he attended. His childhood education "stint" in the school house consisted of rote memorization of the alphabet,multiplication tables, rules of grammar, and Scripture passages. Mostly, Lincoln was a self learner. He had a desire to read and learn.He found books where ever he could. I can relate with the desire to read and then write down the passages that were important....to memorize the lines of certain books or stories. I learned that Abraham Lincoln also not only read, but liked to read aloud. When asked about this he replied, "when I read aloud my two senses catch the idea. First, I see what I am reading, and secondly, I hear it read, and I can thus remember what I read the better." (Seems to me, as a school teacher myself, that he was on to something far before it became the norm to use a multi-sensory approach to learning.)
The few books he could get his hands on were not trivial. He read The Bible, Shakespeare's plays, Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress, Aesop's Fables, the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and Weem's Life of Washington. Elton Trueblood, in his work on the spiritual life of Lincoln wrote, "Thereby, the lack of formal education was partly balanced by ...the habitual vision of greatness."
Abraham Lincoln was an amazing man, and as we all know has graced history as one of our country's most beloved presidents. This February, on President's Day, take a few minutes to think about Mr. Lincoln. Or better yet, read a good book in honor of him.

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