Educating Ginny

We’ve home-schooled our kids through 8th grade. That has had its ups and downs. At one point, just after the twins were born, I decided to have a look at the history of World War Two, the greatest of all wars. I thought that anyone who came to understand WWII would have taken a big step towards understanding history, the human condition, and all that. And, with any luck, they’d never get the perverted idea that wars are fun. So I dumped a pile of books on Ginny, my oldest, and told her to read them.

I’m forgetting some, but the list included

Company Commander, Charles MacDonald

Churchill’s series:

The Gathering Storm
Their Finest Hour
The Grand Alliance
The Hinge of Fate
Closing the Ring
Triumph and Tragedy

The Ultra Secret, Winterbotham

The Double-Cross System, J. C. Masterman

Man On A Raft, Kenneth Cooke

Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege: 1942-1943, Antony Beevor

Day of Infamy, Walter Lord

Incredible Victory (Midway), Walter Lord

Lonely Vigil: Coastwatchers of the Solomons, Walter Lord

Eagle Against the Sun – Ronald Spector

+ a few others.

She ended up reading 200 pages a day for a long time. This may have been a mistake, since she was only ten years old. She’s still mad at me. On the other hand, she hasn’t initiated any aggressive wars [the supreme international crime, except when we or our special friends do it]. And that’s good.

P.S. corrections – I found the list. Scratch The Ultra Secret, add Escape from Colditz, by P. R. Reid, To Lose a Battle, by Alistair Horne, and Miracle at Midway by Gordon Prange

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68 Responses to Educating Ginny

  1. James Thompson says:

    Of course, the probability of her starting a world war, aged 10, was rather low, but she obviously has a case against you, or your insurers, for literacy abuse.
    It is a good list. I wonder if you should have added something by Primo Levi? When my daughter was 10 I used to read her some of his collected stories, and not the camp stories, though his last one. about the home lives of moles could be seen as being about that experience, which ran through all his writing,

    • The fourth doorman of the apocalypse says:

      Surely the fact that she is female is the more important factor in determining her low likelihood of starting a world war.

      On the other hand, as a physics major, she might come up with a way of creating micro black holes and thus put more weapons in the hands of those who would start a world war.

    • SFG says:

      I think that’d be against the politics of a lot of people here… 😉

      I still remember his bit about oxidizing paraffin to fatty acids to make something edible. May be the first time anybody’s ever saved their lives with Orgo (outside of the larger context of industrial production of food, fertilizer, antibiotics, of course…).

  2. HerewardMW says:

    Give it a few years.

  3. amac78 says:

    Another book to consider is George MacDonald Fraser’s Quartered Safe Out Here (amazon etc. or PDF). (Fraser is better known as the author of the picaresque Flashman memoirs.) His account of his part in British campaigns in Burma portrays the boredom-plus-terror lot of the infantryman.

  4. bruce says:

    I can’t imagine a happy fun sunshine for ten year old girls book about WWII. Anne Frank, if she really likes being sensitive? If I was homeschooling kids I’d be tempted to give them books that justify all four sides: Ken Macleod’s ‘whatever Stalin’s mistakes, he was right to act as if he was surrounded by capitalists and fascists’, David Irving for Germany, some Asian who figures the details of Japanese action may have been imperfect but ending the domination of the Yellow Man by the White was both necessary and bound to be messy; then Churchill for the British Empire’s dominion of half the world.
    Yes ladies, I know this makes you want to have my baby.

  5. Dahlia says:

    Didn’t you mention before that your daughter went to public high school? Why did you stop homeschooling her at 8th grade? Did you consider enrolling her in college in her preteens or early teens?

    I ask because my husband and I are very quickly approaching the time when we have to made serious decisions regarding our 11-year-old daughter. She has Asperger’s and scored a general IQ in the 140s, but on the matrices portion she scored a 157. She’s been doing college-level science at home for a year, her best subject. A guidance counselor told us years ago that she’d be ready for college at age 12, but I am torn. Here in Florida, colleges are free up until eighteen, I think, and that makes it attractive.
    She absolutely stinks at history, btw, and would have literally cried (seriously) if I had her read your daughter’s booklist.

    • gcochran9 says:

      We send her to public high school because we thought it was time for her to face the unruly masses.

      The first week or so of public high school was highly entertaining, because she worried that she might not be up to it. She panicked when she got a 14 on a vocab test – thought it was out of 100. Turned out it was grade level – she’d maxed out.

    • That Guy says:

      That is quite a quandary you are in – I don’t know that there is any right answer?!

      My IQ was measured at 157 when I was a teen and at 17 yo I took the Raven’s Progressive Matrices test and completed it in with 1/3 of the time allowed left, and got one question out of 200 wrong. My guidance counselor was flabbergasted at the result, and said that I had scored better than 1 in 10,000. I see that Temple Grandin aced the Raven’s test –

      I absolutely hated public school, as I felt I was surrounded by idiots/retards. I dropped out of college and only with difficulty did I finish my undergrad years later.

      My eldest daughter who went to day care from the time she was an infant was coached by me on basic stuff on weekends. At 2 yo she could write her name, count to 20, knew her alphabet, had great vocab and reasoning skills. At 2.5 she knew addition and subtraction. However I decided NOT to push her farther, as she was increasingly out of sync with her peers and unhappy as a result. When she started kindergarten they tested all kids on the word list they would learn that year, and she knew all the words and meanings already, and the same with each grade she has taken, she already knows most of the syllabus – she’s now in Grade 4. So I have focused instead on enrichment projects with her, and on stuff they she will not meet in school, like electrical circuits, programming and stuff.

      I would love to hear your take on what works best for a gifted kid (girl) in public school, where you are miles ahead of peers, and want to have a somewhat normal social life and a few friends??

      • says:

        I was happily suprised to find out public schools have greatly improved since myself or my sons were bored shitless in these baby sitting services. My granddaughter is in first grade and damned if they don’t seperate the kids and teach them according to how many words a minute they can read. So Lily who can read 148 words a minute is grouped with one other 1st grader out of 125 and they are rapidly, happily, and enthusiastically moving right along. Most of us can’t afford to homeschool our kids, we need two incomes, besides school is where they learn to socialize with kids of their own age. Gifted kids usually have a hard time fitting in with kids of their own age and avoiding the whole process until a later age isn’t the answer. We need to act as advocates for our kids if they are either gifted or “special” because the public schools are under financial pressure to treat them all the same. If you have a gifted child you need to shop the local school system before you decide where you live. Some of us simply can’t afford or don’t want to live in an upper crust suburb but that is where the best public schools for gifted kids are.

      • erica says:

        dchamberlin: “We need to act as advocates for our kids if they are either gifted or ‘special’ because the public schools are under financial pressure to treat them all the same.”

        I don’t know in what state you live, but yes, of course, there are almost always financial pressures that affect school site and district-level decision making, but I can tell you that in a state such as California and in many others, the primary reason to “treat them all the same” has little to nothing to do with money. It has to do with pc and with small but vocal groups of the local NAACP or La Raza which are funded, guided, and encouraged by their national organizations and with school boards are deathly afraid of them. The organizations threaten law suits, and instead of holding steady and upholding standards, the trustees cave. I might add that it doesn’t help that a substantial number of the teaching profession are cowards as well while others have simply drunk the kool aid and don’t learn the lesson until they’ve a few years of teaching under their belts. Still others are weary of fighting a losing battle. Ahhh, but what do you expect when the colleges of the country teach the notion that every child can learn *anything*, that every child can excel…. if only he is given the right social circumstance?

        I am very familiar with school/district politics and with the cowardice of people in position to effect change in our public schools, changes that would benefit kids of all abilities. It doesn’t help matters that in California, the state controls the money (ever since the passage of Prop. 13, a ballot measure that held down the rate of growth of property taxes that were soaring to the point that the retired were having difficulty holding onto their homes) and thus controls much of the decision making. However, that being said, local schools CAN set and uphold standards yet usually don’t.

      • dave chamberlin says:

        My wife is a 1st through 8th grade school social worker in Kenilworth Illinois, the wealthiest suburb in our state. We raised two sons in a good but not great school district, one was dyslexic and the other in the gifted program. It was very exasperating attending once a year meetings with the supposed experts who told us about our children. My wife is an expert in the field and worked in a school district where they were up to date with the latest methods and we knew the school was clueless in how to deal with dyslexia, as a matter of fact we had to submit a written request, they ignored our verbal requests, that they test him for dyslexia. The gifted program consisted of a one room trailer behind the school and our gifted son spent one hour a week in this trailer with other gifted kids out of his grade. That was the extent of the gifted learning program 25 years ago. The funny thing was our opinions voiced in these once a year meetings were always disregarded, it was clear that they had sterotyped us as bothersome meddling parents. But when we brought in my wife’s friends at work whom had the proper titles, psychologist or reading specialist they were then listened to. That doesn’t mean anything changed, they were as you say Erica lazy. But fast forward twenty five years into another good but not great school system and they really have made remarkable improvement. I disagree with your contention Erica that it doesn’t take more money to customize education to the child. It requires computers for the kids and smaller class sizes. Things change slowly for the better has been the experience of myself and my wife.

      • dave chamberlin says:

        You will get no argument from me Erica that most primary schools are backwards and lazy. But it does cost a lot more money to furnish a customized education for the students that are either gifted or “special”. It requires smaller class size, individualized treatment of students, and a lot of computer time for each child. My wife is a school social worker in a rich kids school, Kenilworth Illinois, and it takes a lot more money to customize education, something most schools still wont do. My kids and my granddaughter went to or are going to good but not great schools. The gifted learning program for my son was a joke but that was 25 years ago, today they are giving my granddaughter a vastly superior education.

      • Ginny says:

        I would think it depends a fair bit on the girl. I did a lot of extracurriculars (soccer, choir, drama, NHS, some others) and just talked to people a lot. It definitely helped that I was interested in a lot of things – music, history, movies, etc. – and had things to talk about with most people. If you’re really single-minded (obsessed with bird counting or something) or have never seen Back To The Future, you might have a harder time.

        I went in with the intention to help explain anything that I could to anyone who asked. The only people who didn’t like the fact that I was smart were a couple of girls I had displaced at the top of the intellectual food chain – everybody else was surprisingly pleased with me. I think being in a class by yourself is not as much of a concern in high school as in middle school, or “the snake pit”. People were nice. I was fairly sarcastic throughout to everyone, but mostly people thought it was funny. My brothers seem to be having a similar experience for the most part – same high school though.

        TL;DR be friendly and not an intellectual snob (my mom’s prime directive). People mostly didn’t mind if someone was smarter as long as they didn’t act stuck-up about it. Get involved in something.

      • Ginny says:

        dchamberlin: “besides school is where they learn to socialize with kids of their own age. Gifted kids usually have a hard time fitting in with kids of their own age and avoiding the whole process until a later age isn’t the answer.”

        This is not necessarily true. I was involved in a lot of programs as a homeschooler (AYSO soccer, Girl Scouts, a bunch of things at my church, ballet, Battle of the Books, etc.) as well as a group of homeschooling families that got together and went on outings. It wasn’t like my parents unsealed the bomb shelter on the first day of high school. Probably not the case for the majority of homeschoolers either.

      • That Guy says:


        Thanks for your reply – very informative.

        My daughter does Girl Scouts and AYSO Soccer, and in fact soccer was one of the first things she was not automatically the best at, and she had a hard time dealing with that initially. I now coach AYSO Soccer, and she has found that she is a very good goal keeper, but not much of a midfielder, and enjoys the experience more.
        She is a fairly popular kid at school, according to herself, but has a clique of enemies, who are fashion conscious, Justin Bieber fans – all things she hates. She has taken a leadership position in stopping bullying at school, and advocated for a few other kids being bullied, and got the school to introduce an anti-bullying workshop. So she now is a kind of volunteer anti-bullying ombudsman at school.

        You (and your Mom) make a good point here:
        be friendly and not an intellectual snob
        That’s a lesson I myself never learned – and maybe still haven’t – and would keep expounding on all kinds of things, even if no one was interested, and were downright hostile to my sermon – but then I guess I have a touch of Aspergers…

      • Anonymous says:

        “be friendly and not an”, it is great when they learn the lesson we would like to teach rather than our failings. Don’t you agree Greg?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Just curious, how old is Ginny now? What will be her tertiary concentration?

  7. dearieme says:

    “the supreme international crime, except when we … do it”: American Exceptionalism. Or maybe Manifest Destiny.

  8. AKAHorace says:

    She may be right to be angry about Churchill’s memoirs. I read that they were mostly ghosted.

  9. ivvenalis says:

    “And, with any luck, they’d never get the perverted idea that wars are fun.”

    The idea might be perverted, and “fun” may not be the right word, but it’s hardly limited to non-combatants. There were an awful lot of major figures before and during WWII whose experiences in the First World War didn’t seem to much dampen their enthusiasm for aggressive warfare, so I don’t know how effective an inoculation reading books might be.

  10. Dahlia says:

    Did you ever consider the early college route? Forgive me for the questions, but I have never had the opportunity to discuss this with someone whose child is similar to mine.
    I’ve been thinking that community college offers some “unruly masses” that are important to be exposed to and there’s one within walking distance; I found they were tamer and less dangerous than high schoolers in my experience. Starting her there in the Fall is where our thinking is right now.

    • gcochran9 says:

      Ginny is not at all aspergery, so she’s maybe not so similar. Anyhow, we never really thought seriously about sending her off to early college. The local high school was safe. People generally thought of it as an icky school, because it is mostly minority and has low test scores, but I never worried much about that.

      • Dahlia says:

        I kind of figured she wasn’t Aspergery given that she stoicly suffered for her father and didn’t have a mental breakdown, LOL!
        Yes, my “problem”, a problem I feel so blessed to have, is the unevenness in her skills and her being a little more emotionally brittle.
        I homeschool and have been cobbling together her science, but she’ll be maxing me out soon. Almost a year, she did college-level chemistry, absent tests or discussions with me. She’s doing a lower level anatomy and physiology course (aimed more at LPNs and lower level medical workers) for which I have the ability to make up tests and actually “teach”. By the time were done, her math skills will be more than ready for physics which my husband will teach.
        Btw, between one of the science courses, I made her read, “Plague Time” by Mr. Ewald and you and do a book report. Now that was fun!

  11. Jim says:

    The amount of blood and treasure the US has expended in the Middle East for virtually nothing is one of the most astonishing things in history. Has anything like this ever happened before?

    • gcochran9 says:

      Sure. Look at any case where a country initiated a war and then lost. That cost can be really high. It can even cause the destruction of the state. Although in most of those cases (not all), the aggressors would have acquired something of value if they had won.

      Iraq has oil, but we didn’t steal it. There wasn’t any other worthwhile goal. Iraq was not a WMD threat – that was easy to see if you knew anything about strategic military technology. The problem is, in the decision-making classes, literally no one does. Someday I should post about what our ruling classes know and understand. It would be a hoot.

      • Viral Ideas says:

        Someday I should post about what our ruling classes know and understand. It would be a hoot.

        Is there really all that much to write about? I guess the shortness of your posting would be hoot-worthy.

      • ziel says:

        I remember, back in the 90’s, when all the no-fly-zone and oil-for-food nonsense was dominating the news, getting pretty annoyed that we hadn’t just taken out that bastard Saddam when we had the chance. I guess if I were the son of the guy that didn’t take that opportunity, and then got to be president myself, I might have decided to rectify that situation, too. So I don’t find it at all mysterious why the Iraq war happened. What is mysterious – or at least bizarre – is how a guy who doesn’t know any more than me gets to be president – and no one who did know better managed to talk any sense into him.

        • gcochran9 says:

          I bet you’d have known more, just from table-talk, if your dad had been Ambassador to China, head of the CIA, Vice-President, and President. And if he’d told you that invading Iraq was the act of a damn fool.

          But that wasn’t enough for W. And, as you’ve probably noticed, his creatures, lackeys, and sycophants are still the go-to guys for Republican foreign policy. I can see why someone like Romney would worry about whether a foreign-policy adviser might turn out to be an idiot. Uncertainty, enough to drive you nuts. So he picked proven fools, eliminating all doubt.

      • rob says:

        Someday I should post about what our ruling classes know and understand. It would be a hoot

        Would it be like one of the ‘Everything Men Know About Women’ sort of books where every page is blank?

      • “I bet you’d have known more, just from table-talk”

        On the rare occasions they eat together WASP families don’t converse about serious things.

    • dearieme says:

      See the Roman wars with the Persians .. right through to the wars of mutual exhaustion that let the Arab armies in.

    • dave chamberlin says:

      It didn’t astonish me that we elected a damned fool for president who completely bungled a war. What shocked me is we reelected the boob in 2004. Politics is sad and depressing while science and history are wonderous and endlessly fascinating. Guess where my attention goes.

  12. Greying Wanderer says:

    They understand campaign contributions.

  13. Jim says:

    But in most other cases of states initiating wars and then losing there was at least some chance of
    a big payoff if they won. In the case of US imperialism even when we win militarily we gain nothing but more trouble. Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union was very risky but it had a chance of success and in that case there would have been a big payoff.

  14. Jim says:

    During the expansion phase of the Roman Empire it was financially a great success. The loot acquired way more than paid the costs. But in it’s mature phase the cost of defending it was a constant drain and the economic productivity of the empire declined steadily. At the end, at least in the west, there was no rational reason to defend it. Most people probably were no worst off under the early barbarian kingdoms than they had been under the last stages of the Western Roman Empire.

  15. rightsaidfred says:

    I recall that as a frolicking 10 yr old, WWII books were read as “how to” manuals.

    What is the nature of the advice you gave Ginny (if any) regarding when to get married, have kids, etc?

  16. misdreavus says:

    I see absolutely no evidence that gifted programs make any difference whatsoever in the long run. All of the twin and longitudinal adoption studies point to more or less the same conclusion. Shared environmental influences play little role in long-term outcomes for IQ, personality, or anything else.

    To all the parents here who are worried about their bright young ones being contaminated by the wrong peers or by apathetic teachers, realize that you have far, far less control over your child’s destiny than you think you do. Since we are in the business of trading anecdotes, hell, I taught myself a year’s worth of calculus over the summer just by reading a textbook, and managed to earn a 5 on both AP exams. My instructor for both years was a dumb shit, too, if that helps any.

    The cream always rises to the top of the container — whether you place it in a golden chalice or a plastic solo cup.

    • That Guy says:

      I largely agree with that, but my concern is not that my kid would mix with the “wrong people” per se… rather that the straight-jacket of an unremittingly dumb system and the mind melting of being surrounded by idiots daily, would turn her off school completely – like what happened to me…
      At the time, I remember likening my own “perceived” school experience to the movie:
      “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich”

      BTW, it’s a movie I would recommend to all:

    • dave chamberlin says:

      You are right misdreavus about studies showing that environmental influences play little role in long term outcomes. However you will, if and when you are a parent, do your best to see your little one isn’t bored shitless by a completely unchallenging education. Just because gifted programs are pretty lousy so far doesn’t mean we should just give up on them. Kids should learn at the rate they can learn at and with computer teaching aids being what they are it isn’t an unobtainable ideal. Also the cream doesn’t always rise to the top, a lot of very bright people end up fuck-ups. Could it have been helped? I dunno, but if you are a parent you sure as hell try.

  17. misdreavus says:

    By the way, I was one of the aspergery people that Dr. Cochran mentioned earlier — at one point, half of my peers were convinced that I was ready to commit a school shooting. (I wasn’t, really, but that’s beside the point.) Gifted programs made not one iota of difference in that regard.

  18. j says:

    Very courageous from you to send your daughter to mix with the “unruly masses”. My parents did that with me and I did the same with my daughters. “Unruliness” is not contagious and my familiarity with “the masses” eased my way through life.

    • misdreavus says:

      There are indeed “vibrant” public schools in this nation that are so dysfunctional that your child may incur the risk of permanent injury if he or she is sent there unchaperoned. (Hint: They have an unusually high percentage of students named “Tyrone” and “Shaneequa”. No offense)

      Also, it really sucks when you have to use bathroom facilities that bombard your senses with an intimate taste of third world squalor. All of the splendor of Calcutta and Bombay, without the expense of an international plane ticket! (How blessed some of us are to delight in the exuberance of day-to-day encounters with functional illiterates. Why, it almost makes you want to enroll in Teach for America.)

      Most schools with a high proportion of Hispanic students, however, aren’t necessarily bad. Judge them on a case by case basis, and you should be fine — just as long as your child is ahead the curve in social intelligence.

      I wasn’t, and even i turned out OK in such a school.

      • Dahlia says:

        True. In mine and most people’s experiences that I’ve talked to, middle school is the worst for this. I’ve heard said that a lot of these guys drop out thus eliminating the problem for high school.
        The problems are in the hallways and bathrooms, so no matter that you don’t even know who these people are because you nor anyone you know takes a class with them, you still have to walk by them.
        I racked up my two hits and a molestation in the hallways, from a bunch of Tyrones and a couple of Shaneequas. My mother, back when the schools were first integrated, got a beat down from a pack of Shaneequas in a bathroom. All in middle school.

      • misdreavus says:

        lol @ “pack of shaneequas”. I’d use that euphemism more often if it weren’t so damn obvious.

        These days it seems “Canadians” has entered the common parlance… As in “don’t go cruising down Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd… it’s full of Canadians on every street corner!”

  19. Other than the clear example of being in physical danger at a school, I no longer believe it makes enormous difference. I have had my five sons in private schools, public schools, and homeschooled. I have also the example of myself: mill-city highschool could certainly be described as deadening, but when I went to advanced study at St Paul’s or college at William and Mary I was a lazy jerk there, too.

    Schools make some difference. But learning to be an autodidact may matter more. Years ago I was president of the Prometheus Society, and that group had a lot of folks who complained about their schools. Maybe so. But eventually the consensus was that less-is-more in teaching very High IQ people. (No experimental evidence for that, of course.) BTW, here’s what I learned from my few years of running with that crowd: There is always a faster gun. Better to learn that young than resent everyone.

    As for assigning 10-year-olds 200 pages/day of history, and the rather odd assumptions behind the choices, I don’t see the advantage for child or world. Children should learn love of topic until about 13, then put the discipline on in the places of excellence. That tends to be the model for excellence in music, athletics, and math. My brightest boy only started to discover his passions in 6th grade. A lot of the stuff we made him do ended up wasted. His free reading turned out to be more valuable.

  20. j says:

    Other than the clear example of being in physical danger at a school, I no longer believe it makes enormous difference. says Asst.Villain. Agreed except the physical danger. A dangerous (and dirty) school provides relevant training for the “real” world. Which is what education is, although I admit that having to read Churchill’s interminably tedious memories is nonetheless a preparation to deal with life’s miseries.

    • misdreavus says:

      “Agreed except the physical danger. A dangerous (and dirty) school provides relevant training for the “real” world. ”

      Yes, I suppose. Much like how back in the day, people who survived multiple bouts of cholera had constitutions of iron.

      You know, if I were you, I’d rather forego the agony and incessant diarrhea.

  21. j says:

    I was thinking about America (last cholera in a school: 1911) and not Haiti.

  22. Pincher Martin says:

    By my rough calculations, ten-year-old Ginny read over nine thousand pages of text on World War Two, which at 200 pages a day would have taken her just over 45 days to complete.

    No wonder she’s so mad at you. For some young boys such treatment would cause a deep and abiding belligerence of the sort that makes them want to grow up and start wars with people. Thank goodness Ginny was a young lady.

    Pray tell, what did you have her do for the Civil War?

    • Ginny says:

      Don’t discount my deep and abiding belligerence just yet. I was also reading Lever of Riches at the same time, 150 pages extra a day till I finished it. I started Guadalcanal but couldn’t make much headway.

      I read Battle Cry of Freedom in 6th or 7th grade at a more moderate pace.

      • Pincher Martin says:

        Hi Ginny,

        That’s an excellent list of books for anyone to read, let alone a ten-year-old.

        Any dabbling in foreign languages during your home schooling to balance the Bataan Death March of reading your father put you through?

      • Ginny says:

        I did French off and on from age 5 on up, mostly conversation groups and vocabulary. Starting at an early age was definitely good for my accent. I seem to have been taught Greek and Latin roots and a fair amount of historical linguistics along the way, but that mainly came in the context of other lessons – Ancient Greece and barbaros, the Battle of Hastings and the assimilation of French, things like that. Both French and that were pretty helpful for reading purposes, I think – I rarely met a word that was a stranger. At one point I wanted to try Russian but my mom talked some sense into me.

      • erica says:

        Hooray and thank God for moms!

  23. Gilbert Pinfold says:

    WW2 is no place to jump into Modern History. WW1 would allow for allow for more subtle and dispassionate analysis, and genuine headscratching… ‘why, for the love of, God? Why this fratricidal bloodbath?’ And WW1 is pre-Idiocracy:
    “First to the year 1939 when Charlie Chaplin and his evil Nazi regime enslaved Europe and tried to take over the world! … But then an even greater force emerged: The un! And the un un-nazi’d the world! Forever!” – Idiocracy 2006.

  24. erica says:

    RE: the pic

    Proud daddy, she’s precious.

    Yes, yes, interesting composition–cute, innocent toddler holding the “reality” of the adult world…

    • That Guy says:

      Yeah great pic! I expect we’re to assume that Ginny flicks the pages with her thumb and as they tumble by she scans and memorizes everything… 😉

      BTW, I remember my eldest at around the same age – 1 yo – when she had an alphabet set of large letters , A, B, C etc., and in my office I had 3 sets of bookshelves and about 1,000 books and she liked to take books off the lower shelves and stack them up and stand on them – this is before she could even say the word “book”. One day a large volume opened and she started looked at the pages intently, then ran and grabbed her letter “A”, and excitedly pointed out that there were letter A’s to be found all throughout the page…

  25. Civil War reader says:

    It’s pretty impressive that a 10 year old read several books on WWII, but I would have provided a Civil War reading list instead. But then again, I’m biased to the subject.

  26. John H says:

    I’m very late to the discussion, but I noticed Ginny’s line about participating in a bunch of things at my church. If Greg or Ginny are still around and are willing to indulge a personal question – are one or both of you religious, and if so, to what degree?

  27. CMC says:

    Will you send her Paul Kennedy’s latest*, as a sort of continuing WWII education? Any thoughts on it? Some of the reviewers on Amazon praised it to the skies, but others really seemed to make a good case for dismissing it.
    Engineers of Victory: The Problem Solvers Who Turned The Tide in the Second World War (2013), by Paul Kennedy, author of The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers (1989)

  28. DataExplorer says:

    On the topic of raising kids, is it appropriate to mention human biodiversity to children? I am now a father of two babies and I am wondering about the appropriate way to deal with this sensitive topic. On the one hand kids can be very simplistic and mean and I wouldn’t want them to be prejudice and crass with kids that are of different backgrounds, on the other hand I wouldn’t want my daughter to fall for a particularly dim-witted Tyrone, I also wouldn’t want my kids to waste their teen and early adulthood years on social justice activism, which seems to be very common nowadays. At what age are kids mature enough to handle this kind of topic? Or maybe it is best to never discuss it directly but just give subtle hints? What is your approach Professor Cochran?

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