My Side of the Cave: A Look at Our World With a Little Common Sense Thrown In
music. Their vocabulary was nearly double the size that it is today, and they did all this
without school busing! Wow!
Why can’t we just sit down and ask ourselves what studies are the highest priority and
forget the rest of the drivel? The basics, we must all agree, are the foundation to more
advanced learning and the preparation for life.
William McGuffey in 1883, asked himself what educational training was necessary for
high school students and their future needs. He began writing learning guides that would
give teachers uniform teaching methods. He called these guides The McGuffey Readers.
American students learned from these books in the 19th and 20th century. To this day,
sales of the book series are still over 30,000 copies a year. They are mostly used in
private schools and in home schooling. The old and proven guide is simple, successful
and to the point. Below is the McGuffey six book curriculum:
The first reader taught children to follow an ethical code, to be prompt, good, kind,
honest and truthful. This, I’m sure is too corny for many of you out there, but hang in
there, it gets better!
The second reader taught reading and spelling. It introduced history, biology, astronomy,
zoology, botany, table manners, family manners, good attitude, and the duties required of
The third reader was more formal and designed more for a maturing mind. Think of a
junior high school level, where individual thought was slightly more acepted.
The forth reader was an introduction to literature, poetry, the Bible, world history and
The fifth reader was designed for elocutionary exercises to increase articulation,
inflection, pitch, accent, emphasis and gesture. It contained poetry and prose from the
The sixth reader involved studies of Longfellow and Shakespeare, several forms of
composition, description, narration, argumentation and exposition. There were also 17
selections from the Bible.
Completion of these six books would give a graduating student the tools necessary to step
into the big world. As a modern day parent you might agree that this old tried and true
method sounds pretty good. Nothing magical, just common sense.
What can we do?
Doing nothing is not acceptable.
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of hearing about other countries whipping our tails
in math and science! This is not acceptable for Americans, but don’t look to the
government for answers. They are part of the problem and will not be a part of the
The solution is you. The concerned citizens working together will find answers. You are
strong, you are intelligent, you are innovative and you have common sense! And don’t
you dare let people tell you that it can’t be done.