Sunday, 9 October 2011

Kids Say the Darndest Things!

As parents, our kids constantly amaze, so permit me this one proud parenting bragging anecdote:

As noted in the last post, we've been watching and discussing episodes of www.justiceharvard.org together. Tonight at dinner, we watched the second half of Episode 3. So far, Episodes 1-2 outlined Jeremy Bentham's utilitarian philosophy of "greatest good for the greatest number" (i.e. everyone's worth should be summed up and contribute to the greater good). Episode 3 presents essentially the complete contrasting libertarian philosophy of "freedom of self-possession" (i.e. we are all sovereign beings with the right to self-determination).

After dinner, rather out of the blue, Zachary says to me that "it's clear that Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin are not libertarians!" On reflection, that statement blew me out of the water about Zachary's ability to critically think, evaluate, and synthesize knowledge from multiple venues. The episodes and our discussions to date have never mentioned socialism, communism, or Marx/Lenin. So in our other homeschooling (thank you www.khanacademy.org!), Zachary's learned and remembered who Marx and Lenin were, and what philosophy they stood for. And in watching Justice, he was able to place his learning about Marx and Lenin into context, evaluate that based on this new set of learning, and then critically evaluate and conclude an argument. That's pretty awesome!

Speaking of Marx and especially Lenin, we've booked a trip to St. Petersburg this week, leaving Monday night by ferry and returning Thursday. We'll come back with reports from the site of the Russian Revolution!