I’ve written elsewhere, once or twice, about the experience of homeschooling my son Wesley. We’re still at it, and now, in the humanities portion of his curriculum, studying Dirty London — sanitation and social class in the Victorian era. He finished reading Dickens’s Bleak House last week, and today will be wrapping up Steven Johnson’s terrific account of the conquering of cholera in London, The Ghost Map. I read The Ghost Map last year on my Kindle, but thought I had bought a paperback copy for Wes. However, it appears that I forgot. No problem: I handed him the Kindle, re-read the book via the Kindle app on my iPhone, and then prepared a reading quiz for him that he’ll access in Google Docs. When he writes about The Ghost Map and Bleak House later, I’ll show him how to find some useful sources online, especially through Google Books, and I’ll show him how to find searchable texts of both books, for instance via Amazon’s Look Inside the Book feature.
As I was writing up the quiz last night, it struck me how recently this way of doing things — teaching with these particular technologies — would have been unimaginable. And yet to both of us it all seems perfectly natural.
No big deal, I guess, and nothing original here. But sometimes the obvious suddenly strikes home, if you know what I mean.(Off to Baylor this weekend, back on Wednesday. Light or nonexistent posting until then, but it’s possible that fascinating things will show up via the Twitter feed.)