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The Secret of Childhood by Maria Montessori

Posted in Education / Schools, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 4, 2016 by Drogo

Book report on The Secret of Childhood by Maria Montessori (1966 version)

Learning how to enjoy learning by asking questions, and liking what you do; not just doing what you want or are told to do.

Content Summary

Childhood: A Social Problem

Era of the Child; Psycho-analysis secret

Newborn Child – Alien Environment, Natural Instincts, Spirit Incarnation

Psychic Development – sensitive periods, observations

Order – Inner / Outer

Intelligence, Growth, Sleep, Walking, Rhythm, Movement, Comprehension, Love

Montessori Method Origins

Normalization

Deviation – pampering, fugues, barriers, cures, attachment, possessive, power, fear, truth

Conflict – adult vs child

Instinct to Work

Guiding, Teaching, Rights, Mission

Conventional ‘direct teaching’ impedes child learning, based on the erroneous assumption that teaching molds young minds. The will-power of the child to create their own skills (walking, talking, eating, etc), is how children learn. Children have the power to change their own behavior, and are more successful when it is self motivated. The key is to determine where teaching and self-motivation meet in each case.

Children will notice with frustration, that they are considered unreliable and weak compared to less fragile adults. This dissociative relationship between the helpless child and their environment causes children to think of themselves as hopelessly inferior, and combined with social competition makes them desperate for attention and constant continuing dissatisfaction as they grow. In many ways this conditions people to be fighters and survivalists, which are certainly strong roles; and is naturally similar to resistant forces that cause a tree to grow denser and shorter if there are high winds, or thin and tall with little wind. However there is a problem with children viewing themselves as less valuable than the objects they are forbidden to touch, as without self worth, they have nothing to lose by hurting themselves or others.

If a child is to develop their own interior life, they must be allowed to touch things, and work rationally; as this can help them early on to develop considerate habits of acting. They must develop ethics by their own free-will, although we can guide them. Establishing sustainable successions of working actions, based on rational play, is successful education.

Absorbent Mind, by Maria Montessori

Posted in Book Reports, Education / Schools, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on August 17, 2016 by Drogo

1949 Book – by the author and founder of Montessori Method

  • translation 1958, 1967 edition

Children play a part in World Reconstruction – humanity is still immature; it has a long way to go to become a peaceful utopia. Philosophers must take control, and begin teaching our youngest children early, so they may grow up and contribute to the greatness of humanity. Our human greatness begins at birth, new children are the makers of men.

Education is for Life. The psychic mind of each child, is simply their psychology of the soul. We learn by absorbing knowledge and experience. Gandhi said that education must be coextensive with life, and the central point of teaching must be to affirm and defend life. This good education feeds peaceful revolution.

Phases of growth can be considered as periods of time as the child grows older. Period 1: child ages 0-3, period 2: child ages 3-6, Period 3: child ages 6-12

Creation is a miracle. Modern biology is turning in a new direction towards children. Good parenting can produce better citizens, because good parenting makes the adult and the child more humane. Even in the wild, savage lions are tender with their cubs. Children are not just copies of their parents, they teach willing parents by bringing out their best sides. The instinct to defend our young, is often more powerful than our instinct to run away from danger; this is evidence of the intense power that children have over many parents. Cell division in the genesis of becoming being, is a natural miracle of microscopic multiplication. Babies evolve into adults, much like mammals have evolved from reptiles; and even between species, embryos look very similar.

Independence, Language, and Obstacles – discovering independence is naturally thrilling for children, our brains are set up to reward the work of learning. Environmental experience gives children language and obstacles to challenge and shape them. Eyes are camera obscuras that allow us to see objects, but it is our minds that process what we see. Without language, we would have no civilization.

Intelligence and the Hand – in the development of appendages, the legs are clearly more important for mobility; and our hands are for everything else, including cooking, feeding, craft, and social complexity. Our dexterous prehensile abilities give us tool making advantages over other animals. Our brains enable us to use our hands for communication, as well as our mouths.

Development and Imitation – practice of skills is vital for complex and successful imitation

Unconscious creators can become conscious workers, and vice versa.

Culture and Imagination – one person’s boring stagnation is another person’s enjoyable comfort zone; in between perpetual entropy and growth. We are like volcanoes, that erupt with changes naturally, through-out our lives.

Character during childhood is a personal achievement, but can obstruct learning in school.

Social contributions, unit cohesion, and normalizing – knowing when to concentrate and when to move on to something new, could be considered in ‘normalcy levels’.

Correction and Obedience (3 levels)

Obedience is seen as something which develops in the child in much the same way as other aspects of his character. At first it is dictated purely by the vital impulses, then it rises to the level of consciousness, and thereafter it goes on developing, stage by stage, till it comes under the control of the conscious will. – The Absorbent Mind.

Montessori Three Obedience Levels:

1. Partial Obedience

2. Blind Obedience

3. Compassionate Obedience

The First Level of Obedience

“What we call the first level of obedience is that in which the child can obey, but not always. It is a period in which obedience and disobedience seem to be combined.” (Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, 1964)

In order to obey one must not only to wish but also be able to obey. To carry out an order one must already possess some degree of maturity and a measure of the special skill that it many need.  Hence we first have to know whether the child’s obedience is practically possible at the level of development the child has reached…If the child is not yet master of his actions, if he cannot obey even his own will, so much the less can he obey the will of someone else. – The Absorbent Mind.

The Second Level of Obedience

A period when the child can always obey, when there are no obstacles deriving from his lack of control. His powers are now consolidated and can be directed not only by his own will, but by the will of another. The child can absorb another person’s wishes and express them in his own behaviour. – The Absorbent Mind.

 “The second level is when the child can always obey, or rather, when there are no longer any obstacles deriving from his lack of control. His powers are now consolidated and can be directed not only by his own will, but by the will of another.” (Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, 1964) This may appear to be the highest level of obedience; however, because it is dependent on outside variables (adults or authority figures), this is not true obedience. The child is merely satisfying someone else’s wishes, not his own.

The Third Level of Obedience

The third level of obedience is when the child gets joy and pleasure from unquestionably obeying someone superior, no matter the request, such as obeying a respected and much loved teacher without question.

The child “responds promptly and with enthusiasm and as he perfects himself in the exercise, he finds happiness in being able to obey.” (Montessori, The Discovery of the Child, 1967) This is the stage of true self-discipline.

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Discipline and Love – “Work is love made visible.” – Gibran (The Prophet 1948)

END

Reference – Minding “On The Dot” by M.V O’Shea in Montessori Talks to Parents (Series One, Volume Two) The Road to Discipline NAMTA 1979. 

Montessori Revolution In Education

Posted in Book Reports, Education / Schools, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on March 25, 2016 by Drogo

E. M. Standing 1962

“The child is father of the man.” – Wordsworth

“In children lies the seed corn of the future.” – Froebel

“Who touches the child, touches the most sensitive point of a whole being, which has roots in the most distant past and climbs toward the infinite future.” – Montessori

Revolution in education, Montessori is a self-conscious modern zeitgeist. This book talks about Montessori fundamental principles, infants classes, brooms, binomial theorems, under fives, Lilliput, the movement in America, the Whitby School joy of learning, the Santa Monica Sophia School, and 12 method points.

Children can learn on their own in many ways, if we can consciously create a safe and liberal environment for them to explore tools, and in the process, them-selves. Learning the Montessori method requires practical experience being involved in it, to understand the abstract theories. Montessori method is not a closed system, it can change and adapt with modern technology and cultural beliefs. The main Montessori principle might be summed up as ‘guided sensorial self-education’. Children go through a literal physical metamorphosis, and their brains or minds are part of that process. The way children learn, is more unconscious, than conscious. All children are responsible for their own learning in Montessori method; in relation to their sensory, motor, and creative abilities. Spontaneous activity can fuel cultural learning that are true experiments to the child. It takes imagination for an adult teacher to comprehend the amount of work this takes for a child.

“The Universe is nothing but a big, buzzing, booming confusion,” to the new-born infant (William James). Out of this bewildering chaos of impressions, which pour upon the senses of children, the tiny one has a challenge of building an orderly mental structure of their cosmos. Every child is born an explorer, as they wonder at the mysteries around them. The World can open to the child, if they are given full play in school for their spirit to roam as it feels comfortable or confident enough to do, with time. Montessori materials are ordered in order to facilitate abstract order in the mind; tools to structure the young mind. This is why the correct use of materials as teaching tools is emphasized.

Cylinder psychology – 3.5 years old. Language, words, abstract concepts (like ‘muchness’) formed from experiencing objects with those assigned values. Sensorial materials are effective because they isolate the stimulus (length, magnitude, color, or pitch etc). Prepared paths lead to more order. Inspirations of learning are called ‘Montessori explosions’. Math abstracted into physical volumes can be more easily understood, (Table of Pythagoras) and forms a basis for advanced concepts later. In Montessori ‘mental hooks’ are used to connect children with materials; the hooks are built into the designs and psychological instructions. The success of this education relies on getting children to obey authority, self govern, and problem solve as young as possible.

Deviations from normal mental development certainly remain debatable regarding definition and response. Many people think it is natural for children to be loud, rowdy, and boisterous; yet Montessori believes that it is disobedient rebellion, tantrums, and lying that is deviant behavior (based on the norms of society). In this way strong immersive imagination can even be considered deviant. Montessori uses disciplined freedom, to train minds to navigate the vastness of reality.

Montessori graduates become ‘new children’, because they enlightened and awakened to a new way of higher civilized learning and living. A school is a children’s house, where they can feel at home. Sound shakers, color tablets, bells, primary shapes, spelling, number rods, pink tower, cylinders, broad stairs, math beads and volumes, these tools are all keys to the Montessori method.

Montessori Notes

Posted in Education / Schools, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2016 by Drogo

My mother was my Montessori teacher. In addition to these notes, i have reported on these books: Montessori Revolution,  Absorbent Mind, and  Secret of Childhood. – Drogo

American Montessori Society Bulletin  1979 – vol.17, No.1

Piaget and Montessori In The Classroom – by David Elkind, Tufts University

“Classroom practice, of whatever variety, presupposes a particular conception of the child. In this chapter, four components of Piaget’s and Montessori’s conception of the child are described, together with examples of the sort of educational practice that follows from them.”

Elkind goes on to explain 2 different methods of teaching, by referencing 2 different classrooms where children were using the ‘pink tower’ blocks incorrectly. In one case the teacher corrected the children, and in the other they allowed the play. In theory, he said, both are justified.

Child as capable of self-regulation – learning materials tap mental potential

Child as a cognitive alien – they think different than adults, like foreigners

Child as a logical thinker – young people use logic to make decisions

Child as emotional countryman – they have adult emotions that affect behavior

Summary

The first task of the teacher is to observe children, then let that inform how you teach them. It is the teacher’s conception of the child, which in the end, determines the nature of the teacher-child affective interaction using specific methods and techniques. Do not assume what children know or understand, because everyone is different in their awareness, development, and rationality. Respect for children is important, so that they can begin to emulate respect for teachers, others, and themselves. Teaching should be guided by these factors.

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Children Learn in Different Ways

Proceedings, American Montessori Society

1975, Granby Colorado

Learning As Creation, by John Bremer

Child Development, by J.M. Hunt

Montessori Day Care Panel

Kephart Development Model, by Nancy Miles

Gellner Rationale of Learning Disabilities, by Ward and Haise

Organizations Serving Young Children

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Learning As Creation, by John Bremer

Dr. John Bremer founded ‘School-Without-Walls’, Parkway Program, Cambridge

Bremer starts off with a joke about how he once stood up in front of people, and his pants did not. He says “as long as you’ll remember my pajama bottoms all the way through, then I guess I won’t feel too embarrassed about what I say.” Then he proposes a role for the student, as an artist. The artist should understand ‘three essential elements’: material, ideal, and skill. Bremer says that ‘temporal arts’ have a strong presence in time. Songs, music, and dance are temporal arts; you do not “see it before yours eyes as a totally finished thing. You experience it through time.” Temporal arts are more of a ‘process’, than they are an complete object. Bremer says that human beings are more dancers than sculptors, in how they live their lives. “Everything is a rehearsal, and yet everything is the only performance we will ever give. In that way it is incredibly beautiful and also incredibly frightening.” Students should be considered with the humane respect that we might give an adult artist; they are people. He considers the term ‘student’ to be almost equal to ‘artist’. Student = Artist. Teaching means introducing the student to materials, ideals, and skills. School is an activity, not a place; but the structure of a building does matter, as architecture affects learning. Psychological disposition is inherent in education, we all have our own ways or styles of teaching and learning. The student should ‘recreate the wheel’ to be the master of technology, rather that its slave. Also moral responsibility should be introduced by the teacher, so they do not create a ‘Frankenstein’ situation. One way of introducing morality, is to create community, as a bridge between society and individuals. Community to him meant people coming together and cooperatively carrying out common purposes. “We will never all be dancing, we will never all be still.” We dance with others to share love and friendship.

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Child Development, by J.M. Hunt

Dr. Hunt, Professor Emeritus of Psychology from University of Illinois

Plasticity is important in early psychological development. Intelligence should no longer be limited by predetermined training, but be allowed to expand and flourish with imaginative experiences. Education is important in the process of learning rules, and but to also think beyond the ‘box’. Piaget described the sensory motory phase as a kind of ‘shell game’. The child develops in progressive sequences, or steps.

Hunt goes on to address Head Start, IQ, vocab, and verbal tests and ages. IQ is not fixed, it fluctuates through-out a person’s life-time. 7 ordinal scales: object construction, strategy means (schemes), imitation gesture (physical), vocal imitation (tonal), operational causality, object relations, object relation. Branches of learning can develop at different rates, this is natural; in accordance with genetics and circumstances like environmental nurturing, social effects, and local area situations. The problem of ‘the match’ is how an equilibrium between stages of development can be key to complex phases of child education. When cognition is lacking, motivation is necessary; as found in The Secret of Childhood, by Montessori. Like the Pavlovian ‘What is it?’ reflex; change of habituated input, recognitive familiarity, and the challenge of ‘old-vs-new’ attraction stimuli all matter greatly. Observe, create, and make sure you are free to adapt your methods in order to teach better.

Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work

Montessori Mother, by Dorothy Fisher

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Montessori Day Care Panel

reported by Janice Sullivan

Children’s House, Broomfield, Colorado

Integrating Montessori into Public Education – existing materials, introduce practical life area, order Montessori materials, regroup into groups of 30 children (max), maintain order, demonstrate activities. Varies local services were addressed. A ratio of non-Montessori staff and aides are allowed.

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Kephart Developmental Model

Nancy Miles, NC KGH Achievement Center, Fort Collin, CO

Systems and Structures – The total environmental concept: the home, school, community, peer group; all play a part in shaping a child’s behavior, through demands for response or interaction. Kephart Child Development Theory of Stages of Learning: motor, motor-perceptual, perceptual-motor, perceptual, perceptual-conceptual, conceptual-perceptual. Audition, Vision, and Kinesthesia should be integrated.

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Gellner Rationale of Learning Disabilities, by Ward and Haise

This article criticizes the Gellner approach, but talks about how it is compatible with other systems. It is a neuro-psychological concept of mental retardation, which includes some useful tools for training students that may not be able to fully understand conventional topics. Gellner said that children who are classed as retarded, mainly have brain impairments of either a structural or bio-chemical character. These impairments prevented normal integration of impulses coming from various parts of the body. Senses play a very important part in our learning. Gellner came up with 4 sensory neural systems: 2 involve vision, and 2 involve audition. Mentally retarded children cannot learn in the same ‘normal’ ways, because they suffer from sensory deprivation.

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Organizations Serving Young Children

Reported by Jim Hennes

The panel concluded that the session had been important in pulling together these representatives, and that future efforts should be made to share some time together among organizations.

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Montessori Quotes

“Education demands only this: the utilization of the inner powers of the child for his own instruction.”

“The essence of the independence is to be able to do something for one’s self.”

“A child’s work is to create the person they will become. An adult works to perfect the environment, but a child works to perfect them-self.”

“Development comes from environmental experience.”

To have learned something is, for a child, only a point of departure. What is necessary after that is a period of digestion or maturation, a period of intense and prolonged mental activity.”

“The more fully the needs of one period are met, the greater will be the success of the next.”

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“Teacher, teacher look at me now,

my days are light, my time is right

because you showed me how.

Teacher teacher look what I can do

my lines are straight, they are perfect mates

across the paper blue.

and if you’ll hold my hand

I’ll skip the land and gather flowers new –

hey teacher, teacher, look at me now

just look what I can do.”

– Anon

 

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Practice Jeet-Kun-Do

Posted in Education / Schools, Health & Fitness with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2014 by Drogo

Come study Jeet-Kun-Do with Master Drogo in Harpers Ferry or Frederick!!

Gifts or Trade accepted in return for safe practice space and instruction.

Drogo76@hotmail.com

127-2743_IMG

China and Japan continue to influence ‘The West’ greatly in many ways. Chief among the ways Asia affects us are martial arts, culinary arts, visual arts (film and animation), and spiritual arts (Buddhism). Although Buddhism is a religion from Hindu India; it is much like Christianity is to Judaism, in that it spread and flourished better away from its origin.

Chinese had the ‘I Ching’ (Yi Jing) Book of Changes by 1,000 BC. It had 64 hexagram symbols for a divination and cosmology system, to balance life elements, process events, and change lives.

Three philosophical leaders emerged in China around 500 BC: Lao-Tzu, Sun Tzu, and Confucius. Lao-Tzu (Old Master Li Er Dan) is given credit for Taoist book the ‘Tao Te Ching’, Sun Tzu (Sun Master) for the ‘Art of War’, and Confucius for the strict civil commentaries called the ‘Ten Wings’.

Taoism (Daoism) is living in harmony with the Tao (Way), and choosing the path of Nature using the Tai Chi (Taiji life-energy) symbol (yin-yang opposite energies in dynamic balance), and 5 elements. The Five Trigrams: Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Metal. Contrary forces define each-other, contain elements of each-other, and can even attract each-other (magnetism). Taoist 3 Treasures: compassion, moderation, and humility. “The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao,” according to wu-wei (non-action under-standing).

‘The Art of War’ is a military strategy guide that views violence as evil and prolonged war as non-profitable; therefore the book is dedicated to avoiding conflict, and being swift and deadly when necessary. “If you know your enemies and yourself, you can win a hundred battles without loss.” (Chapter 3, last verse)

Yet for others, the clearly defined rules of Confucius allow for civic success, which to them is most important for structured living with social hierarchy. Knowledge leads to sincere thought, and then virtuous action. His humanism advocated reciprocity, in the form of the Silver Rule: “Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself.” (Analects XV.24)

Beyond these Chinese basics, Buddhism (Chan Mahayana) was added later. Buddhism developed monastery schools for martial and healing arts; including: kung-fu, weng-chun, tai-chi, chi-gong, and feng-shui. Chan (meditation) Buddhism became known as Zen in Japan. Later in Hong Kong, Bruce Lee absorbed his weng-chun into his own theory of Jeet-Kun-Do.

In Jeet-Kun-Do styles are tools, and we should be fluid with them like water. It is a universal theory that allows you to use what works best for you, no matter what style it is. Styles are all fingers pointing to the Moon; it is not about the fingers, it’s about the glory of what is above.

In ancient Japan success in Shintoism (Way of the Gods) meant following the “spirit way” and worshiping nature gods (kami). Shinto faith was later integrated into Zen Buddhism (as with Taoism and Buddhism in China). The 5 elements of samurai (warrior) kenjutsu (sword method) are: Earth, Fire, Water, Wind, and Void. The ‘Book of Five Rings’ by Miyamoto Musashi (1645 AD) is similar to the Chinese ‘Art of War’. Japanese Martial Arts include: Kendo, Bu-jitsu, Ti-jitsu, Nin-jitsu, Ju-jitsu, Judo, Aikido, and Karate (hand peasants).

Zen Buddhism includes meditative kensho, zen riddles, zen satori (enlightenment), zazen sitting, kinhin walking, Rinzai, Soto, and Sanbo Kyodan. Buddhism asserts that pacifist religions and virtuous lives are possible without the idea of a creator god. The Universe is self-sufficient, and does not require any superior power to govern it. They do believe in enlightened souls, perfected spirits that have transcended karma; arihants, siddhas, bodhisattvas, and buddhas which are essentially saints, angels, or gods (depending on semantic interpretation). Gods are simply less important in Buddhism than meditation and compassion, to end the cycle of suffering.

– Master Drogo Empedocles, from his book ‘Way Too Much: Successful Living’

Master Drogo has been practicing Karate, Tai-Chi, Ti-Jitsu, Weng-chun, Kungfu, and other martial arts since he was in elementary school (25+ years). 

Spring Samurai

Organic Education

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, Education / Schools, SCOD Online School, Services, Sales or Trade, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 3, 2014 by Drogo

Independent Scholar Vouchers

Hear me all those with a college diploma, ye who think thou art superior to those without a college diploma.

Hear me all those without a college diploma, who think that bosses will only realize your worth if you get a college diploma.

I have a Masters Degree in Architecture from Savannah College of Art & Design. Yes I think I earned it. Yes I am proud of it. Yes the paper diploma, the school documents, and the thousands of dollars of loans do not mean that I am smarter, more intelligent, or wiser than if I had been taught many of the same things by other means.

Sure I value many of my college experiences. Yes I retain much of the knowledge I received from the 6 years. Yes I value the friends and teachers I had. Yes many of classes I took were of little value after I graduated for the types of jobs that I had. Yes many of the classes I took are largely obsolete in my life today, because of who I am. Who I am includes life changes, life choices, phases of various interests, and realizing how I want to define myself as an adult. When I was in college I was a teenager, becoming the adult I thought I wanted to be; which was in contrast to becoming the adult I thought was expected to be by other adults. Now I am a grey-haired adult, becoming the adult I think I now want to be; which is not entirely the same adult that I became previously.

Now, let us talk about self-education, independent tutoring, and community learning. Self-education can be reading a book, talking to someone, or learning that a person experiences or realizes during or after a variety of hobbies, social events, or work periods. Independent tutoring means self-education by means of personal tutors, or Master-Apprentice relationships. Community learning means groups of individuals learning from mutual shared experiences and interactions; this can include civic or work place social works. I believe these are all part of mainstream public and private education through schooling; but they are also important alternatives to mainstream schooling.

I personally have always learned best by studying subjects by my own standards, and on my own time schedule. I have always loved learning in general; but just as I prefer good teachers, nice bosses, and generous loved ones; I also prefer learning in fun and free ways best. So why do we have standard schooling, besides the fact that it is a tradition? My answer is that the bell system of classes is based on factory efficiency, and not on organic quality education. Organic quality education can occur through self-education, tutoring, and community learning by themselves; without factory standard schools.

I do think if the only type of education for the masses that the government will fund is standard public schooling, than it is good that at least one type of education is provided for by our tax money. I would rather organic personal learning be funded by our government at whatever scale, but what we have is probably better than nothing. One alternative cultural situation could be that organic education be so popular and mainstream that no taxes at all would need to be collected for education of any kind, because people would want to spend all of their money on education as soon as they earn it; as though it were a commercial or drug trend like sports, cars, or alcohol.

I propose a theory of organic education using the 3 organic methods as previously stated; that would be verified by an Independent Scholar Voucher (ISV) system. I, as an independent scholar, can vouch for another independent scholar that I have witnessed, taught, or worked with enough to defend their claim of educational learning to a certain ‘degree’. In this way I am willing to defend such Voucher titles, to the point of publicly challenging any opposition to the claim. Do you know of any public or private institution that would be willing to wrestle or fight a person that did not value your educational ‘degree’ that you earned from them? Fuck no. Would I fight for your right to express your personal organic education, if I could vouch for it with confidence? Fuck yes!

fourways temple

Vow of Happiness

Posted in Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Economics, Education / Schools, Psychology, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2013 by Drogo

For some, an alternative way of life is better than a conventional way of slavery. Different ways of life fit different needs and circumstances. Often ‘regular’ jobs do not cut it for imaginative free-thinking free-spirits. Sure some people are lazy, and do not want to do anything, not even for themselves. However there are many people that do plenty of work for free, or very little pay; but they are happier than working at something they do not like, or for someone they do not like. The most expensive college is not the answer, nor is the highest paying job; since colleges get you in massive debt most of the time, and you could spend your whole life trying to hunt down the ‘highest paying miracle job’, and never be happy with what you have.

Therefore I welcome others to try to not bully other people ‘to try and get a better job’, ‘go back to school to get a better job’, or not even acknowledge that people have jobs at all; when in fact they often do have jobs. Jobs and careers are not always conventional, and some of us want human rights like a living wage for being who we are warts and all. If you can pay your bills, or have them covered by a benefactor, and you are not hurting anyone, and you are best fitted for doing work that does not pay very much; that is ok. In fact it might even be good, and life fulfilling. If people get high paying jobs, good for them; but if they do not want to do so for various reasons, perhaps they should not; and I say stop pressuring them, and check your own stress.

When looking for happiness, find satisfaction with your achievements; your highest status is your most humble. Zen will reduce complexity to a oneness with singular and collective identity. As the Dalai Lama says in ‘Looking for Happiness’, “I am a simple Buddhist monk; no more, no less”. While he may be exaggerating the simplicity of his ‘being’ in reality, his rationality often focuses on reducing the stress and burden of riches and power, by realizing that most people are happier with less; which tends to lead to advice for giving up responsibility which distracts from spiritual service. Buddhism often encourages us to ‘let go’ of burdens we carry, when they are too heavy.

Dean Hsu-Jen Huang at SCAD told me the tale of the monk and his apprentice who helped a woman across a river. The apprentice felt his master held the woman inappropriately. In response the older wiser monk said “I left the woman at the river. Why do you still carry her?” In other words, “I put my mental baggage down a while ago; why do you still cling to that problem?”

Take a vow of happiness; no matter poverty or wealth.

3times_buddhas

SCOD School – Free Self Education

Posted in Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, SCOD Online School with tags , , , , , on October 3, 2011 by Drogo

To visit the official SCOD School Website:  CLICK HERE

Here are some related websites listing other Free Education Websites:

Independent Blogger 1

Independent Blogger 2

Independent Blogger 3

Other Web Source 1

 

 

Federal Student Loan Secrets

Posted in Education / Schools, Legal / Laws, SCOD Online School with tags , , , , , , on September 26, 2011 by Drogo

I was never told and there is no info about Loan Forgiveness dates for Low Income on my Federal Loan Repayment Website, so for 10 years i have been struggling to repay thousands of dollars that i dont have based on an uneducated choice i made to attend colleges i did not know i would not be able to pay off within the ‘average 10 years’. I never found that ‘promised magic job’ that my father had. I might have been able to pay rent or afford health insurance if i had known about Loan Forgiveness deadlines.

I just heard on NPR that the Department of Education’s Community Service Loan Repayment plan has been in the works since 2009, but there is still no info about it on my Federal Loan Website. I will seek out more information about these ‘secrets’ and post them below. Here are the important issues that every college graduate with a Low Income should know about, but we have not been educated about:

1. Community Service Loan Repayment Plan

(after 10 years or 20 payments?)

2. Low Income Loan Forgiveness Deadline

(after 20-25 years?)

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According to the official White House Government website:

Under this new law, students enrolling in 2014 or later are offered this option –

Forgive Any Remaining Debt after 20 Years, or after 10 Years for Those in Public Service: Borrowers who take responsibility for their loans and make their monthly payments will see their remaining balance forgiven after 20 years of payments, reduced from 25 years in current law.  Public service workers – such as teachers, nurses, and those in military service – will see any remaining debt forgiven after 10 years.

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Federal Student Aid Information Center
1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243)
This is a toll-free number.

Direct Student Loans – 1800-848-0979

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After calling both numbers above, they told me all their information is available online, easy, and straightforward not requiring a business or law degree to understand. Ha!  The Education Department was un-apologetic and said “Most people pay the loan off in 10 years.”  Thanks for that.

The White House and the Education Department call it “Community Service” but you cannot find it on the Direct Loan website by searching for that; they call it “Public Service” Loan Forgiveness Plan.

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From the Federal Direct Loan Servicing Page:

Can my loan ever be discharged?

Yes. A discharge releases you from all obligations to repay your loan. Your loans can be partially or totally discharged if:

  • You become totally and permanently disabled. This cannot be for a condition that existed at the time you applied for the Direct Loan unless a doctor certifies that your condition substantially deteriorated after the loans were made.
  • You are unable to complete a course of study because your school closed or because your school falsely certified your eligibility.
  • Your school signed your name on the loan application or promissory note without your approval.
  • You were a victim of identity theft.
  • Your obligation to repay your loan was discharged in bankruptcy court proceedings. This may occur when conditions of extreme financial hardship are present and a judge orders the discharge of the loan(s) in an adversary proceeding.
  • You die.
  • The student for whom a PLUS Loan was obtained dies.
  • You taught in a selected low-income school for 5 consecutive years. You must also have received new loans after October 1, 1998 and have no outstanding balance on a Direct Loan or FFEL Program loan disbursed before this date. For more information on eligibility requirements for Teacher Loan Forgiveness, please click here.
  • You are and/or were employed in public service field(s) considered eligible under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, during which time you made 120 separate qualifying monthly payments through an eligible repayment plan after October 1, 2007. You must also be employed in a qualifying public service job at the time of your application for forgiveness and when any remaining loan amount is forgiven. For more information on eligibility requirements for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, please click here.
  • You are due but are unable to obtain a refund from your school on your Direct Loan.
  • You have a Consolidation loan obtained jointly with your spouse and one of you dies or becomes totally and permanently disabled.
  • You have a Consolidation loan that includes a Federal PLUS and/or Direct PLUS loan borrowed for a student that has died. The portion of the Consolidation loan attributable to the student that has died may be discharged.

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Repayment Plan

Changing repayment plans is a good way to manage your loan debt when your financial circumstances change. For example, you can usually lower your monthly payment by changing to another repayment plan with a longer term to repay the loan. There are no penalties for changing repayment plans.

The Direct Loan Program offers the following repayment plans:

  • Standard Repayment Plans
    • Non-Consolidation Loans – fixed payment for up to 10 years.
    • Consolidation Loans – fixed payment for up to 10 to 30 years based on total education indebtedness.
  • Extended Repayment Plans
    • Extended repayment terms are available to Direct Loan borrowers with no outstanding principal or interest balances as of October 7, 1998 and with more than $30,000 in Direct Loans.
      • Fixed Monthly Payment Option – fixed payment for up to 25 years based on Direct Loan balance greater than $30,000.
      • Graduated Monthly Payment Option – smaller payments at first that increase every two years, for up to 25 years based on a Direct Loan balance greater than $30,000.
  • Graduated Repayment Plans
    • Non-Consolidation Loans – smaller payments at first that increase every two years for up to 10 years.
    • Consolidation Loans – smaller payments at first that increase every two years for up to 10 to 30 years based on total education indebtedness.
  • Income Contingent Repayment (ICR) Plan
    • Payment amount is based on a borrower’s family size, annual Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) and the total amount of the borrower’s Direct Loan(s). This can vary year to year for up to 25 years. The ICR Plan is NOT available to a borrower with a Direct PLUS Consolidation Loan(s) made before July 1, 2006 and/or a Direct PLUS Loan(s) made to parent borrowers. However, a borrower is eligible to repay any Direct Consolidation Loan(s) made on/after July 1, 2006 under the ICR Plan even if it includes a PLUS Loan(s) made to parent borrowers.
  • The Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Plan
    • An alternative to the Income Contingent Repayment (ICR) Plan. The IBR Plan is designed to make repaying education loans easier for students who intend to pursue jobs with lower salaries, such as careers in public service. It does this by capping the monthly payments at 15 percent of your discretionary income (the difference between your Adjusted Gross Income and 150% of the poverty guideline for your family size and state of residence). You must have a partial financial hardship to enroll in the IBR Plan. If you are married AND file taxes separately, only your income will be considered when calculating your IBR payment amount. Like ICR, after 25 years of qualifying repayment, any remaining balance on the loan will be forgiven, but you may have to pay taxes on the amount forgiven.

The Direct Loan Program previously offered a range of grandfathered repayment plans prior to 9/10/2007. Borrowers who had already entered repayment on one or more of their loans prior to 9/10/07 and who have one of the grandfathered plans already assigned to their loans remained on those plans. In addition, subsequent loans that are disbursed for those borrowers will be placed on the same grandfathered repayment plans. Please note that if at any time borrowers elect to update their repayment plans, they will only be able to select from the new repayment plans. In addition, once they have changed their repayment plan, they will not be able to return to one of the grandfathered repayment plans.

  • Standard Repayment Plans – fixed payment for up to 10 years.
  • Extended Repayment Plans – fixed payment for up to 12 to 30 years, depending on the total amount a borrower owes.
  • Graduated Repayment Plan – smaller payments at first that increase every two years for up to 12 to 30 years, depending on the total amount a borrower owes.

Please contact the Direct Loan Servicing Center if the above plans do not meet your financial needs.

NOTE :

“Like ICR, after 25 years of qualifying repayment, any remaining balance on the loan will be forgiven, but you may have to pay taxes on the amount forgiven.”

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“The borrower must have made 120 separate monthly payments beginning after October 1, 2007 on the Direct Loan Program loans for which forgiveness is requested.” = 2017 would be the earliest a loan could be forgiven.

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(more information to come)

Seven Ancient Greek Sages

Posted in Education / Schools, History, Pagan, Philosophy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 13, 2011 by Drogo

SCOD Philosophy is based on many thinkers,

but we begin with Seven Ancient Greek Philosopher Sages:

Thales, Pythagoras, Empedocles, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Epicurus


The ‘Classical’ philosophies of ancient Greeks are the first on historic record to start asking the most basic yet profound questions of Life, the Universe, and everything. Modern philosophies tend to ask more complex questions about our experiences in Existence, and many of the basic questions are redefined by scientific theories. It is wise to know past examples of thought, although we are capable of coming to many of the same conclusions without having read them, or may have already formulated some similar theories independently.

(The original Seven Sages of Greece were: Thales, Pittacus, Periander, Cleobulus, Solon, Bias, Chilon)

The SCOD list of 7 Sages is:  Thales, Pythagoras, Empedocles, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Epicurus

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Thales

Thales is considered the father of Philosophy. He lived in Miletus in Eastern Greece across the Aegean Sea, in Ionia (now Western Turkey). Together with his contemporary philosophers, Anaximander and Anaximenes, around 600 BC he founded the first school of philosophy. Before them all things were explained only through the Religion of Greek Gods, which were anthropomorphic spirits of nature and ancestors. Religions survived of course, but so did other ways of thought and reasoning, now called Philosophies.

Thales believed the essence of the World was Water, and combined astronomy, logic and mathematics to find answers. Anaximander thought that all things came from apeiron, which were unlimited invisible atomic elements, which then made the four basic elements of nature (air, fire, water, and earth). Anaximenes then believed that the ultimate expression of apeiron was Air. Heraclitus believed that Fire was the prime element. This was not just the birth of Philosophy, but also Science and Psychology.

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Pythagoras

Pythagoras was from Samos, Ionia circa 500 BC. He was a spiritual mathematician and philosopher (lover of wisdom). He made mystical world travels, and used music and math together as a language to understand the Universe. The Tetractys Triangle was his sacred symbol. He believed in reincarnation and inter-connected transmigration.

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Empedocles

Empedocles of Sicily circa 450 BC is considered a pluralist because he believed that all things were inter-connected, even seemingly opposing philosophies. His open-minded theories embraced the Four Elements (Roots), Reincarnation, Magnetism, and Mixture and Separation (Love and Strife). He wrote in hexameter verse, based on Parmenides and the ancient oral tradition of Homeric Bards. He was from a family of democratic social leaders, but humbly refused political power himself. He had mystical powers over nature, and public powers of oration.

His beliefs were eclectic ranging from mystical traditions of Orphism, to progressive observations that influenced Aristotle and led to modern science. Love and Strife, or attraction and repulsion, was very similar to Asian Yen / Yang. The Genesis Sphere was what the 2 powers and 4 roots came from, and what they would eventually reform into. Knowledge is known because of Love (attraction). Elements within us recognize like elements in the outside world.

We may feel we know things when viewing them from one perspective, but senses alone do not give truth without thought and reasoning. He compromised between the 2 opposing philosophies of Parmenides and Heraclitus. Static monism vs changing flux led Empedocles to develop a theory of constant dynamic plurality using Philia and Neikos (Love and Strife / She and He). Everything changes by re-mingling, but all the basic elements are ‘gods’ that never change.

Empedocles believed our immortal souls fell from paradise, to perpetually be reincarnated into various animal bodies, until eventually returning to bliss. Birth and Death were mixing and separating the four roots, plus a human soul. All things were a re-mingling of what was already mingled and separated before. There is nothing new in reality, only changes in mixtures between basic elements. All living things contain spirits, but being a vegetarian is better than eating meat because animal souls are so similar. Empedocles committed suicide by jumping into the volcano of Mt. Etna. Thus he immortally changed to his next form of existence.

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The next 3 philosophers (Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle) are as famous as their 3 Renaissance counter-parts (DaVince, Michelangelo, and Raphael). It was the last artist, Raphael that painted all of them eventually in his master-piece “The School of Athens”.

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Socrates

Socrates was from Athens, Greece circa 400 BC. He was a philosopher, stone mason, soldier, and mentor. He was considered a public gadfly because he would stand around the stoa and engage random people in his pedagogy by a ‘method of dialogue’ (elenchus) which involved asking questions to arrive at truths. Socratic dialogue uses deductive reasoning to advance epistemology. Although the Delphi Oracle said that “None was wiser than Socrates”, Socrates believed this was only because he was more aware of his own ignorance. He annoyed prominent Athenians so greatly that they put him on trial and sentenced him to death, which he accepted despite his suggestion that they pay him for his public services instead.

His ‘dialectic method of inquiry’ supported his assertions that knowledge equals virtue, questions lead to excellence, and knowledge of self, friendships, and community was more important than pursuit of material wealth. He refused to be a career political leader because he did not feel comfortable telling others how to live, when he himself was not sure. He called his intuition on matters of courage and honesty his ‘inner daemon’.

“I only know that I know nothing.”

“As the Delphi Oracle says: Know thyself.”

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”

Golden Rules

“Do not do to others, what angers you if done to you by others.”

“Be kind to everyone, as though they are fighting a hard battle.”

Socratic Wisdom Knowledge Diagram

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Plato

Plato was a student and biographer of Socrates, circa 380 BC. He developed his own theories of reality (metaphysics), mathematics, logic, ethics, and epistemology. The material world is an illusion based on the real world of archetypal forms. He describes the State like a human: appetite = workers, heart = warriors, head = government. Plato believed that Philosopher Kings who love Truth should govern republics, not ignorant democratic masses. Plato seems to be what we consider now to be a conservative right-winger politically, as he advocated republican rule by an aristocracy above all, and preferred tyranny to democracy. Plato also held contempt for astronomers, artisans, and art in general.

The allegory of the Cave

“We are chained inside, and think that reality is a shadow on the wall.”

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Aristotle

Aristotle circa 340 BC was a student of Plato, and a mentor to Alexander the Great. Aristotle studied all subjects and advocated learning from analyzing experiences and observations in existence. His empirical theories was unparalleled for over 2,000 years, and laid the basis for Existentialism. He believed in the four basic elements, and a fifth Aether (heavenly spirit). He determined 4 Causalities, 2 Modes of Causation, Substance is unified matter and form, and Universal ideas are not more real than physical objects, because the idea of an object comes from particular objects. Ethics were practical and follow Logic (Organon).

He also collected Aesop fables, riddles, proverbs, and folklore (which accounts for some of his hypocritical errors in sciences). Hypocrisy is found in some of his incorrect observations such as: “men have more teeth than women”, “heavier objects fall faster than light weight objects”…

“Friend to all is friend to none”

“All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind”

“Virtue is justice”

“Happiness is the meaning of life”

“Common danger unites enemies”

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Plato may have been more popular in Ancient Rome, but Aristotelian philosophy was dominant among scholars from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, and was only later replaced by Newtonian Theories and the Transcendentalism of Kant.

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Epicurus

Epicurus of Samos circa 300 BC, believed in happiness, tranquility, peace, comfort, and communal and individual contentment. He believed we have only one life to live, and therefore we should strive to be happy now. He formulated the Ethic of Reciprocity, Religious Free Will, Atomic Chaos (from Democritus), and his communal home school of friends that he called “The Garden”, which invited strangers to share in their ‘pleasure’. The Roman Epicureans may have indulged the pleasure aspect of his philosophy to the point of gluttony, rather than the original Greek ‘moderation’.

“Eat, drink, and be merry; for tomorrow we may die.”

“The highest good is pleasure”

“Freedom has few possessions, for property makes us subject to mobs and monarchs”

“Do not fear death, it is not here now, but when it comes it will not matter anymore”

“Happiness has no desires”

“It is not what we have, but what we enjoy that constitutes abundance”

“Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little”

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The Claymont Community

Posted in Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Historic Architecture, Spiritual, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 4, 2011 by Drogo

A Review of the Claymont Society for Continuous Education

Across the Blue Ridge Mountains, West of Washington DC, an organic spiritual community resides at Claymont Court. Claymont Court Mansion was built on hundreds of acres of rural land by a relative of George Washington in 1820. In 1974 John Bennet founded the Claymont Society there. The historic estate and grounds remain secluded, yet accessible and maintained thanks to the good people at the Claymont Community.

Claymont Community members attend their regular Society meetings, where they participate in group activities, cook, serve, eat, and clean up together. Also they have various projects, events, and maintenance duties which are usually decided by democratic or social consensus. These responsibilities insure that the community is maintained, and income is received from donations, workshops, seminars, retreats, and events. Their spiritual philosophies are based on the teachings of George Gurdjieff and John Bennett.

Various individual members of the community through-out the years, have brought their own interests, practices, and personalities to Claymont. The Mansion and School (“Barn”) are the largest structures on the property, but there are also collections of smaller dwellings scattered within, and on the outskirts of the land. The foods that they grow, make, use, and serve on site are mostly organic and vegetarian in nature. Although the school for children is no longer in operation, they have a very successful CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) that is cooperative with the surrounding area farmers’ markets.

Their mission was: “To promote a way of life that is balanced, harmonious, and uses our full potential while being responsible to nature.”

Their vision was: “A community where people interact using all human faculties to their fullest, in a spirit of cooperation. A harmonious educational environment that utilizes an understanding of nature, conscious awareness, and synergy created by a ‘milieu’ of unconditional love, to improve the quality of life on this planet.”

From my experience attending the Claymont School as a child, living and working with them for a brief time, and from my continued communications; I believe they succeeded, and continue to succeed in their mission and vision statements. I attempted to make a transfer to their communal way of life, and fully believed I was ready, however there were factors I had not considered, which led to me backing out. The factors that stopped me from making the transition to live there full-time were mostly Capitalist issues. My Capitalist issues that deterred me were regarding loan payments on a new car, needing a functional car to have to try to pay my college loans, and then there were previous personal obligations, responsibilities, and interests. However despite my limited part-time commitment to Claymont, I continue to believe that they are a model that more of us living in corporate mundane housing should strive for or support in any way possible.

Here is the proposal I wrote for the Claymont Society to consider me for residency, which they accepted:

A Claymont Proposal for Habitation

Noble Intent”

I have noble intent in as far as having “the will to discover an imperishable Reality beyond the changes and chances of this mortal world”.  Bennett used this description of human ‘will’ for his definition of ‘spiritual’, calling it “man’s noblest quality”. This quest for truth can be seen in relation to the 18th century view of man as a noble savage on the path of “spiritual psychology”. This ‘Noble Intent’ that I have, cannot be less noble than accepting in the modern world use of human technology as part of Nature. (see J.G. Bennett’s A Spiritual Psychology, Preface)

The following are my answers to a series of questions regarding habitation and work at Claymont:

1)         A short bio

…. (not included in this public version)

2)    Why do you want to move here?

I was not brought forth from the hills of Harpers Ferry to merely accept the system of the conventional mundanes, that surround and threaten Claymont.  This was first exemplified through my early educational systems: from Montessori, to public-school gifted programs, the Claymont School, the Banner School,  Catholic high-school and beyond through college studies.

3)    What ideas for community contributions / work projects do you have?

Architecture:               Interior and Exterior renovations and restorations at the mansion, private houses, barns, & future property structures

–           designing and documentation through drawing and photo images

–                      construction work; solo, organizing help, and / or contracting

–                      contributing to the writing of records for systems of the “whole”

Landscape:      Agriculture, gardening, design assistance, roadway maintenance, terrain drainage, etc…

–           CSA

–           Mansion & barns

–           private dwellings and public ways

4) Are you sane? (additional question by John Henry)

An interesting and worthy question of my own sanity, will be answered pertaining to the two forms of psychology as described by Bennett (and as answered by myself).  If you believe in sanity, perhaps there is some insanity about that.  In regards to “clinical psychology” I believe I am stable enough to be sane most of the time, and have never committed any crimes that are deemed by U.S. courts to be insane.

My failings in sanity are best addressed in accordance with Bennet’s “do-it-yourself psychology” which is a practical, yet also spiritual psychology.  Maintenance of my sanity is achieved regularly by commitment to action (or will), by myself both physically and mentally; sometimes with the assistance of others; to work on myself, “in search for the imperishable Real” and experience of the NOW. I cannot explain in words, my full feelings as to why I want to live and work at Claymont, only that I want to based on all of my previous thoughts and experiences. I think that hoping that I can fit into a community similar to myself is sane, and perhaps both can be improved by the experience, if even only slightly more than before the effort was made.

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some friends of Claymont during a music festival event in 2003 (?)

visit the Claymont Official Website

or read another account of Claymont

Fight For Your Right to Party

Posted in Song Lyrics & Analysis with tags , , , , , , on October 4, 2010 by Drogo

Cover song by “The Banner Boys” at Kings Dominion.

WikiUpload Free File Hosting

Murder He Wrote Part 1.6

Posted in Fictional Stories with tags , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2010 by Drogo

~ (from 1.5)

I woke up in complete darkness. I smelled rotting manure again! I didn’t believe it! We were back in the Spanish room of Bonner! John shined a flashlight in my eyes. My bones ached as I got up. “What the heck was that all about?” I asked. No one answered me.

Joe grabbed the haunted Bonner Sweat-shirt from the wall, and we left. As my eyes adjusted to the light outside, I turned and saw Bratt climbing out of the window with a cheery smile. “I can’t wait to see what happens tomorrow!” he said.

Almost no time at all had passed from the time we first disappeared. The sun had not yet set, and our parents arrived to pick us up; as though nothing had happened. We all went home, and called other kids to tell them what happened. Believe it or not, not many people believed us. Alan did because he was an official ghost bagger, but no one else at Bonner believed our experiences.

Soon after these happenings; the school was repaired, classes returned to normal, Laurel’s novel was published, and Asher found Zimbabwe. The murder mystery was never solved, but this was not the last time our school would be haunted by paranormal activity. Everyone lived happily ever after, until Murder He Wrote Part 2, “Revenge”!!

THE END

Murder He Wrote Part 1.2

Posted in Fictional Stories with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2010 by Drogo

~ (from Part 1.1)

When I awoke, my head ached. I strained my eyes to see around me. Joe & PJ were standing over me calling me silly names, and telling me to get up. We laughed. I asked them what happened. “Well it was ok ‘til the ceiling caved in on the people upstairs. Then Mac told us about the axe, the walls turned weird, and a giant frog pulled Alan through the ceiling,” Joe said pointing to a large hole in the ceiling. “But everything’s alright now. Mr. Echo wants us upstairs.”

I followed Joe & PJ upstairs through Mrs. Yonder’s room. We had to crawl over the fallen ceiling. When we got to the Assembly Hall, many of the younger kids were scared and crying. We sat down on the brown folding chairs. Bryan passed me a note.

Mr. Echo said “Please everyone calm down. You are all cool dudes and dudettes! Now I want to make this quick, I would like to say that for the rest of the day school is out,” and there was a roar of cheers, clapping, and gasps of joy!!! “Unfortunately I cannot say that, because school is must go on. So first, we all want to know what is going on. Mac, would you mind bringing the axe that you found, up here. Does anyone know about this?”

From the back of the room, John stood up. He had been a student at Bonner longer than anyone. “Yes, 3 years ago, there was a murder here. I was a sneaky kid back then. One night, after school, I broke into the Social Studies room to get my homework. It was pitch black. I felt the tables. I grabbed my pencil and paper. I began to go, when suddenly I heard something! I turned around and saw Bratt running down the stairs. I tried to follow him but got lost in the dark. The next day, I heard that Jake was missing. It took me all these years to figure out that the person I saw was Bratt.”

“No way! I didn’t murder anyone! I was doing my homework,” Bratt said meekly.

“If there was a murder, why was I never told?” Mr. Echo asked confusedly.

“Because Bratt secretly hid the axe and his shirt, then got rid of the body. He hid both the axe and the Bonner green sweat-shirt behind the radiator. If we burn the cursed Bonner Sweat-shirt, it might stop the ghost of Jake from messing around,” John said.

There was great commotion among the students, but when Mr. Echo said “We will talk about this more later, now everyone go to classes as usual.” We all got out of our seats and there was much confusion. The older kids went outside. While outside, Bratt was complaining to John that he didn’t even know there was a murder. Joe, PJ, Timmy, John, Boston, Mac, Bryan, Bratt, and I finally decided to sneak back in after school, that afternoon, and find the Bonner School Sweat-shirt. Classes were more agonizing than usual that afternoon.

Finally, when school was out, and everyone else had left, a bunch of us opened a window. We crawled through into the Social Studies room. Joe kept watch in the alley as we each entered. Joe saw Laurel pass by the corner, and he signaled us. It was too late, everyone but Joe was through the window. Laurel dropped her sweater nearby the alley. Joe grabbed the sweater so that she wouldn’t come back to get it. Unfortunately she saw him take the sweater, and ran after him, through the window and into the haunted school.

Laurel confronted us, and so we were forced to tell her what we were doing. Joe gave her sweater back to her, and in a huff she headed back towards the window to leave. However the window had other ideas, and slammed down shut. Laurel quickly changed her mind and decided she would hang with us.

So our little group headed down the stairs into the dark basement. With Bratt in the lead, we carefully passed the Science room. Everything was still a mess. “I guess John meant that the sweat-shirt was behind the radiator in the Spanish room,” I whispered as we entered the room a’ la Espaniola. Bratt turned on the fluorescent lights, which flickered on and off like special strobe lights. We gathered round the hole in the wall where the radiator was. Laurel saw the sleeve of the shirt hanging out from the plaster, and lunged for it. A cold wind blew us all to the back of the room, into a pile against the wall.

A ghostly figure appeared in front of us. A pair of green jogging pants, and Nikes were all that it wore. It held out it’s hand. It was holding a gleaming diamond. A cold chill ran through my spine, and I knew it was a ghost. I rubbed my hands and turned my head. Timmy loosened his jacket and backed up, holding his fingers in a cross shape. You could see right through  the ghost! It’s eyes were glowing like sapphires. The air smelled like rotting manure. There was a faded smile on his face, and a split across his forehead. It was the ghost of Jake! The wind stopped blowing.

Bratt’s eyes were fixed on the diamond that the ghost was holding. Bratt leaped up. We called for him to stop, but it was to late. Bratt grabbed the diamond away from the ghost! In an instant we were transported.

~ (continued in 1.3)

Murder He Wrote Part 1.1

Posted in Fictional Stories with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2010 by Drogo

The Mischievous Murder

Bonner English 1987

Walton Stowell

~ It was dark as slate, that night. Which is not really all that dark, but still it was dark. By “it” I mean the old school that was once a church. The school was indeed dark, but it was also lonely. The building was lonely, except for one person inside, standing in the corner of the hall. Ok, they were both mutually lonely, the building and the boy. His cold lips were blue and parted. Blood slowly trickled down his forehead, from a bloody axe hanging from his head. Silent, as a cold breeze ran through the school. ~

“I didn’t do it!” Bratt yelled as the table fell over.

Mrs. Yonder came by and put the table upright. “Bratt, I’ve had it with you… EXCUSE Me!!!” Mrs. Yonder shouted as the class quieted down. “First, cramming my chair into my coffee mug, and now this?!”

From here on, I had an idea that things were going to get really WEIRD.

“But…..How could I have fit your chair into …” Bratt started.

“Even I’m stumped on this one, Bratt!” Mrs. Yonder replied.

Pavlov rolled some percentile dice on his 3,000 page book. “Snake eyes!”

The class headed for English, after Bratt received two checks. When we entered the English room, the teacher asked us if we had seen her plan book, and everyone said no. While we were doing our work, Pat’s chair flew across the room. His chair literally slipped from under him, and broke through the window. The girls screamed. After a half-hour everyone calmed down. After English class was over and Bratt finished making weak jokes, we all headed for the Assembly Hall.

Our class was questioned by the Bonner Principal, Mr. Echo, about missing rulers and papers, and a number of bizarre happenings. No one answered. He just shook his head.

At recess the next day, lots of kids were forming detective clubs. Some of them included names like The Donna Detectives, TCS Investigators, The Missing Stuff Busters, and The Joe Mob. We had recess at Barker Park, a most beautiful setting.

When we got back from recess, instead of eating lunch, all the kid inspecting clubs went in search of clues for all the missing things. They did not want to be blamed for all the missing objects, which would lead to harsh penalties. The TCS Agency and 5 other clubs checked the Assembly Hall. Several other clubs checked the English room. The Missing Stuff Busters checked the Science room. A few others investigated the Social Studies room. The Underhill Associates checked the Spanish room.

I was with the Underhill Associates, along with Bratt, Carla, Mac, and the peppy young Bushy Bright-Eyes. Bratt started to retell the story he wrote of Carla’s brain landing on Mr. Echo’s car. When Carla hit him, Bratt hit his head on the radiator, knocking he and the radiator to the floor. Bratt appeared to be unconscious.

While Carla slapped Bratt, to make him wake up, Bushy Bright-eyes peered into the hole in the wall where the radiator had been. As his bright eyes peeped into the void, a dull dusty object caught his inquisitive attention. “Ewe! I see something, I see something!”

“That’s an axe!” Mac said, reaching in and taking the dusty hatchet. We decided to take the suspicious item to Mr. Echo, but the door had sealed itself against the wall! John tugged on the door, but it was stuck. The axe flew out of Mac’s hand and stuck in the wall above my head!! We had to smash our way through the door, out of the Spanish room with a skateboard! The walls of the school began to move, and we became dizzy.

Carla, Lea, Laurel, and Donna began a chorus of screaming in the Science room. Underhill Associates made their way, wearily, to the Science room. We picked our way through the skewed chairs. Mr. Echo and the Missing Stuff Busters stood in awe of the 10 foot frog that sat beside them on the broken science table. The frog began trying to leap up, hitting the ceiling, but the leader of the Missing Stuff Busters, Alan, grabbed the frog’s leg and yelled “For science!” Alan and the frog disappeared through the ceiling. Then everything blurred up, and I blacked out.

~ to be continued… in 1.2