East of Eden, in California

John Steinbeck's 'East of Eden' is possibly my favorite book I have ever encountered. It is remarkable in its broad scope of insight into the human condition, following several generations' struggles with good and evil, in particular the way these conflicts unfold within themselves as individuals and in relationships. Steinbeck writes with a gritty spiritual … Continue reading East of Eden, in California

The Comfort of the Land

I was born and grew up in Fresno, California. It is lucky to my heart whenever I get to tell about the place, for I still love it there, and I am proud and always happy to return to my little climatically Mediterranean city at the foot of the great shining Sierra Nevada mountains. It … Continue reading The Comfort of the Land

“…advocating on behalf of a variety of perspectives…”

I am pleased with enotes' newly stated stance on educators answering political questions that students ask. Here is a copy of the message from the editorial team I received in early November. It can be tough to know what to do when faced with a question that touches on today's hot-button social and political issues. … Continue reading “…advocating on behalf of a variety of perspectives…”

A Student-Centered Way

The following letter is adapted from a correspondence with a parent of a seventeen-year-old student I have been tutoring. Dear [Parent of Student], Thank you for asking about my tutoring services in relation to the SAT. My educational specialty is in the more holistic side of writing and the humanities. I am certainly able to … Continue reading A Student-Centered Way

[Paper Spotlight] The river echoes with laughter: a child-centred analysis of social change in Amazonia

I’m delighted by the work of this research blog, which is contributed to by an old friend of mine I knew through the Wilderness Awareness School community. It is ever more vital that Western societies now value and rediscover Indigenous societies’ perspectives on education and the experience of being deeply Human in the living world.


Forager Children Interdisciplinary Studies Group

Check out Camilla Morelli’s paper on the role of children in social change among the Matses of Peru! The full paper is available here

Abstract: This article examines radical social, cultural, and political changes taking place in Amazonia from the perspective of indigenous children and youth: a group who, despite their demographic prevalence, have received limited attention in the regional literature. Drawing on fieldwork with Matses people in Peru, I consider how children and youth are playing a critical role in the transition from a hunter-gatherer, forest-based society towards a riverine lifestyle that is increasingly engaged in trade, the market economy, and exchanges with chotac, or non-indigenous people. I argue that by engaging with their surroundings through playing and working, Matses children are becoming affectively attached to some parts of the world rather than others. This represents a purposeful shift from the lifestyle and worldviews of older generations and highlights…

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The Story in Paintings: Gustave Doré’s unknown paintings

Beautiful scenes from Gustave Doré imagination and faith.

The Eclectic Light Company

Gustave Doré (1832–1883) is today known almost exclusively as a print-maker and illustrator of many books, although you may stumble across an occasional watercolour landscape or huge canvas of his, and he was a sculptor too. Some of his landscapes are outstanding, but produced during the era of Impressionism have been cast aside by history. I here consider some of his narrative oil paintings, for if anyone understood narrative art, it should surely be such a prolific and successful illustrator.

Doré was precocious child, and started his career as a caricaturist for a newspaper at the age of 15. By the 1850s his illustrations were being commissioned by major publishers in both France and Britain, including a new illustrated English Bible. Here are two prints from that work, which was published in 1866.

dorejudithholofernes Gustave Doré (1832–1883), Judith and Holofernes (1866), print from illustrated edition of the Bible.

The first shows…

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A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe

Theodore Gray's book The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe is a marvelous, inspiring work of science and creativity. Gray's book examines the known periodic table through scintillating, high-definition photography and explanations of each element written in the language of the laypersons who may have had no prior exposure to … Continue reading A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe

From “Impulse to Love” by Jim Bodeen

We keep the strong black medicine, coffee. We say no to whiskey. We shed the fat of the soldier food. We say no to things that divide us. Someone will say something of the world behind this one. We accept the fact that we are a broken people. We have left people behind to come … Continue reading From “Impulse to Love” by Jim Bodeen

The Most Sensitive Instrument is the Soul

Arvo Pärt's music and philosophy is a powerfully beautiful example of what true artistry, science and education should lead us to. At Big Dipper Tutoring in Seattle, we strive to represent and work for this soulful heart of education in philosophically disconcerting times. https://vimeo.com/221011528