Progress Report, October 2017, Month 2

by Bernard Brandt

Well, it’s been a month since I restarted my program of Remedial Education. Since then, I’ve made the following progress:

Languages:

I’ve been working on Duolingo, working from 6 am to 9 am Mondays through Saturdays, and have gone through the entire ‘learning tree’ of skills for both Spanish and French. Basically, Duolingo prompts one to review particular language skills, so as to maintain them in the memory. Since last month, I’ve kept up the maintenance work on Spanish, completed the lessons for French, have maintained learning in German, and have just today re-begun work on Italian. At the rate of progress that I have been maintaining, I should be completed with Duolingo German and Italian by next month.

As for my reading in Spanish and French, I’ll tell you more in a later section of this entry.

Mathematics:

I’ve also been working from 9 am to 12 noon Mondays through Saturdays, on Khan Academy. In the past month I’ve gone from 86% mastery of 8th Grade math to 96%, from 37% to 43% mastery in Algebra 1, and from 59 to 67% mastery in Geometry.

I think that I would have gone farther, but I found that I had some unlearning to do. It seems that the process of mis-education I had while in high school on these subjects had only reinforced some bad habits, and that, combined with the repeated trauma of being forced to do exercises that I did not understand then, simply reinforced the errors.

It probably would have been better for me had I not been taught the stuff as I had, as it is now hampering me in my present work in learning math.

So, what I’m doing is to go through the course work in Khan Academy, learning the concepts, figuring out the order of battle for doing the calculations, and putting the emphasis on the areas I DO understand, and that I am easily able to calculate in my head. For those few areas for which I have mental blocks, I’m just ignoring them, allowing them to become fallow in my mind, and then coming back to review them at a later time. I have found that when I do this, quite often what was confusing and frustrating resolves itself, and is suddenly easy to do.  We will see what happens by next month.

Music

I’ve been building up my strength and stamina, after that little bobble that I had last late April, and I’ve lately been restoring Music to my to-do list.  Of the three areas that I’ve wanted to work on (musicianship, voice, and guitar), I’m up to the first two, which I do between noon and three pm. Basically, for musicianship, I’ve been working on solfege, sight reading, and writing. For voice, I’ve been working on improving the quality and range of my voice. I will be talking more about this later.

Theology

Right now, I’m beginning again to read the Bible, from 3 to 6 pm, in three languages: English, French, and Spanish. The English is the KJV, the French is the Louis Second, while the Spanish is the Reina Valera. Yes, I know, all written by a bunch of bloody Prots, but at least they could write well. I’m taking a leaf (quite literally) from the book of Heinrich Schliemann, who taught himself any number of languages by starting with a primer in that language, then reading through a Bible in that language, and then reading other books.

And, from 6 to 9 p.m., I read whatever I want. We’ll see where all this gets me.

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