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By Máire Mullarney

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Additional info for Anything School Can Do You Can Do Better: The Story of a Family Who Learned at Home, Revised Edition

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Corcoran, SJ, in the Irish Monthly, March-July 1924) Reaction set in, but not soon enough for us. In 1966 Dr John MacNamara published a study of bilingualism in primary education in which he showed that the importance given to Irish was a major furor in depressing performance in IQ tests and in English reading. In 1969 a teachers’ study group, reporting on a proposed new curriculum, said: ... there are children leaving national schools who, in all their time there, have scarcely ever opened a book other than a textbook, or who have never been encouraged to develop their natural interest in living creatures, who have never been asked to listen to a piece of music, and who have never made anything with their hands apart from the plasticine figurines which they made when in infants’ class.

I told him these two names as well, and he got these right also. We were both very pleased with ourselves. I put the cards up on a shelf. Next morning Eoin came down to breakfast. He looked up, saw the ends of the cards sticking out over the edge, indicated that he wanted them. ’ And it was Janet. He then said the right names for each of the other three. I was staggered. Of course we continued. For some weeks we added one or two words every day. There was a break while we had friends staying and when we came back to our words Eoin remembered thirty of them.

And that you can add indices, but only if they relate to the same number: if you have built a tower of three pinks and four light blues, you can’t say you have five to the power of seven. At this point Alasdar made him a cardboard slide- rule; that wasn’t in the book at all. People who are good at maths and who also know some children very well can do all this and much more if they simply have suitable blocks. The ordinary parent, who can’t get away on a training course, can do the same sort of thing with the help of the simple language and easy steps, nothing left out, that are to be found in the books of H.

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