The Encyclopædia Britannica, 11th edition (1910-1911)


The 11th edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica comes with the Robinson Curriculum on CD-ROMs.  Since purchasing the Robinson Curriculum for our family, I’ve had time to look over this particular encyclopedia and I’ve been really impressed both with how much information it contains and how well-written it is.  Although it is old (1910-1911), there is no doubt that the scholarship is exceptional.  Dr. Robinson extols its virtues on his web site and since reading many of the entries, I now do the same.

I was intending to post a sample entry from that edition so that visitors to this blog could get a taste of its comprehensiveness (and also for other reasons), but as I began to type every word of the entry, I realized that I could also hyperlink certain words to Ixquick searches so that people could find out further information about those subjects.  During the hyperlinking process, I decided to click on some of the Ixquick search results to see what was out there.

After a few clicks, I found myself…at an entry…taken from…the 1911 edition of the Encylopædia Britannica!  Apparently, there are other people who think this edition is outstanding and, as it is in the public domain, have endeavored to put each entry of it online.  Here is what they say about it:

The LoveToKnow Free Online Encyclopedia is based on what many consider to be the best encyclopedia ever written: the eleventh edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, first published in 1911. At a time when many encyclopedias have capsulated and condensed important knowledge, the 11th edition is generally much more in-depth and thorough on its topics.

It is not uncommon for its entries to be 5 to 10 times the length of other encyclopedias. As a research tool, this 11th edition is unparalleled – even today. LoveToKnow is now giving you all these thousands of entries, preserving the treasured entries that make it so unique, and where necessary and possible adding the current point of view. We hope that you enjoy and learn from the LoveToKnow Free Online Encyclopedia and that it becomes one of your favorite places for reference information.

The Eleventh Edition filled 29 volumes and contains over 44 million words. It contains over 40,000 articles written by over 1,500 authors within their various fields of expertise. What was particularly remarkable was that many of the entries were written by the most famous people of the age. As such, it was considered to represent the sum of human knowledge at the beginning of the 20th Century.

Sir Kenneth Clark, in Another Part of the Wood, wrote of the Eleventh Edition:

“One leaps from one subject to another, fascinated as much by the play of mind and idiosyncrasies of their authors as by the facts and dates. It must be the last encyclopedia in the tradition of Diderot which assumes that information can be made memorable only when it is slightly colored by prejudice. When T.S. Eliot wrote ‘Soul curled up on the window seat reading the Encyclopedia’ he was certainly thinking of the eleventh edition.”

Their web site is:

www.1911encyclopedia.org

Granted, what I have with the Robinson Curriculum CD-ROMs are scanned pages from that encyclopedia, so they look nicer, there aren’t any (secondary) typos, the footnotes match up, the foreign language characters are printed exactly as they appear (not an approximation) and it is printable in any size I want, but the online effort of LoveToKnow to bring this edition to the masses is encouraging.  Now that I know it exists, if I ever want to point anyone to more in-depth information about any particular subject, I’ll be hyperlinking to that web site.

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Anarchy in Education


My wife and I started homeschooling our children nearly from the get-go.  Only our eldest child has ever experienced public school.  She protested, at first, but as the years went by, she came to realize that home school was better than public school.  Any time she gave us grief, the threat (in jest) that was held over her head was that we’d put her back in public school.

At first, we did the best we could with the material we could get our hands on.  I ended up buying a course for $350 that we hardly used, at all.  It contained a lot of patriotic stuff, meaning government propaganda, and me being the anarchist that I am, let’s just say that that didn’t sit too well with me.  We used more stuff from the library and used bookstores than from that course.

Homeschooling also took up a lot of our time, both in preparation and in teaching.  Often, my wife worried that we’d get to a subject in which we weren’t experts and that the children would be taught incorrectly by us.  But the benefit of being able to also teach them character education and remove the false ideas taught in public school outweighed her concerns.  All in all, it was still better than public school.

One of the things I didn’t like about the pre-made course was that it wasn’t sufficient for all of our children, for all of their years of schooling.  I’d have to keep buying material for each child for each year of their lives.  The dollars were going to add up, but the financial sacrifice still seemed worth it.

The Robinson Curriculum

Not long after we began homeschooling, I came across an article that mentioned the Robinson Curriculum, an autodidactic program for K-12.  I could use it for all of our children.  It was one single purchase: I needed the course of CD-ROMs, a computer (which I had), a good printer (one-time purchase), the Saxon Math books (one-time purchase), printer paper (cheap) and printer ink (cheap).  With these supplies, all of my children could get an outstanding education with very little parental involvement.  It required about 15 minutes of parent time a day.  The children just taught themselves using the material.  Needless to say, I was intrigued.

After visiting the Robinson Curriculum web site, reading, listening to and watching all the media that is on it, I decided that the Robinson Curriculum would be perfect for our family.  We made the required purchases and haven’t looked back since.

Since starting the course, we’ve noticed that the children are learning to think for themselves, to figure things out for themselves and to take initiative.  As no one is teaching them anymore, they have no one to blame for their ignorance except themselves.  Because each child is different, they learn at their own pace, according to their maturity level and desires for learning.  The mentally quick children with strong desires for learning gobble up the information, the slower ones take longer, but each eventually learns the information and does so without reliance upon a teacher or each other.  If asked, “Who taught you this?” each one could respond, “No one did.  I taught myself.”

The Robinson Curriculum is a complete course, so my wife and I no longer need to worry about teaching subjects that we, ourselves, are weak in.  The children get taught out of books written by experts in those fields.  They literally get taught by the best.

The only thing required of the parents is to get each child to the point where they can read, write and do the arithmetic tables: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  Most parents are capable of teaching their children these things, if they, the parents, already know how to read, write and do simple arithmetic. Once a child knows these fundamentals, they can start the Robinson Curriculum with no further input from the parents.  Parental involvement after that is just to make sure they are engaged in their work (good study habits) and to focus on the one thing parents can excel at: character education.

The Robinson Curriculum allows a parent to incorporate other material, as they see fit, into the course, or to subtract material that is deemed unhelpful or unneeded.  However, the course alone is complete and no modification is necessary, so even without any changes, a child who undergoes the entire curriculum will have an exceptional and well-rounded education.

A Decentralized Course

The Robinson Curriculum is better than other homeschooling courses in that it is based upon truly anarchic principles.  The child alone must teach himself.  There is no reliance upon Mommy or Daddy.  There is no reliance upon other students.  There is no cheating possible.  It instills confidence from the get-go.  Each book that is read in the course must be analyzed by the child and its meaning figured out.  Dictionaries and encyclopedias must be consulted.  It is supremely individualistic in that the child comes to his own conclusion concerning the information coming in, without any interpretation from the parents or teachers.  This makes for highly critical thinking.  And as the course is finished, the child can now be placed into high stress situations, such as the university, without being overwhelmed, without having to hold a parent’s or teacher’s hand, with the ability to learn whatever material is presented.  Why?  Because it no longer depends upon the instructor’s ability to instruct.  The child learns on his own.  Put the information before the child, and he will learn it, because he now knows how to learn.  This is the beauty of the Robinson Curriculum.

Such supremely decentralized teaching can only create superior intellects, as the brain is engaged more than in other courses, which rely upon a teacher telling a student what the meaning of something is, instead of the students figuring it out for themselves.  As long as the material is superior, decentralized, anarchic self-education will always produce greater intellects.  It is my estimation that the Robinson Curriculum contains just such material.

On the sidebar of this blog, under Education, you’ll find a link to the Robinson Curriculum web site.  You can also just click below to go there now:

www.robinsoncurriculum.com

Additionally, I’m including links to Lew Rockwell dot com articles that talk of this course.  I invite all public, private, and home schooling parents to look into the Robinson Curriculum for yourselves.  I especially invite all anarchist parents everywhere who are still raising children to consider this course as the anarchy-based education solution you’ve been looking for.

Why Home Schools Are Superior to Private Schools by Gary North

Destroying Your Child To Save a Buck by Gary North

Quality Time vs. Quality Guilt by Gary North

Must Your Children Run the Collegiate Gauntlet? by Gary North

This Advice Might Save Your Life: Don’t Bring Ayn Rand to a Gun Fight by Greg Perry

The Best One-Shot Investment on Earth by Gary North

America’s Bread and Circuses—Schools and Jails by Greg Perry

Spreading Anarchy through Education

For those who wish a peaceful means of spreading anarchy throughout society, consider the Robinson Curriculum as a powerful tool towards that end.  The wide-spread promotion and use of this course will unplug entire families from state-propaganda machines (public schools).  If there are those who really want to turn the tide against socialistic education (public and private schools), a United Effort could be organized with the express purpose of pooling financial resources and equipping families with the Robinson Curriculum.

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