Reading List (pdf)
A million years ago, when I was a junior in high school, I took a humanities class. The school I went to was a lab school attached to a state university, so part of the deal was that the students were basically guinea-pig-slash-gold-fish hybrids. We were studied and experimented on. One of those experiments was this humanities class. It was team taught by one English teacher and one History teacher. We also periodically had observers from the education department at the university, sitting in the back of the room, watching us stuff our heads with information and try to synthesize it all.
I was 16 years old. That class broke my brain. Nothing I took in college came close to comparing, in mental difficulty or in the sheer mountains of work required. I’ve tried to explain the experience to others, but the response is usually, “Yeah, I had a hard class, too.” I’m not sure the experience was as universal as one might assume.
Last weekend I sorted through a bunch of old papers and binders, weeding out things I no longer want to hold onto. My humanities binders were in the pile. I flipped through them, and I thought it might be entertaining to put together a bibliography of the readings from the class. Four pages later, I’m starting to see why that class was such a monster. That’s a lot of material to ask a kid to ingest! I don’t know how we did it then. I know I couldn’t do it now, even if I treated it like a full-time job.