I’m biking east along Interstate 80 and today I’m at William H. McGuffey Boyhood Home, near the border between Ohio and Pennsylvania.
He wrote textbooks for elementary school grade 1 to 6, and his book was sold more than 120 million copies (!). That’s a mind-boggling number.
Growing up, Japanese was not my favorite subject in schools. I didn’t like the idea that I was graded on answers that seemingly have no single “correct” answer, such as reading some passage and answering what that one particular sentence means. Or maybe that’s just how I blamed my lack of language comprehension skills.
Nowadays I occasionally pick up the Japanese textbook that my daughter uses in her Japanese school and I find it thoroughly enjoyable. There is the breath — much attention is paid to cover all sorts of different texts (obviously!), and each one is quite short. The whole thing feels like an appetizer sampler. There are many classics that I remember reading in my textbook some 30 years ago, but there are also passages from authors that I didn’t expect.
I have no idea who edited my textbooks, and it’s not even a single person. So I find it wonderful that these folks at Ohio felt William H. McGuffey is worth celebrating for. The road his house is on is McGuffey Rd, and his home site is now McGuffey wildlife preserve.
Nowadays I’m moving at about 200km / week pace. I’m making a trip of such distance that I didn’t know I was even capable before. This feels great.