The Making and Unmaking of a Dullard, his book about his early life which was quoted in Poetic Knowledge, is available in public domain in several places. I downloaded a copy to my Kindle.
Though he calls himself a "dullard", and he was dropped out of school at age 9 because he was making no progress, I imagine that he was more like one of those "late bloomers" you meet, usually boys, who need a solid grounding in real life before they can do well in academic things. Dorothy and Raymond Moore often discuss this kind of boy in their books and research about delayed academics.
They call it the Integrated Maturity Level -- when all systems come together to make a "go" and say that it comes at different ages, sometimes not until age 14. Their recommendations:
The focus, for them, is on service, time spent with adults engaged in everyday work, individualized attention, and play (not the electronic kind, but the old-fashioned outdoors Dangerous Book for Boys type play, I imagine).
- Study from a few minutes to several hours a day, depending on the child's maturity.
- Manual work at least as much as study.
- Home and/or community service an hour or so a day. Focus on kids' interests and needs; be an example in consistency, curiosity, and patience. Live with them!
Anyway, since I have a child with developmental delays I thought it would be interesting to read through the book during this summer. Aidan is fascinated with concrete things, especially working with his hands. I suspect that he feels the same need as Shields did to develop his concepts of the world through repetition of experience leading to estimative judgment.