A Love of Learning Lifelong Learning

The Legacy of Laoshu: Youtuber and Polyglot

Self-taught language enthusiast Moses McCormick, known to the online language world as laoshu505000 fluently mastered around 20 languages during his lifetime and possessed basic speaking knowledge of 40 to 50 others, including regional dialects. An avid learner, described by his family as dedicated and an inspiration to a lot of people, including his over 1 million YouTube subscribers, Moses found learning languages as one of his life’s primary passions.

It all began after graduating from high school in 1999. “He was staying with our uncle up in Patterson Park here in Akron, Ohio,” said his sister, Susan McCormick. “He used to always have this tape recorder, with a headphone set. And he would be listening,” she told me. “I think he started out with Mandarin Chinese.” This was the beginning of his prolific deep-dive into languages. Susan said she didn’t even know he knew as many languages as he did.

After moving to Columbus, Moses began taking learning languages more seriously, launching his YouTube channel laoshu505000 in 2006, with the help of his best friend, Marcell. He used his channel as a way to document his language learning progress but also as a learning platform for his viewers and subscribers, teaching languages from Chinese, Japanese, Zulu, Swahili, Hindi, Arabic, Tibetan, Tamil, and more. As of 2021, he had uploaded more than 3,000 videos.

Leveling Up Language Learning

In 2010, Moses devised a unique language-learning method called the FLR technique (Foreign Language Roadrunning). Composed of six steps, its aim was to get you speaking the target language from day one. The purpose was to teach students real-world conversation proficiency in any language of their choosing. This method would lead learners to achieve full conversational fluency in just a couple of months. It is this same technique that helped Moses on his own language learning journey. 

During this time, Moses would also upload almost daily to his YouTube channel, one of his famous ones being his “Level Up” videos. These would involve him going out in public and speaking to strangers in their native tongue. Sometimes it would be Chinese, other times Somali, or even Russian. 

“And they’d be like, oh my gosh! Because he’d know exactly what they were talking about,” said Susan. A lot of the reactions were funny as people didn’t expect an American to speak their language, Susan told me.

Many of his videos became viral, attracting millions of views from fans all over the world. They served as a source of inspiration for all.

Susan said her brother never bragged about his knowledge. He didn’t think about how many YouTube followers he had, he was simply focused on helping people who really wanted to learn a language.

‘He was an inspiration to a lot of people’

Moses enjoyed learning languages so much that he never viewed it as work. 

Susan said that her brother served as a source of inspiration for her eldest son. He looked up to him and would always say he wanted to learn to speak different languages like his uncle. 

Moses entertained, taught, and touched hundreds of thousands of people, both online and in-person through his charismatic personality and love of different cultures and traditions.  

Unfortunately, Moses McCormick passed away just a week before his 40th birthday on March 4 in Phoenix, Arizona. 

“He was on this earth and did all these things. He touched all these people. He really lived up to the name Moses,” said Susan.

Fellow language-learner Anthony Quezada stumbled upon Moses’s YouTube channel 12 years ago, in 2009. Quezada said that Moses was his trigger to start learning languages. He helped him become more open-minded, curious, and accepting of other perspectives. 

“Thanks to him, I have since picked up other languages like French and currently Mandarin Chinese. I have even gotten back to improving my family language (Spanish).”

When asked about the importance of learning languages, Quezada said that it is especially important right now. “If we could all do our share and make an effort to understand even one other culture besides our own, I think the world would be that much closer to peace and collective mutual understanding,” he commented.

Susan believes her brother served as an inspiration for different cultures, especially African-Americans but also young people. She mentioned that some of the people who personally messaged her regarding her brother were only high-school students themselves. “He inspired them to work hard at it and achieve it, and do it,” she said. 

“The most important legacy that he left behind is that you can achieve your goal. You just have to be disciplined.”

‘Moses gave the world his heart and soul’

Robert Nguyen, known by the name “Fugee,” was Moses’ best friend, and knew him for 22 years. “When I first met him, he only knew three languages. Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese, and Japanese, with Mandarin being his strongest.”

He had the ability to affect everyone around him through his calm personality and compassionate nature. Fugee said he used to have an arrogant, competitive nature when it came to fighting games but Moses made him realize how important it was to be humble. 

Many people, both young and old, whether online or in-person were touched by Moses’ compassionate and persevering personality. These are the same people who are continuing his important message of spreading love, positivity, and respect to all.

A Love of Learning Reading

Reading, the Gateway to Empathy

“It’s all so sad,” said Emma, reflecting on the death of Hector as seen through the eyes of his grieving parents. “Especially because last week during class, I was happy about Achilles getting his revenge. We were excited as he put his armor on and went out to fight with Hector. We’ve been waiting for this moment ever since Hector killed Patroclus. But now, I hate it.”

Welcome to my homeschool literature class where we’re diving deep into the “Iliad.”

The narrative’s changing point of view has Emma and her classmates on a bit of an emotional roller coaster. Where once they cheered Achilles on as he prepared for battle, now the kids are face-to-face with the high price of war. They’ve seen the grief of Hector’s parents, who watched as their son was cut down on the battlefield in front of them.

Another scene shift and now they see Hector’s wife, Andromache, weaving at her loom, getting a hot bath ready for Hector, oblivious to the fact her husband has just been killed. “I think Homer’s a stinker,” said Lauren. “He makes us want Achilles to succeed with his revenge, but as soon as it happens, I’m sad for Hector’s wife and family. Especially since the whole time he’s describing Andromache, we know what’s happened, so we’re here waiting for the other shoe to drop for her. Reading that was awful.”

“I wish life could be more fair,” said Emma.

More than watching movies or television shows, more than listening to audiobooks or playing games, reading serves as a magic doorway to empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of other people. Unfortunately in today’s world, feeling empathy for others is quickly becoming something of a lost art. But it doesn’t have to be. Particularly when you start early. Award-winning children’s book creator Julia Cook, author of nearly 100 books for children, including “The Judgmental Flower” and the forthcoming “Will You Be the I in KIND?,” says, “You cannot teach empathy to children, you can only offer them experiences that allow them to develop it from within. Reading is a great way to do that!”

As a longtime classroom teacher, I agree. I regularly remind my students that none of us has the time to meet all the people, live through all the situations, visit all the places, and make all the mistakes, so reading is our next best option. Be they fiction or nonfiction, poetry or prose or plays; books and the characters who live in their pages help readers view the world firsthand from someone else’s perspective. A character’s point of view becomes the lens through which readers see the action and interactions of the story. Readers sneak inside someone else’s head and share that person’s emotions. As readers, we have the opportunity to experience more of the world than we ever could on our own.

As a former school counselor, Cook quickly realized that in order to help children, she needed to enter their view of the world, to empathize with them as they tried to figure out how the world worked. Reading books makes it easier for children to understand emotions and people’s reactions to extreme situations when they aren’t immediately involved in those situations. Plus, reading (or being read to) gives kids the opportunity to see the world from a point of view other than their own.

Maybe that new perspective comes from Hank the Cowdog’s point of view, maybe it comes from Big Dog and Little Dog, maybe from a classic such as Lassie or Old Yeller. The important thing is for children to learn that the world doesn’t look the same to everyone. Different people experience things in different ways. Little Dog’s encounter with a too-long bed is different than Big Dog’s encounter with a too-short bed.

As an only child, I never longed for siblings of my own, but I was curious about how having a brother or sister worked. That curiosity was satisfied by Charlie and Sally Brown and Lucy and Linus Van Pelt as I read about their sibling antics in the Peanuts comic strips. As I grew older, I joined the Ingalls family in the Little House books and later, the Bennet family of “Pride and Prejudice.” I gained an understanding of how tumultuous and intense the relationship between siblings can be.

Before I experienced the death of a loved one in real life, I was as powerless as Meg, Jo, and Amy to save dear, sweet Beth March in Little Women. While the March family grieved their loss, I sobbed along in my bedroom, because as a reader, I had lost someone important to me too.

I began to understand what grief felt like. I also learned how much it could hurt to be told “Ah, what’s the big deal, it’s only a book; it’s not like anybody actually died.” And by extension, I realized I didn’t want to be the one to say, “Ah, what’s the big deal, it’s ‘just’ a —” to someone else who experienced a loss. That’s empathy.

That’s what Atticus Finch is talking about when he tells Scout (and everyone who reads “To Kill a Mockingbird”) “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” Atticus doesn’t add a caveat of “but only walk around in the skin of people you like or people who are like you.” It’s important to extend empathy to everyone. Later in the novel, Atticus once again reminds Scout, “You never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them.”

What if that became a summertime goal? It’s as easy as searching out a book that sounds interesting. Then just turn the page, slip into someone else’s shoes, and open the gateway to empathy.

Gina Prosch is a writer, home educator, life coach, and parent located in mid-Missouri. She is the author of “This Day’s Joy” and “Finding This Day’s Joy,” both of which are available at Amazon. Find her online at or She also co-hosts The OnlySchoolers Podcast ( 

A Love of Learning

Never Give Up: Tears and Triumph Over Long Division

Third grade–we all remember it–some memories are good, others, not so much, but one thing that many of us remember is math. Already a huge transitional grade, it’s also a school year in which many new concepts are introduced, and no subject introduces more new concepts than math.

As a third-grade teacher for 10 years, I saw students respond in many unique and interesting ways to this subject and its concepts. Yet no concept evoked more self-doubt, fear, and angst in students, and sometimes parents, than division. In a year already filled with many new experiences, this concept, with its many steps and many opportunities for mistakes, often made students want to give up before they even started.

One year there was a young lady in my class who was very bright but often doubted herself. On the day I first introduced division to the class, you could see the anxiety on the students’ faces, but for one little girl, tears began to flow. She looked at me brokenhearted and simply said, “I can’t do it.” So after I got the class started, I called her to my desk, and we walked through the problems step-by-step. At the end of each problem, she would give me the same answer, “I just don’t understand. I don’t think I can do this.”

As the days turned into weeks and weeks turn into months, I wondered when she would believe in herself enough to do it. Every day we would get out our math books, and as soon as she saw division on the page, tears began to flow. I would call her to my desk and calmly walk her through the problem, helping her see that she could do it. Most days, my help involved nothing more than simply saying, “What do we do next? What do we do next?” Every time, she was able to answer my question and do the problem.

Finally, one day, I looked at her after we had done three problems, and I said, “Tell me what I said as I helped you?” She thought back over our interaction, all of a sudden, the lightbulb came on above her head. She looked at me and said, “All you said was ‘What do you do next?’” I said, “Exactly. You did all the work. You know how to do this, but you’re just not sure of yourself. So here’s what I want you to do. First, look at this problem. I want you to go back to your seat, and every time you get nervous, hear my voice saying, ‘What do you do next?’”

With still a little hesitation, she looked at me, and I smiled and said, “I know you can do it.” She went back to her seat and carefully did the problem. As soon as she was done, she jumped out of her seat screaming, “I did it. I did it.” When she brought her paper to me, she certainly had. From that day forward, there were no more tears.

Honestly, parents, sometimes we are in the same place ourselves. There have been times when my daughter brought me math homework to get my help, and I didn’t even know where to begin (and I have a master’s degree). It’s not easy as a parent to sometimes admit that you’re not sure what to do, but there are days when I’ve had to.

Over the years, there were many stories like this. Early on in my teaching career, I would get frustrated, until I started to ask myself, “Why is the student reacting this way?” I realized that sometimes it was just overwhelming for them, they didn’t trust themselves, and didn’t realize that all along, they could do it. We, as a parent, can forget how daunting the learning experience can feel for our children.

Think of how you have felt at a new job. Were there days that just seemed like too much? Days where you felt like all you did was make mistakes? Imagine every day going to work and having your report corrected and being shown the mistakes you made and then having to come back and do it again and again.

Don’t get me wrong, this is necessary, and I’m not saying that students’ errors or ours shouldn’t be corrected. But any time you’re learning new information, there are going to be many mistakes, there’s going to be a lot of uncertainty, and it will be overwhelming. As adults, we just find better ways to hide it.

How our children feel about success, failure, and learning depends greatly on us as parents and teachers. We must never forget that what we do and how we react will set the tone. When working with children, keep these in mind:

  1. Be patient and try to remember what it was like when you struggled in new situations.
  2. Talk to them about your own challenges and fears.
  3. Hold their hand and steady them until they feel like they can do it on their own.
  4. Let them know that mistakes are OK, and sometimes are necessary to the process.
  5. No matter how long it takes, never let them quit, and never give up on them.
  6. Finally, don’t be afraid to tell them you don’t know how to do something. When I did, I was surprised how much it helped them as they learned.

We set the tone. Our attitude and reactions to our children and students often tell them what’s most important to us. When we give them the space to mess up, we show them that it’s OK and that we are there to help them take the next step in learning. This freedom is the greatest gift we can give to help them overcome their fear and uncertainty. This will enable them to believe in themselves, find success as they keep trying, and never give up.

Charles Mickles is an educational consultant with over 25 years in education. As a speaker and author, he has published 3 books and written numerous articles featured on The Mighty, Yahoo Lifestyles, and MSN. You can follow his story and read more at