When I was deciding whether or not homeschooling was the right choice for our family, one aspect drawing me in again and again was the opportunity to expose my kids to great literature. Not just books, but writings that transcend generations, classical themes that speak to the struggles, triumphs and journeys in each of us.
Great literature sings to me. Characters I revisit from childhood bring comfort, consistency and heartfelt memories of thrilling voyages to other places, of challenging experiences beyond my own sheltered world, of darkness I vowed to never embrace. I look back now and recall eating fresh homemade lemon bars over my first copy of Astrid Lindgren's Pippi Longstocking, curling up under a knit afghan on our loveseat reading Laura Ingall's Farmer Boy, stretched out on an unfamiliar bed while visiting a new family devouring Arleta Richardson's In Grandma's Attic, horrified as I worked through Beatrice Sparks' Go Ask Alice on a long busride home from school, unprepared for its harrowing introduction to the bondage and darkness of drug use.
Then into high school, and college, where I discovered Lord of the Flies, The Great Gatsby, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Canterbury Tales, Great Expectations, Shakespeare, e.e. cummings, Edgar Allen Poe. I majored in English out of a love for literature and its analysis. Sometimes I look back on papers I wrote and wonder where on earth that intellectual woman went ....
...and then I catch glimpses of her again as I prepare reading lessons for my kids this fall. In truth, the candle never really went out. I pray I can do it justice, keep it burning within, and pass on a small spark of this love in my heart.
I compiled a list of what we plan to read this fall, some as read-alouds and others individually. I'm going to try and keep up with the kids by reading what they're reading; I've already made it through Mary, Bloody Mary, The Bronze Bow and The Apprentice. Amaya and I are working through The Littles this week.
We loosely follow a Classical model for homeschooling in which History serves as the backbone of all other subjects. This year we're studying Story of the World's Volume 2 covering the Middle Ages/Medieval period of History, so you'll see several titles reflecting this era.
Amaya 3rd Grade
Rumford's Beowulf: A Hero's Tale Retold (child's version of the classic)
Hamlet for Kids
Romeo & Juliet for Kids
Geraldie McCaughrean's retelling of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales
Mary Norton's The Borrowers
Susan Goodman's Cora Frear
Lois Lenski's Strawberry Girl
Clyde Robert Bulla's The Chalk Box Kid
Margaretha Shemin's The Little Riders
Marguerite de Angeli The Door in the Wall
Kate Seredy's Philomena
Sid Fleishman's The Whipping Boy
John Peterson's The Littles
Interactive History Adventures (Samurai, Knight, Ninja)
Ralph Moody's Little Britches
Encyclopedia Brown series
Gabriel & Isaac, 8th and 6th Grade
Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, adapted by Barbara Cohen
Clyde Robert Bulla's Viking Adventure
Carolyn Meyer's Mary, Bloody Mary
H.E. Marshall's The Story of Beowulf
Howard Pyle's The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood
Robert Pinsky's The Inferno of Dante
McGraw's The Golden Goblet
Elizabeth George Speare's The Bronze Bow
Speare's The Sign of the Beaver
Lois Lowry's The Giver
Ellen Raskin The Westing Game
Joanne Williamson's Hittite Warrior
Roger Lancelyn Green's King Arthur and his Kinghts of the Round Table
Susan Leigh's Luther: Echoes of the Hammer
Bilquis Sheikh I Dared to Call Him Father
Geraldine McCaughrean's One Thousand and One Arabian Nights
Shakespeare's Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet
Pilar Molina Llorente's The Apprentice
The kids and I are also following a Bible reading plan that will get us through the New Testament by school year's end. Without a doubt, this is the single most important reading we will do as, like David, we "hide His Word in our hearts so we will not sin against Him." Psalm 119:11
If I could narrow my homeschooling philosophy down to one sentence, I think I would steal a quote from Mrs. Billy Graham, who told her children:
"Keep reading and you'll be educated."
A rather delightful directive, don't you think?
Labels: Books, Homeschool, Reading