What if your child understood the richness of literature from the best of mankind’s written work?
What if all the subjects that a child studied were integrated with one another?
What if your family created unique memories through life-changing books that developed the whole person that defines your child?
Consider the advantages of pursuing excellence in education on all subjects with the overlay of purposeful reading selections. Consider literature-rich classical education.
Coming into the summer months or the Christmas break or even just a regular weekend, prioritize some free time to indulge in literature rich material for your child. Remember, we all do what we value. Call ahead to your local library or church library to ask them to save books off a pre-selected reading lists. Or invest in the mind of your child by buying books regularly for them to read. Excellent reading ideas can be found at Veritas Press, Sonlight and Read Aloud Revival. Consider selecting one of your favorite books from your childhood to read out loud together. Kids are never too old to enjoy reading together. The picture above is my mom reading to four of our children. Notice the huge stack of books that they have collected on the couch next to them. In our home we read for hours each day. This was part of their childhood. We loved all of the adventures and characters. Don’t miss this really great opportunity to read out loud with your child. I might say that you are never too old to read out loud.
Some of favorites are any Narnia books, A Dangerous Journey, and anything from Lamplighter. You will run out of kids and years before you can even begin to read all the wonderful stories available.
Blending Traditional with Classical
To avoid being too confusing, let me state that I propose a blending of the traditional approach with the classical. Let me explain. When studying math, grammar, vocabulary and spelling, textbooks are needed to organize the material and guide the student through these subjects. History should be explored in historical fiction, encyclopedias, timelines, presentations as well as field trips to places where history happened.
The component of English that adds literature should not be limited to some poetry in elementary years and a slice of American and British literature in high school. Literature blended with history furnishes a plethora of vocabulary colored by centuries of the story of mankind. How can literature and history be separated? The wealth of the production of any time in history is best explained through the literature and other arts offered up as a telling of the culture. The facts are intertwined in the real lives of people. The unfolding personal stories are always riveting! These great treasures paint three dimensional, vividly colorful scenes in our imagination.
Science should be mastered on the lower levels with colorful science books, science journals, nature walks, lab intensives, and the immersion of one subject at a time. High school science requires a firm grasp of concepts through textbooks, labs and first hand experiences. Interspersing the stories of people of science humanizes the sometimes sterile subject.
Conversational Language Studies Coupled with Traditional Application
Foreign languages beg the acquisition of the grammar and vocabulary of the tongue. However, applying conversational language mastery ensures fluency as an outcome. What is the point of studying a language when you never speak it? The only exception to this thought involves Latin. Consider learning the grammar of a language and then finding a situation that allows immersion. Complement this experience with studies in the history, geography, politics, economics and culture of those speaking the language you desire to master. Read the biographies of the people that lived this culture. Aim for immersion. This process promises the most successful outcome in language acquisition.
Does “Classical” Mean Latin?
Truly, some shrink at the word “classical” because they sense it involves the mastery of Latin. Latin studies add an additional layer of competency to any student. Latin opens up unknown vocabulary and scientific terms, as well as building a solid foundation for our own English grammar. However, Latin is not required for education to be classical. Competency in science and math along with the language arts such as grammar, vocabulary, reading, history, literature and writing grows a person into a cultured individual. Adding music, art, geography, languages and practical social skills coupled with work ethic deepens a child. Looking at a child’s spiritual formation with such intensity pushes their daily application of Biblical literacy to the forefront. A full offering of subjects integrated into one another as well as your everyday living creates a rich classical education.
Thomas Jefferson – Insatiable Learner
Thomas Jefferson ranks as one of my favorite Americans!! At first glance it might seem that my enthusiasm stems from his insatiable appetite for learning and immense collection of books. While both of these features warm my heart toward this patriot, I glean most from his thoughts on education. As a proponent of classical education he stated, “For classical learning I have ever been a zealous advocate.” Like myself, he claimed, “I cannot live without books.” A true confession would reveal that I have called our home insurance provider to ensure that our policy is sufficient to respond to the mass of books we house in our home.
Books vs Screen Time??
Sometime ago during a visit with a most hospitable family, I felt something was odd. After consideration of the cause, I concluded that this home completely lacked books!! Sadly, media filled the home where books might be shelved. Many homes never realize the delicious adventures enjoyed as a book is read out loud together. Consider what your family invests in with time and money. Do you read out loud at home or in the car? Are audio books a part of your regular listening diet? My favorite moments of schooling my children at home come from reading books together. Along with an extensive assignment of personal reading, our style is a literature-rich classical education.”
All families can read books out loud together. All children can enjoy carefully selected audio books. All of us can choose to fill our free time with enriching books.
Read every day!
Join me for a conversation on this topic @ Embrace Your Everyday podcast.
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