Defining Quality Literature: Hardcover, Audio, Electronic
March 23, 2022
Reading is Life!
Who Made it so Complicated?!
A Tale of Dueling Definitions
What Will the Future of Homeschooling Look Like?
|Be sure to scroll to the bottom to enter the contest and see the freebies of the month!|
Mercy Every Minute
Deborah Wuehler, TOS Senior Editor
Reading is Life!
I just finished a biography of Lottie Moon (YWAMPublishing.com). Only through good literature could we go on this missionary adventure with this young Christian woman.
The books our kids have read have taken them on grand adventures. They have lived with missionaries in jungles, deserts, and foreign places while facing dangers of many kinds. In historical fiction, they have read about life and death and relationships, and the providence of God. In the classics, they have encountered problems to face, and inner and outer conflict to overcome. They have seen what it is to have courage and perseverance and loving kindness. They have read what evil does and have seen good win over evil.
The world and all its history and geography and anthropology and human emotion has been opened up to them through the literature that they read. (Parents, make sure it is worthy literature!) They have learned new vocabulary, observed proper grammar, and increased their spelling capabilities just by reading good literature. I can say that, after teaching for three decades, my children have learned exponentially more through good literature than I could ever expose them to in real life.
Here are some articles from The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine that reinforce this:.
The Point of Literature by Paul Schaeffer
Classic Literature: A Gentle Introduction by Marla Schultz
Teachable Moments and the Study of Literature by Missy Andrews
Literature is probably one of the most rewarding teaching assignments. Here are some tips:
- The literature we choose should be in agreement with our own Biblical and family values.
- Choose a good mix of classics, biographies, and living books. (How to recognize a living book.)
- Have older children analyze the literature for the worldview that is presented.
- Choose read-alouds geared toward your older children. The younger ones will gain comprehension skills.
- Use free online literature lists and audiobooks here.
The very best literature is the syntax, context, vocabulary, substance, and etymology of Scripture. There are no better words on a page than the Living Word speaking directly to the heart. Many good books will penetrate a reader’s mind, his perspective on life, or even move his feelings. But the Book containing the very words of the Most High God Himself will change the inner man of the heart and will impart what no man has words to teach, while renewing the mind and discerning the will of God for how to live. This is the transforming power of the Word of God, the Bible—the best literature-based learning around.
“Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2).
Who Made it so Complicated?!
I just looked up the word ‘literature,’ and did you know the word ‘literally’ means things made from letters? That’s pretty broad and could include anything . . . made with letters. (Duh?) Here’s the deal with me and literature: It just seems like an unnecessary thing to teach when a better way is to just read it. I know certain, brainiac-people care about the meter, protagonist, and antagonist, but I don’t.
I just want my kids to read. Some of my kids like to read classics, others like history, and one likes bugs and science. I don’t care if they can attach labels to their sentence parts. In fact, sometimes all those labels can ruin the story, along with the love of reading. Plus . . . who CARES?!?!
So, my very simple thoughts on this over-complicated subject are find the books your children enjoy reading and then just let them read! I don’t care if they’re hardcover, paperback, audio, electronic, or in magazine format. Things made from letters are things made from letters no matter how they come.
Note: We also have a few children who don’t find enjoyment in reading, and that’s OK too. We still make them read but are not distraught if they don’t ‘love’ doing so.
P.S. Need a great list of books for your children? Check out Jan Bloom’s book Who Should We Then Read?
A Tale of Dueling Definitions
When Definitions Differ
Some definitions are absolute. For instance, the definition of “three” will always be “one more than two.”
But “quality” is a different story.
Just because scholars label something a “classic” doesn’t mean it’s edifying, educational, or even appropriate.
Perhaps we need to start by defining quality. Merriam-Webster defines it as “a high level of value or excellence.”
Therein lies the problem . . .
Continuing with definitions, we recognize that the world defines “value” far differently than Scripture does.
One Hallmark of Homeschooling
One hallmark of homeschooling is our freedom to choose what is best for our children.
There are many works embraced by academics as “valuable” that I would not want to put in my own mind—much less in my children’s hands.
Think about some of the titles currently used in public school and other academic settings….
Some contain storylines that are ridiculously superficial; others are outright appalling.
We Must Choose Wisely
Literature is influential. It has the power to inspire growth and cultivate critical thinking. It also has the power to pervert and—dare I say—propagandize.
Rather than defer to the “experts” to decide what is worthy of our bookshelves, I encourage all of us to preview literary selections before placing them in the hands of our students.
Doing so led me to one of the greatest treasures now in our home library—The Wise Woman by George MacDonald.
I didn’t have to preview The Wise Woman for long before realizing its true value.
The story captivates readers through fantastical scenes . . . while it contrasts the ugliness of pride and selfishness with the beauty of humility and sacrifice.
My family loved it so much that I created an entire literary analysis journal for it.
We also loved Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.
In this “Age of Tolerance,” Lewis’ work can equip our children to know what they believe and why they believe it (and be able to defend those beliefs).
Give your students a simplified approach to the profound arguments found in Mere Christianity—take a look at the Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal.
P.S. Equip your students to write skillfully, think critically, and speak clearly as they explore the history of ideas—from a biblical worldview—with Philosophy Adventure.
About the author
Surprised by Jesus, Stacy went from an unmarried, childless, 30-something career woman to a Christ-following wife of more than twenty-eight years with two sons she homeschooled K-12. She battled fear and overwhelm, but survived and thrived. Author of more than ten books—including the award-winning Philosophy Adventure—she loves to equip and encourage homeschool families. Visit her at HomeschoolAdventure.com
Free Character-Building Digital Print Set
Heart training is hard work! Make it easier to incorporate into your daily routine with these beautiful quote graphics from George MacDonald’s classic fable, The Wise Woman. Display them throughout your home or wherever your children do their schoolwork!
Pillar of Future
Dan Beasley – What Will the Future of Homeschooling Look Like?
There is little doubt that when it comes to education, “the times, they are a-changin’.”
Homeschooling has played a critical role in providing parents with a tool to ensure their children receive a quality education despite the disruptions of the past two years, which have been as varied as they have been extreme.
As homeschooling continues to grow, school districts across the nation are reporting drops in enrollment. State legislators are hotly debating questions about education funding and school choice, while school districts are contemplating policies related to the school environment.
Though parents’ motivations and methods in homeschooling are diverse, they are united in one purpose: preparing their children to thrive. To do so, parents need liberty. Parents need the ability to make changes to their children’s schedule or curriculum when it’s best to do so, without the approval of a government bureaucrat.
As the public becomes more aware and accepting of homeschooling, it is important to remember that if it is to remain an effective tool, it must remain free.
While we don’t know what the future of homeschooling will look like, we know that it will always include parents who love both their children and liberty.
About the author
As an HSLDA staff attorney, Dan assists individual homeschooling families and advocates for homeschool freedom in the courts, legislature, and court of public opinion. Dan is also a homeschool graduate and homeschooling dad of four.
Do you have children ready for post-secondary education or interested in dual enrollment? You’ll want to check out the collection of schools and companies to make the transition smooth and enjoyable. Whether your kids are soon to be done with high school studies or equipped to take on higher education while still finishing high school, our upcoming email will have some exceptional options for them.
Don’t miss this special eBlast coming to your inbox on Monday.
Deborah Wuehler and Angela Quigley from The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine would love to meet you at the conference! Deborah will serve as a speaker as well. You can hear her speak on these topics:
- The Importance of the Bible in the Homeschool
- Reading Struggles & Overcoming Obstacles
- Homeschooling the Rebel
- Why The Teacher Should Be YOU!
- Homeschooling through Hardship
Check your dashboard today and sign up for special events exclusive to SchoolhouseTeachers.com members!
A division of The Old Schoolhouse®
Did you know?
Every class is INCLUDED for ultimate members!
Get to know the classics with the Exploring Literature course from SchoolhouseTeachers.com. This includes the texts online with read-aloud options. Geared toward middle and high school students, the focus is on developing critical thinking skills about what they read.
Read this article
in the spring issue of
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.
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Congratulations to Tina Ford from Grand Forks, North Dakota, who won our January giveaway!
for the month of March
Skunk Tales: Making Sense Of Scents A Family Devotional
Lynn Marie Hurtado
Skunk Tales: Making Sense of Scents is a genuine and enjoyable family devotional for all ages. Skunk Tales includes thirty-six chapters of original stories from the author, Lynn Marie. The book foreword, written by the author’s friend, has some encouraging insight for parents and includes Scripture. In the “About this Book” section, Lynn Marie explains her inspiration for the book and how to use the book with your children.
All thirty-six chapters of Skunk Tales are just the right length. I usually run into issues with family devotionals being too short with not enough substance for my older children while still captivating the attention of the younger ones. Skunk Tales was the perfect balance of engaging and entertaining. The chapters were lighthearted, relatable, insightful, and plainly applied Scripture in our lives. I loved how many of the stories in the book used animals as a topic. All my children enjoy nature and learning more about animals.
The Scripture choices for the chapters were spot on. At the end of each chapter is a section called “Pooky’s Timeout,” which has a few different enrichment activities for the chapter. The discussion questions are thought-provoking, and we had some excellent conversations because of it! More Scripture, worship songs, prayer, a fun activity, and a way to apply the theme of the chapter are included. I especially enjoyed the idioms for every chapter!
Read the full review on our site from a mom with lots of details about using this as their family devotional.
Go to the contest page of our site where you can ENTER TO WIN Skunk Tales: Making Sense Of Scents.
Building Brilliant Minds
FREE Download: The Top Ten Reasons to Study Architecture and the Arts. This freebie from Building Brilliant Minds includes a reading and supply list for young designers + BONUS tips. The music, art/literature and architecture courses provide students hands-on learning experiences with challenging projects. The courses encourage critical thinking, as students are coached to design creative solutions—all done “with an element of FUN!” Building Brilliant Minds is project-based learning with a purpose! Go to www.buildingbrilliantmindsonline.com for your copy!
This free product and more are found in our 2022 Freebie Directory: TOS Freebie Directory – The Old Schoolhouse®
The Value of Homeschool Conventions
Are you discouraged with aspects of homeschooling? Have you fallen behind schedule? Do you have curriculum that’s not working for you? Do the textbook choices in catalogs make your head spin? Do you feel alone in your tedious, daily endeavors? Would talking to an expert help you? Attending a homeschool convention could really perk you up and encourage you, while adding a whole new perspective to your home learning atmosphere!
In the pages of this WeE-book™, you’ll find answers to your questions and important insights, guiding your path to that rewarding homeschool convention experience.
Find more freebies at The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Store: Freebies Archives – The Old Schoolhouse®
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