Monday, May 30, 2011

Classics, not Textbooks

My absolute favorite thing about homeschooling this past year has been reading classic books with the children - books that aren't boring, "fluffy," mindnumbing, obscene, silly, or useless (in my opinion.) Real, living books. I realize that the definition of a classic is somewhat subjective; everyone's classics list will be different. I have read that "A 'classic' is a work — be it literature, music, art, etc. — that’s worth returning to over and over because you get more from it each time." I also believe that true classics bring us closer to Christ. They uplift, ennoble, inspire, elevate our minds, teach truth, refine our tastes, and heighten our spiritual senses. "If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy, we seek after these things." That has been the standard by which we have tried to select the books we read.

If you didn't know by now, I am very much a list person. So here is a list of the classic books we read aloud together this year:

The Cricket in Times Square
The Wizard of Oz
Number the Stars
Prince Caspian
The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh
Tales of Peter Rabbit and His Friends
The Velveteen Rabbit
The Trumpet of the Swan
Little Britches
Man of the Family
Mary Emma and Company
Walt Disney (Childhood of Famous Americans series)
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Alice Through the Looking Glass
Sarah, Plain and Tall
The Jungle Book
The Year Money Grew on Trees
Just So Stories
Mr. Popper's Penguins
Island of the Blue Dolphins
Little House in the Big Woods
Little House on the Prairie
On the Banks of Plum Creek
Farmer Boy
The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
The Door in the Wall
The Story of Dr. Dolittle
Stuart Little
The Princess and the Goblin
The Princess and Curdie
Morning Girl
My Father's Dragon
The Secret Garden
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Treasure Island

This does not include the shorter books we read as we studied history, math, science, art and music, which literally number in the hundreds. What an incredible journey it has been to wander through ancient Egypt, split the atom, explore Pascal's triangle, see the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, lose ourselves in Mozart's symphonies, and so much more...

"A book is a garden, an orchard, a storehouse, a party, a company by the way, a counsellor, a multitude of counsellors." ~Henry Ward Beecher


Jana said...

It sounds like a successful first year! I love the comment made by one of your boys in the last post, begging to do school please! That is when you know you have got it right! Instilling a love for learning is what it's all about. Love it! Thanks for sharing your book list. I had forgotten some of those wonderful titles and am now in the planning stages for next year. Thanks for the reminders!

jadell said...

I totally recommend you read "The Invention of Hugo Cabret". It's a wonderful book that {A} and I both enjoyed.
Thanks for reminders of wonderful books. I was just thinking of what {A} could read this summer, here is a great list of ideas!

Mrs.Smith said...

Awesome! And hello, nice to meet you. :) Thanks for leaving a little comment on my blog recently -- I'm so happy to have found yours! I reeeeeeeeally needed a little kick in the homeschool pants because I've been pretty much unschooling kids this last year. I hate unschooling and I really didn't *mean* to, it just happened. Better than public school? I don't know. At any rate, it definitely made me rethink whether or not (a) I am capable of homeschooling these many Smithlings and (b) it's the best option.
Sorry I'm rambling. This was supposed to be a quick thank-you for instilling me with a little "it can be done" inspiration. I love love love your blog.

Andelin said...

Hey, we started reading The wizard of Oz today. So I guess I am doing one thing right. So, one down, 399 to go, right? Please...share with me your wisdom! I would love to have children who beg to do school (at home).