I recently purchased a beautifully illustrated book of 142 of Aesop’s Fables. I love the lessons these parables teach, but I have some questions. First, is Aesop classified as literature or history or character development or something else? Second, how do I deal with all the references to Jupiter? Third, how would anyone recommend teaching the fables? Do I just read one a week and discuss or have them narrate? Do I spend more than one week on one fable?
I love the idea of incorporating these great tales into our days, but I’m kind of stuck on how to go about it.
I’ve included some Aesop’s fables in the Ancient Greece study. In that case I listed them under History, but I can see how they could be classified as Lit or Personal Development too. Use them wherever you have a need.
I like to read one per week and have the child retell it or draw a picture of it.
I don’t recall the fables I selected as referring to Jupiter a lot. Can you give some title examples? I’m curious if my version has those references too, or if it’s something particular to the book you have.
My book is called “Aesop’s Fables for Children”, illustrated by Milo Winter. In looking through some of the other forums on this topic on SCM, several families are already using this book, from what I gather. Some titles that mention Greek gods are: The Owl and the Grasshopper, The Frogs Who Wished for a King, The Plane Tree (a lesson I really like), Mercury and the Woodman, The Eagle and the Beetle, and there are still others.
We aren’t going to do any history yet, I don’t think. My kiddos are just 5.5 and 4, so we’ll wait a year or so. I’m using the planner I got in the mail right now to plan out our next year. I just bought this book and I really want to use it, so I’m just trying to figure out how.
I considered Aesop fables as literature, but like so many things, they can overlap into other areas. I used the fables for two primary functions: to teach narration and to build a foundation of cultural literacy.
The fables are so short and rather easy to narrate. I didn’t worry if my child didn’t understand the moral of the story, but was content with a narration of the tale.
There are so many references in our lives and in other literature to the fables that I wanted my children to have the know the tales.
The cultural literacy aspect grew organically into personal development lessons. I can say to my child who is pulling pranks, “Remember the boy who cried wolf,” and he will know what I mean. I don’t need to give a lecture about truthtelling. The fables give the family a common vocabulary and references when it comes to the moral of the stories, and this has come in handy!
I have a nicely illustrated book of the fables and also a Dover coloring book. My son liked to color the picture of the fable after narration. (My daugher didn’t particularly like the fables. I think they were too short to engage her.)
We read and narrated the fables 2-3 times a week until we got through the book. While they aren’t my favorite tales to read, I’m glad we did it.Sonya ShaferModerator
I see what you mean. My version has those references too. Funny they never stood out to me before. I’m glad you mentioned it. I guess I just always used the fables that didn’t contain references to Greek gods. I think my first inclination (and this is just a personal opinion) would be to try to reword the fable to keep the story line but eliminate the false god.
I’m curious what everybody else does.Rachel WhiteParticipant
We started reading these when the children were around five, but they were listening to it on cd way before then. I noticed it wasn’t until these past 2 years that the ‘moral’ of the story started to kick in and they recall these on their own when a situation reminds them.
As for the false gods; my children knew it was paganism and breaking numerous Commands given by G-d and the specific one of Idolatry. Early on they have known about paganism through reading the Scripture. There’s many examples from Scripture to show the struggle of the Israelites and the pagans that surrounded them. We talked about how people used to make up their own gods to make an idol to, they were already familiar with G-d’s Mighty acts against the gods of baal in Israel and the gods of Egypt. If your children are familiar with such stories of the Exodus plagues and their relation to Egyptian beliefs, The Golden Calf and the fire from Heaven with Elijah, Samson and Delilah, the account of The Maccabees, among many others, then they can talk about Roman paganism in Aesop, IMO.
Now, I don’t immerse my children in those cultures through teaching Egyptian, Greek and Roman History yet; their exposure through Scripture and from various classical children’s books are sufficient at this time. They are 8 and 9 yrs. old. If my children showed signs of confusion about Our Mighty G-d’s Power v/s the idols, then I wouldn’t let them read some things.
Hope this perspective helps,
Thanks, that helps! My kids are so young, they don’t know what paganism is yet. To them, there isn’t a God outside of the Jesus they know and love to sing about. Maybe I could just eliminate those fables??? Except some of them have really good lessons to teach! I don’t know, but I’ve just scheduled that book for 24 weeks this year, so I better figure something out!MamasongMember
We use the edition illustrated by Milo Winter as well. Like Sonya, we just skip over the ones with false gods in them. The children notice them when they’re older and by that time they understand why we skipped them when they were younger. There are so many wonderful ones to use that I don’t feel badly for skipping a few.
I agree with the other Rachel (mamasong) about just skipping the objectional ones while they’re younger and let your children grow with the fables, introducing the others as you see fit. I don’t think there’s a need to chunk the entire book for later.
BTW, we also have the Milo Winter’s version, it is excellent.
We read the Milo Winter version when my oldest boys were 5 and 6. They loved them and we did read all of them. They would say “that’s not the real God though”. If they didn’t point it out themselves, I brought it up and we discussed it. The scriptures are full of worshipping of idols and false gods (which the boys had listened to since teeny tiny) and we just used the Fables as another chance to talk about it. Each family is different and comfortable with different things – that was just us. We need to pull them out in another year or two because the younger ones haven’t heard them yet.
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