Topic | Questions about Literature

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  • Charmayne
    Participant

    Hello… I am looking to know some questions about literature.

    I looked briefly in the SCM blog for this topic but couldn’t seem to find it. If you know of an article that would answer my questions, please link it here. Thank you.

    Firstly, what is the purpose of literature in a CM education?

    Secondly, does a person have to include all the literature books that people suggest in the various grades?

    I am actually looking for validation to NOT include some of the books I have used previously. I don’t like some of their ideas. Also, I find some of the books suggested by other CM curriculums contain very adult ideas that I just don’t feel are right for my children. I feel they can read them later on if they so chose when they are ready and have the mental, emotional and spiritual development they need.  (And having seen my children go through high school and seeing the literature they read, it is all about a person’s choices and comes from a negative perspective. I don’t know why they don’t give alternative ideas to combat that.)

    Lastly, is there a list other than The Good and Beautiful curriculum that shares about books regarding whether they take the Lord’s name in vain, bad attitudes of the characters, etc that I can look at and learn from?

    Thank you. I appreciate any wisdom you may have.

    retrofam
    Participant

    Notgrass history has a little bit of information and alternative choices in their parent guides for their history/literature courses.

    Diana Waring’s book choices are a little better in that department.

    I’m using some of Christian Light and Rod and Staff’s novels. They are clean but many talk about martyrs and don’t sugarcoat it.

    alphabetika
    Participant

    “Secondly, does a person have to include all the literature books that people suggest in the various grades?”

    I want to address just this portion of your post. As simplistic as it may sound, a person doesn’t have to include *anything* that people suggest. People’s suggestions are just that: suggestions. What is appropriate and desirable for one family may be completely different in another, and even within the same family. As a literature example from my own homeschooling experience, I am making some different choices in the literature I use with my youngest daughter because her personality, preferences and sensitivities are different than those of her older sisters. My aim is to present her with information, but, more importantly, ideas, that will resonate with her and hopefully spark her mind and heart.  Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don’t. It’s the homeschool risk we take. *cue dramatic music*

    To be honest, thinking about a Charlotte Mason education is much more interesting to me when I consider it in terms of a philosophy to bring to all of life and the choices I make in whatever learning materials we use, rather than a specific set of materials. It’s very helpful at times to have specific materials listed, but it’s not a formula, in the sense that using these materials with Child A will have the same effect as using them with Child B, and so on through Child C, D, E, F, etc. Because children are born persons. Living books for living people, feeling hearts, growing minds, enlarging souls. For me, the process is infinitely more interesting than the tools or “the product,” since our children aren’t products and we can’t predict that part anyway!

    Just a rambling bit of my thought process on this Saturday morning. Learn in freedom!

    Crystal
    Participant

    I love your answers Alphebetika. I would love to have coffee with you.

    1. I think the purpose of literature in a CM education is to expand the hearts and minds of our children.  In the beginning to fill them with good, beautiful, and true ideas that help them become who they are meant to be.  To introduce them to people and places and cultures that they could never meet in life.  To give them a love for God, people and the world.  Secondly, however, I think as they mature literature can then be used to help them identify wrong ideas, to see how ideas have consequences, to identify the worldviews of these ideas.  Because they have been filled with good, true, and beautiful the more mature and difficult ideas can be used for thinking, discussing and evaluating what is right. Weighing those ideas against what they know to be true.

    2. You could never include all of the books on all of the wonderful lists you read.  I cannot even get to all of the books on my self made list!  Pick and choose.  Add what is right at the right time for the right kid.  I never made my son read any Jane Austen, but I am looking forward to reading her with my daughter.  I have really loved Honey for a Child’s Heart and Honey for a Teen’s Heart.  The lists in those books are pretty detailed and I have felt comfortable trusting it for my kids when I cannot pre-read their books.

    Literature is very personal I think.  It speaks to us so deeply and becomes part of our thinking.  I don’t believe you can compile one list that is right for everyone.  The idea, to me, is to introduce students to a wide variety of ideas and people.  “The question is not – how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education – but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care?  In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?” – CM.  I want my kids to find themselves in a very large room.

    Charmayne
    Participant

    Good morning ladies… I am being very blessed by what you are sharing… it is very encouraging… I want to speak to each of you, but I will wait when I have a moment to respond back.

    I do have a question as I don’t think I truly understand what this quote means… maybe I do, but I want to be sure… would you mind sharing what this means?

    “The question is not – how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education – but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care?  In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?”

    Crystal
    Participant

    In other words, it is not so much how much algebra your student can do.  Or how many important historic dates they can recite.  But how many interests does he have.  Can he appreciate music, poetry, politics, nature, math, grammar, football, etc.  Can he have conversations and enjoy the company of all ages and backgrounds of people.  Is he interesting because he has many interests.  Can he take pleasure in discussing astronomy with uncle, hymns with grandma, and Dr. Seuss with nephew.  A well-rounded individual is our aim, not a receptacle for facts.  That is the best I can do.  Maybe someone else will add to it. Charlotte said it so beautifully.

    Here is a Charlotte quite specifically about literature:

    “As for literature – to introduce children to literature is to install them in a very rich and glorious kingdom, to bring a continual holiday to their doors, to lay before them a feast exquisitely served. But they must learn to know literature by being familiar with it from the very first. A child’s intercourse must always be with good books, the best that we can find.”

    Charmayne
    Participant

    Crystal, Do those books you use to find good literature have a website with a list of books that a person can print out?

    Crystal
    Participant

    Hi Charmayne.  No there isn’t a website that I am aware of.  Though there are plenty of free lists on the internet!  Here is an amazon link:

    https://www.amazon.com/s?k=honey+for+a+child%27s+heart&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

    Charmayne
    Participant

    Thank you Retrofam for your suggestions. I appreciate it.

    Charmayne
    Participant

    Thank you Aplhabetika,

    I really appreciate what you have shared. I have been homeschooling a long time, but have regularly fallen for the wrong reason for choosing books ~ to follow someone’s sugestions, rather than what I feel in my heart to do. I was so touched by this statement you made, “My aim is to present her with information, but, more importantly, ideas, that will resonate with her and hopefully spark her mind and heart.” THAT is what I have wanted to do – to spark my children’s hearts and minds, especially for that which is noble and good and truth and beauty,  but I have felt I had to keep up with what the experts said I needed to do, what they say I need to cover…and I was scared of the “what if my children miss out.” Thank you for sharing this with me.

    You shared, “To be honest, thinking about a Charlotte Mason education is much more interesting to me when I consider it in terms of a philosophy to bring to all of life and the choices I make in whatever learning materials we use, rather than a specific set of materials. It’s very helpful at times to have specific materials listed, but it’s not a formula, in the sense that using these materials with Child A will have the same effect as using them with Child B, and so on through Child C, D, E, F, etc. Because children are born persons. Living books for living people, feeling hearts, growing minds, enlarging souls. For me, the process is infinitely more interesting than the tools or “the product,” since our children aren’t products and we can’t predict that part anyway!” Wow! How well said. You are so right. Again, you spoke what I was feeling but didn’t know how to put into words. And to make a distinction between each child we have is so important. Thank you! Yes, again, I have wanted to tailor my book choices to my children and the required list was what was keeping me back, but once I read your wise “ramblings” I realized that choosing literature – yes, is to share about the times in history etc… but it is about developing character in our children. Thank you so much for your encouragement.

    ” Learn in freedom!” Thank you! I will!

    Charmayne
    Participant

    Crystal! I too would love to have coffee with you ladies! You all are so helpful and kind and thoughtful.

     

    You shared, “I think the purpose of literature in a CM education is to expand the hearts and minds of our children.  In the beginning to fill them with good, beautiful, and true ideas that help them become who they are meant to be.  To introduce them to people and places and cultures that they could never meet in life.  To give them a love for God, people and the world.  Secondly, however, I think as they mature literature can then be used to help them identify wrong ideas, to see how ideas have consequences, to identify the worldviews of these ideas.  Because they have been filled with good, true, and beautiful the more mature and difficult ideas can be used for thinking, discussing and evaluating what is right. Weighing those ideas against what they know to be true. ” I am going to copy this and keep it for me to read each time I choose my literature books. So well said and clear! And what I have wanted to do. I know that I don’t have to follow a specific list but tweak it to what my children need based on their development and maturity.

    Thank you for sharing the book list resources. I had the first one, but didn’t have the second one, therefore, I ordered it.

    “Literature is very personal I think.  It speaks to us so deeply and becomes part of our thinking.  I don’t believe you can compile one list that is right for everyone.  The idea, to me, is to introduce students to a wide variety of ideas and people.”  I have not heard this idea that literature is personal shared much, but I think it is true, just as music or art can be personal also. Thank you!

    Charmayne
    Participant

    Crystal,

    Thank you for explaining how you understand that quote. I really like how you describe it… it is how many interests a child has.” … And I think you expressed it beautifully … “In other words, it is not so much how much algebra your student can do.  Or how many important historic dates they can recite.  But how many interests does he have.  Can he appreciate music, poetry, politics, nature, math, grammar, football, etc.  Can he have conversations and enjoy the company of all ages and backgrounds of people.  Is he interesting because he has many interests.  Can he take pleasure in discussing astronomy with uncle, hymns with grandma, and Dr. Seuss with nephew.  A well-rounded individual is our aim, not a receptacle for facts.” AMEN! YES! That makes sense. Thank you..

    Thank you for the quote about literature.  I had not read this one or at least remembered reading it. It is a beautiful way of describing literature.

    Charmayne
    Participant

    Thank you Crystal for the link. I appreciate your help.

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