Start A Classical Education At Home Through Literature

A generation ago many students would attend a Liberal Arts college and then move forward in whatever profession of their choice. Now students often specialize in STEM degrees and miss out on a classical education in college. Knowing that this is probably the future of your child, you can follow these tips to give your child a classical education at home.

Know Your Purpose

A classical education is about teaching wisdom and virtue. The goal is not to teach your child what to think, but rather how to think. A main idea of this method of teaching is that you can make sense of a situation or of the world if you have enough knowledge and understanding.

Use the Best Literature

If at all possible do NOT use abridged versions, or children's versions, of classic literature. Many such books, such as Heidi, The Secret Garden, and the Call of the Wild were written for children, or with children in mind. If your child is unable to read himself, then read the book to him.

Talk about how to story could have changed or what he would have done in a particular situation. Don't ask questions with a yes or no answer. Instead ask things like:

            Why do you think Heidi was not afraid of Alm Uncle?

            How does Heidi bring light to blind grandmother?

            How would you feel about exploring Mr. Cravens big house?

            Is Mary Lennox, Colin Craven or Dickon Sowerby the most important character in the book? Why?

            Is Buck's life better on the ranch or in the wild?

            What human traits does Buck have?

Introduce Two Daily Reading Times

Reading needs to be a big part of your day. Try to have two different reading times each day.

Regularly have family reading time. This is where the parent reads a book out loud to the children. You can read for a set amount of time or number of pages or chapters in a book. You need to read classics out loud to your children so they learn to understand the language. Vernacular has changed a lot in the last hundred years, and your kids will need help to learn to understand the language of the classics.

Don't forget personal reading time. This is a time when each person can choose to read whatever he or she wants to. This is going to work best if the parent is reading at the same time as the child. Your child will learn more about the importance of reading if he sees you reading regularly instead of just hearing your talk about reading. 

To learn more about classical education, contact a company like Classical Academic Press