Reading Classics Can Change Your Life

Ah, the classics. I am becoming head over heels in love with them. Funny how I wanted nothing to do with them as an adolescent. But now that I am older, and much wiser I might add, I see the importance in them.

I suppose it began with reading "A Christmas Carol" two years ago with my family, during the holidays. Charles Dickens' writing style, language, historical timeline and message was sent right to my heart. It is one of my favorite Christmas traditions now.

Gradually, with commitments to write my own stories and school my children, my desire has grown deeper to delve into the Classics. In the past year I have read with the girls,

"Little House on The Prairie",
"Farmer Boy",
"On the Banks of Plum Creek",
"By the shores of silver Lake",
"The Wizard of Oz"
"Charlie and The Chocolate Factory"
"The Glass Elevator" (okay these two aren't classics, but fun!)
"Alice In Wonderland"
And we are now reading:
"The Secret Garden"

Phew..that is a lot considering the year before we simply read those cardboard books with simple words like "Run dog! Run!". Obviously we still read those simple books, but it has been such a bonding experience reading kids classics.

We have a big world map in our kitchen and every time we start a book we discuss the places these character are. For example, Dorothy lived in Kansas, Mary Lennox was in India, and then moved to England, Alice as well lived in England, Laura Ingalls traveled the mid west. It is a super small geography lesson tied in.

Elly made a picture timeline for Alice in wonderland and put them in order. I'm still experimenting but there other learning projects that can be implemented such as cooking etc. And it is FUN!!

In addition I am trying to make time to read the classics myself. This is fresh goal, so not too much reading has been accomplished, but I have recently read "Anne Frank: The diary of a young girl" and am almost finished "Walden" by Henry David Thoureau. And because Thoreau can be a bit long winded I needed a story to wrap myself up in. Enter, "Uncle Tom's Cabin."by Harriet Beecher Stowe.

The latter book (Uncle Toms cabin) is such a tear jerker, and really makes you analyze just how kind hearted, judgmental and Christ like one is. And it has opened my eyes to history, freedom, love, respect, family and faith.

And on a side note, holy cow can these people write! Their vocabulary and description is out of this world, and I only hope mine will improve from their influence.

To me, an adult classic makes you think, analyze, gives a historical perspective, uses a wide range of vocabulary, and presses some serious issues pertaining to prejudices, racism, government, freedoms or lack of, ethics and faith.

Might I add in there that the most important classic is well known by the name of the Bible. I'd like to find a way to study the bible in the fashion I have done with my girls, with maps, timelines and cultural perspectives.

It is important. Us as a society has gone away from reading these great books, and I can only hope we recognize the importance of these treasured stories.


Celeste said…
I also find that i'm much more interested in classic literature that I wouldn't have been interested in when I was younger. Part of it for me is a maturity factor, but the rest is that I have a hard time doing 'required reading'.

I've recently discovered Edgar Rice Burroughs, and I absolutely love his writing style and the incredible descriptions he uses.

I love your idea about using the map. I've been trying to come up with a creative way to give the kids geography lessons.

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