This post continues the discussion of Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn along with the Classical Mamas Read group led by Amy at Living and Learning at Home.
Chapter 8 – Principles for the Study of Literature
This chapter begins by describing culture as the products of a group’s work and thought. Language is the primary vehicle for transmitting culture, and family is the primary institution responsible for transmission of culture. Literature, therefore, is important because it is the way we pass knowledge down through generations. Knowledge of a culture is important because it helps us to understand the meaning behind words and the motivation of others as well as our place and purpose in this world.
There, however, is a lot of writing out there. So, how do we decide if something is worth taking the time to read? What makes a classic? Is age the only source of merit? The Bluedorns state that a classic is defined as being of good form and lasting value. There are classics from each period in history, and there are modern classics. For me, the good news is that the Bluedorns say it is ok not to read every single book on those long lists of classics you find all over the place!
Although I got a good education, there were a lot of classic books I missed along the way. A lot of them. Now, as an adult, I feel like I need to go back and read every single one of them along with all of the other new books that pop onto my list. Honestly, I feel like I could retire today, do nothing but read, and still not finish that list. So, if I took anything away from this chapter of worth, it is that it’s ok to pick and choose as long as you choose the best for you from that list. (Last year I even let myself stop reading a book in the middle because I was not enjoying it and felt like I was wasting valuable time that could go towards reading something I liked much more.) So, try to read in each of the 4 categories of literature: faith, fact, fiction, and fantasy. Soak up the best of each of these, and mostly importantly – enjoy the read.