For some parents it is a struggle to mo-
tivate children to read anything, let alone
a “dusty old” classic. In a last-ditch effort
to appeal to children’s baser emotions, it
sometimes seems like an acceptable com-
promise to feed children a steady diet of
Shredderman, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and
Captain Underpants. We tell ourselves,
“Well, at least they are reading.”
But if we don’t care what they are reading,
we may as well not care if they are reading
at all. It certainly matters if your child eats
something or nothing, but it also makes a
difference if you put dirt on their plate at
dinner, or lasagna; it matters too if you give
them nonsense to read about, or virtue.
They will consume it, but of what profit will
it be to them?
There are many benefits to an in-depth
study of literature (e.g., thinking and comprehension skills, vocabulary building,
etc.), but chief among them all is the chance
to know ourselves, to know man, to know
what it is to be human.
Instilling in children a love of good literature is a daunting task for a parent educator. After you leap the hurdle of convincing
them to pick up the book, you then have to
help them understand it. Even if you have
read the classic books, you might not remember the main story, let alone the details,
the themes, the truths that need to be sifted
through—the lessons that can be digested.
Literature study guides (see Memoria Press Literature Study Guides at www
. memoriapress.com/curriculum/literature-and-poetry/) not only help with vocabulary building, comprehension skills, and
writing practice, but they are also a guide
to help you and your student find your way
through the great works of western literature, to dissect ideas and discover themes;
to learn about the world inside the book
and out. Guided discussion questions and
answers will ensure that you won’t miss the
opportunity to point out the selfishness of
Edmund in The Lion, the Witch, and the
Wardrobe or the strength (both physical
and otherwise) of Beowulf.
So instead of sending your child to read
whatever strikes their fancy, next time hand
them a classic book that is great and beautiful, and avail yourself of the guides that
help you teach it.
Paul Schaeffer is a consultant for schools and
It matters if you give them nonsense to read about, or virtue.
homeschoolers and works as the assistant di-
rector of the Classical Latin School Association.
He is one of the few professionals in the clas-
sical education world that received a classical
education himself. He has studied philosophy
in Rome while helping run the International
Leadership Semester. He has taught middle
school, high school, and college-level Latin
internationally. In Louisville, Kentucky, he
led students through Homer’s Iliad and Odys-
sey and other great works at Highlands Latin
School. He is a regular contributor to The
Classical Teacher magazine.
They will consume it, but of what profit will it be to them?
Hey, Andrew! n
Teach Me Some Greek!
"Overall, this is an
for parents who
have no background
- Cathy Duffy, Christian Home
Educators’ Curriculum Manual
P.O. Box 882
Moline, IL 61266-0882
...the easy way to learn!