The Classical Homeschooler
About Classical Mythology
Students love to read vivid tales of heroes, monsters, and adven- ture. Parents love to see their kids learning note-taking skills and
time management while they bolster
exam skills and research paper writing.
Soon students are thirsty to read more,
visit art museums, and maybe even go see
a Greek tragedy. So when I teach homeschool students Classical mythology, all
offer rave reviews. Alas, relatively few
students enroll each semester. Through
the years I’ve come to understand that
this subject has a public relations problem: Too many people believe the three
myths about Classical mythology.
Myth #1: Classical mythology is
meant for younger students.
What’s not to like? Indulge your imagination with tales of Jason and the Argonauts as they outwit the serpent and steal
the Golden Fleece. Construe your own
heroic escapes from the Cyclops, Cerberus, and Charybdis. Cheer or boo the
literature is like pulling
half the blocks out of a
building’s foundation. It
may not fall down, but it
will sure be full of holes.
crafty Greeks as they outwit the Trojans
with a wooden horse.
Rick Riordan has a huge following of
young fans who adore how he’s applied
Classical mythology to the fictional lives
of modern teenage heroes. These stories
are a lot of fun, but can mythology bring
more to the table for older students than
Outside the sporadic head-sprouting
Hydra, man-eating turtle, or deadly
gorgon, the subject matter of Classi-
cal literature requires the maturity of a
student who is well into the logic stage
and is ready to express himself coherently
as he reasons through the complexities of
the story at hand. A younger student can
memorize scads of mythological names,
get a kick out of Odysseus outwitting the
Cyclops, or cheer on Theseus fighting the
Minotaur. Yet he will likely misinterpret
Achilles’ rage, fail to understand Hecu-
ba’s desolation, misconstrue Clytemnes-
tra’s revenge, and miss the mark on Oedi-
pus’s hubris. Simply put, many Classical
stories are PG- 13.