Choosing a literature program for your teens isn’t the easiest thing in the world, and neither are actually having the class and getting teens to read the books. Making these tasks even harder, I’ve found, is that homeschool moms and co-op teachers often have some ideas about literature that sabotage all of their good efforts.
Read on to see if you have avoided believing these three myths about homeschool literature. And before I forget, check out the link at the end of this article for your FREE download of the first two chapters of our exciting new literature textbook available summer 2015!
1. My teen should read all the classics. Do you know what’s in all those books?! Most of what we call classics today were never meant to be read by teens. Many classics deal with adult issues and often include situations or viewpoints you might not want your student to read, at least not without adult guidance. For instance, H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds includes a religious figure who represents Christianity and is weak, muddled, and puts the main character in danger. If an informed adult or literature program does not point this out and show how it is inconsistent with true Christianity, your student might end up believing that God is weak and ineffective in times of trouble.
Do not underestimate the power of fiction to affect your children’s hearts and minds.
The classics aren’t sacred. Yes, many of them are beautiful or show something meaningful about life, as the powerful sacrifice and resurrection themes in Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, but others might have very little redeeming value to them for the Christian teen reader. If you find your teens are reacting negatively to something in the novel, play, or short story they’re reading—like becoming depressed or adopting beliefs contrary to those in Scripture—choose another classic. Be discerning.
2. My teen should like every literature book he reads. Not happening. However, if you’ve chosen a novel, play, short story, or poem for a particular reason, make sure your student understands the value of the story, whether it be its theme, beauty, writing style, life lessons, and so forth.
3. My teen reads popular fiction. That’s all she needs. Relying on popular novels for a literature class is like eating pizza, hot dogs, and chips for every meal; sure, it’s food, but it won’t give your teen the literary nutrition she needs nor will it encourage her to flex her mind.
And, as best-selling Japanese author Haruki Murakami says, “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” Is that really what you want for your teen?
Exciting news! Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide, due out the summer of 2015, will unlock the secrets of literature for your students! Click here for your FREE download of the first two chapters of our new literature course! Give it a try!
Yours for a more vibrant literature class,
Copyright © 2014 by Sharon Watson
Image courtesy of Maciej Szczepaniak, free-photos.biz
What do you do for a successful literature class?
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