Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Great Books


Worldview Academy's Jeff Baldwin has developed a home school curriculum for high school students on the Great Books. Covering the Ancient, Medieval, Reformation and Modern periods, each over the course of a school year, students take part in the Great Conversation of Western Culture as they encounter the classic works and thinkers whose ideas have shaped and changed the world around us. Jeff Baldwin and Mark Bertrand have written study guides for many of the essential titles, which are available to buy on the website. If you are an educator, a home schooling parent, or someone interested in reading through the best books Western Culture has to offer, check out TheGreatBooks.com

10 comments:

Anna said...

I think that having high school students read these classics, instead of the junk they teach in schools, is really important. Does no one read Robinson Crusoe anymore? :)

Were you homeschooled? I don't remember you ever saying.

Jacob said...

Not only was I home schooled, but I was one of those over-achiever home schoolers who graduated a year early.

I agree: students would be far better off if they read these (rightly called) great books.

I have also come to the conclusion that it also matters when you introduce these books. I read several books by Dickens when I was in jr. high and early high school, and frankly, I did not really "get it." Great Expectations was not only much more enjoyable when I reread it the summer after I graduated, but I understood it better as well.

Laura said...

Bah! Great Expectations! We had to read that freshman year of high school -- talk about not understanding a lick of what I read.

Jacob said...

It's not that bad, Laura. Granted, I don't anticipate reading it again any time soon...

Laura said...

I'm sure it's great, but you are definitely right about introducing great books at an appropriate age, and with appropriate preparation -- which is why the classical system of education works, n'est-ce pas?

Jacob said...

Sie sind richtig!

Jeff Baldwin made the point that he doesn't let his jr. high students read Romeo and Juliet because he does not think they are ready to think critically about the ideas and themes found in it.

Laura said...

R&J is so far beyond junior high students... wow. My mom's advanced 8th graders read Much Ado About Nothing one year -- I think it's generally better to start the young'uns off on the comedies, really.

I think the first "Great Book" I ever loved was The Scarlet Letter, and that wasn't until junior year of high school! I mean, I read Huck Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird and Uncle Tom's Cabin before that, but mostly because I was a pretentious upstart.

Jacob said...

The Odyssey was the first one I really enjoyed. I first read it in college for our Freshman Rhetoric and Great Books class.

Much Ado....which one is that? I've seen a handful of comedies, including that one, and can't keep them all straight.

Laura said...

Much Ado... is the one with Beatrice and Benedick, who are the most hilarious second bananas in literary history, I think. It's an odd phenomenon to read Shakespeare and feel as though everything you're reading is a tired cliche... until you remember that Shakespeare invented those cliches. Beatrice and Benedick start out hating each other, and their sharp verbal sparring turns their hatred into love. Fabulous.

Jacob said...

Ok, I remember now. I've seen that one, Twelfth Night and As You Like It, all put on by a group of students at my college, independent of the theater department (which did perform The Tempest while I was there).