Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Great Books for Homeschoolers

Apparently the group that Mortimer Adler founded to promote the original Great Books collection put out by Brittanica now has a pre-K through 12 homeschool curriculum.

I must say, I'm fairly impressed with their reading list. One of my concerns about some of the classical curriculum groups has been that they don't seem to be ambitious enough with what they have students read in the older grades. You can't fault this group for lack of ambition, though.

Though I think I'd go further into literature and not as far into philosophy. I think there's a gread deal of value in having a high schooler read books like Paradise Lost, Brothers Karamazov, Dante, and a number of other longer works of literature that this Great Books program skips than there is in having a high schooler tackle Hume, Kant and Locke. I suppose this violates the very spirit of the great books program, but it seems to me like those three especially (and modern philosophy in general) requires a more general education in philosophy before it's worthwhile reading. (I first read them in college, and felt like I didn't actually have enough background then, though perhaps now I'd do better.) Literature, however, speaks a more universal language -- and this particular reading list seems pretty thin on post-Classical literature, except for a raft-load of Shakespeare.


The Opinionated Homeschooler said...

Interesting observation about later literature and classical hs'ing curriculums. Our local classical group had a discussion ages back about modern literature for kids--not children's books--and we came up with some interesting choices. My own dear Offspring #1 had an early taste for Kafka, which she found outrageously funny (I gather Kafka had the same reaction to his own work), and read The Metamorphosis a dozen times when she was six. I'll have to dig through the archives and see what else people recommended.

Amber said...

I am inclined to agree with you - I think reading the novels you mentioned would probably be time better spent at that age. I think that the philosophers would be a more worthwhile read with a greater amount of background and context. I read them in college with some of that sort of information and it was largely a rewarding experience. Not that you couldn't give that sort of info in a HS homeschooling setting, but there are limits to the amount of time (and energy!) available...