From the editor: Welcome to the first edition of our “Ask Andrew” column. In this debut edition Mr. Kern answers two questions about teaching literature. To submit your own “Ask Andrew” question please click here.
From Donna in Plano, TX
After reading “Watch your Assumptions” , what grammar book do you recommend for the advanced student (high school level) that covers both parts of speech as well as punctuation rules?
I would recommend Harvey’s Grammar if he is independent and Warriner’s English Grammar and Composition (the oldest edition possible!)
From Sharon in South Carolina
Is it necessary to teach a 3rd grader D’Aulaires’Greek Myths Course? I want to provide my chidlren with a Christian, classical education…but need to know how necessary it is to teach them these myths about false gods at the age of 8, etc. This is recommended by Memoria Press to begin a child’s classical education…I was researching it, and just not sure if it is necessary…what is your oppinion on this? How would it benefit him in a Christian, Classical Education?
It is not necessary to teach anything at the same time to every student. Therefore it is not necessary to teach D’Aulaire’s to your child in third grade.
However, it is necessary to teach classical mythology to your children if you want them to be educated. For one thing, it permeates our culture (movies, advertising, brands, cliche’s etc.) and they frequently won’t know what people are talking about if they don’t know mythology.
For another, CS Lewis can’t be understood without a background in mythology, which he “baptizes” to tell his stories. In doing so he is part of a Christian tradition that weaves back through John Milton and Dante. Consequently, even Christian literature can’t be understood if we don’t know classical mythology.
For a third (and there are many, many more than I can enumerate here), the stories reveal things about human nature that nothing else makes as clear. For example, Homer’s Iliad is about anger and pride and the human love of honor and glory. It’s a vivid mirror held up to nature.
Fourth, the Bible tells us to give honor to whom it is due. Homer was the greatest poet who ever lived, so we are bound to give him the honor due him for that. D’Aulaire prepares for reading Homer later.
Finally, it’s safe for Christians to read classical mythology because we know these gods are just story characters. Pagans might well believe in them, so they, by the grace of God, spend less time reading them than Christian societies do. Myths make great stories that you can contrast and compare with the revealed truth of scripture. But they’re “just stories.”
Does that help?