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 Glen Burnie, Maryland




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The Old Schoolhouse Magazine


February 6, 2013 


Yes, You Can Teach Literature!



Deborah's  Picture
Deborah Wuehler and family


Yes, you can teach Literature! This is probably one of the easiest and most rewarding teaching assignments. But what is Literature and how do you teach it?


Merriam-Webster's definition: Literature (3 a (1): writings in prose or verse; especially: writings having excellence of form or expression and expressing ideas of permanent or universal interest.


What we should implement from that definition is that the literature we choose or allow our children to choose should be excellent in form or expression and in agreement with our own Biblical and family values. There is a lot of junk out there, so I always carefully monitor what the children are reading to make sure it is excellent. I also have the children analyze the literature for the worldview that is presented, or we talk about what views are presented as we read aloud.


You can build a desire in your child for excellent literature by making sure you expose them to it even when they are very young. If they are not old enough to read it themselves with comfort, then you read aloud or obtain the audio version. You don't want to wait until they are old enough to read it for themselves, but get it in as early as possible. Choose literature geared toward your older children and even the younger ones will pick up the meanings of words in context, and they will also increase their vocabulary.


There are a myriad of product reviews on Literature Curriculum here.


And, above all else, don't forget to read the Bible aloud to the kids and while you're at it, stop and talk about it. The history, classic stories, poetry, and wisdom included here far outweigh any other classic. This is the best learning for life. It is the breath of God in written form, and where the breath of God is, there is life for you, for your children, and for your homeschool. It is the very basis of keeping your children Home Where They Belong.



TOS Senior Editor  


P.S. Does your life and homeschooling leave you feeling like you have hurdles to jump that are just too high for you right about now? February's Editorial, Overcoming Hurdles, should help you jump just a little higher and overcome those hurdles. Video also included. 




The Eternal Argument
Western Literature is really one big argument--who's in charge?  This framework will help you study literature MEANINGFULLY!  Click and save 10% with TOSFEBEA. 


Advertisement Corner


Many of us love a good book. But how can you help your children understand what makes some books stand out above the rest? How do you explain conflict and plot, setting and characters, or literary devices and theme? Are these topics only for older students, or can younger students enjoy adventures into the world of literature?


Let Literature Teacher Adam Andrews answer all of those questions for you. His monthly literature lessons will lead you through a classic piece of literature each month. He will show you the various levels of conflict in each story, break down the plot, and help you explore the setting. He will examine the motivations of the characters, highlight the literary devices used, and help your students identify the theme.

Literature lesson  

And he will do it through classic children's stories such as The Story of Ferdinand, Misty of Chincoteague, and The Cricket in Times Square as well as classics written by C.S. Lewis, George MacDonald, and J.R.R. Tolkien.


In addition, Adam will show you how to represent much of what you've learned on story charts--a visual way to grasp the different facets of the piece of literature and how they work together to create a classic story.


Come, do your literature homework with us. It's as easy as Point. Click. Teach.


Join during our membership sale and gain access to a dozen lessons from Adam Andrews in our archives and enjoy a new lesson each month. Join today for only $49. But hurry--just like a good book, it will end sooner than you want it to.


Bonnie Rose Hudson

Editorial Assistant



Join Today  

The Familyman

Todd Wilson
Todd Wilson
Todd Wilson, Familyman Ministries 

Here's the deal with me and literature: I just want my kids to read. Some of my kids like to read classics, others like history, and one likes bugs and science. I don't care if they can or cannot attach labels to their sentence parts . . . I just want them to love reading.


So, my very simple thoughts on this over-complicated subject are: find the books your children enjoy reading and then . . . just let them read!


*Note--We also have a few children who don't find enjoyment in reading, and that's OK too. We still make them read but are not distraught if they don't "love" doing so.


Be real,



P.S. Need a great list of books for your children? Check out Jan Bloom's book Who Should We Then Read?




Two Great Homeschool Conventions! Don't Miss the SouthEast Homeschool Convention, March 14 - 16, 2013, Greenville, SC; and the MidWest Homeschool Convention, April 4 - 6, 2013, Cincinnati, OH. Encouraging and informative workshops! Huge exhibit hall! Amazing featured speakers! Comedian--Tim Hawkins! Abortion Survivor--Gianna Jessen! MidWest Only--Dr. Ron Paul!




 Be encouraged, enlightened, and 

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2013 Print Book

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over 275 pages in this full color one-of-a-kind print magazine for homeschoolers, by homeschoolers. 

This is a magazine you'll refer to again and again. 


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Excellence in Literature helps you teach college-prep classic literature to your high school students, even if you don't know Virginia Woolf from Beowulf. This self-directed course presents classic literature in its historic, artistic, and cultural context, with weekly lesson plans and a rubric to help you provide constructive feedback.


Diana Waring
Diana Waring

Relational Homeschooling 


Dear Friends,


Before we start, I want to share a secret. On February 14, we are going to offer a free gift to my newsletter subscribers.  The gift will only be available for one day and only for subscribers. It's our way of expressing our heart of gratitude for you all. To find out more, sign up this week for our newsletter here, then be sure to read the newsletter that comes out on February 12. This month we are exploring "History Via the Scenic Route!
Okay. On to this topic of teaching literature. You know, I love to read. I always have. In fact, I used to get in trouble for reading at night when I was supposed to have been asleep!


Some of you know what I'm talking about . . .


Anyway, the thing is, when I was in high school my love of reading did not translate into a love of literature. I distinctly remember thinking that "literature" was yawn-inducing, mind-numbingly boring.


It wasn't until I was teaching my own children that I realized what had happened. You see, during my own teenage years, the way literature was presented was something like this:


A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens was a very important piece of English literature. In this novel, Dickens gives a depiction of life during the Reign of Terror, beginning with the famous line, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." . . . etc., etc., etc.


And then we would have a few excerpted pages to read and discuss, and then answer superficial questions. For me, all the delight, all the energy, all the pizzazz was sucked right out of the book by forcing it into this regimented, formalized, and academic approach.


What a shock! As a homeschool mom, I was startled to read these literature books, so boring to my teenage self, and find that they were captivating, fascinating, and of the can't-put-it-down variety!!


So, in answer to today's topic, I would enthusiastically and heartily agree that you CAN teach literature--if you observe some common-sense guidelines along the way.


First of all, don't ask your children to read something that is not interesting to them. Before you misunderstand, let me hasten to add that if you think your child would find it interesting if given half a chance, then perhaps it would be best for you to read the book aloud. If you add inflections and even commentary, your children might become so fascinated by the book that they beg to read it on their own.


Second, don't require your children to read something that is far beyond their reading level. If it is slightly beyond their current level, and they are eager to try, then do it as an experiment.  If the book becomes discouragingly hard, then step in and either read it aloud or set it aside for next month or next year.


Third, there will be books that others think are in the "must read" category, but that does not mean it is your child's "must read" category. There are stories in literature that I personally have no desire to read, even as an adult. Just as we don't all have the same taste in music or food, so we don't all have the same taste in literature. If it helps, I hereby give you permission to not read every book everyone says you have to read!


Remember, stay relational!




P.S. Don't forget to sign up for the newsletter! I'd love to share my gift with you!!  


Schoolhouse Freebie

This week's free resource is A Walk in Paris. You'll find a wide variety of lessons, activities, and printable pages in


Raising Real Men

Hal & Melanie Young


Melanie remembers too well when she worried if she'd be able to teach literature to our children: "I had assigned The Iliad to our oldest and knew I'd have to read it myself so we could discuss it. I dreaded it horribly. My degree was in the hard sciences and though I loved to read, I thought it would be hard to read or boring. Boy, was I wrong. It was as gripping as a good novel."


We learned an important lesson that year: Great Books are considered great books because they're, well, great! Seriously, these things have stood the test of time. They are good stuff! Read good literature yourself and you will hardly be able to keep from teaching it to your children.


We also finally figured out what Cliff's Notes are for. No, they aren't for lazy students who want to avoid reading the book! Instead, they are meant to be read alongside a book to help you with the literary analysis. What's even better are literary guides from Christian sources, such as Total Language Plus or Progeny Press, or books like Peter Leithart's Brightest Heaven of Invention or Heroes of the City of Man.


Although it helps to have a basic knowledge of terms like theme, setting, characterization, and things like that, the most important thing about studying literature with your children is to just talk about it. Fifteen minutes on a search engine will teach you the terms, but deep discussion is irreplaceable. Ask, "What is the author trying to teach you or convince you of?" and "How did he do that?" Compare the worldview in the work with the Biblical standard. Point out when the author makes you sympathize with a bad guy or a sinful decision--that's really more dangerous than books with offensive elements because it can change your thinking without you realizing it.


Don't be like we used to be and let the "Great Books" intimidate you. Once you open them . . . you'll fall in love!


It pays off, too. This weekend one of our sons attended a college scholarship competition. In the interview process they asked him "What is your favorite movie and why?" and other questions to probe their personal philosophies. He later told us how grateful he was that he'd grown up thinking about literature and films in that way; it didn't faze him at all. Whew!


Yours in the battle,

Hal & Melanie


P.S. An easy and fun start to Great Books is our Hero Tales from American History audiobooks. Written by Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge to teach character to children through hero stories, we not only made it an audiobook so younger children could enjoy it, too--we added sound effects! History is much better with cannonfire!




Schoolhouse Expo presents . . .


Being Married to a Homeschool Mom 

with Todd Wilson


Wilson Family


Todd Wilson, author of Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe, Help! I'm Married to a Homeschooling Mom, and The Official Book of Homeschooling Cartoons, is a dad, writer, conference speaker, and former pastor. Todd's humor and gut-honest realness have made him a favorite speaker at homeschool conventions across the country and a guest on Focus on the Family.


As founder of Familyman Ministries, his passion and mission are to remind dads and moms of what's most important through a weekly email for dads, seminars, and books that encourage parents.


Todd, and his wife Debbie, homeschool their eight children in northern Indiana and travel around America in the Familyman Mobile. You can visit Familyman Ministries at

Join our Free Online Schoolhouse Expo on 
Thursday, February 21, at 7 p.m. EST! 

(6 p.m. CDT, 5 p.m. MDT, 4 p.m. PDT) 


Check out all the details at


Reserve your FREE seat now---only 1,000 available! 





Creation Revolution      


"According to evolutionary cosmic theory, the Big Bang created an expanding universe filled with gases." Read more in the article Too Much Gas for an Old Universe?

You may also enjoy the article Computers Confirm Creation.



Read this article


in the latest issue of

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.
Contest Corner 

For the month of February, 2013  


Andi's Pony Trouble and Andi's Indian Summer (Plus Paper Dolls!)


Andi's Pony Trouble and Andi's Indian Summer are two new chapter books for your young horse-loving children from published author, Susan K. Marlow. You may remember her from the Circle C Adventures series where Andi is a growing teen. Here we find her as a little thing, only six years old, in books perfect for your readers, ages 6-8.


In Andi's Pony Trouble we meet Andi at the dinner table. She is absolutely certain that she is old enough for her very own horse. She is tired of riding her "slowpoke" pony Coco. She is certainly frustrated when her mother and her older siblings (her brothers run the ranch) tell her that she is just too little. Andi makes it her goal to prove that she is grown-up enough, but her abilities are not quite what she thinks they are and she finds herself in a bit of trouble. She learns a valuable lesson about being thankful for what you have and a little about prayer too.


In Andi's Indian Summer we find Andi facing a different challenge--discerning fact from fiction when she meets real Indians! Andi and her eight-year-old friend Riley head out for a ride on the open landscape of California, 1874, and get lost. Andi learns that things are not always what she thinks they are. This was my favorite of the two books in the series so far. (. . .)


Read the rest of this review here.



Email Heather with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "Circle C" for a chance to win* the books and paper dolls for your homeschool!
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine


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