A Literature-Rich Education Motto: Fewer Books Done Better
Charlotte Mason’s slower, more thoughtful reading process encourages deeper thinking about what is read. Fewer books done better was her motto, and it has become my motto as well. A literature-rich education stretches students in many positive ways. It makes them readily able to read, appreciate, and take away something from almost any kind of reading material. This is because they have learned to appreciate a wide variety of authors with a wide variety of styles. Consequently, they often find delight in a wide variety of reading materials.
Would you like to lovingly reread your middle school textbooks? Your answer shows why a literature-rich education is different!
My older boys choose to read everything from classic literature to magazine articles, to theology books to light reading – just for fun. When my younger sons move on to a new year of Heart of Dakota, my older boys jump right in with a desire to reread their favorite books from long ago just one more time. While my four sons are all very different from one another and all have very different strengths and weaknesses, the more years we travel down this literature-rich path the more convinced I become of its merit. If you ask yourself whether you would ever lovingly choose to reread your middle school textbooks, you will know why a literature-rich education is different.
In a literature-rich education, students learn to respond to their reading in a wide variety of formats.
A literature-rich education also makes students readily able to respond in a wide variety of formats to what they’ve read. This is because they have been exposed to so many good writers over time that good writing eventually pours out of their own pens. To begin with, the students mimic other writers. However, eventually, they develop their own style. Students might be moving through this process for years. However, it is a process you will see as being worthy when it comes to fruition!
My Oldest Son’s Experience with a Literature-Rich Education
My oldest son as a preschooler used to cry if he had to write more than one ‘A.’ In middle school, he always wanted to orally tell me answers rather than write them down. Only in his last years of high school did he actually turn into a writer. In college, this same son is majoring in history with emphasis in literature and leadership. (Editor’s note: He has since graduated with honors from Liberty University.) He actually loves courses now that require a lot of written output. His Heart of Dakota literature-rich education has had such a good impact on him!
My Other Sons’ Experiences with a Literature-Rich Education
My next son who graduated is majoring in graphic design/digital media/web design. He has always loved to write. In fact, he used to copy a poem a day for fun when he was only 5. When my third son was 14, he was truly allergic to all things related to a pencil. Yet, now as a teenager, he is growing and gaining so very much too, as he journeys through the guides. My fourth son loves all things logical, especially math and science. As he is nearing high school, I am taking deep breaths and trusting the process because I have already seen him make great gains in writing too. I can see a literature-rich education is having a good impact on all of my sons. (Editor’s note: He is now in high school and completed his first research paper a few weeks ago. A literature-rich education truly has paid dividends for him!)
We especially saw the seeds sown in our sons’ literature-rich education come to fruition in their senior year of high school.
By the time a student graduates high school, the seeds that have been sown through years of an HOD literature-rich education come to fruition. For me, with each of my older two sons, the senior year of high school was a time of pure joy in this capacity. Meeting with the boys during their senior year, as they shared their thoughts, reflections, and narrations was just plain fun! During the senior year of each of our oldest boys, my husband and I got an opportunity to see how much each son had grown. As they animatedly shared with us, we got a chance to see the books that spoke to their hearts the most.
Students in their last year of high school often complete their work quickly and concisely, being able to do anything their HOD guide asks of them.
Honestly, by their final year of high school our boys were able to move through their work much more quickly and concisely and had become able to do almost anything that the guide asked of them. This made their senior year an easy one compared to previous years! Lest you think that it is only my own “brilliant” students of whom this is true, I will share that it is also true of so many of the families that we have talked to who are graduating their students through HOD this year. Their students have grown and changed so much! It is simply a product of years of a literature-rich education.
So, in closing, I would encourage you to persevere with a literature-rich education. While students will have special strengths of their own (and areas of weakness too), their experience will be richer for the books they have read and the ways they have been asked to respond. Their education will also be deeper for the variety of authors they have pondered. When in doubt, compare your education with the one that your students are receiving, and you will often see a marked difference. While not easy, a literature-rich education is worth pursuing. I hope this encourages you as you journey. We only get this one chance to educate our kiddos!