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Are there any classics that you're not looking forward to teaching?


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Are there any books that you are dreading reading/studying with your kids this year or in the coming years?

 

This year I'm definitely not looking forward to The Hobbit. Umm... can I say that here? :leaving: I'm also dreading anything involving Bronte or Austen. I've never liked Brit lit.

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The Hobbit was boring to me and my ds. I am staring LOTR for the first time and so far it is better.

 

IMO, if there is a book that we don't want to read we will not. It being a "classic" doesn't mean it is right for us and I don't think there is any one book that omitting will damage their education beyond repair.

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I'm good all the way to high school then it is Milton that gets me. I find it dense and boring, but I trudge through (maybe by the time I get through it with youngest, I will have a different opinion). However, I refuse to teach The Great Gatsby. My kids can talk to my sil about it if they're interested, but I can't stand that book. It is one of her favorite books to teach to high school kids. Sometimes, I just don't understand her although I love her.

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I'm good all the way to high school then it is Milton that gets me. I find it dense and boring, but I trudge through (maybe by the time I get through it with youngest, I will have a different opinion). However, I refuse to teach The Great Gatsby. My kids can talk to my sil about it if they're interested, but I can't stand that book. It is one of her favorite books to teach to high school kids. Sometimes, I just don't understand her although I love her.

 

I ended up ordering Naxos's audiobook for Paradise Lost for this yr. I am swamped and I know right now that I will not be able to find the time to make myself trudge through it. Their audiobooks are wonderful and I am hoping that it will make it more enjoyable. (I'll let you know when we get there!!)

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Ugh, The Great Gatsby! Why is that such a famous book?

 

I have tried to read The Scarlet Letter about seven times and can never manage it...I can sense that it's an important one, but it does not appeal to me whatsoever.

 

Don Quixote in its unabridged form. We just read a children's version of it and it was kind of fun, although I hate how it ended. Come to think of it, there was a lot in that book that I didn't like. My kids loved his crazy antics.

 

A Passage to India. Ugh. (Although, I might appreciate it a little more now that I'm older.)

 

Honestly, I'm a little apprehensive to teach any of the classics as I am not acquainted with very many of them. I think part of what appeals to me about a classical education for my kids is that I get to come along for the ride. We'll discover which classics we despise together!

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I gotta be honest, if I think a book is dreadful (meaning, "full of dread" not "terrible"), I will skip teaching it. There are sooooo many more Great Books than we will get to during hsing, my plan is to teach the ones I like/get/am enthusiastic about, and hopefully my joy & excitement will communicate itself. She has the rest of her life (not to mention college!) to read the ones that I have run screaming from.

 

So no, we won't be doing Don Quixote. I didn't make it through that book till I was 39 years old, I am not going to inflict it on a 16 yo! Um, unless she asks for it. :D

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William Faulkner. Could not stand his books in high school. I had a teacher who loved his writing. Blech. If I can avoid him, I will.

 

Funny thing is that I loved The Great Gatsby! :lol:

 

We just finished The Hobbit, and DS finished LOTR1... I'm not even halfway through it yet, but I agree that it's better than The Hobbit. I need to finish it soon so I can show DS1 the first LOTR movie. :D

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Honestly, I'm a little apprehensive to teach any of the classics as I am not acquainted with very many of them. I think part of what appeals to me about a classical education for my kids is that I get to come along for the ride. We'll discover which classics we despise together!

 

:iagree:

 

Though I have to admit, one of my favorite books of all time is a classic: Beowulf. I am absolutely chomping at the bit to do that one. I read it for pleasure almost every year. I also remember liking The Canterbury Tales but I haven't picked them up since high school so I don't remember much.

 

 

Pride and Prejudice...:auto:

 

I hated that book with a passion. I think that is one I will be leaving off of DS's book list.

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I'm not looking forward to "The Divine Comedy"...I haven't read it, just not excited about it...I'm sure there are others, just can't think of them now...

 

 

 

 

I love the Divine Comedy - as long as I don't have to read it all at once. I feel the same way about Paradise Lost. I love it unless I have to read a lot of it. I need to pace myself.

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I get that there are some books you can skip, no problem. But what about some of the most famous authors? Like Dickens, whom I cannot stand. Am I doing my child a disservice by not at least exposing him to Dickens?

 

I think there are enough authors that you could still skip great ones like that. We never read any Dickens that I can recall, and I took honors and AP English. It may have been listed as an option for summer reading or something, but I never read it. :lol:

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I'm not looking forward to "The Divine Comedy"...I haven't read it, just not excited about it...I'm sure there are others, just can't think of them now...

 

 

 

Oh, get Teaching Co's Divine Comedy lectures and you will be so inspired. Herzman and Cook are fabulous together. The DC lectures are probably my all-time favorites!!

 

FWIW, I also purchased Naxos's audiobook for DC. This was for my ds, though, not me. He is a slow reader and we are maxed out this yr in what we are covering. The audiobook is the only way we will be able to fit in the entire DC and not just Inferno. (Herzman and Cook will shame you for even thinking about not reading it in its entirety!!)

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With all the books to choose from - WHY would you choose to teach some you hate?

 

I think there are a few titles - or at least authors, that are non-negotiable. But even in those cases I think you could do a cliff notes version if you just thought basic familiarity was essential. For example, I HATE Great Expectations. Hate it. But you know, you should know what it is. It'll be like "So, yeah, that guy that wrote "A Christmas Carol?" He also wrote this huge long tedious book called "Great Expectations". Dickens was paid by the word and it shows. Really the only allusion you'll generally hear relating to this interminable book is to Miss Havisham. She's this crazy old hag in her creepy old house in her nasty old wedding dress and never got over the baggage that she was left at the altar."

 

"So now if someone talks about some freaky hoarder lady with emotional baggage and says "You know, she's like a Miss Havisham" you know what that means. And that's about all you need to know about that. Feel free to read that crap if you want, but I'm not making you. MOVING ON..."

 

I'm sure we will read some classics my kids hate, and that can be their learning-to-deal experience. But it will darn well be classics that *I* like! :D

Edited by zenjenn
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I get that there are some books you can skip, no problem. But what about some of the most famous authors? Like Dickens, whom I cannot stand. Am I doing my child a disservice by not at least exposing him to Dickens?

 

If you don't like Dickens, but feel bad about not exposing your children to him, then read or listen to A Christmas Carol. It's short, it's well-known, and it still shows his style and his themes.

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Oh, get Teaching Co's Divine Comedy lectures and you will be so inspired. Herzman and Cook are fabulous together. The DC lectures are probably my all-time favorites!!

 

FWIW, I also purchased Naxos's audiobook for DC. This was for my ds, though, not me. He is a slow reader and we are maxed out this yr in what we are covering. The audiobook is the only way we will be able to fit in the entire DC and not just Inferno. (Herzman and Cook will shame you for even thinking about not reading it in its entirety!!)

 

Thanks 8 :001_smile:...My ds is also a slow reader and if he continues to be a slow reader, I will have to get this audio when we get to this book...

 

I am also kind of a slow reader (and slow at everything else in general ;))...I can comprehend things pretty well, it just takes me a while to read it :tongue_smilie:

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Alice in Wonderland. Funny thing is I signed up for the free cousera online class on Fantasy and Science Fiction and it's on the syllabus for next week. I think I think I'm going to buy the Ingpen illustrated edition and have it for a bedtime read aloud now, so I can call it done.

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Moby Dick :leaving:

You know - that is a terrific book, but it would be a waste for a teen that wasn't inspired to read it. When I finally read it, i LOVED it. My brother and sister an I are in a fierce competition to see who can read it the most - I am the current chanpion with 5 full reads. :D

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I ended up ordering Naxos's audiobook for Paradise Lost for this yr. I am swamped and I know right now that I will not be able to find the time to make myself trudge through it. Their audiobooks are wonderful and I am hoping that it will make it more enjoyable. (I'll let you know when we get there!!)

Please let me know how it is. I have two more times to go through it, and I don't want to dread it. I am certain it could be wonderful if I could just be inspired.

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Are there any books that you are dreading reading/studying with your kids this year or in the coming years?

 

This year I'm definitely not looking forward to The Hobbit. Umm... can I say that here? :leaving: I'm also dreading anything involving Bronte or Austen. I've never liked Brit lit.

 

LOL, the Hobbit here too. Add the LOTR to that.

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Not surprised that Moby Dick is a top choice for this question...I had to read it for a college lit class...I will admit I skimmed a lot. Since I didn't have to read it until college, I would have no qualms with not teaching it before that. I think I could have lived my life just fine, in fact, having just read a plot summary Instead of the whole book. :lol:

 

Not a classic at the same level by any means, but i have a strong memory of hating Johnny Tremain as a 7th grader so I just don't know if I can bear to add it to our studies. :glare:

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Anything by Thomas Hardy (we read The Return of the Native, Tess of the D'Urbervilles AND The Mayor of Casterbridge in one year when I was in high school. UGH!) and Wuthering Heights. Oddly enough, I love Dickens, and Jane Eyre was one of my favourite books from my Brit lit year.

 

I never read Pilgrim's Progress, and though it's recommended on almost every Charlotte Mason reading list, I still can't make myself do it. My mom said it was a horrible slog when she read it, I think it took her something like a month, and she was such a voracious reader at the time that she would read 1000 pages a day. We're going read an abridgment for this upcoming year.

 

Not true classics, but others I don't think we'll read: Old Yeller or Sounder. They're too sad. I'm still up in the air about Bridge to Terabithia.

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Not a classic at the same level by any means, but i have a strong memory of hating Johnny Tremain as a 7th grader so I just don't know if I can bear to add it to our studies. :glare:

 

DS13 had to read that last year and he absolutely loathed it too. I mistakenly had it on his list of lit. to choose from this year since I forgot that he had already read it, and I thought he was going to dissolve into a puddle of tears. He looked at me and said, "PLEASE tell me this is a mistake and I don't have to read it again." :D

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Chronicles of Narnia. It's fantasy lit royalty, but I really just can't stand about 85% of it. I literally forced myself to read all 7 books (in one collection) this summer so I would be better familiar with them. I've tried to read them at various points in my life and just could not get into them at all.

 

I think if I could get away with reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe out loud (which I admit I haven't attempted yet---sigh) and then letting the kids read the rest on their own if they want, I'll call it good. ;)

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Anything by Thomas Hardy (we read The Return of the Native, Tess of the D'Urbervilles AND The Mayor of Casterbridge in one year when I was in high school. UGH!) and Wuthering Heights. Oddly enough, I love Dickens, and Jane Eyre was one of my favourite books from my Brit lit year.

 

I never read Pilgrim's Progress, and though it's recommended on almost every Charlotte Mason reading list, I still can't make myself do it. My mom said it was a horrible slog when she read it, I think it took her something like a month, and she was such a voracious reader at the time that she would read 1000 pages a day. We're going read an abridgment for this upcoming year.

 

Not true classics, but others I don't think we'll read: Old Yeller or Sounder. They're too sad. I'm still up in the air about Bridge to Terabithia.

 

 

I couldn't think of anything until I saw you mention Thomas hardy. I refuse to teach Jude the Obscure. :lol:

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I struggle with Homer. I'm very visual and HATE war and death descriptions. I will still have my children read them and I will read them again maybe. When my DD19 was reading them she'd tell me parts I should skip because she knows me so well and doesn't have the same issue as I do.

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There are somethings that I have just never been able to slog through, but have enjoyed when listening to the podcat, Craftlit. Heather has done a great job with the Tale of Two Cities, Scarlet Letter, and Frankenstein. She is an English prof and teaches the chapters as she reads them. If looking for free audio with commentary, check out her book list. Not affiliated, just a happy listener.

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With all the books to choose from - WHY would you choose to teach some you hate?

 

I think there are a few titles - or at least authors, that are non-negotiable. But even in those cases I think you could do a cliff notes version if you just thought basic familiarity was essential. For example, I HATE Great Expectations. Hate it. But you know, you should know what it is. It'll be like "So, yeah, that guy that wrote "A Christmas Carol?" He also wrote this huge long tedious book called "Great Expectations". Dickens was paid by the word and it shows. Really the only allusion you'll generally hear relating to this interminable book is to Miss Havisham. She's this crazy old hag in her creepy old house in her nasty old wedding dress and never got over the baggage that she was left at the altar."

 

"So now if someone talks about some freaky hoarder lady with emotional baggage and says "You know, she's like a Miss Havisham" you know what that means. And that's about all you need to know about that. Feel free to read that crap if you want, but I'm not making you. MOVING ON..."

 

I'm sure we will read some classics my kids hate, and that can be their learning-to-deal experience. But it will darn well be classics that *I* like! :D

 

:iagree: OMG did I hate, H-A-T-E Great Expectations. No way will I suffer teaching that. I loved your concise summary of it. :lol:

 

I'm another who wouldn't slog through Heart of Darkness again, either.

 

Somehow I got through AP English without reading Austen or Bronte. I enjoy Austen movies but have yet to actually finish reading any of her works. I should try audiobooks. I can't seem to read LOTR but thoroughly enjoyed the audiobook version. I think some great works really were meant to be read aloud.

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Dickens, Bronte, Stienbeck(?).... I don't know if I can go through it a second time.

 

oh gosh.... I went to highschool in the central valley of California, and we read Steinbeck every.single.year. Of Mice and Men and Grapes of Wrath I can handle.... but east of Eden?? UGGGHHHH.

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Somehow I got through AP English without reading Austen or Bronte. I enjoy Austen movies but have yet to actually finish reading any of her works. I should try audiobooks. I can't seem to read LOTR but thoroughly enjoyed the audiobook version.

 

Heh, I tried listening to Pride and Prejudice and couldn't even stand it that way.

 

 

I think some great works really were meant to be read aloud.

 

You're exactly right. I think that's why so many people hate Shakespeare. WHY would you send a child home with a BOOK that is supposed to be read as a PLAY? It just never made sense to me in high school. With my 13 yr. old son, I've been reading a summary of each Shakespeare play and listening to it on CD while reading along in the book. Then, we watch a performance of it live or on DVD. He LOVES Shakespeare this way and actually GETS it. Why did our high school teachers never think to teach this way?

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Heh, I tried listening to Pride and Prejudice and couldn't even stand it that way.

 

 

 

 

You're exactly right. I think that's why so many people hate Shakespeare. WHY would you send a child home with a BOOK that is supposed to be read as a PLAY? It just never made sense to me in high school. With my 13 yr. old son, I've been reading a summary of each Shakespeare play and listening to it on CD while reading along in the book. Then, we watch a performance of it live or on DVD. He LOVES Shakespeare this way and actually GETS it. Why did our high school teachers never think to teach this way?

 

We were never sent home with Shakespeare. We read at least 8 Shakespeare and 4 Greek plays from 8th-12th grade, we always read them aloud in class. This is one place where a coop class is great. I taught a Shakespeare class at our coop last year. We read 5 plays in 24 weeks of class. They only had to read part of one act at home when we got behind schedule. The class went from not getting it at all to loving It. They got up and acted everything out, especially sword fights and death scenes! Find a group to read plays in, it is nore fun :)

 

I will not teach As I Lay Dying, Heart of Darkness, or Lord of the Flies! We have copies of them all and I will have them on an optional reading list, but they will not be formally taught! There are so many books I have loved, we can discuss those. I don't see any need to teach a book I hated when there are too many to get through in high school.

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Beowulf. It's the only book ever assigned to me that literally put me to sleep every time I tried to read it. I must be a masochist because after this happened to me in high school, I tried again freshman year in college. Both times I wound up relying on Cliff Notes. :blushing:

 

I can't stand Thomas Hardy and won't be assigning any of his novels. Ditto for Arthur Miller's plays.

 

I loved Great Expectations, Great Gatsby,and Wuthering Heights though. Didn't mind Paradise Lost or Pilgrim's Progress. Shakespeare I love watching performed on stage or as a movie.

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oh gosh.... I went to highschool in the central valley of California, and we read Steinbeck every.single.year. Of Mice and Men and Grapes of Wrath I can handle.... but east of Eden?? UGGGHHHH.

 

Is East of Eden the one where there are ants on the table symbolizing the characters of the story? I remember my teacher asking me what the ants symbolized, and I said, "Um... they're hungry?" :lol: I had no clue how to figure out symbolism. It was stuff like that that turned me completely off literary analysis. No one had TAUGHT us how to analyze the literature. We were basically spoonfed what things symbolized and whatnot, and then we regurgitated it on the test. Hence why teaching literature in general scares me now, but I have time to learn... I'll probably be getting TTC to help me, since it starts with picture books and explains in ways I understand. :tongue_smilie:

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I'm with some others - Moby Dick. Ugh! Anything Hemmingway,too. I personally love Austin - but Im a girl. I dont think my strapping young men will be as thrilled with her emotional brilliance as I. And Black Beauty. Yep! I know that sounds really bad, but we are serious horse lovers here and dont do well with any type of animal abuse stories in any form. Thats going to be tough! I am so glad it was written, though! Dont get me wrong. Awesom lit - just hard topic.

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Beowulf. It's the only book ever assigned to me that literally put me to sleep every time I tried to read it. I must be a masochist because after this happened to me in high school, I tried again freshman year in college. Both times I wound up relying on Cliff Notes. :blushing:

 

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! That is my favorite book of ALL TIME! :tongue_smilie: I'm so looking forward to reading it with DS13 this year. :hurray: The Seamus Heaney version of Beowulf really is to die for. If you decide to read it with your kidlets, definitely get that one. I had an amazing Honors Lit. teacher in high school that made me absolutely adore some of the harder stuff like Beowulf and Chaucer.

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If you dread Moby dick but plan to do it regardless, watch the American Experience episode on Whaling - it has inspired me to want to read MD after I finish Great Expectations. I adore dickens and will start with A Christmas Carol in Dec and then moved to David Copperfireld which is my all time favorite book. We may listen to an audio version

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If you dread Moby dick but plan to do it regardless, watch the American Experience episode on Whaling
:iagree::iagree::iagree:, but warning: some content may be too graphic for squeemish stomachs or younger children (cannibalism for stranded sailors). Nothing is shown, but it is talked about.

 

I still highly highly highly recommend it, but you will want to preview it and censor parts of it for younger or especially sensitive kids.

 

ETA: Cliffs Notes are my friends. I would never have read or enjoyed nearly the amount of lit that I have for free reading without Cliffs to hold my hand, emphasize plot points I missed, and explain all of that "symbolism"and "theme" stuff that I just am not wired to figure out on my own. Cliffs Notes IS my high school Lit plan.

Edited by duckens
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