Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Teaching the Classics: Initial Impressions

I wasn't completely certain about Teaching the Classics when I finally decided to purchase it. Even on sale the hefty $75 price made me wince despite the fact that mathematically I knew that it would be less expensive than purchasing several individual literature guides for specific books per year over the course of several years. I confess that I was also a bit skeptical that one course could help me learn to analyze any literature book. After all if that were true why did people even create guides for individual titles. Then there was the issue of motivating myself to watch the dvds. I was quite certain that it would be less painful to have a root canal than to learn how to analyze literature. So why torture myself? Simply put, for Jessie's sake.

Logic stage should be a time of discussion. When I tried to imagine a literary discussion with Jessie, it would go something like this.

Me: "So what did you think of the book?"
J: "It was good."
Me: "Well, did you like it?"
J: "Yeah, I guess."

I do not profess to be a literary expert (on a scale between dunce and expert, I'm certain to be closer to the dunce end), but I was quite certain that I wanted a better discussion than that. So I finally convinced myself that it would be more helpful to watch the dvds before I started reading selections for Jessie next year, and I must say after watching all 4 dvds over the course of a few days that I am pleasantly surprised. While the dvd quality wasn't the best I've ever seen, the content is excellent. The presentation is very straight forward and not at all overwhelming. I realize that it's going to take some practice on my part, but I'm feeling fairly confident that a literary discussion is actually doable (even for me). Now I'm off to read a book to try completing a story chart and working through some of the questions on the Socratic list on my own. (And perhaps the most surprising of all, I'm actually looking forward to it.)

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