Thursday, January 19, 2012

Heathcliff and Homeschooling

"My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath - a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff - he's always, always in my mind - not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself - but, as my own being..."
- Catherine Earnshaw

"You loved me - then what right had you to leave me? What right - answer me - for the poor fancy you felt for Linton? Because misery, and degradation, and death, and nothing that God or satan could inflict would have parted us, you, of your own will, did it. I have not broken your heart - you have broken it - and in breaking it, you have broken mine. So much the worse for me, that I am strong. Do I want to live? What kind of living will it be when you - oh God! would you like to live with your soul in the grave?"
- Heathcliff

Wuthering Heights - one of my favorite classic novels! I loved it when I read it in English class 20+ years ago, and I'm loving it even more reading it now as one of our homeschooling assignments.

Little did I know when I first started homeschooling my middle-school boys last August how much fun I would have revisiting certain subjects (although there are a few that aren't so thrilling for me just as they weren't so thrilling 20+ years ago). But every time we crack open a new novel for literature class, I'm giddy with anticipation of the story that lies within its covers. My kids think I am an absolute freak - and maybe you do too, but that's ok.

Perhaps I get so excited because it seems that over the years I have gotten 'too busy' to read or become 'too lazy' in my book selection - resorting to quick reads that generally tell a good story but not with the eloquence or details of such writers as Emily Bronte, Charles Dickens and others. That's not to say there aren't great writers out there now, it's just that many readers, including myself, overlook the wonderful charm, complex characters and thought-provoking prose of these classics for the latest and greatest New York Times bestsellers.

Homeschooling has given me the opportunity to make time for these classics again (I promised my kids when we started homeschooling that I would read everything they have to read - little did I know how much reading their teacher would assign!). And even though I enjoyed reading many of these books when I was in school, I appreciate them even more now.

So treat yourself to a classic once in a while - who knows what great characters you'll meet. (And no, I won't assign you a character sketch or a paper comparing and contrasting the relationship between Heathcliff and Catherine to Heathcliff and Isabella.)

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