A great find to share
Just a quick note to pass along my good fortune to you. I was reading a good article at the City Journal yesterday about some of the troubles of modern education, particularly cultural issues. As part of this, the author mentioned the change in attitude toward classic literature – which is of course one of the primary tools we’ll use in the Freeman Academy. He says this about teaching literature to young children:
It might be argued that a richer and more subtle language would be beyond third-graders. Yet in his Third Eclectic Reader, William Holmes McGuffey, a nineteenth-century educator, had eight-year-olds reading Wordsworth and Whittier. His nine-year-olds read the prose of Addison, Dr. Johnson, and Hawthorne and the poetry of Shakespeare, Milton, Byron, Southey, and Bryant. His ten-year-olds studied the prose of Sir Walter Scott, Dickens, Sterne, Hazlitt, and Macaulay and the poetry of Pope, Longfellow, Shakespeare, and Milton.
He goes on to explain how this was done, and why, which is very much worth reading. Like I mentioned when I started this, I am ignorant of a lot of what’s out there as far as education, and trying to improve my knowledge as best I can. So, curious, I went to Amazon to see if there might be an old copy of some of these books for a less-than-ridiculous price. I was in luck. The complete line of Eclectic Readers are available for free in Kindle format. I looked over the First Eclectic Reader, which had a few formatting issues that make some of the text difficult to decipher. There are printed versions available very inexpensively that would not have that problem, but I’m willing to put up with the formatting issues for a free book. I’ll be grabbing the rest and sharing them with my children. I hope you find them useful as well.