Friday, August 15, 2008

Mrs. Brooke's Plan for Reading Through History

In response to Sharon in KY's query, I'll explain how I go about reading through history.

The two books that motivate me the most to push forward are The Well-Trained Mind and A Thomas Jefferson Education, both of which are geared towards homeschooling, but I've adapted them to fit my personal needs as an adult. They have excellent reading lists and work to inspire me to educate myself. I am a huge advocate for a return to classical education methodology.

I have a degree in history, which is where I've picked up my preference for original documents. I don't like to recite others' opinions about what happened, I like to immerse myself as much as possible in an event or era and come to my own conclusions.

When delving into a particular period or subject, I do a little internet surfing or book research and gather information--this usually gives me a couple of books to start out with. Then those books open up the possibility of other books--bibliographies are a great place to look for more reading material on any subject you're interested in. I also peruse college history department websites, looking for online syllabi and test driving various professors' sources. There are a myriad of ways to find books to read. If a title keeps popping up as you skim through background information, chances are that that title is something that you should read.

I started RTH because I had no one to talk to about what I was reading, which I think is a very important aspect of becoming educated. Talking through ideas and opinions helps me to think deeper and take away so much more from something I've read. (And I do not want to run the risk of being one of those crazy people who come up with completely odd ideas that run unchecked because I don't talk them through with others...) It's also incredibly motivating to know that there are others "out there" that are like me...reading the classics and pondering over the great events of history just aren't seen as too particularly cool amongst the folks I interact with on a daily basis.

I can keep RTH going, but I won't be able to keep up with the discussions at times. If you can give me room to just direct at times without participating, then I'm happy to remain in charge. The idea of ending this is sad to me...just yesterday I about went out of my mind when I found myself with some time to read, but wondering if I should start A Tale of Two Cities if I wasn't going to be able to discuss it. I'd rather still read it even if I can't find the time to write about it.


Anonymous said...

Oh, I would love you to continue to direct RTH...but only if it TRULY is not too much. The choosing of books sounds like a time consuming process.

And I think it would be so much better to read a book and not discuss it than to never read the book at all! I vote that you read A Tale of Two Cities and...just enjoy it!

Sharon in KY

Shimmy Mom said...

I hope that you are alright. I would love to help in whatever way I can. However, we are moving this month and I would need to take a month break before I could "take over" if that's really what you need someone to do. Let me know if there is anything else that I can do to help.