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    August 24, 2007 by Brandy Vencel

    In a homeschool, the children aren’t often expelled {if at all}, but certain books might be. It is still the first week, and we’ve already had our first expulsion.

    Before I give away the title, please indulge me in an explanation.

    Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, about last Friday, I was reading the chapter Principles for the Study of Literature in Teaching the Trivium. In this chapter, different guidelines are suggested for knowing where to draw the line in literature. Discernment is needed to know not only what to read, but also when. As an extreme example, Darwin at 18 before leaving for college to major in science might be helpful, while Darwin at age 6 would probably qualify as deserving of a millstone necklace.

    I will admit right now that I have a deep affection for The Little Prince. I particularly love the second half of the book.

    When I put it on our booklist, my purpose was twofold: {1} Fill time until we hit the used bookstore and buy our real schoolbooks, and {2} Expose the children to this book I love.

    Apparently, I failed to see it through a child’s eyes. It is amazing how my opinion of something changes when my children are exposed to it. I was reading it aloud, when suddenly the words became gravel in my mouth. Here are a couple of the places I faltered:

    Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.

    They [grown-ups] are like that. One must not hold it against them. Children should always show great forbearance toward grown-up people.

    I put the book down, looked at my son, and said we weren’t going to be reading the book any longer. He was disappointed, so I explained myself a bit, and moved on. He has most likely forgotten about this already.

    Reading this book as an adult Christian, I always throw the word “grown-up” into the category of a modern materialist mind. Hard science is the name of the game, the system is closed, and there is little appreciation for mysteries, miracles, or true Matters of Importance. I use my worldview to interpret the text in a way that makes the author’s statements quite fitting.

    But children do not think this way. Children do not have a worldview. They are building a worldview. This is one of the major differences between children and adults. And a child reading this book may be led to believe that being a grown-up is somewhat distasteful, and that there is a way in which he might be superior to grown-ups.

    My son was not born to be a child. He was born to be a man. To read something like this to him at this tender age is to risk leading him in the wrong direction. There is time enough for using this book to help him determine what kind of grown-up he might want to be. When he is old enough, I will read the book to him, the same way I read the book aloud to his father when we were, oh, probably 21-years-old.

    Until then, we will wait until our bookstore extravaganza, and spend a little extra time running wildly through the sprinklers.

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    1 Comment

  • Reply Crunchy_Conservative June 13, 2012 at 2:48 am

    This was so good to read. “My son was not born to be a child. He was born to be a man. To read something like this to him at this tender age is to risk leading him in the wrong direction.” I shared the same frustrations while reading Peter Pan. I actually edited a bit, even though I wasn’t sure if it would be better to stop reading the book. In a couple places I pointed out my disagreements and let my daughter mull it over.

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