Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Plutarch Resources

 Day 25~

Unlike Shakespeare, you will not find pages and pages of books on Amazon dedicated to helping you teach Plutarch. To tell the truth this is good. As with most things it is better to do something than to read about doing it. I believe that so much that I would be happy if you stopped reading this right now and instead picked up Plutarch and began reading a paragraph or two to your children.

But there are quite a few articles online from the Charlotte Mason community about reading Plutarch. These articles can inspire you and give you hints about how to go about it.

How do I go about reading Plutarch?

When I first started I used Anne White's notes from Ambleside Online. I printed off all of her notes and the text of the Life and put them in my MT notebook. This was very helpful and I highly recommend doing this.

But I am also lazy and after I got the hang of Plutarch, I found it easier just to pick up the volume and read, marking my copy of the book wherever we stopped.

Personally, I don't really like to read children's versions of Plutarch because what I really like is the way he says what he says. The stories, of course, are beneficial for virtue and citizenship but the language of the Dryden/Clough version is superior. It is beautiful and worthy to sit on a shelf besides Shakespeare and the King James Bible. A child who hears this language is a fortunate child.

Certainly, I would not begin my small children on the full Plutarch though. I started later when I already had older kids, but the small children who do sit in while you are reading to the older children will still benefit from hearing this, I believe.

So I would say that children's versions serve a good purpose but don't let them keep you from eventually reading the real thing.

I just pick up my volume of Plutarch and start reading. I do not read more than a page and half a day and often much less. The ideas are packed densely. This is the cheesecake of literature.

 Plutarch throws a lot of names around. I only stop to comment on the main ones:
"Who was Aristomache again? Oh, yeah she is Dionysius' wife and Dion's sister."

 If I am confused, I assume the kids are and I stop and figure out what is going on out loud. If I come across something that I have a background in, I will stop and explain what I am bringing to the table. I stop often and ask the kids what just happened. I stop to note interesting word choices and we discuss them.

"What if Heraclides be perfidious, malicious and base..."  Perfect place for a vocabulary lesson and one where the kids can figure out what perfidious means from the context.

I don't bog down ever reading with ever possible discussion but I do only read small amounts with lots of discussion along the way. Usually, once we get the hang of the direction of the Life, our comprehension goes way up which is why using Anne White's study guides is probably a good idea for newbies.

I hope this is clear. Please feel free to ask questions.

Here are links I keep promising:

Plutarch Does it Again by Cindy Rollins at the Circe Blog
Waiting for Lycurgus by Cindy Rollins at the Circe Blog (This might give you a picture of how we read Plutarch)
Ambleside Online Plutarch
Why Read Plutarch by George Grant
Afterthoughts 31 Days of Charlotte Mason's Plutarch post
Google search of Parents Review

Suggestion of the Day for Morning Time Memory:

Marc Antony's Funeral Oration from Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest--
For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honourable men--
Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
You all did see that on the Lupercal
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And, sure, he is an honourable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once, not without cause:
What cause withholds you then, to mourn for him?
O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,
And I must pause till it come back to me

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