Mentoring in the Classics has a new home, but for those already enrolled following our original schedule, here is the list, in order, of monthly readings:
MONTH 1: Introduction
Gatto’s Dumbing us Down is a fitting introduction, describing in uncompromising terms the need for the type of education we’ll pursue in this series.
MONTH 2: Orientation
Lindbergh’s Gift from the Sea simply cannot be read incorrectly; it is all about pondering, applying it to your life, thinking creatively, intuitively, authentically. Careful thought has gone into the succession from Gatto to Lindbergh – the former being an exposition of what is wrong, the latter, a “healing” book; first the “tell”, then the “show.”
The Audio Mentoring and Study Guide for Lindbergh are important, as they establish the unique and effective methodology by which this course will progress.
Please take special care to familiarize yourself with the 5 Levels of Engagement with the Classics outlined in the audio mentoring and the Study Guide. This will greatly enhance your enjoyment of the rest of the titles we cover, and help you to glean and apply from them in meaningful ways.
MONTH 3: Austen
As Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is a longer work, the months previous and following are less time-consuming. It’s a favorite – both familiar, and worthy of repeat reads. Is there a book out there that Hollywood has adapted more times? There must be a story there, LOL. You’ll have time to get into this lengthier title early, as Lindbergh is sweet, profound and actually quite concise, and a great backdrop for this insightful and witty work.
MONTH 4: Lowell
“The Present Crisis” (link downloads PDF) by James Russell Lowell is a profoundly beautiful (and short!) work, which Oliver will give a line-by-line treatment – thus reinforcing the participants’ ability to appreciate and comprehend the language of the classics. This provides a great segue-way to next month’s Shakespeare, which some have avoided because of the unfamiliar language, and which is so beloved by readers and theater-goers for generations.
MONTHS 5 – 6: Shakespeare & Potok
The progression from Two Gentlemen of Verona (the Shakespeare play on homeschooling) and Potok’s The Chosen is especially poignant, as they have similar plot elements. Both address the power of education, especially Scholar Phase education; both consider the affect of education and upbringing on the individual outcomes in adulthood.
MONTH 7: The Declaration
This month’s selection, The Declaration of Independence, (link downloads PDF) is a freedom classic that articulated for the world, then and now, the nobility of the human soul, and the inestimable worth of liberty. As this is a shorter title, you’ll have time to get started early on next month’s reading!
MONTH 8: Hugo
After 6 months of MIC, you’re ready for some deep and moving stuff! In our original rotation, this was our August selection – a month when many gear up for school again – and yet straddles the “summer/fall” line. Les Miserables does double duty as a great beach read and a serious scholarly challenge. Life changing! If you’ve read it before, you know; if you haven’t, you know you’ve been meaning to….
MONTH 9: Lewis
Again, the selection preceding the monumental Hugo is short, as is this month’s: Lewis’ “The Inner Ring.” This one is perfect to help define Why We Do What We Do. Originally our September 2014 reading, it is timely, as the advent of fall and “serious” school often puts our goals and methods under the scrutiny of measuring up to others’ expectations, and demands that we have clarity of vision and purpose, to follow our inspired–and inspiring–path.
MONTH 10: Schneider
Our October 2014 content first debuted in the season when many of our participants are in the thick of home or classroom studies, and so we introduce our first math classic (if you don’t count The Chosen – and maybe we should!). Schneider’s A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe is an easy read and tends to turn math haters into math lovers, and math lovers into serious math students.
MONTH 11: Bronte
This month brings another perennial favorite: the courageous Jane Eyre. Bronte’s beleaguered and faithful heroine always inspires such meaningful discussions. The Debriefing Audio for this title featured more than one serious about-face from our participants with regard to their love or hate of this book. Lively and penetrating, you’re sure to enjoy this one!
MONTH 12: Wilder
Our December 2014 reading highlighted a time when many of our participants suspend their normal routine to focus on family, traditions, worship and celebrations. In this spirit, we have chosen a great family read: Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. If you find this a strange choice, trust us. It’s chock-full of amazing content – especially on the topics of family culture, education and community. Oh–and it’s not a “girl” book. Seriously. There are bears, whittlin’, and all sorts of manly fare.
And that wraps up our first year with Mentoring in the Classics!
If you want to look ahead to the upcoming titles, here you go:
Year II Schedule:
- Year II, Month 1: Leadership Essentials Series, Turn the Page
- II-2: ten Boom, The Hiding Place
- II-3: Austen, Sense and Sensibility
- II-4: Strauss and Howe, The Fourth Turning
- II-5: Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
- II-6: L’Amour, Bendigo Shafter
- II-7: DeMille, Freedom Matters
- II-8: Alcott, Little Men
- II-9: Leadership Essentials Series, Mentoring Matters
- II-10: Stratton-Porter, Laddie
- II-11: Shakespeare, Hamlet
- II-12: Rawls, Where the Red Fern Grows
Year III Schedule:
- III-1: Moody, Little Britches
- III-2: Shakespeare, Sonnets
- III-3: Lewis, Abolition of Man
- III-4: Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth
- III-5: Austen, Emma
- III-6: L’Amour, The Lonesome Gods
- III-7: Orwell, Animal Farm
- III-8: Frank, Alas, Babylon
- III-9: DeMille & Brooks, Thomas Jefferson Education for Teens – and Every Adult Who Wants to Change the World
- III-10: Solzhenitsyn, A World Split Apart (link downloads pdf)
- III-11: Spyri, Heidi
- III-12: Latham, Carry On, Mr. Bowditch
Year IV Schedule:
- IV-1: Austen, Persuasion
- IV-2: Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
- IV-3: DeMille & DeMille, The Phases of Learning
- IV-4: Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
- IV-5: LIFE Leadership Essentials, Paradigm Shift
- IV-6: Wyss, Swiss Family Robinson
- IV-7: Hamilton, Mythology
- IV-8: Woodward & DeMille, LeaderShift
- IV-9: Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
- IV-10: Twain, Joan of Arc
- IV-11: Hawking, A Brief History of Time
- IV-12: Porter, Pollyanna
Year V Schedule:
- V-1: DeMille, Hero Education
- V-2: Austen, Mansfield Park
- V-3: Shakespeare, The Tempest
- V-4: Orczy, The Scarlet Pimpernel
- V-5: L’Amour, The Walking Drum [Mentoring boys]
- V-6: Lossing, The Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence
- V-7: Collins, The Hunger Games [Mentoring today’s generation of children and youth]
- V-8: [Two short essays on how to get a great leadership education]
1) Adler, “An Invitation to the Pain of Learning”
2) Emerson, Self-Reliance
- V-9: Dickens, Great Expectations
- V-10: Sophocles, Antigone
- V-11: Green, The Wives of the Signers: The Women Behind the Declaration of Independence
- V-12: Salten, Bambi [Excellent book on mentoring]
- VI-1: Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind
(Find out what all the fuss is about in one of the most quoted books of the 20th Century and the most influential book on education since John Dewey. Learn how to truly get off the conveyor belt!)
- VI-2: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
(The highly acclaimed modern novel written in the Pride and Prejudice Universe; beautiful writing, truly memorable characters, and a new “Elizabeth” and “Darcy” for modern times. Not a rehash at all–new and powerful.)
- VI-3: Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter
(Considered the great American classic on What makes a good community?, What is a real friend?, and What is true leadership? A Pilgrim-Age exploration of choices, secrets, and the power of integrity.)
- VI-4: Shakespeare, Macbeth
(One of the greatest plays ever written; mentored, so you get as much real depth as possible from reading it.)
- VI-5: Moliere, Tartuffe
(Title sounds strange, but this is one of the most excellent and important plays ever written on “What Is a Real Man?”, by Moliere, considered by many to be France’s Shakespeare.)
- VI-6: Robinson, Intelligence
(A dystopian novel worthy of sitting beside titles like The Hunger Games and The Giver, Intelligence tells a story that is crucial to our rising generation. ~J. Martin)
- VI-7: Austen, Northanger Abbey
(Considered by many the funniest and most relaxed/enjoyable of Austen’s six novels, and completes the Austen cycle. Discussion will include the pattern of all six classics.)
- VI-8: Jung Chang, Wild Swans
(Widely acclaimed as the best modern classic from China; beautiful, challenging, fun, and extremely memorable. Once you’ve read it, you’ll never forget it.)
- VI-9: Coelho, The Alchemist
(The internationally bestselling parable of happiness and finding/living one’s true life purpose. A true modern classic.)
- VI-10: Sanderson, The Rithmatist and Euclid’s Elements, Book I
(Fall in love with math [again?] and learn how to greatly teach geometry and other mathematics to youth. Fun, unique story.)
- VI-11: Wister, The Virginian
(The American response to Europe’s question: “What is a Real Man? And a Real Woman?” A moving early American romance, full of deep questions and important lessons that still apply today–perhaps now more than ever.)
- VI-12: L’Amour, Education of a Wandering Man
(Louis L’Amour’s non-fiction masterpiece on how to get a great education by teaching yourself with great books and great mentors; fabulous!)
Year VII Schedule:
- VII-1: Elizabeth Gaskell, North & South
This English classic was published in 1854 and compares the culture of the aristocratic British upper class with the rise of a new industrial-age merchant middle class. The results are explosive, fun to read about, and full of intrigue as well as amour. One of the great romances of English literature, North & South led the next generation of Austen/Bronte-style romantic commentaries on culture, family, society, happiness, human frailty vs. inner nobility, and human nature. A truly great read.
- VII-2: Shakespeare, Henry V
How does a boy become a man, especially when he is suddenly raised to the status of King of England? Young Henry faces his own need to mature, overcome mistakes, and rise to the role of a true leader, while also engaged in a major war with France. The challenges along the way teach him, and all of us as readers, numerous lessons on growing up, becoming leaders, and knowing how to face the greatest challenges of life. One of Shakespeare’s greatest plays.
- VII-3: Bronte, Wuthering Heights
One of the great Engish classics, this work by Emily Bronte was published in 1847 and tackles some of the most challenging issues of human relations: class divisions, romance between people from different social classes, the treatment of women in English aristocratic society, and different views of morality in differing socio-economic classes. Above all, it addresses the dangers of religious hypocrisy, putting class position above love, putting love above making wise choices, and the wrong versus right kind of romance.
- VII-4: DeMille, We Hold These Truths
Current events in our times happen quickly, chaotically, and intensely. We Hold These Truths to Be Self Evident outlines and explains 12 key principles that will help you analyze everything that happens in current events and know what is going in the right direction–or not. They are also the basis of freedom in any society. Understanding these 12 simple but vital principles is essential for anyone who cares about freedom and wants to make sure we remain free in our volatile modern world, now and in the decades ahead. A book to discuss and share with the whole family.
- VII-5: Varty, The Lion Tracker’s Guide to Life
An instant modern classic, this book is narrated by a young lion tracker in Africa who learns from his older mentors how to pursue his life’s mission more effectively. The danger, hard work, love of the land, and connection to something higher than himself keep him going, while the wisdom of mentors guides him to surprising choices that make all the difference. A true story, moving, profound, and wise. It pulls the reader away from the modern world to reconnect with thoughts and feelings of what really matters. A great read.
- VII-6: Homer, The Odyssey
Along with the Bible and the Iliad, this is the original classic of Western Civilization. It also contains one of the greatest heroes in all human history and literature, the indomitable Penelope, and one of the greatest journeys of all time as experienced by the hero Odysseus. It is in this book that the word “mentor” was first used. The Odyssey is the original epic, saga, quest, pilgrimage, and classic, all rolled into one. Experience this great classic in the deep TJEd approach to mentoring, discussion, and searching out wisdom.
- VII-7: Paine, Common Sense
“These are the times that try men’s souls,” Thomas Paine wrote in 1776. Then: “The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink…” Just 11 months earlier, he had published Common Sense, the most influential writing in the Revolutionary era, the one thing that more than any other speech or writing convinced Americans to break from Britain and create their own free government. What did he say? How did he say it? Why was Common Sense the best selling title in the whole American Founding era, and why does it remain even today one of the all-time best selling books in American history? (As of 2006, it was still number 1 on this list.) Most importantly, what principles does it teach that are still important to our world in 2020?
- VII-8: Barbara Oakley, A Mind for Numbers
This book will change your life, if you let it. The subtitle says it all: “How to Excel at Math and Science (Even if You Flunked Algebra)”. It really works. Whether you already love math and thrive at it, or the opposite (or anywhere in between), this book is a great read for anyone who thinks math matters–even a little. The key to mastering math and science, Oakley argues, is to turn on the creative side of the brain and get it deeply involved in what is too often taught as a strictly logical/rote/left-brain subject. Getting your creativity involved makes all the difference, she teaches. Then she shows us how to do it. A great read.
- VII-9: Ayn Rand, Anthem
Conveyor belt or individualized? Force or freedom? Dominated by institutionalism or allowed to innovate, initiate, and be original? Rote or creative? What kind of world do you want to live in? And to pass on to your children, and grandchildren? Most importantly, what are you doing about it? This short and thought-provoking novel tackles the great questions of society–how do we want to live: controlled and managed by government, or free to pursue happiness? And since most thinking people choose freedom, how can we attain it, and what is the price?
- VII-10: Tolstoy, War & Peace
One of the greatest classics ever written, this 1869 Russian novel asks what actually brings happiness and fulfillment in life. Follow the main characters in their experiences, as Pierre, Andrei, Natasha and others journey the largest continent on earth trying to find out their purpose in life and what will help them find genuine happiness, love, and meaning. In the process, the reader learns to ask the same questions, and learn from the lives and choices portrayed in the book as well as from all other stories and histories in the human adventure. Find an answer to the great question, once and for all: Does happiness come from what happens to us, around us, whether in war or peace (or anything else that comes along), or does it come from some other source? A long, deep read–and so worth it.
- VII-11: Robinson, United Intelligence
Many of the greatest classics in our modern world are found, and being written right now, in the popular genres of fantasy, scifi, and dystopian novels. This story is set in a future world dominated by two great political powers–a domineering force-based government where the people experience very little freedom, versus a free, democratic society that supports and protects the rights of its people to live, learn, and pursue happiness as they choose. While the first government is bent on world domination, the second works to free everyone from bondage. But at what price? A few characters who lead and fight for freedom are far from heroes, and some of them have begun to exert too much power–a lot of it in secret, behind closed doors, in ways that will bring down the entire free society unless things change. Against these two great world powers stand three people who know that something must be done. But what? And how can they do it without hurting the side of freedom, family, morality and goodness? An all-too-relevant situation for modern readers to think about: What would we do? The pages of this book are filled with lessons for our time.
- VII-12: Lewis Caroll, Alice in Wonderland
This delightful classic is frequently considered a children’s book, but it is much deeper than first meets the eye. Caroll wrote Alice as a parody of the way upper class societies tend to look down on the middle and lower classes, and how they use tricks and conventions of language to keep themselves ruling and the other people not ruling. The entire story is an exposé of ways elites (in media, academia, society, money, politics, etc.) try to dominate the regular people, and how the people of a nation can understand this and overcome such “Lady Catherine DeBergh” arrogance and “Big Brother” manipulations. Set in a fairy-tale world full of delightful characters and interesting events, the lessons keep coming page after page–for readers who know what they’re looking for. Alice in Wonderland is a manual for cracking the elite code of machinations by those in power, knowing what is really happening in the world by learning the language of elitism and domination, and doing it without joining or getting caught up in its web of flaws. Full of characters that have become part of the modern lexicon, even for people who have never read or heard of the book, it shares a vitally important message. Learn the code. Read the book. Pass it on. And smile :), it’s a really fun read.
We will periodically update the reading schedule so that you’re kept informed of the coming books that are not yet listed.
We’re delighted to have you join us for Mentoring in the Classics. Please join the conversation on our Facebook Discussion Group! [click here to join >>]
Rachel DeMille, TJEd.org
“An Education to Match Your Mission”