Click here to read Part 1 -- "It's a Classic!"

I knew that my children might not "take" to the classics like a duck to water, so I decided from the beginning to cultivate their tastes at a slow and steady pace. I recently read that a child must taste an unpleasant food fifteen times before it becomes pleasant to his palate. I question this a little because I know I have tasted at least fifteen peas, and I still do not like the little green things.

However, I do love broccoli, and I hated it as a child. The mere mention of broccoli would bring me to the point of gagging. All it took was for me to try broccoli covered with cheese. Then, after I found myself enjoying that, I smothered it with butter. Now, all it takes is a little salt.

All this food talk is to say that an appreciation of the classics is an acquired taste. We may have to begin with an appetizer like taking our kids to a ballet such as The Nutcracker Suite. Next, we may move on to a meatier course like the art museum. We may detest the paintings of Picasso, but when we study the works of Michelangelo or Raphael, we may find ourselves staring at Picassos. Or we may find that we still detest Picassos.

When I first began reading the King James Version of the Bible, I stumbled over the thees and thous and all the words that ended with eth, but after a time, the words become a part of me. I began to love the Word of God in a way that was not possible with another version.

The same is true with the classics. At first we may stumble over the rich language, but before long, we will begin to think classic thoughts. If we read classic literature that has characters who exhibit moral integrity, who love the Lord, and who believe in His principles, we will begin to think like them.

Have you ever read a Doctor Suess book to your children? Whenever I do, I go around talking in rhyme. "Tonight we’re having spaghetti! Do you think that you can get ready? You’ll need to use a plate. Hurry! Hurry! Or you might be late! And don’t forget the fork, or tomorrow you’ll be eating pork." What you read begins to become a part of who you are.
Our family adventure into the world of the classics had begun! If my children were going to develop a passion for the classics, I decided I must be passionate about them. I perused my books on the shelf and looked for a good classic to curl up with on the couch. Many people on the Charlotte Mason loop had talked about reading Jane Eyre. I saw the book on my shelf, but I knew nothing about it.

I picked up the book and examined the binding and the worn-looking pages. I guess someone must have liked the book if it’s been around this long, I thought. I opened it and began reading about the author Charlotte Bronte, who wrote the book in 1848. I began to think perhaps I had made a mistake choosing this as my first road on my new adventure, but as I read the first few pages, I began to feel myself being transported into her life. I began to read in an English accent. I realized I had been missing out by not having read the book before. With each page that I turned I was further indebted to Charlotte Bronte and to Charlotte Mason for showing me a new richness to life that I had not known before.

I desperately wanted my children to be able to experience the same feelings I was having while reading this great book. My first thought was to begin reading it aloud to them. I decided against that idea because the themes in the book were a little too "grown-up."

One night I tried an experiment with my children. I got out my wonderful book called Children’s Book of Verse, a collection of poems by various authors. (I would like to add that I would not put this book into the hands of my children as it does have many poems that are against some of our beliefs. I will, however, select poems myself to read to them.) The kids were all wound up, bouncing off the walls, and crawling all around the room. I told the children (to get their reaction) that I was going to read them some poetry. "Oh, Mom, do you have to?"