Christian Homeschool Resources & Homeschooling Advice

Equipping Teens to Engage Our Culture Through the Classics

  • 2002 14 Aug
Equipping Teens to Engage Our Culture Through the Classics
Cyndy and I have long felt that the best way to teach our children literature and history is to do them together in a humanities-style approach. In this way our students will study the history, art, and literature of a culture at the same time.

The best way to prepare our children for the challenges of modern culture is to make sure they understand its history, and to give them plenty of opportunities to analyze and critique culture using biblical standards and categories.

It is thus with great pleasure and excitement that we announce the publication of the first Greenleaf Guide to Literature, designed for use by high school students. Each guide will cover one year of literature studies. Our plan is to publish a series of guides beginning with ancient literature, to be followed shortly by a guide to medieval literature and Shakespeare.
Each guide will come from an explicitly Christian worldview and will analyze individuals, behavior, character, and actions against biblical standards.

The Greenleaf Guide to Ancient Literature is organized into six units.

Unit One is based on a study of Daniel 1-4 and focuses on the question, "Why should a Christian study pagan literature?" Here is Cyndy's response:

"I believe God was able to use Daniel in Nebuchadnezzar's life because of two things. 1) Daniel had an unshakable commitment to obeying God. He knew the Scriptures and was determined to remain faithful to their teachings. He feared God more than any man. 2) Daniel was also faithful in his Babylonian studiesin the language, literature, and customs of that culture."

Daniel excelled in his studies. He was able to speak clearly to Nebuchadnezzar about the God of Heaven in terms that Nebuchadnezzar understood. When Nebuchadnezzar looked at Daniel, he saw a young man of integrity and diligence. He knew that Daniel could be trusted. Similarly, Paul was able to stand before the Greek philosophers at Mars Hill in Athens and speak clearly to the Greeks about the One True God in terms that they understood. My challenge to homeschooled teens is this: How are you preparing yourself to speak to your culture about the Gospel?"

Unit Two is a review of Genesis 1-11.

Unit Three focuses on The Epic of Gilgamesh and analyzes what Babylonian religion taught about creation and the nature of God.

Unit Four is a six-week, in-depth study of Homer's Odyssey, with an emphasis on the Greek notion of virtue, excellence, and the hero.

Unit Five is a six-week study of Sophocles great tragic trilogy: Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonnus, and Antigone.

Unit Six is a four-week study of the modern French playwright Anouilh's retelling of Antigone, with a focus on how one's worldview affects one's notions of the heroic and the tragic.

Rob and Cyndy Shearer are the owners of Greenleaf Press;and have been homeschooling their eleven children since 1983