Monday, March 31, 2008

Detours ... but not really

We've been on some detours lately. Although, when I consider it, "detour" isn't really the right word. A detour implies that we've veered off the main road, whereas I really think of these detours as intriguing parts of the whole journey.

First up: Greek mythology in fiction.

A few years ago, when we first approached some ancient history, we read the opening chapters of the D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths. Perhaps I shouldn't have read over lunch (as is often our habit) because the girls said the story of Cronos made them sick. They wanted nothing to do with those disgusting creatures, so I decided that the timing wasn't right.

Last year, a friend recommended the Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan. The premise: 21st century children find out that they are actually demi-gods (one mortal parent, one who's a Greek god or goddess. Hijinks ensue.) Both my friend and her children were enjoying the books immensely, and she thought we might, too.

We finally got The Lightning Thief from the library, and the girls loved it. They went on to devour Sea of Monsters and The Titan's Curse, and they are eagerly awaiting the fourth book in the series. What's been fun to see is the way the girls have gotten interested in Greek mythology now. They want to know more so that they get all the allusions and can guess at plot twists. Anne-with-an-e has scoured our shelves looking for anything she can find on the subject (but, alas, I gave away that D'Aulaire back after so many scowls.)

This isn't an in-depth review (I've only read the first in the series, so I can't give a full review) but more of a reaction and an observation. The books are fun, and contain some clever humor, plenty of action and a couple of surprises (and plenty of "Ewwww!" moments, too.) I found myself wanting to rewrite bits here and there, though. Percy's mother, in particular, makes a choice that I found really unpalatable and even out of character. But, I talked with the girls about all that, and that, I think is the beauty of either previewing books, or reading along with your children (though it's not possible these days for me to read everything along with them. But, we still share a lot.)

The discussion that results from sharing books is invaluable.

If I had to record it for the homeschooling records, I could call it "Intro to Greek mythology" and "Plot and character analysis" and "Morality 101: Is revenge ever justified?"

And, all of the above is why this kind of reading isn't really ever a "detour" but is part of the whole, delightful journey of homeschooling and life.

Next up:

Ramona's detour into the ocean with sea turtles.

1 comment:

Meredith said...

Ooh, I love detours, we're on a frog and bayou/pond life detour right now for My ds 6, such fun!!