Updated: Apr 5
In my own family, we did not have the cooperative connections to do proper homeschooling. My wife is legally blind, and I traveled a good bit during our parenting years. Yet, we saw that our children were educated in addition to whatever they learned in the usual channels of schooling. I deeply regret that we did not forego many things in life, so they could have had better from us personally. Labyrinth of the World, among other books, figured into our supplemental educational efforts. I would like to enumerate eight aspects of value.
In homeschooling, we ought to aim at developing the whole child. Day-to-day lessons regiment development through the various pools of knowledge. However, reading and listening with the interaction that happens as we read to our children/teens is a highly purified form of education that I do not think happens as much as it should.
In the earlier version of Labyrinth that I discovered, one thing that struck me about this book was that the vocabulary is rich. No tiny amount was spared by Mr. Comenius regarding a wide selection of words, word pictures, and idiomatic phrasing that all make for great reading. This book reads at a 9-10th grade level. Even so, younger students and even 85 year-olds will glean from it.
Comenius was a genius. Our children will learn grammatical creativity by reading or listening to The Labyrinth of the World. I found a richness in the narrative style of this book that was inspiring. Stating things in the negative, infusing sarcasm or cynicism in a flow that is not coarse, crass, or base. This fact is a welcome lark amidst the trend of culture in the world today. This book shows how these aspects can be used to sharply contrast the world and its values.
In the age bracket where The Labyrinth of the World is prime—12 and up—this stage of maturity deals in the dialectic or logic aspects of education. Young people’s minds are growing logical processing and how they themselves can develop to present with wisdom and eloquence. What better than a book that surveys the widest variety of human endeavors to find devastation only then to light upon a redemptive summation?
Healthier Religious View
In past posts, I touched on the point of a healthier point of view. Another allegory, which is world-famous, has been used to teach theology and spiritual formation. However, it has also fed an escapist religious perspective and practice. God wants His followers to allow themselves to be sent to all parts of the world to be His light, truth, and kingdom in every place they go. The Labyrinth of the World is eloquent in this regard.
Great for Discernment
Part of teaching logic—even effective persuasion—is the ability to discern matters for oneself. For example, our young can learn to determine good-sounding baloney from truth through the main character’s interactions with the story’s antagonists, Mr. Ubiquitous and Mr. Delusion. Observing such teens will learn to be perceptive about what they hear because Comenius clearly illustrates deception. In addition, young people can see Pilgrim’s (the protagonist) struggles, vacillations, and assessments, which is critical to infusing a similar discernment capability among listeners.
Excellent for Spending Quality Time
Time is perhaps the greatest obstacle to parenting and education in the Homeschool effort. Reading this book to your youngsters, as I did to mine, will provide a high-quality interaction besides all the specifics you are invested in. Some of the best times I had growing up were when my folks read to us. Repeating it with my children was an involvement without compare.
It Let Someone Else Speak for Me
As a writer myself, allowing or acquiring others’ ideas to use in what you do is one of the best ways to say something without having to say it yourself. This is especially valuable for young people. They capture things in a reading that we might have tremendous difficulty otherwise communicating. For example, my children asked questions as we read through Labyrinth. Reading to them provided the opportunity to teach because they wanted to know something about what they heard, not because I was forcing them to hear it.
I cannot believe how many times our children “understood” deep concepts because we read about such with them. The controlled exposure of this type of book assures that revelation—for them—will happen in the best ways. The young are like sponges who soak up the most obscure details that go on to shape their perspective and thinking. Imprinting occurs differently in the younger years, but it continues in various forms over the years. A book like Labyrinth is timeless in this regard.
Now, I am not the greatest of readers when it comes to reading aloud. However, the time with our teens was an excellent exercise for all of us. I could be assured of their intake. Their patience could be developed as I handled the reading. The family was enriched by our many hours together reading aloud. Homeschooling is so much more prosperous for any student involved in this way because its essence is familial transmission and relational. It is also character-based. As parents, there are many things our children would never think of doing, nor would we allow, as we spend time exposing them carefully to content, authors, and thinkers who can bestow them with understanding and perspective they will need to process and discern through this life.
We are NOT raising “Christians” as much as we are little people. We have no guarantees that when they are confronted within themselves, about their personal responsibility for their sin, that they will follow Christ. However, we have been charged with planting seeds and predisposing them to accept the truth of God for themselves. In this way as with all the rest presented above Labyrinth of the World hits on all eight cylinders.
How has this post inspired you about reading to your children?