Books, Homeschool, Mother Culture

Back to the Classics Challenge 2018 and What This Homeschool Mom is Reading

Are you up for a challenge in your reading life? Karen from Karen’s Books and Chocolate blog is hosting a Back to the Classics Challenge 2018.

back to classics challenge

Choose 12 books to read this year in varying categories and you may join in by posting your reviews on Goodreads or your blog linked to her site. Check it out for all the rules.

I’m so excited to have come across this back to the classics challenge, because, frankly, I need more classics in my life. Here’s a snippet of what I typically read.

Usually I’m drawn to non-fiction. My to be read pile always has books about parenting, marriage, Christian faith, homeschooling, Charlotte Mason homeschooling, and homemaking. My friend challenged me a few months back to read some fiction with her and I have to say that I do really appreciate escaping in a story.

Classic literature is a huge part of my children’s homeschool curriculum (AmblesideOnline) and as a Charlotte Mason homeschooler it’s a shame I haven’t read much of it in recent years.

As I was doing a little research to pick titles for this challenge I realized I had read more classics than I thought I had, most of it was high school assigned reading, but it was still more.

It was fun to browse around and see what others have read. And it was fun to read the summaries of titles I had heard others talk about. I listed a ton of books that seemed interesting or that I thought it was about time for me to read.

After sleeping on it, and contemplating for a couple of days, and asking on Instagram for recommendations I finally selected these classics for the Back to the Classics Challenge 2018:

1.) 19th Century Classic – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Seeing that I’ve yet to read a Jane Austen this well known title had to be on my classics challenge.

2.) 20th Century Classic (1900-1968) – 1984 by George Orwell

I’m pretty sure I own a copy of this book. I had been meaning to read it in my young adult life but just never got around to it. This may end up being quite startling and eye opening. I very much enjoy the dystopian genre in the Divergent Trilogy movies (maybe I should read those books sometime). Movies and books are much different, I know, but hopefully this won’t make me too anxious.

3.) A Classic by a Woman Author – A Modern Telemauchus by Charlotte Yonge

This was listed as a great recommendation when I was searching for books in the crime genre. There was a short synopsis and it sounded intriguing, however, I can’t seem to find that or any review on this book now. Just that there are pirates.

I ended up choosing it because Charlotte Yonge is the author of Little Duke which we started reading for my daughter’s school this year. I figured why not be more familiar with this author.

In my wanderings around the web I’ve learned she’s written over 125 works of fiction, so that seems fitting for her to be in this category.

4.) A Classic in Translation – The Princess of Cleves by Madame de Lafayette

Published originally in 1678, this is the oldest book on my list. It’s been described as France’s first modern novel.

I think I may have to dig into this one first. Looks like there are a few film adaptations, anyone have a favorite? (La Belle Personne, La Princess de Cleves, The Letter, Fidelity)

5.) A Children’s Classic – The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford

I grew up with the movie Homeward Bound which is a film adaptation. I know the story but I’ve never read the book.

This is assigned as a literature read in AmblesideOnline for year 4, which I’m planning to pre-read this year for myself, so it’s serving double duty being on a few of my reading lists.

6.) A Classic Crime Story (fiction or non-fiction) – A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

Never having read any Sherlock Holmes stories I chose the first book featuring this famous detective.

7.) A Classic Travel or Journey Narrative (fiction or non-fiction) – The White Company by Arthur Conan Doyle

This is an historical fiction adventure story (yes, by the Sherlock Holmes author) that chronicles two young men who travel to France to fight for England during the Hundred Years War.

I found this recommendation in this list of the Best Books about Quests and am looking forward to reading this one. Something about it seems captivating to me.

8.) A Classic with a Single-word Title – Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

A few years ago when hubby and I had gone to a homeschool convention, we attended a lecture in which the speaker posed the question about whether we are born inherently good or evil. He used Frankenstein and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as examples in his talk. Since then it’s been in the back of my mind to make sure I read these classic literary works.

The fact that there are so many pop culture references to Frankenstein makes me want to uncover for myself what this Gothic novel is all about.

9.) A Classic with a Color in the Title – The Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne

The only mystery novel written by the author of Winnie-the-Pooh. Okay, this should be interesting. I’ve read Winnie-the-Pooh, and his writing style (for me) took some time to appreciate. But it’s a classic “locked room” whodunnit mystery, reminds me of Clue. I think it’ll be a fun read.

10.) A Classic by an author that’s new to you – Lord of the Flies by William Golding

This is referenced often but completely new to me. The reviews either seem to be love or hate. Tell me in the comments what you think. Food for thought: it is considered a ‘banned’ book (and is on my other reading challenge list fulfilling the banned book category).

11.) A Classic that scares you – Middlemarch by George Eliot

Depending on the edition, this book is a good 800 pages. I’ve first heard of this title I think in a video with Brandy Vencel or on the Schole Sisters Podcast and I believe it is in the AmblesideOnline forums under book discussion. But I had no clue what it was about.

This was listed as an example in Karen’s “single-word” category so I just had to look it up. Lo and behold this is a very long book, and I am very much up for the challenge, but I know me and I am really good at procrastinating, so I should probably start this one sooner than later. I think the longest book I’ve read was Uncle Tom’s Cabin between 600-700 pages.

12.) Re-read a Favorite Classic – The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Remember I said I haven’t read many classics, well I have listened to both The Secret Garden and The Little Princess by Burnett and I adore these books.

I chose The Secret Garden because it’s listed as a free read in AmblesideOnline year 4 (which I’ll be reading through for my own education, yay, mother culture!)

Back to the Classics Challenge and What This Homeschool Mom is Reading (1)

Tell me in the comments what you’ve read or what’s on your to be read list. Will you also be doing the Back to the Classics Challenge this year?


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2 thoughts on “Back to the Classics Challenge 2018 and What This Homeschool Mom is Reading

  1. As a homeschooling mum, this looks like a great way to incorporate some “mother culture” into our lives.
    Like you I’m also reading non-fiction, especially about or by Charlotte Mason ( and a few too many YAs!😉). I’m going to check this reading challenge out too. Thanks

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