Oct 282008
 
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There is a lot of disagreement among homeschoolers concerning the value of studying mythology.  Some, especially strict Classical homeschoolers or Latin-centered homeschoolers, place great attention on mythology in the early years. The article Why Pagans? by Cheryl Lowe of Memoria Press is a short defense on the value of studying the Greek and Roman culture. Others, take a more moderate view of studying mythology.  While recognizing some of the value in the forms of cultural literacy and understanding of ancient times, they do not elevate the Greek and the Roman culture to a higher place than it deserves.  I would consider Tapestry of Grace to be among this group.  Finally, there are some who disagree with teaching any mythology in the early years.  I would put the Bluedorn’s among this group.  This article explains their concerns and their definition of classical education

I guess I tend to fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, possibly leaning more to the Bluedorn’s perspective on this matter.  But we do study some mythology.  We are in Week 14 of TOG and my Upper Grammar kids have been reading D’Aulaire’s Greek Myths.  I think it has been a profitable study for them.  I was excited yesterday by the connections my older son is making with the Greek story of a flood to the biblical account.  He was interested in seeing how Noah was spelled in our Greek New Testament.  Then he was comparing the stories of Noah to the Greek and Babylonian flood stories.  We talked about the Tower of Babel and how all men would have heard the story of the flood before their language was confused.  Then after the people were dispersed they took the story with them.  Over time, the story was confused in the cultures that did not continue to follow the true God of the Bible.  He sovereignly preserved the true story which is recorded in Genesis.  I think this is an example of the light that everyone in the world has as mentioned in Romans 1 but has been distorted. The reading of the myths really enabled my son to see these connections for himself.  I’m always encouraged when he shows such insight!

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  2 Responses to “Studying Mythology”

  1. I think that studying mythology can be of some use Christians. We can learn more about why the Hebrews could so easily follow these pagans even though they had experienced God first-hand, if we know what it is they are following. I also think we can learn about the struggles that the first century Christians were faced with when we understand the culture and belief system they lived in. Of course, I do think we can go overboard when we start trying to mimic some of the philosopher's styles and techniques. One curriculum I looked at had so much emphasis placed on Greek and Latin I wonder how the kids could out not worshiping pagans.

  2. I do teach this myself. I believe that my children need to know how it all fits together. They have really surprised me with how they have knitted together in their minds the whys and hows of all the history of religion and how it pertains to what they believe.

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