The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis have inspired me and the children in many ways. I will attempt to cover several in this blog post but there will be more points coming, as I will write about each volume in a separate post.
The first volume of this masterpiece is titled The Magician’s Nephew. The language, the long sentences, the descriptions, i.e. the beautiful prose of C.S. Lewis, represent the first reason why any homeschool should put Narnia on their reading list.
Whether you do it out loud like we do or you let the children read on their own depends on you, your schedule, and their reading skills. I think it makes for a great read out loud title(s) because, for one, I had never read them from cover to cover. So it helps me to get exposure to great English literature. Then, we can talk about it.
“Mommy, wasn’t it funny when … [insert different scenes from the book, which I see as her own way of naturally narrating back to me what she heard] ?” says my six-year-old, whose world is all fun and games. She sees everything as funny and amusing. She inspires me, that’s for sure.
Then my eight-year-old would repeat phrases and words from the book and let them roll off his tongue and I can tell he tries them on for size. He is taking on new vocabulary and longer sentences or at least full sentences, descriptions and turns of phrases, as if they were new outfits he puts on, outfits that define him in a new way.
See, even my sentences on this blog have become longer thanks to reading Narnia. That’s what a book does to you. It changes you, it penetrates your mind, it becomes one with you. All the more reasons to look for the best titles and immerse yourself in them.
The second reason you should drop everything and start on Narnia is the gospel theme woven throughout the books. You may get more of the symbolism than your children, if they are under 10. But you can always point it out to them. I have personally been very inspired in my walk with God by these books, as I see myself in the struggles and joys of the characters and their interaction with Aslan, the symbol of Jesus Christ.
Finally, Narnia should be read because it is fantasy or fairy tale literature. At the time when C.S. Lewis was publishing Narnia, in the 1950s, many people thought fairy tales were wrong for children because it confused them, as children already have a hard time discerning what is real and what is make believe. Uber-conservative Christians today still stand on that platform.
C.S. Lewis explained why that position is nonsensical in many essays and articles. He explained how children’s imaginations were fed and encouraged by fantastic creatures and mythical worlds where seemingly everything is possible. And he kept on writing Narnia – seven volumes of it.
Well, that is quite a debate and I shall not even attempt it. I have made my choices and you have yours to make. To each his own.