“Someday you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” – C.S. Lewis
Fairy tales are at the heart of our homeschool. We read them, play them, tell them, and fill our imaginations with their rich colors. Fairy tales are formative here.
Not just the ones everyone knows either, while we love the classic Cinderella story (not not so much the Disney version); we have more than the American basics at hand: Vasilisa the Fair, The Firebird, Oscar Wilde’s Tales, the Ivan Stories of Russia, Kate-Crack ‘r Nuts, and an abundance of others.
We have at least 6 of Andrew Lang’s Fairy Books – happy collections of so many variations on classic tales, and other, rarer stories I’ve never seen before; we also have collections like The Serpent Slayer and Changing Woman and Her Sisters; Arthurian legends; Pagan Mythology, folktales, and all these weave together in the minds and hearts of our children to build an imagination in which ‘nothing is impossible’.
It’s the wild, magical realism of overwhelming belief that fairy tales bring to us. Images of the world’s terrors, and of the strength within the human heart – the opportunity to wonder if maybe “all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave.” That wild wisdom is one of the primary goals of my schooling: intimacy with mystery.
At this point in our homeschooling, if I could only teach two subjects, I would teach faith and fairy tales to my children, so that in the early years of their schooling they built a foundation on the mysteries of beauty, goodness, and truth.
What are your essentials in schooling? How much has that changed over the years? I would love to know what forms the heart of your own schooling, especially for young children!