Anne White is a mother of three, a long-time member of the Ambleside Online Advisory Board, and the author of numerous resources on the Greek-born Roman historian Plutarch. She joins us on this episode of the podcast to help us figure out how we might approach reading Plutarch with our kids during Morning Time.
Who was Plutarch? What did he write about? Why did Charlotte Mason consider him worthy of inclusion in her course of study? What can modern-day students hope to glean from learning about people and events from so long ago?
Anne answers these questions and so many more. She explains that the purpose of reading Plutarch is not to get bogged down in names and dates from ancient history, but rather to share stories with our children and, in doing so, to help them grow in virtue and character.
Anne shares how she herself did not understand Plutarch on her first reading, but began to enjoy him after additional reading and study. In sharing her story, Anne reminded me that I can be a fellow learner alongside my children as we approach subjects like these during Morning Time.
Listen along as Anne brings Plutarch to life!
Links and resources from today’s show:
- Ambleside Online
- Dewey’s Treehouse
- Anne Writes
- Minds More Awake: The Vision of Charlotte Mason by Anne White
- The Plutarch Primer: Publicola by Anne White
- The Plutarch Project, Volume 1 by Anne White
- Plutarch guides on Ambleside Online
- Plutarch’s Lives on Project Gutenberg (Dryden translation)
- Plutarch’s Lives (North’s translation)
- The Boys’ and Girls’ Plutarch edited by John S. White
Minds More Awake: The Vision of Charlotte MasonThe Plutarch Primer: Publicola by Anne E. White (2015-09-24)The Plutarch Project, Volume One: Marcus Cato the Censor, Philopoemen, and Titus Flamininus (Volume 1)The Boys’ and Girls’ Plutarch: Being Parts of the
Pam: This is Your Morning Basket where we help you bring Truth, Goodness, and Beauty to your homeschool day. Hi everyone, and welcome to episode 13 of the podcast. I’m Pam Barnhill, your host, and I’m so happy you’re joining me here today. Well, I don’t know about you guys, but I have often heard the name Plutarch thrown about in Charlotte Mason circles, especially as I’ve researched things on the AmblesideOnline website, and also on Cindy Rollins’ blog as I read more and more about Morning Time over there. But I’m going to be perfectly honest, I had no idea who this Plutarch guy was, except he was somebody that Charlotte Mason people were supposed to read. Well, I have found us an expert today who can talk to us a little bit about, not only who Plutarch was, what he wrote about, how Charlotte Mason used him in her schools, but also how we might use him in our homeschools. Anne White is here to give us some great tips and talk to us a little bit about how Plutarch might help our students. So with no further ado, let’s hear what Anne has to say.
Anne White is a mom of three, a writer, and a longtime member of the AmblesideOnline Advisory Board. She blogs both at Dewey’s Treehouse and at AnneWrites.ca, and she also writes for the Ambleside Advisory blog, Archipelago. She has a deep understanding of the ideas behind Charlotte Mason’s approach to education and she recently published a book about those ideas called Minds More Awake. Anne has written numerous resources on Plutarch including The Plutarch Primer, The Plutarch Project, and many Plutarch study guides for AmblesideOnline. We’re thrilled to have her join us today to talk about how we can incorporate Plutarch into our Morning Time. Anne, welcome to the show.
Anne: Thank you, it’s great to be here.
Pam: We are so glad to have you. Could you start by telling me a little bit about Plutarch? Who was he? And when did he live? And what did he do?
Anne: I had to look up the date because I always forget, but he lived from AD46 to 127. He was a Greek who became a Roman citizen partway through his life. He was a priest at Delphi and also, sort of, the mayor of that town as well, which meant that he had a lot of connections, he knew a lot of interesting people, he had times at his house when people just came and talked, and he actually ended up having (I don’t know whether he wrote them himself or had somebody transcribe them) but some of the dialogues went into a book of essays called The Moralia, but he’s also a historian, and he was interested in exploring some of the early Greek and Roman leaders and heroes, both the ones that were not so far removed from his own time, and some that were so far back that he really had to dig sometimes to come up with resources, and he often ends up comparing two or three sources, and it is a bit frustrating sometimes he’ll say, “You know, so-and-so says this and so-and-so says that, but well we’re not sure it may not have been.” But that is so common. Things haven’t changed that much when you’re trying to figure out what did happen 500 years ago or sometimes you’d like to know who the best resources are.
Pam: That’s interesting.
Anne: So, anyway, he wrote the book that we’re talking about here is actually his Lives of the Nobles Greeks and Romans, also called Parallel Lives. It’s called Parallel Lives because in most of them he took one Greek and one Roman person and tried to pair them up. Sometimes that may have been a little bit forced– it is interesting how he tries to pair people up. Usually he does a pretty good job, but what we usually do is, we don’t tend to worry so much about the Parallel Lives, we just take them as they come, one at a time. There are a about 23 pairs of lives that are still around that we can read, and he also refer to, sometimes he’ll say, “See my life of so-and-so but we don’t have that anymore” so I know that there were some maybe who disappeared in the meantime.
Pam: That’s fascinating. I never knew that they were paired up. I’ve always heard Plutarch’s Lives, I’ve never heard of Parallel Lives, so speak for just a moment about how he was trying to pair these lives up. Was he looking for comparing or contrasting or “this is a statesman and this is a statesman, let’s look at how they can compare?”
Anne: It’s a bit of both. Since he was the first moral biographer, he was really interested in how character influenced people and how people influenced the world around them. So often he would choose one general and another general, or something like that, or he might seem to choose maybe by a character quality to super brave people or something like that.
Anne: It’s not something to worry about so much, again, the parallel thing, at least in our terms. We just tend to take them one at a time, although the comparisons are interesting, but we don’t put a whole lot of emphasis on.
Pam: So, he was a historian, basically, and he was sharing these histories of lives long before him, but also of some of his contemporaries as well?
Anne: Yes, some were more recent for him would have been Julius Caesar, relative terms had only died a hundred years or so before he was born, would have seemed like someone relatively new at that time. And then there might have been some people around who knew some people who knew some people who had had to have been there.
Pam: That is true. So, how did you become so interested in Plutarch?
Anne: I wasn’t quite at first. When we first started the AmblesideOnline curriculum, when it was getting started, my daughter wasn’t quite old enough to really be into Plutarch at that point. So we just concentrated on the things that we were doing. There was a rotation of Plutarch’s Lives up on the AmblesideOnline website, but I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to it at that time. But after a couple of years my daughter was about 10 and I thought ‘well, it’s time to figure out what this is about’ and I guess we just took the next one on the rotation and started reading it and really, I can’t even remember whether we got through the full first term of that or not, but it was really frustrating. It was just a, kind of, seat of the pants thing. And we kept reading but it wasn’t really making a whole lot of sense to us. So the second time around, I think it was after the summertime, so during that summertime, I had thought, ‘you know what, I really want to do a little bit better this time around so I’m going to read it through myself and see what I need to know ahead of time.’ And I kept on reading it and circling things and looking things up, and eventually I had enough of it that I thought this is good, this will work for us this term, and actually it did, and ended up putting it on the website to share with anybody else who wanted to use it, and then as we kept on moving through Plutarch I just kept adding to them, and there was some time in there just because of my own children’s ages and our family that I didn’t get anything new done or I started something and didn’t finish it, but we did keep going with them, but especially when it got easier, past few years to access North Translation Online, which we can talk about that afterwards, but that sort of got things going again and I started working through the old studies again and re-doing some of these notes. And more recently than that, that’s turned into a book form as well.
Pam: Right. So this was basically out of necessity because there wasn’t anything else out there really that you could
Anne: That was it. I saw Shakespeare guides out there but I couldn’t find anything to use with Plutarch.
Pam: Well, it’s really interesting. I was an English Literature major and I’m very familiar with Shakespeare, and I had never heard of this guy named Plutarch at all, until I became a little more familiar with Charlotte Mason. And even, a lot of other Charlotte Mason curriculum out there, for lack of a better word, don’t even mention Plutarch, it was only AmblesideOnline where I first saw it.
Anne: Well, it is kind of funny because some of the things you read it seems that up until about the last century everybody knew Plutarch. If you said Plutarch’s Lives or Plutarch it seems to have been much more familiar. There’s an essay by Emerson where he says something like, “Something so familiar we don’t really need to go into detail about” and even, I found fascinating, there’s this passage in Frankenstein, where the monsters talk more about the books he’s reading and one of them was Plutarch’s Lives and all the things he was getting out of that. So it just seems to have, it has become obscure, but it seems to have been only the last century or so and before that I think at least knowing basically what Plutarch was was a lot more common.
Pam: That is interesting.
Well, tell me, why read Plutarch? When we’re reading it with our children what’s our goal?
Anne: In Charlotte Mason’s curriculum Plutarch’s Lives was part of what they called Citizenship. So each term under Citizenship from about age 9 or 10 and up, they had two or three books that dealt with morals and civics and social awareness and so on. And one of Plutarch’s lives was almost always included under that heading, so, one biography of one person. Occasionally if it was a long one they might spread it over two terms, but usually it was one person one term.
Pam: And we should say that a Charlotte Mason term is 12 weeks long, and there were three in a year. Correct?
Anne: Right. Some people actually called Charlotte Mason’s whole curriculum a character curriculum. You know, character, citizenship, they’re so closely tied together, and I think the citizenship books (besides the Bible studies they got their own subject) were really the heart of her whole emphasis on character and educating for virtue, and just ideas like being able to think about what’s good for your community, and thinking globally as well. I think those are some of the original goals, and I think that hasn’t changed. I think that’s still the same. There’s another passage where Charlotte Mason talks about opening the door. I always thought of it as the door of a giant library, but I think she was actually talking about the large room. She liked to quote from Psalm 31:8 where it says “set my feet in a large room” so we’re looking for ideas and education, that something that takes us out of our own time, out of our own lives, but shows us how cultures change, ideas change, but when we read even something from so long ago, like Plutarch’s Lives, we find that people are still the same. And practically speaking, it teaches us how to be leaders, it teaches how to be followers. It gives us some equipment for high ideals and just, in terms of really practical things, it can teach us about history and vocabulary and all kinds of things like that.
Pam: So there are kind of two layers? There is the history and vocabulary but also, you know, so many homeschool families you get online and they’re looking for character training or I’m looking for something to help teach my kids virtues, and this was it. This was Charlotte Mason’s character and virtue, and citizenship training as well.
And that never goes out of style, that’s always relevant.
Anne: I think so.
Pam: Well, talk to me a little bit about age range. Now, you said you did not start with Plutarch until your daughter was about 10, and I’m assuming you read it in the original, though could you speak a little bit to Plutarch for children, and talk to me about how this might be done with a wide age range of children.
Anne: That one’s a little trickier. This is one of the books that Charlotte Mason actually had most teachers and parents read out loud. One of the problems was that Plutarch, he often includes unsuitable material, so she didn’t really want, unless they could find a version that was already sort of cleaned up, she didn’t really want the students reading it just for themselves, she expected that the teachers or the parents would be able to edit on the fly as they went. In a way that’s good because it’s such a good read aloud book, it makes it a great choice for Morning Time or whenever you have the children together and different ages and groups. I probably wouldn’t use it, though, in the original listed as much under 10 just because Plutarch’s style especially in the older translations is still quite difficult. And a lot of the things, some of the really big ideas that you’re talking about, those things that we’re aiming at this with all your students, my guideline is always if they’re ready to read Shakespeare in the original they can probably handle Plutarch.
Anne: But probably not so much [**inaudible** 13:27]. Well there are children’s retellings of Plutarch, sort of like Lamb’s Tales for Shakespeare, you can access a lot of them online and I know some people use them so that they can include younger children or sometimes they used to use them as an introduction to the original versions, but for Charlotte Mason’s students, Plutarch was really something, they saved them til they were old enough to get the most out of it. It’s kind of like not giving you your little kid’s lego or until they’re really old enough to make something with it.
Pam: Or know better than just to stick it in their nose.
Anne: Like that.
Pam: So, talk to me a little bit about translations, and then you mention that some families do use some of the children’s translations. So I’m going to go ahead and have you, is there a children’s translation you would recommend, first of all? And then I’m going to ask you to tell me about your favorite translation of the originals.
Anne: The children’s versions, they kind of range from ones that are so made easy for children that there’s hardly anything left.
Pam: Right, don’t recommend those. Tell us a good one.
Anne: There are a couple on the Baldwin Project, you can access there (there’s a couple of good ones there). But there’s also one you can get on Project Gutenberg by a guy named White, and she pretty much takes Dryden’s Translation which we can talk about that in a minute, and he takes out the bad parts and he doesn’t adapt the language too much.
Anne: So you’re looking for something pretty close to the original but not necessarily easier just shorter and cleaned up, that you know, is right. The ones in-between, I’m sorry I can’t think of ones right now, but there’s a couple on the Baldwin Project that are not too bad if you’re looking for something like that.
Pam: OK. So, now talk to us about original Plutarch, where you may have to do a little editing of your own on the fly, which translations of that can you buy?
Anne: In the study guides they’ve been included in the text and often so people know, we often take care of anything that’s going to be really objectionable, but still, leave enough so somebody can make your own decisions on it, but when I started doing the study guides, the easiest translation online to access was Dryden’s, which he did that in the 1600’s. Charlotte Mason always talked about North’s, but North’s is even older, and you figure it’s got to be even harder because, you know, well, it was 100 years before Dryden’s and it was harder to find at that time, it was harder to access. So when I started writing them, I just based everything I did on Dryden’s. Lately I’ve been working, re-working on to use North’s, and I find I really enjoy North’s. Sometimes he has very earthy language, not meaning dirty or anything, just he uses very clear metaphors, language that I can see why Charlotte Mason liked it. Do you want to hear a quote?
Anne: Well, there’s this one where Dryden, he’s talking about some people who [**inaudible** 16:25] by Timoleon, and it said that “the Carthaginians (this is Dryden’s translation) were not a little vexed to see themselves outwitted” but North says “they were ready to eat their fingers for spite.”
Anne: I read that and thought, whether it’s older or whether you think the language is sometimes more difficult, I’m enjoying the way he’s putting his sentences, sometimes it’s easier to understand.
Pam: It’s more colorful.
What might it look like? So we have these translations and I should say that we’re going to link to both of those in the Show Notes, and families have a couple of options. We’re going to talk a little bit about your materials later where you do include the translations but they can also go and find these online and Gutenberg or the Baldwin Project. So when I have my Plutarch in front of me, what might it look like in Morning Time for me to be doing Plutarch with my children? How much should I read, and then what do we do with it once we’ve read it?
Anne: Charlotte Mason tried to make it easy. She said it should be read without too much explanation or comment. She kind of thought of it as a gift that we were passing from one person to another, and I think that takes a lot of pressure off the parents because we don’t have to feel like we need to be experts on everything about Greek and Roman history. But at the same time, I remember that first term where we were, kind of, blundering our way through Demosthenes, so that’s why I’ve continued to write the study notes, they’re really more for the parents than the students, because sometimes we’re the ones who need more hand holding. But when you’ve got what you want to read, you could start with the first lesson. It’s always good to ask some questions and find out what they already know about the person or about the time that’s going to be discussed, or try to make some connection with something else they’ve already studied, or maybe the last Plutarch’s life that you read. If it’s not the first week you’re doing it, you might want to connect with the last lesson and ask, for examples, of some of the big ideas that you were talking about, like how someone showed courage or honesty. You can give them a little preview of what’s ahead. This is before you start: they can look things up on a map. You give them a couple of things to look for, if that’s going to help them understand the story. You can also talk about vocabulary a little bit. In the study guides, sometimes long lists of vocabulary and it’s not intended that those be used word for word for word, it’s just three or four is probably enough if it’s something that’s really, something that they’re going to need to know to make sense of the story. It’s helpful to go through that ahead of time. Charlotte Mason used to write character’s names on the blackboard as well, especially with a book that was being read out loud so they can make those connections. And then you just read a little at a time, go slow, focus on the narrative and the people involved; what they did, what mistakes they made, how their choices affected other people. Have students narrate afterward either oral or written, they can make entries in Books of Centuries. You can stop and ask for narration and more than one point in the reading. We’ve often done that, especially, as long as, what’s natural with Plutarch sometimes his sentences go on and on and on, like five semicolons later you stop and you’re still on the same sentence and you go, “what just happened there?” and sometimes that is not just a constructed question, actually asking and sometimes the kids can tell you better than you’d figured out yourself at that point.
Pam: Right, and so we shouldn’t be afraid to take Plutarch in very small chunks right? We shouldn’t feel like a failure if all we’re getting through is a few paragraphs or a couple of pages a day?
Anne: That’s fine. I think Cindy Rollins has said that she used to, because she was doing Morning Time every day, she would break it down into quite small chunks and she’d say sometimes they’d only get through a very little bit at one time, but that was OK. It’s whatever works best, whether you’re doing it once a week or more often, that would also depend how much … rather than trying to get through a whole life in a term, that is a good goal, but if it takes longer and they just want to do a little bit at a time, well, that’s OK too.
Pam: Hearing you say that because this is about citizenship and character and virtue, that we’re not going to get lost in the minutia of Plutarch of worrying about facts and dates and things like that, but we really want to focus on the ideas. So, how might you help? What suggestions could you give to moms for helping to have discussions and focusing on those big ideas that Plutarch’s going to bring to the table?
Anne: Hopefully some of it is if the students are narrating and hopefully some of those ideas might just come out, from the narration. They might just pop out with their own ideas and things that they want to say about what they heard. But if they don’t, you can raise points, like asking for examples of where you’ve seen particular character traits and then let the discussion continue from there because maybe there will be disagreement over whether somebody did something was it actually a generous thing to do?, was it just a good for popularity?, sometimes Plutarch will even, he’ll say “they say that he did this because … but I think it was …” So actually Plutarch is really good for that. Not everything is always cut and dry. He’ll say “so-and-so was always generous” but sometimes people are not always consistent and that really comes through. One thing about Plutarch’s writing really shows the human side of people. Often he’s very funny, too. Even on this serious side he makes it easy to see that it doesn’t matter if the Kings or Generals or whatever they still come from somewhere, they still have struggles, they still make mistakes sometimes.
Pam: Right. Would you say Anne that these are, kind of, you know how we take young kids and we read them fairy tales and we do that because good is good and bad is bad and you can clearly see those differences, as opposed to stories that are written for adults where you have kind of these archetypal characters and there are all of these different nuances and things like that, is Plutarch a good inbetween for those kinds of things?
Anne: There’s a quote from Charlotte Mason says that Plutarch is, she says he’s like the Bible in just telling you what happened and letting you decide; “this is what the person did.” Now, I think sometimes actually Plutarch does come down and say that was a really evil thing of them to do, so I don’t think he’s always quite “non-judgmental.” He’s coming from somewhere and he’s got opinions too of silly things and evil things and stuff like that, but no, I don’t think his people turn out to be, that they’re all black and white, just archetypes. There are a couple of them that are sort of legendary but most of them were historical characters, they have the time, they have the place, they have a background, they have a family, they have a disagreement with each other. It’s not always easy for them to decide what to do and it’s not always 100% “yeah, he should have done that, definitely he should have done that.”
Pam: Sounds like there are a lot of opportunity for great discussion and maybe even debate around the Morning Time table when you’re reading Plutarch.
Anne: I have heard about it. I actually heard last summer I heard a story from a co-op in Tennessee where they had actually had a debate. They had done two terms of Plutarch and at the end of the second term they had a debate over whether or not the two characters, they had different issues, they said which one would be a better president of the United States, and which one would be better at this and better at that, and the students in that group actually had a formal debate over it. And as I heard it, it continued on even after the school year was done, they were still talking about it later on.
Pam: Oh, that’s awesome. That’s really great.
Anne: It was.
Pam: Yeah. What are some of the big ideas that Plutarch brings to the tables? We talked a little bit about citizenship and virtue, but of that, what kind of ideas will we find when we start to study Plutarch?
Anne: That is a really good question.
Pam: So lots of different ideas is what you’re telling me?
Anne: Yeah, all the character virtues and positive/negative, lots of opportunities. Since a lot of them have to do with leaders who were also military leaders. For a lot of them it kind of went hand in hand, if they were elected to a public office they were also expected to be leading the military as well. A lot of the stories he is telling often have to do with battles and power shifts and sieges and things like that. So there’s a lot of things about courage, using wise military strategies, even things like how to get elected, stuff like that. If you’re looking for the sorts of stories that come up a lot of the time, it will be how he won the battle or how they managed the people under them, whether that was in a military sense or just as a civic leader. I think there’s a Charlotte Mason narration question that’s come up, I think it’s in one of her books as, “How did, under Hercules, how did they beautify the city? What great improvements did they make? And that was during the building of the Parthenon; all that stuff during the golden age of Athens. So it’s not always about war, there’s other things that go on as well. Also in the time of Hercules where they’re at war and he has to make a decision whether or not, what to do with all these people that live in the surrounding area of the walls of the city, and he makes a decision, bring the people into the city for their own safety but it causes all kinds of other problems and there’s a plague and then eventually, Hercules ends up getting blamed so there’s all kinds of risks that you take when you’re in power because eventually it would stop with you and you have to make those decisions. It’s not always easy.
Pam: Right, and it lets you see some of the nuances. No decision is every easy because there are so many different things to consider.
OK, so are any of the lives about women, or is it all men?
Anne: There are women in some of the stories (I don’t think anybody’s ever asked me that before) but no, all the ones that I’m aware of, they’re all named after men. But he does have some good women characters as well. And Publicola’s daughter, Valeria, and her friend, they get settled which to the other side is hostages during a war, but kind of get bored. They lived over, literally on the other side of a river, with nothing to do so they decide to make a break for it and swim home. You can just imagine these teenage girls doing this, and then showing up all wet at her father’s house, and he’s not impressed and he sends them right back again. There are other female characters as well.
Pam: Fun. OK, well, talk to me about where would you start? Because like you said there are a number of different stories, so if I were going to start, do you have one or two that would be best for me to start with?
Anne: Well, I’ve always like Publicola. We started it as our second attempt of Plutarch because something Charlotte Mason has said, she said that the children can never get enough of Publicola. I didn’t know who Publicola was but OK, if they can never get enough of Publicola, well, we’ll try that one out. And what had turned out was, it was a good choice because it clearly shorter than some of the others and one of the lessons is a little bit gory but most of it there isn’t too much that would need to be omitted, and Publicola, I like him because he’s seems to be one of the good guys so I always side with him. Some of the characters are really more complex and maybe better saved for a couple of years until the kids are little bit older and a little bit more familiar with the style. But Publicola is pretty easy to understand what’s going on, so that’s one person. Another idea would be to just start with somebody that you’ve heard of. Plutarch wrote lives of Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great and other people that a lot of people have heard of, so his life of Brutus is a good one, that like goes with Julius Caesar. That was actually one that Shakespeare drew on for his own plays. Plutarch was one of Shakespeare’s favorite writers as well. It’s really interesting sometimes to see the parallels that come of it and how Shakespeare drew on the Plutarch story to construct his play.
Pam: That is interesting. Well, tell me a little bit about your resource guides that you’ve put together. How might those help a family to get started with studying Plutarch?
Anne: Most of what’s in the books, we just really did the books as a convenient form for people because most of what’s in them is actually on the AmblesideOnline website and can be accessed for free, other than a bit of introductory material. A lot of people had just said, “is it possible to get it in print so I don’t have to print out 50 pages every term?” The one that I worked on the last one, Publicola, I really did put a little bit of extra into that, which is also, again, that’s been updated and added to the AmblesideOnline website as well. So if you want to see what’s in the books, most of it really is on the website as well, it’s just some people would just prefer to have it in a kindle version or print version. But with the Publicola one I tried to do a little bit of extra, I guess you’d say, hand holding for the parents especially because I remember you’re just getting this big wad of stuff about a time and a place that you may not be that familiar with, especially at the beginning I put in a few places where “this is a good place to stop and narrate” and then as it goes I think people get more comfortable with it and they should, kind of, figure that out for themselves.
Pam: So, I’ve looked at a sample, I haven’t looked at the book itself. We are going to use it in our co-op next year, but basically, you have the text there that you have, for the most part, taken the worst pieces out of and families/mothers might still decide to edit a little more on the fly, and then interspersed within the text you have suggestions for them to stop and narrate. Is there any other information that’s in there?
Anne: I usually put a list of vocabulary in, which again, you don’t need to go through that word for word but it’s to save having to look things up in another place since it’s right there. Also, discussion questions; sometimes I draw from Scripture parallels, anything else that seems like it might be a good point to bring out during discussions. Any other bits of information that might be helpful, such as sometimes Plutarch does assume that you know who so-and-so was or what such-and-such about was, so if it was something that I had to look up I would add that in as well. Anything that I think might be helpful and put it all in one place for people.
Pam: So, if we wanted to study Publicola, where would we start with that? Which book of yours would we get?
Anne: Well, the Publicola study is on the website but the book is called The Plutarch Primer, so that is just the Publicola study.
Pam: And then what will I find in the Plutarch Project?
Anne: The Plutarch Project we have the first volume of it came out this year, and that’s just the three lives that were already scheduled on AmblesideOnline website. We have a rotation of several years so you know what’s coming and what the next one is to do each term, so the three that were scheduled for this school year are in Volume 1.
Pam: And who are they?
Anne: The three that are for this current school year are Marcus Cato the Censor, Philopoemen, and Titus Flamininus.
Pam: And so those guys are included in the Plutarch Project, Volume 1.
Anne: Volume 2 should be coming out early next year.
Pam: Great, great. Well, Anne, thank you so much. I was totally clueless before we started doing this, and I really appreciate all the great new information that I’ve learned about an interesting way, a compelling way, to teach character, virtue and citizenship to my children, so I appreciate you coming on.
Anne: Oh, well, you’re most welcome. Thank you.
Pam: And there you have it. Now, our Basket Bonus for this episode is a procedure list for the steps that Anne gave us for doing a Plutarch lesson. If you’ve been around my blog for a very long time, you know that procedure lists are some of my favorite ways to tackle homeschooling subjects in kind of a no-brainer way for mom, taking all the decision fatigue out of homeschooling by making a list of steps that you can follow to teach a specific lesson. Printing that out and sticking it, say, in your Morning Time Binder. So what I’ve done is I took the steps that Anne gave us in the podcast today for doing a Plutarch lesson and I typed them up on a procedure sheet for you to put in your Morning Time Binder and to keep handy if you attempt to do Plutarch in your homeschool. So you can head on over to the Show Notes for this episode, that’s EDsnapshots.com/YMB13 to download your very own procedure list. And thank you so much guys for joining me here today. I hope you found lots of useful information like I did. All of the resources and links to the different Plutarch translations are available in the Show Notes, so you can get those there. And we’ll be back in a couple of weeks with another great episode for you. Until then, keep seeking Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in your homeschool.
Key Ideas about Plutarch in Morning Time
- Charlotte Mason included Plutarch as part of a robust citizenship component of her curriculum. His writings contain valuable examples (and counter-examples) of virtue and character.
- When we read Plutarch in Morning Time, our goal is to look for big ideas, such as leadership, courage, wisdom, and decision-making.
- Mom does not have to be an expert: read little chunks, narrate, discuss, and focus on the big ideas without getting lost in the minute details.
Find what you want to hear:
- [2:18] Who was Plutarch?
- [5:05] Plutarch as a moral biographer
- [6:16] Anne’s first attempt at Plutarch
- [8:40] how Plutarch was commonly read and referenced until quite recently
- [9:35] Plutarch as part of Charlotte Mason’s citizenship study
- [10:12] benefits of Plutarch: vocab, character, virtue, history, ideas
- [12:19] age range for Plutarch
- [14:00] different translations (original text and children’s versions)
- [17:01] how to do a Plutarch lesson, step by step
- [19:59] doing Plutarch in small chunks
- [20:43] focusing on the big ideas
- [27:41] best stories to start with
- [29:30] Anne’s Plutarch guides
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Thanks for your reviews
- Thank youby mrsbeliever from United States
I take my walks outside two times a day. I enjoy listening to all the knowledge you have on your podcast! I am a mom of 7 and have been homeschooling for 18 years! I’m not a novice but have loved all your advice and input! Thank you for everything you do! I love it!
- Always a favorite!by Lizzie O' from United States
Pam continues to do an amazing job with this podcast. She is a wonderful host, never hurried, asks great questions and really lets her guest share his/her experience fully. The variety of experience & wisdom here is fruit for the homeschooling community at large. I’ve been listening from day one and this podcast continues to be a top favorite. Thank you Pam!
- Morning time will change your lifeby RachBoz from United States
I’ve listened to YMB and Pam off and on for years, and she literally changed my life 7 years ago when I was just starting to homeschool. I’m so thankful for her ministry and encouragement to homeschool moms of all ages! I highly recommend doing morning time!
- Life Affirmingby Logandinco66 from United States
This podcast is amazing and has helped me so much as recovering perfectionist homeschooling mama! Pam gives so much great insight into so many aspects of life and focusing on homeschooling.
- Life giving!by lapatita5 from United States
This podcast has been so great. It’s so practical and encouraging without being overly preachy or narrow. It gives ideas in a take-what-fits kind of way. I have used many of the recommended resources and ideas mentioned and been inspired by many others. Even the episodes that I found less relevant to me specifically, often had tidbits that I could use. Pam’s podcasts, books, and resources have been a godsend to me in my beginning years of homeschooling, helping me discover my own way to teach my kids in a way that prioritizes what is most important to us.
- You've made my school year!