Evaluating our School Year: Plutarch

This post is part of a series I'm doing as a way to evaluate our school year. I am covering each subject, describing what we did; what worked for us and what didn't work; and detailing any changes I plan to make. I find this process so helpful as I finish out our year and before I begin to plan for our next year.  (I realize many of you have started school already and are beyond this point, as am I, but it's taken me longer than I thought to finish this series, and I'm determined to finish!)

I'm guessing a lot of my readers don't know who Plutarch is.  No worries.  I didn't either, until I started seeing Plutarch show up on the schedules at Ambleside.  That was two years ago.  I looked at it, read a bit of it, said "Nope." and skipped it for the year.  

Last year I looked at it again, read a bit of it, and thought, "Well.  There are study guides.  And we could try it."  So this past year was our first year to tackle Plutarch.  

As to who he is?  Plutarch was a biographer who lived from 46-120 AD.  Basically he wrote about the lives of the famous Greeks and Romans.  

Last year we made it through ONE life:  Marcus Crassus.  

I printed out the text and Anne White's study notes (found HERE), and we slooooowly made our way through it.  Once a week, I pulled the pages out and I'd read a paragraph.  After reading, I would call on one of the older kids to narrate it back to me.  (If they looked confused, I would try to narrate it.)  We might do another two or three paragraphs, depending on how well it was going.  Sometimes my kids drew as I read-- sketching out a scene as I was reading-- but mostly we all had to work hard to listen.

Plutarch isn't easy reading by any means.  And that's actually one of the reasons I pressed on.  It's satisfying to have to work really hard at understanding something and then to GET IT.  Also, my boys, especially, really liked it.  (There were battles and vying for power and big egos and they dig that kind of thing.)  Charlotte Mason said:
Plutarch's Lives, . . . I think, stand alone in literature as teaching that a man is part of the State, that his business is to be of service to the State, but that the value of his service depends upon his personal character."
Yes, that.  That is the final reason we pressed on and will continue with Plutarch.  As we read through the life of Marcus Crassus, we were introduced to the character (or lack thereof) of the man.  We would read about a decision he made and discuss: Why did he made that choice?  Was there wisdom in that decision?  What was his motivation?  What do YOU think you would have done?  Valuable discussions took place as we examined his life and leadership.  
We began another life at the tail end of last year, and will continue it for this year.  Slowly and steadily, once a week.  

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