Homeschool high schoolers should read more CS Lewis!
Why High Schoolers Need More CS Lewis
His books prepare teens for the thinking and creativity they will need in order to thrive in our bland, data-driven world.
CS Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia and Space Trilogy are particularly important books for homeschooling high schoolers to experience. In order to truly understand why, let’s have a little biology lesson:
Your fleshly body has organs: brain, heart, liver…
And so does your soul: reason is the organ of truth, imagination is the organ of meaning.
That’s how CS Lewis explains it: One can’t dissect an intangible soul like one can dissect a tangible body, but as Christians we understand that we do have a soul. And if a body has organs, doesn’t it make sense that a soul would have organs also?
So, reason is the soul’s organ of truth.
Imagination is the soul’s organ of meaning.
Here’s where I’m going with this:
As homeschoolers (and humans) we must take good care of our body. We must feed it well and exercise it well because each organ is important to a healthily functioning body- and train our children to do so, also.
So as homeschoolers (and humans) we must take good care of our soul. We must feed our reason with good information and feed our imagination with great literature, music, and art- and train our children to do so, also.
CS Lewis talked about the importance of imagination to his spiritual and intellectual health in Surprised by Joy and Selected Literary Essays
Lewis exercised his healthy imagination by writing myth/fantasy stories. In fact, it was the work of Lewis (and his friend, J. R. R. Tolkien) that re-popularized the current myth/fantasy genre that is so prevalent in American movies and books today. Lewis wrote The Chronicles of Narnia, The Space Trilogy, and other books rich in imagination.
These imaginative books have had great impact on many lives. Through Lewis’ work, children and adults have come to understand God better, to understand the spirit realm, and the forces of good and evil.
His works illustrate sacrifice, love, courage, and growth.
My own kids developed their rich (and often silly) imaginations through read-alouds of great literature- especially repeated readings of Narnia. An important part of their homeschool high school curriculum was to read Lewis’ Space Trilogy, which made a deep impact on their lives.
So, here are some critical homeschool questions:
Is your teen’s reading list boring him to tears?
Are your high schoolers learning to write technically perfect essays and papers that are so dull that they bore even themselves?
Are their organs of imagination becoming atrophied by under-use?
If so, then some of their meaning and purpose in life is being lost.
If so, they are short-changed in the things they can accomplish for God’s kingdom here in this life.
It takes a healthy imagination to dream God’s dreams.
It takes a healthy imagination to serve, to lead, and to grow up well.
Time to feed and exercise your homeschoolers’ imagination!
If you have a teen and feel lost, start with 7 Sisters Study Guide for The Chronicles of Narnia, finish the year with his Space Trilogy AND Short Story Writing Guide: Myth/Fantasy. These will walk you and your high schoolers through imaginative adventures full of creativity and deep thought and help prepare them to make a positive impact on their world. You can find free resources for the Myth/Fantasy Writing Guide:
- Tips for Using the Myth/Fantasy Writing Guide from a Homeschool Dad who teaches it in co-op (and more ideas in this Homeschool Highschool Podcast interview).
- Syllabus for the Myth/Fantasy Writing Guide.