All well and good if you want to catch the overnighter to Buffalo or bake a pie, but aren’t there more exciting, charming or inviting subjects? It’s easier to impart knowledge in a congenial, inviting manner than by force feeding children with turgid texts.
In researching the effect Holling has had I’ve been struck by the many recommendations for using his books for home schooling. Somewhat more than 2 percent of school-age children K-12 are home schooled. Their parents’ reasons are objections to school environment, desire for religious instruction and hopes for better education. Perhaps they also want to choose texts that are more enriching than this “Common Core.”
Beautiful Feet Books (at http://bfbooks.com/) believes that “the best children’s literature can both educate and inspire.” One of the popular products of this bookseller is its Geography Through Literature study guide and map set. It accompanies Holling’s Paddle-to-the-Sea, Tree in the Trail, Seabird and Minn of the Mississippi.
Literature is a significant part of home schooling. It’s obvious to even the casual reader that Holling’s story lines and splendid art and illustrations are guides that can introduce elementary students to a world of naturalism, the geography of America and the cultures that formed our country.
Education fads swing into and out of favor, but currently there is great stress on the scientific and technical at the expense of the humanities. While we need mathematically adept professionals, it would be wonderful if there were an equal number of children who grow up making the liberal arts and literature a cornerstone of their lives.
Holling’s sidebar illustration from Tree in the Trail can’t help but capture a young student’s imagination.