Monday, February 22, 2010

Using Henty for Unit Studies, Vocabulary, and Character

 As any Charlotte Mason follower will tell you, reading good, solid, living books is the best way to instill the good things you want into the hearts and minds of your children.  Reading trivial fluff, as most "literature" that mills out today could be (perhaps loosely) described, only serves to provide time usage.  Reading the living books of generations where honor, character, integrity and morals were highly prized and strongly emphasized, instills so much more into our children, and is hardly a simple usage of time.We just don't have the same understanding of moral character and true values in our society these days.  Personal honor ranks rather low as something to cultivate in the general population.

We love Henty if for nothing more than great family read-alouds.  Forget the fact you are learning a great deal of actual history in the process, or witnessing those true events through the eyes of characters with a strong moral direction in their lives.  They are just plain good, quality reading :o)  To have them as free texts online, available to print off and incorporate into our studies and home libraries is just a huge bonus!

We are downloading and saving the texts that are available here onto a falshdrive for ease in reading on the mini netbook, or to print ourselves and bind.  Staples, Office Depot, OfficeMax and other similar shops will take your flashdrives or CD ROMS and print them and spiral bind them at a cost.  Either way, you will have a great library ready for cozy reading and fun homeschooling.

Here are some notes from the Robinson Curriculum site concerning the Henty stories and some of their homeschool usage:

Using Henty as a Charlotte Mason-style vocabulary resource:
In addition, the vocabulary and sentence structure of scholars in Henty's time were far superior to those of most writers today. While the reader is enjoying a tale of adventure and learning history, he is also subconsciously learning his writing and reading skills by means of the example set by the writer. It is by emulation of others that these skills are best obtained, and Henty sets a superb example - while strongly holding the student's attention.
Grammar and spelling books cannot compete with the verbal skills that a student acquires from the books and spoken words that attract his greatest interest. While a student may learn to answer test questions appropriately, it is the verbal abilities that he actually adopts and applies to everyday life that will determine his future. It is these skills that G. A. Henty effectively improves.

Wholesome Examples of Integrity and Character:
G. A. Henty lived during a time in which honesty, integrity, hard work, courage, diligence, perseverance, personal honor and a strong Christian faith were greatly valued. This was especially true of members of the British armed forces, of which Henty was a part. As a consequence, Henty's heroes are models of these virtues of personal character - and always owe their successes to these characteristics.
The young reader identifies with Henty's heroes while he is vicariously reliving their experiences as he reads. These heroes become, for the duration of the story, his peers and examples - and, children learn, almost entirely, by example.
American and British educators a century ago were as much concerned in building good character in their students as they were in imparting to them academic knowledge. This accounts for the great popularity of Henty's works during that golden period of education.

Uusing Henty for unit studies:
There are two types of fiction: hard fiction and soft.  Hard fiction takes place in a reality that is as true to science, engineering, and history as possible with drama and characters added to make the story.  Henty writes hard historical fiction.
In G. A. Henty's, Cat of Bubastes, topics such as irrigation, deserts, and crocodiles are discussed in the context of the story.  This is true of the stories in general so that the student, while reading the books, is given a history lesson, since each story takes place in an actual historical setting, as well as topical studies as characters interact with the environment around them.
Military discussions often take into account the engineering and science involved.


1250 BC
The Cat of Bubastes
220 BC

The Young Carthaginian
A.D 61

Beric the Briton

For the Temple


The Dragon and the Raven

Wulf the Saxon

Winning His Spurs

In Freedom's Cause

St. George for England

The Lion of St. Mark

A March on London

Both Sides of the Border

At Agincourt

A Knight of the White Cross


By Pike and Dyke

St. Bartholomew's Eve

Under Drake's Flag

By England's Aid

By Right of Conquest


The Lion of the North

Won by the Sword

Friends Though Divided

When London Burned

Orange and Green

A Jacobite Exile

The Cornet of Horse

The Bravest of the Brave

In the Irish Brigade

Bonnie Prince Charlie


With Wolfe in Canada

With Frederick the Great

True to the Old Flag

Held Fast for England

With Clive in India

Some notes about Henty reading, courtesy of Timberdoodle:
If you also are looking for history books for your older children, books that will be historically accurate and will stretch their minds, but will not compromise your family's standard of decency, you will be very pleased to learn about the works of G.A. Henty (1832-1902).

Known as "The Boy's Own Historian," his historical epics are profoundly factual stories that highlight some of the greatest people and moments in history. Written to satisfy young men's insatiable hunger for adventure, Henty's stories can be equally riveting for your daughters.

Each story revolves around a fictional boy hero who is diligent, courageous, and intelligent. Where needed, these boys fought wars, sailed seas, prospected for gold, and aided in the overthrow of evil empires. Through Henty's heroes, your child will meet historically strategic leaders and acquire an awareness of the cultures of various European and pagan civilizations.

Each volume of Henty's series is a library-bound hard-cover edition, designed to endure to the next generation. Each book ranges from 200 to 398 pages. Note: in accordance with the period in which they were written, there are a couple of books where an occasional derogatory term is used, or inappropriate dress, or rather lack of it, is illustrated. Preview the books with a bottle of white-out, or train your eldest to search out these problems and eradicate them.

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