It's no secret that Sonlight offers literature-rich homeschool curriculum. There are many benefits to this approach, but I'll mention four here.
First, reading quality books helps us learn to receive literature, not simply use it. C.S. Lewis used these terms in his book An Experiment in Criticism. Those who "use" literature function more as consumers and, as a result, often fail to appreciate its artistic merits or the ideas developed in the work. They usually only read a book once, thus missing out on the joys of receiving literature by appreciating it in more depth and wanting to read a great book more than once.
Second, literature-rich homeschooling helps children become acquainted with the great conversation of ideas. Throughout the centuries recurring themes that define our humanity appear in literature--love, justice, redemption, the meaning of life, and more. By reading literature that explores these important themes we can participate in the great conversation of ideas that stretches back through human history.
Third, in reading great literature we can in a sense see through the eyes of others, thereby expanding our horizons and our understanding. As C.S. Lewis put it in An Experiment in Criticism, "We want to be more than ourselves ... We want to see with other eyes, to imagine with other imaginations, to feel with other hearts, as well as with our own ... in reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself." There's a world of ideas to explore and literature can take us on a guided tour of these insights.
Fourth, we are made to think and feel deeply, and literature can help us develop not only our intellect, but our emotions. It appeals to our entire being, especially when we are immersed in a good story with characters we care about.
What do you appreciate about literature-rich education? Let us know by leaving a comment.