Happy birthday to the great American writer Henry David Thoreau, born on this day in 1817. Thoreau was a naturalist, poet, essayist, saunterer, and faithful lifelong journal-ist. If you use daily journaling as an educational tool in your homeschool, or if you’ve considered doing so, why not introduce your students to Thoreau-the-journal-writer this week as a source of inspiration.
The best way to get started is with a famous anthology called The Heart of Thoreau’s Journals, which brings together a wonderful assortment of entries on natural history, philosophy, daily life, and more, all extracted from the extensive (fourteen-volume) diary that Thoreau kept throughout his life. Here’s a link to find a library copy, and an Amazon link in case you want to add Henry’s reflections to your own homeschool collection:
Many a teenager has been captivated by Thoreau’s journals over the years, and the examples in this selected volume will show your students how they can construct journal entries of their own — to practice their writing, to keep track of the things that happen day to day, and to develop their thoughts by translating them into words.
If your local library doesn’t have that particular edition, I guarantee they will have other editions or anthologies that contain similar Thoreau selections. Why not keep a volume of Thoreau’s journals next to your homeschool lunch table and read an entry or two with your students every day:
It is a great art to saunter. (26 April 1841)
How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live. (19 August 1851)
The bluebird carries the sky on his back. (2 April 1852)
The youth gets together his materials to build a bridge to the moon, or, perchance, a palace or temple on the earth, and, at length, the middle-aged man concludes to build a woodshed with them. (14 July 1852)
That man is richest whose pleasures are the cheapest. (11 March 1856)
So happy birthday, Henry! You’re still a world favorite more than two hundred years on. 📖
What literary discoveries have you made and what poetical prose have you written in your homeschool this Hercules Term? 😊
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