With children studying at home, why not join them by indulging in a Classic. Maybe there is one you have been meaning to read, but never had time for? Although more challenging than a beach read or thriller, they offer you the opportunity to practice your focus through the length and language you encounter and will give you an opportunity to engage, rather than just be entertained. You will often find allusions to the classics in everyday life. For example, how often have you heard the term Jekyll & Hyde personality, or driven behind an Odyssey van?

You can watch the film Clueless on Hoopla and read Jane Austen’s Emma and you will find a direct reference to Emma and Harriet’s relationship through Cher and Tai. 

Compare the YA novel The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebik to Jane Austen’s Persuasion by listening or reading them with your teen:

  • In The Last Best Kiss, "Anna is tired of worrying about what other people think. After all, that was how she lost the only guy she ever really liked, Finn Westbrook. Now, three years after she broke his heart, the one who got away is back in her life--and he wants nothing to do with her. Anna keeps trying to persuade herself that she doesn't care about Finn either, but even though they've both changed since they first met, deep down she knows he's the guy for her. Now if only she can get him to believe that, too.”
  • In Persuasion, "when she was young and beautiful Anne Elliot fell in love with a dashing, but poor naval officer. Her family considered him beneath her and persuaded her to break off the match. Eight years later, when the novel begins, Anne is well past the bloom of her youth. Until Wentworth, now a celebrated captain, returns to the area to court her young neighbour. Anne begins to slowly bloom a second time, though she hardly dares hope that he will return to her.”


Hoopla and Overdrive have a variety of Classics to choose from:

  • William Shakespeare – The Taming of the Shrew
  • Thomas Hardy – Far from the Madding Crowd
  • John Bunyan – Pilgrim’s Progress
  • Oscar Wilde – The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • Mary Shelley  - Frankenstein
  • Virginia Woolf – Night and Day
  • Robert Louis Stevenson -- The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde -
  • Joseph Conrad -- Heart of Darkness


If you want to search out your own Classic Challenge:

  • Switch “All Fields” to “Keyword in Subject Heading”
  • Type “Classic” and select Classic Literature from the column on the left


If you are feeling intimidated (and appreciate how your children may be feeling about home schooling), don’t give up! Try downloading some help:

  • The Pocket Guide to Classic Books by Kieran Hughes – “Everything you need to know about classic literature in one handy guide by lecturer Maureen Hughes. Covering everything from the authors to the plays themselves and their common themes, accessibility is a key selling point with fact boxes highlighting key or curious facts about the subject.” 
  • A Student’s Guide to Classics by Bruce S. Thornton – “Including short bios of major figures and a list of suggested readings, Thornton's guide is unparalleled as a brief introduction to the literature of the classical world.”


Whether it’s White Fang or War and Peace, take this extra time to try meeting an ‘old friend’ one page at a time.