26 August 2011

Homeschooled like Jane Austen

Much has been written about home school, particularly in the last few years. I know it to be very successful with most children but I also know it requires a deep commitment from willing parents!
The notion that children might be missing something being home schooled, particularly regarding social graces is not to be credited. At the risk of sounding naive, I prefer home school to public schools these days. 
And I might add for anyone dubious of my understanding of all that it entails, I have home schooled our youngest child! 
Literature has an enormous place in our household, bookshelves abound in every room (but the washroom!) and we always seem to have our nose in one book or another. So it appears pure logic I would do a bit of research on whom in the literature world was home schooled!

I doubt very much there are many people around the world who have not heard of Jane Austen. Born in Steventon, England in the year 1775, Jane Austen is considered a classic writer who completed six novels in her lifetime, four of these books published posthumously!

Her father was a clergyman who supplemented his income by providing a school for boys in their parsonage. Apart from a short stay in a boarding school, Jane Austen was taught at home by her father like any home schooled child!

Jane Austen's whole world centered on her family and she was reputed to be very shy. Due to financial difficulties, the Austen family eventually left Steventon for Bath, a fashionable social resort but a change that Jane never liked.
Later Jane's family settled in the village of Chawton after Mr. Austen's death in 1805.

'In the years that Austen lived at Chawton Cottage, she woke every morning, practiced the pianoforte before anyone else got up, cooked breakfast for the household, and then retired to write, free of further household duties. She apparently worked in a room that was both a hallway and a dining room, but the room had a squeaky door. Austen refused to have the door repaired, ensuring that she had notice of any one's approach.'

We know romantic pursuits came to naught and she died in 1817 at the age of 41. She is buried in Winchester Cathedral.

Much has been written on Jane Austen's life and her novels (see list below) 
  • Northanger Abbey - sold 1803, not published until 1819
  • Sense and Sensibility - published 1811 but Austen had to pay the printing costs
  • Pride and Prejudice - 1812
  • Mansfield Park - 1814
  • Emma - 1815
  • Persuasion - 1819  
Finally, it remains for me to say I have always felt this amazingly modern author for her times, feels like a well known friend whom I grew up with. Her intuitive detailing of an era most romantic as well as her witty, at times caustic, description of society as she knew it never fails to entertain me. 
I return to her novels time and time again.

For all Jane Austen aficionados:
The 2011 Jane Austen Festival is from Friday 16th to Saturday 24th September.For more information, read here

P.S. A quick peek at the Jane Austen gift shoppe is a must! (see here

Thank you very much to 'Where Beechmast Falls' for sharing more about Jane Austen' world!



  1. I homeschooled my kids from 1st and 3rd grades all the way through high school. (We're done now, having graduated the younger child last year.) It does require a huge commitment, but it was one I was glad to make. I am satisfied that while my kids don't know everything there is in the world to know, they are very definitely adequately prepared for life. Plus, it gave us control over the things and people they were being exposed to.

    I've actually never read a Jane Austen novel; however, I do watch the BBC adaptions of her books. I'm very partial to the 6 hour Pride & Prejudice...ah, Darcy and Elizabeth!!

    My daughter loves Jane Austen. I'm sure she will love this post and the links.


  2. I love this post. Where would we be without Jane Austen? Her books are timeless. They speak to us of a different time, when good manners and the social graces were so important.
    Romantic and funny, you can read Jane Austen time and again and still find something fresh with each reading.


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