Getting Rid of the Twaddle
Twaddle Free Books for Your Homeschool
Let’s talk about getting rid of twaddle. What is “twaddle?” If you are familiar with Charlotte Mason, then you have seen that word pop up many times.
“Children must be Nurtured on the Best––For the children? They must grow up upon the best. There must never be a period in their lives when they are allowed to read or listen to twaddle or reading-made-easy. There is never a time when they are unequal to worthy thoughts, well put; inspiring tales, well told.Let Blake’s ‘Songs of Innocence’ represent their standard in poetry; De Foe and Stevenson, in prose; and we shall train a race of readers who will demand literature––that is, the fit and beautiful expression of inspiring ideas and pictures of life….” (Charlotte Mason, Parents and Children, p. 263)
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Myth: All non-twaddle books are dull and boring!
This is so not true! There are plenty of non-twaddle books that are fun and exciting for kids to read. Also fluff books are not the only books that children enjoy.
Getting Rid of Twaddle: You are what you eat!
Think of a book like food for your child. Why do we eat?? For the nourishment of our bodies. We can’t live off of junk food. So, let’s read books to nourish our minds. And instead of filling up our children’s minds with nonsense and fluff… “junkfood”, let their minds be nourished with good quality literature that has a purpose.
My sister and I recently had a conversation about the type of television/movies we let our children watch. We had both noticed a significant change in attitude in our children from watching certain shows or movies. Our children would reflect the attitude that was seen. Books are no different… they reflect the attitude found in what they read.
I recently got rid of 2 trashbags full of books from our home that we had accumulated over the years from thrift shops and yard sales. I was really surprised at how many books we had that contained “twaddle!”
How to determine whether a book is twaddle
Sometimes it is so easy to see when a book is considered twaddle. For example, a book such as “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.” (My son actually received this book as a gift a couple years ago…full of nonsense. And I did not like the attitude that was portrayed in the book.)
This isn’t always the case for twaddle books though. They may not always be super obvious. So, I like to ask myself a couple questions.
What is my child taking away from this book?
Look at the storyline. Is there a real purpose to the story? Does the story inspire your child? Are they learning something? If your child is not gaining something from reading the book, it is probably considered twaddle. No, they do not have to all be historical non-fiction books. There are many fictional stories that are wonderful for children to read. But, they will take away snippets of good character, and even some exciting knowledge they may have never known before. A couple of years ago we read the book “Farmer Boy ” by Laura Ingalls Wilder. My children absolutely loved it, and I really enjoyed it, too. They took away little fun facts about life on the farm, and there was a great example of good character all throughout the book. (We love all of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s The Little House Series!)
Is the book setting a good example?
Let me elaborate on this one. Several years ago, I began to collect a series of Junie B. Jones books. I honestly had no clue what these books were about. I had heard from other homeschool moms that these books were great little books for little girls. So, we picked up a ton of them from our local thrift shop for about 50 cents per book. When my daughter was old enough to start reading these books, I had her read aloud to me from them. I was so shocked at the attitude that I found in these books, and the pure nonsense. (I personally do not want my daughter using hateful words to talk about her siblings… or anyone else for that matter.) Needless to say, we got rid of the entire series, and will not be purchasing anymore.
Children are drawn to books that are silly and filled with nonsense.
“What manner of book will find its way with upheaving effect into the mind of an intelligent boy or girl? We need not ask what the girl or boy likes. She very often likes the twaddle of goody-goody story books, he likes condiments, highly-spiced tales of adventure. We are all capable of liking mental food of a poor quality and a titillating nature” (Charlotte Mason, School Education ).
Getting Rid of Twaddle
So, does that mean that you have to get rid of EVERYTHING in your homeschool that resembles twaddle?? No. I got rid of the majority of twaddle books in my home. What did I keep? Well, there were a few books that my 6 year old loves to read, so I kept them. I kept all of my Dr. Suess series as well. (Some may not consider Suess twaddle… I don’t. Yes, it is silly and a bunch of nonsense, but they are also rhymes that my children love. So, for now, we will keep them.)
My thoughts are this… You are capable of defining twaddle for your own homeschool. I have heard many say that Dr. Seuss, The Magic School Bus , and Magic Tree House books are twaddle. However, we have chosen to keep these books in ours. We have no plans of getting rid of them, but that could change in the future.
This is a great read on defining twaddle: Simply Charlotte Mason: What is Twaddle?
My best piece of advice for getting rid of twaddle…
Read Charlotte Mason’s Original Homeschooling Series for yourself. To really grasp Charlotte Mason’s ideas of twaddle, you need to hear it from her.
You can purchase her series separately as well: