#16: On Teaching Great Books: An Interview with Angelina Stanford

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Welcome to The Classical Homeschool Podcast. At the Classical Homeschool Podcast, our heart is to take on the work of wrestling through the, sometimes difficult and philosophical, ideas presented throughout the classical education movement and bring them down to earth, specifically and practically for the classical homeschooling mom.

Angelina Stanford has an Honors Baccalaureate Degree and a Masters Degree in English literature from the University of Louisiana, graduating Phi Kappa Phi, and has taught in various Christian classical classrooms for over 20 years.  She is currently teaching the Great Books online at the Circe Online Academy and the newly launched Stanford Online.

Known for her ability to be both scholarly and entertaining, Angelina has presented papers at the College English Association Conference, the Conference on Christianity and Literature, the Circe National Conference, and the Kindred Conference.  She also brings her unique combination of scholarship, humor, and fun to the popular weekly Book Club podcast, Close Reads.

Angelina has written for numerous publications and she blogs at circeinstitute.org. She is currently writing a book about her great passion–how to understand every story. Find out more about Angelina and subscribe to her mailing list at angelinastanford.com.



“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23 ESV

Questions Answered throughout the Episode

  • How do we (teachers and homeschool moms) choose the books we are going to read in our literature and humanities classes?
  • There are so many book list options out there. How do I know which booklist to choose?
  • What makes one book list better than another?
  • What are the differences between a content driven booklist versus an idea driven booklist?
  • Once I choose a booklist, what do I do with it? How do I teach it?
  • You mentioned not doing what your high school teachers did. What are some of those things we should avoid when teaching literature?
  • What do I need to know in order to lead my kids through this chosen book list?
  • What if I don’t know all that I need to know in order to lead them?
  • We believe at The Classical Homeschool Podcast that parents can be great classical teachers, if they work at it. I also know that many moms feel inadequate to homeschool classically because they have not had official teacher training, as if the reason they don’t have certain skills is simply because they are homeschool parents and not certified teachers. What are your thoughts on this?
  • What advantages do you think homeschool parents have in this pursuit of classical education?
  • How do I know if my students are really “getting it”
  • What are resources you recommend to parents help their students and themselves choose and teach these great books in the way you have described?

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8 thoughts on “#16: On Teaching Great Books: An Interview with Angelina Stanford”

  1. Thank you so much for this great podcast! I’m wondering if there are show notes (internet links) somewhere?

    1. This is the page with the show notes. We have listed the questions we asked and given a short summary. Sometimes, the length of the episode inhibits the typing of detailed notes. Thanks for listening!

  2. I think the show notes the listeners are looking for are the books and authors referenced. I listen while driving, and it’s impossible to write down all the great references.

    1. We do reference the books and resources mentioned on most episodes; but, you’re right, on the interview episodes we are not always able to catch all of the references, resources, etc. This was a lengthy discussion, so we decided to post the questions since the content was the most important aspect. Thank you so much for your feedback and for listening.

  3. Brilliant, thought-provoking discussion. It was packed so full of information and ideas that I had to listen to it twice (and my to-read stack is now tottering dangerously).

    During the second listen, I took notes to catch all of the book references; hopefully this doesn’t seem too forward, but I thought I’d append the list to my comment for anyone else who may be interested. Asterisks denote books mentioned as being trustworthy guides and helps to understanding the classics.

    Perelandra; That Hideous Strength; *An Experiment in Criticism; *A Preface to Paradise Lost (this one was not mentioned by name, but it was the only Milton guide by Lewis I could find), C.S. Lewis
    1984, Orwell
    Paradise Lost, Milton
    Inferno (Divine Comedy), Dante
    *Milton’s Paradise Lost, Leland Ryken (and other guides by same)
    *Beowulf, trans. by Tolkien
    *Burton Raffel’s translations/commentary of Beowulf, Don Quixote, Sir Gawain (Signet Classics)
    *Annotated translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy; Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization, Anthony Esolen
    Anna Karenina, Tolstoy
    Norton Critical Editions (editions of Great Books with scholarly research/commentary)

    Aldous Huxley
    Flannery O’Connor

    1. Thank you so much for this! I was listening in a noisy setting and was unable to catch some of the less familiar names!

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