Holmes Schooling with Sherlock

We’re reading Sherlock Holmes around here. We just finished A Study in Scarlet and we couldn’t manage to find the next novel in the library, so we’re into one of Arthur Conan Doyle’s books of short stories about Sherlock, The Return of Sherlock Holmes. It doesn’t seem to matter much about reading them out of order, though I will say that the shorter arc of the short stories has kind of thrown Nick and me off after starting with a novel. The pacing is different enough to be noticeable.

The Sherlock Holmes books were written in the 1890’s and early-ish 1900’s, and there are plenty of British-isms and slightly archaic wordings to please the ear, if that sort of thing is pleasing and not off-putting to you. The vocabulary is a great set-up for SAT preparation. We let a lot of the words go by, allowing context to lead us through, but then there are the words that stop us, and we talk about them or look them up.

This on-the-fly ability to “talk about it if we don’t know it or want to know more” is one of the things that can be an academic plus of homeschooling. The “for further learning” conversations are instant and in context, and we can also just push through the book without the “educational” conversations if the plot begs us to or we are too tired of deconstructing. This keeps the balance nicely tilted toward reading for pleasure, which of course begets more interest in reading and promotes fluency.

Though Nick also has that vampire book that seems to be taking care of recreational reading for the moment.

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One Response to Holmes Schooling with Sherlock

  1. You’re right – the pacing of the short stories is very different to the novels. I’ll be serialising the next Sherlock Holmes novel – The Sign of Four (or The Sign of the Four as it sometimes known) online within the next month or so.

    In the meantime – you should definitely check out The Hound of the Baskervilles. It’s a fairly short Sherlock Holmes novel – but certainly one of the better ones.

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