What Winston Churchill Can Teach Homeschoolers

Today would be Winston Churchill’s 141st birthday. There are few people I admire more, even though he died sixteen years before I was born.

In honor of Churchill’s birthday, we listened to Paul Johnson’s biography on our recent Thanksgiving travels. It’s not my favorite biography of Churchill (I’ll share a few more options below), but it was the right length for our trip and I always enjoy reading about this great man.

Very few people are as quotable as Churchill. (I mean, Shakespeare and C.S. Lewis are the only other two that come readily to mind, other than the Bible.) As I thought about Churchill’s great quotes, I thought how applicable some of these quotes are for homeschool moms.

what churchill teaches homeschoolers

And take heart, fellow moms and teachers: Churchill was an indifferent scholar. He had to buckle down to learn Math. He wasn’t an academic success. But he did focus on Latin and reading and look at what came of that: some of the most brilliant writing and speeches of all time.

Anyway, here are some of my favorite quotes. (And yes, I’ve made a few  of my favorites into pinnable graphics.)

Churchill quotes for when you’re discouraged:

failure is not fatal

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

Never, never, never give up.

We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.

victory at all costs

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.

You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.

dare and endure

I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.

Quotes for Grammar Nerds:

Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.

My husband and I quote this one all the time. We love good grammar (yes, I know, we’re nuts), but we also dislike correct but awkwardly constructed writing. (We’ve also been known to simply say, “…up with which I will not put,” to each other. I told you we are nuts.)

Quotes for looking ahead:

chain of destiny

The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you can see.

Beyond the quotes:

Looking for some more books by and about Churchill? I recommend the following.

Winston S. Churchill THE SECOND WORLD WAR SERIES (6 BOOKS). If you want to learn about WW2 from the man himself, this is a must read. I own a set and I love them. (The first three are the most interesting, because of the important role Churchill and the UK played in the early years of the war.)
A History of the English-Speaking Peoples. Another fantastic example of Churchill’s writing.
Churchill: A Life. Martin Gilbert is my favorite of the Churchill biographers.
Churchill: A Photographic Portrait
Churchill at War: His “Finest Hour” in Photographs 1940 – 1945
The Last Lion Box Set: Winston Spencer Churchill, 1874 – 1965: 1,2,3. Gilbert is my favorite but Manchester is also excellent.

A good churchill movie I can recommend for adults is The Gathering Stormstarring Albert Finney as Churchill. (Timothy Spall does a credible Churchill in The King’s Speech, one of my favorite movies. But the movie puts Churchill’s role in the abdication crisis a bit more positive than it actually was.) Churchill shows up in lots of movies, especially WW2 movies, to varying degrees and effects.

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