Charlotte Mason (CM) enthusiasts often speak of twaddle. “Twaddle” is practically a derogatory word in CM circles. Twaddle is the opposite of a living book. It means to be dumbed-down, or a waste of time. Some might describe twaddle as “brain candy.” It’s a fleeting pleasure, but with little to no lasting, meaningful themes.
Generally speaking, textbooks and fill-in-the-blanks workbooks (there are always exceptions of course) are categorized as twaddle because they’re usually formulaic rather than thought provoking. They take the life out of the story and bring it down to the bare bones, the bare facts.
Living books on the other hand are just that – living. They awaken a child's imagination through their God-given curiosity, and sense of wonder, in a manner that is savored and enjoyed. Living books are not condescending in their tone and take education out of the classroom, making it a part of everyday life.
How is teaching through living books thrifty? You can use your library! Workbooks need to be purchased as they are consumables. Textbooks are sometimes available through public libraries, but rarely and they can't be checked out for an entire school year.
I've written on using your library on this blog before and will continue to do so in the future. If you're not using your public library to its fullest potential, start HERE.
(For more on this topic also see my book, For the Love of Literature: Teaching Core Subjects with Literature.)