In Our Homeschool This Week:
First of all, my teens are so inspiring! My 14-year-old son is working with a mentor to actively explore his career goal: becoming a video game designer/programmer. My daughter is almost finished with her first complete screenplay and has an idea for a second one. Kudos to them for going after their dreams. And I love hearing what teens want to do "when they grow up." Because at 46, I'm considering "growing up" soon myself, and I'm always looking for ideas. ;-) Better yet, I love to see them not waiting 'til they "grow up" and pursuing their chosen work now.
The teens and I have been working on short stories, in English, as a way of exploring literary techniques. We have been discussing different kinds of conflict in literature. So far we've read and discussed these short stories:
- "The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant
- "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe
- "The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell (there is a 1932 film based on this story) (Conflict: Man vs. Man)
- "To Build a Fire" by Jack London (Conflict: Man vs. Nature)
We've also talked about irony, suspense, mood, foreshadowing, figurative language, character development, descriptive writing, and more.
For history we started a brief unit on the French Resistance during World War II.
We're reading this graphic novel, which is the first in a trilogy:
Paul and Marie’s bucolic French country town is almost untouched by the ravages of WWII, but the siblings still live in the shadow of war. Their father is a Prisoner of War, kept hostage by the Germans. When their friend Henri’s parents disappear and Henri goes into hiding because of his Jewish ancestry, Paul and Marie realize they must take a stand. But how can they convince the French Resistance that even children can help in their fight against injustice?
I learned of this series on a book blog I read regularly. I wish I could remember whose blog, so I could give her a shout out. :-) My memory is rubbish lately. The teens and I are enjoying this so far. We don't read many graphic novels, and this is a lovely change of pace.
We also watched Au Revoir Les Enfants, which I reviewed here.
I kind of coerced my son into watching this film -- he objected to watching an artsy foreign film -- a DRAMA -- with subtitles, no less.
-- "It's not going to be so bad," I said, knowing his interest in the military aspects of World War II. "There are Nazis!"
-- "Nazis don't make everything good. ZOMBIES do."
And he continued complaining about being forced to watch this classic French film, in which he had to read subtitles, and there are NO ZOMBIES." Nevertheless, I felt he needed to expand his horizons a bit, and I think he ended up enjoying it.
This movie, Louis Malle's autobiographical view of the German occupation of France and the Holocaust through a child's eyes, is a terrific "history lesson." In addition to giving us a glimpse of life under occupation -- and letting us see the role of French collaborators -- it gives us a sense of what life might have been like living on the fringes of his conflict. It offers a hint about the French resistance and clearly shows that while the Vatican didn't speak out against the Nazis, to its everlasting shame, individual priests risked everything to do what was right.
Another thing I appreciated was the way it made it clear that anti-Semitism was very much part of the fabric of life before the Nazis arrived. Many of the French felt more threatened by Communists and Jews than by German fascists -- this is mentioned in the film.
I am annoyed by the tendency of books and movies to pose the anti-Semitic Nazis against the "good guys," who harbored no such prejudices. This is far from the truth. Things don't happen in a vacuum, and I don't see how you can learn about history without understanding that. Furthermore, I wish history classes didn't paint things in simplistic terms: "We went to war to defeat the Nazis. Period." We need a citizenry who can think critically about our leaders' stated reasons for going to war, understand the myriad issues involved, and not accept explanations that fit into 30-second sound bites.
Daniel Isn't Talking by Marti Leimbach -- A young mother realizes her son has autism; many of you know the autism spectrum is a subject very close to my heart, and I am really liking this novel so far.
Curiosity Killed the Kat by Elizabeth Nelson (for a book tour) -- Time for a thriller! "Katherine thought she had the perfect marriage to International Lawyer Steven Flynn. Until he tried to kill her."
Posts This Week:
Book Review: Annabel by Kathleen Winter
Film Review: Au Revoir Les Enfants (Written & Directed by Louis Malle)
14 Really Bad Movie Husbands -- Now I'm working on my list of horrible movie wives (and girlfriends). I got up to six and then, for some reason, I stalled. I may be soliciting suggestions.
Other Movies I Watched:
|Joseph Gordon-Levitt gets his ass kicked a LOT in this movie.|
Brick (the link goes to my Letterboxd review)
Other Recent Posts:
Film Review: Traffic (recommended by Alex)
Film Review: Rosemary's Baby (recommended by Josh & Alex)
Film Review: God Bless America
Some Links to Share:
- Tyson at Head in a Vice continues the Favorite Director quotes relay race. Alas, my Andrea Arnold quote got cut, but another great quote took its place. :-)
- Nikhat and Margaret published gorgeous posts as part of a Movie Alphabet Blogathon hosted by Mettel Ray
- Adam at Roofbeam Readers posted a lovely review of one of my favorite novels by one of my favorite authors of all time.
- Ana helped me get started on reading Terry Pratchett's work at The Estella Society.
- Those of you who have read a lot of classic Victorian literature may appreciate my laugh-out-loud post of the weekend: I'm So Over 19th Century Virgins by Chrisbookarama.
- My Friend Amy posted an excellent and popular article titled Be Someone's Comment Angel.
- Iris expressed some doubts many of us have about blogging in How Blogging Sometimes Makes Me Hesitant to Read.
- I'm still catching up on Josh's awesome series on Best Original Scores from movies, which includes video clips featuring the music, at The Cinematic Spectacle.
- Actor Don Cheadle has recently come onto my radar, so I was particularly excited about Alex's post -- In Character: Don Cheadle at And So It Begins.