books I've read

Anne Hawn's books

Who Moved My Cheese?
If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans
Scientific Secrets for Self-Control
Just One Damned Thing After Another
The Vanishing
Exercises in Knitting
The Good Dream
The Very Best of Edgar Allan Poe
The Chosen
BT-Kids' Knits
Talking God
The Professor
The Christmas Files
The Finisher
Home Decor for 18-Inch Dolls: Create 10 Room Settings with Furniture and 15 Outfits with Accessories
Dracula and Other Stories
A New Song
Christy
All Quiet on the Western Front
File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents


Anne Hawn Smith's favorite books »

I'm reading 150 Books

Monday, October 07, 2013

Teaching Folk Tales

I am so excited! This year's homeschool literature unit is Folk Tales, Fairy Tales, Folk Songs, Myths and Legends. That means that Addie and I will be delving into all those delicious remnants of our past, our literary heritage. We won't be reading the easy book format either. I am trying to get books, or translations that were done as early as possible in order to enjoy the rich heritage of language also.

Here is what is exciting me. I'm a genealogist as well as a teacher and I gave Addie a list of her direct ancestors that I have found and as much information as we know about them. Out of the 640 people I know about I had her select all the people who had German ancestry, including Germanic people from the Alsace region, Switzerland and Belgium. Although most of our ancestors were from England, she found 29 people who had German ancestry.

Next, she is to do some research on the Grimm brothers and write a report about them and their quest to record as much of the folk lore of their people as they could find. As we read these stories, we are going on Google Maps and finding the villages her ancestors lived in and in many cases, taking that little "street level boy" and looking at the place where they lived. We don't know much about these ancestors from the 1700's and 1800's, but we will know the stories that surrounded them.

What made me think of this? Well, along with being a teacher, I was also a librarian. I was dismayed to see book companies putting out modern day "translations" of so many Fairy & Folk Tales. By the time the hard words and scary contents taken out and the stories scrubbed with the Political Correctness brushes, there is little left of our rich literary heritage. I am not blaming the book companies. At least our children will be familiar with the stories, but so much is lost. The schools can't teach a lot of these stories because someone might take exception to something in them or because they don't have time after reading all of the politically correct stories they have to include.

I am fortunate. I create the units I teach out of the things I know Addie loves. Last year I focused on Opera and we both learned so much. Some of the librettos were difficult and some of the parts were deliciously scary...like Diana Damrau's Queen of the Night from The Magic Flute. I love passing down our culture as well as our literary heritage. I don't have the constraints that public schools have and I know they do the best they can to work within those bounds. I can also afford to challenge a bright student because I don't have 30 other children to teach. It is up to the parents to try to fill in the gaps, but for us, this works.

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