"Living books, unlike the compressed compilations of textbooks, are laced with emotion, saturated with ideas, and they convey information as well." pg. 97
Books occupy an honored place in our homeschool. With great literature lists such as Ambleside Online's course of study available, my goal for our children to be fed regularly a diet of literary greats should not be an unattainable one. However, it is often easy to get bogged down in the details or even in the search for the perfect literary 'guide' or plan of study. I have found that often the best practice is simply to read and enjoy a work. Recently we did just that, reading Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie together.
I missed out on the pleasure of this classic as a child; thinking that the book must be a classic for a reason- I resolved that my children would not miss out on this treat. I understood, from page one why this book is a classic.
"All children, except one, grow up." Could you start such a book any other way? J.M Barrie managed to capture the imagination and emotion of both adult and child by weaving the story through the veil of our very different understandings, dreams and regrets. His passages on mothers are worth the reading, if you read nothing else in the book.
"It is the nightly custom of every good mother after her children are asleep to rummage in their minds and put things straight for the next morning, repacking into their proper places the many articles that have wandered during the day. If you could keep awake (but of course you can't) you would see your own mother doing this, and you would find it very interesting to watch her. It is quite like tidying up drawers. You would see her on her knees, I expect, lingering humorously over some of your contents, wondering where on earth you had picked this thing up,...When you wake in the morning, the naughtiness and evil passions with which you went to bed have been folded up small and placed at the bottom of your mind; and on the top, beautifully aired, are spread out your prettier thoughts, ready for you to put on."
Peter Pan, chapter 1
"Look at her in her chair, where she has fallen asleep...Her hand moves restlessly on her breast as if she had a pain there. Some like Peter best and some like Wendy best, but I like her best."
Peter Pan, chapter 16
Sometimes in a busy homeschool, you just have to read a book. I did not do an elaborate study on it, but I will share with you what we did with it, and also some other simple ideas one could implement in this study.
My approach with Peter Pan was to make it a read aloud for the children in the evenings. We read a chapter (or more if the kids pleaded) and while we read we would discuss interesting vocabulary words, often looking a word up in the dictionary on the spot. A good thing to do would be to start a vocabulary list or journal for each child where they could write a new word and it's definition. A sample of words we encountered in Peter Pan; gleefully, totting, perambulators, sedately, reprovingly, hauteur. We ended our readings with oral narrations by the children, directly after the reading or the next day at the start of our next reading session.
We also spent time comparing and contrasting the book version by J.M. Barrie to the disney animated version they were familiar with.
I found some interesting lesson ideas at this site here. One suggestion given is to make a simile chart and write out the similes you encounter in the story. Vocabulary lists are also given, as well as ideas for interesting charts and a few projects. One fun project would be to make a map of Neverland together.
At the close of the story, I asked my two eldest students to respond in some manner to the book. (one suggestion was for a map of Neverland-I was hoping for one, but the painting I did get instead was wonderful) My eldest completed a book report, my younger daughter painted a picture from a scene in the book (pictured top).
Peter Pan was truly a delightful read, I would encourage you to enjoy and share it with your children, especially if you have not had the pleasure of reading it yourself as a child.