I’m here a couple of hours early, so I brought my laptop to catch up on some things and write a post here, as well.
“School” is a homeschool co-op at my church. Kids from several other churches in the area meet here every other week, and teachers who have expertise in several areas come in to teach. The kids love it, and it gives the homeschooling mamas a break. These classes count in the curriculum. There is a science teacher (retired) who is quite creative in his teaching. My grandkids look forward to his classes. There is art, Spanish, gym, and me? English. Last year I taught a group of junior-senior high students how to do a research paper.
This year, it’s going to be a lot more fun. We’re doing some study on the origins, history, and political ties in traditional fairy tales and nursery rhymes.
What I’ve learned about fairy tales has made me decide that we’re just going to do an overview of themes, characters, and objects while we talk about origins and history, but I won’t be teaching the fairy tales themselves.
The ones we know have been completely (well, almost completely) sanitized and Disney-fied and are a far cry from the stories that were handed down for a couple of hundred years.
They’re grim. They’re dark and bloody. They are today’s soap operas. There is misbehavior, murder, incest, and all other sorts of fearsome activity. They make Stephen King’s works a lot less scary. I don’t think the parents of my students would be too thrilled with having their kids learn all that stuff.
There are some common themes, though, that run through most fairy tales. Right vs. wrong, good vs. evil, love vs. hate. There is the defeat of the evil sorcerer or witch, the triumph of the innocent prince or princess who prevails against evil magic.
There are all sorts of characters that show up for fairy tales. Princes, princesses, kings and queens, mothers and fathers, wicked step-mothers, witches, fairies, helpful animals and very scary ones.
Think of Little Red Riding Hood, sweet, innocent, but disobedient. She was TOLD not to go through the woods! The wolf, fangs dripping and fire in his eye, who in the original stories ate her up and had Grandma for dessert. The brave woodsman who comes along just in time to see Grandma’s foot disappearing down the wolf’s gullet, and takes his axe and chops the fox in two, revealing Grandma and Little Red, unscathed and not even unhappy. Of course, the wolf dies. That made some animal-loving people unhappy, so now the story ends with either the woodsman or the father showing up just in time to save Grandma and Little Red, and the wolf escapes to hunt again.
Objects that tend to appear in most fairy tales include crystal balls, magic mirrors, keys, tunnels, swords in stones,talking animals, unicorns and dragons, poisoned fruit and magic cloaks that make a person invisible. There are more things, but that little list gives you an idea.
And the homework for today? Choose some characters, objects, and a theme and write the first two or three paragraphs of your own fairy tale 🙂
This is going to be fun!