We discussed pogroms the other night. Tonight our discussions were on the topics of the meaning of the words: scullery, florin, lumbago; the Zionist Movement, the Dutch Underground Resistance Movement, and some other Dutch words we had to decipher in the read aloud. I have to remind him that I was in 4th grade when I read this book the first time, and it is like reading it anew for me almost again.
I think the thought of it being a strictly girl book might be changing a bit in the last two days. He laughs at the comedy of AF's writing about the moodiness of the other Annex members. He makes faces that express sadness at the writing of their plights. He is constantly amused at the name of 'Miep', the family friend that helps the Franks throughout the hiding process.
I am still adamant that I want him to just enjoy this book and learn through the art of listening and discussion. I love just reading to him for awhile each evening. I had forgotten how much I missed doing this with the children when they were smaller. I want him to do some sort of learning activity with the novel as well though, other than a test. I have discovered the following website: http://www.annefrank.org/. In this site there is a virtual 3D model of the house which you can venture through...opening doors and seeing the hidden home as they used it with furniture and such. It has audiofeed that runs when you enter each room giving explanation of the rooms' individual uses and how they were structured overall.
We (hubby and I) discussed tonight about the idea of the child building a model of the secret annex from scrap wood we have and using doll house furniture to build his perception of the layout, using virtual models and the book's description of the rooms. I liked this idea and when I proposed it to the hubs, he is happy to do anything that involves powertools. I think this might allow the child to see the closeness and tightness of the quarters and get a sense of the urgency behind why they had to hide.
I am also noticing how the hubby will come out from wherever he happens to be in the house when we are reading together and quietly listens on the couch. This is interesting to me as it seems this novel might be becoming a come together time unlike ones we have experienced in the past. I turn off the television and make sure there are no distractions when we read at night. The dog provides enough distraction and the child finds everything imaginable to deter his attention to task, without extra stimuli being offered up to him on an imaginary platter. What annoys me is the hubby will turn on the television muted to just 'look at the radar while you read' or to 'look at the programing guide'....of course, what does the child do when this happens...he looks at the radar or guide...hello?
Tonight, the hubs did not do this...instead, he waited until after we finished reading to ask for the remote. Progress has been made. :)
Another thought I had, in addition to the 3D model for him to build is to make a memory book, like an event book of things from the life of AF or news events...like a scrapbooking idea...of things he finds interesting from WWII. I think we might make a 'field trip' to see his great grandmother and let her tell him what life was like then, what they thought about, their fears, and such..perhaps show him some pictures. AF was only a month younger than my grandmother. It almost seems unreal. I hope he will learn from the actions of others and the mistakes they made to see how sometimes history does not need to be replicated. Hopefully the learning experience he will take away from this novel, other than appreciation for a beautiful life that had so much promise taken too soon, is “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”