The last 2 weeks have been a bit of a Jane Austen watching marathon. It started when my daughter had some flu and was just not feeling great so she asked to rewatch Emma (the mini-series) which she has watched before and loved it. We did and everyone loved it. It was her second time watching the series and I must admit she did take in a lot more detail and asked more questions about the time period and the customs. I knew that our Pride and Pejudice Literature Companion had a section called context, which spoke about Georgian society so we went to those pages and read them together which even though it was written for Pride and Prejudice still helped with some of her questions on Emma.
After watching Emma and loving it (she currently rates Emma as her favourite) we moved onto Pride and Prejudice. Wow what a story, both of the kids really got involved in the story and the characters. And there were big discussions comparing the mother figure in Pride and Prejudice (Mrs Bennet) to the Mother in Little Women. It was interesting to hear the kids compare the different mothers and the way they acted. I must confess it was not a comparison I would have naturally thought of but my daughter loves Little Women and has read the book multiple times so for her it seemed like a natural comparison. Also the mother in Little Women is very much about her daughters being happy whereas Mrs Bennet is all about them marrying a man with money.
After Pride and Prejudice we moved onto Sense and Sensibility. Which my daughter was not that keen on. She was upset by the scene of the father dying and then the way the brother treated them. So I don’t think it will ever be as popular a Jane Austen piece as Emma or Pride and Prejudice.
And we are not finished this week we are moving onto watching Persuasion.
So is all this watching of mini-series really educational? I know a lot of my home education friends will think it is wonderful that the kids have lost themselves in the world of Jane Austen and have just been soaking it in. But I also know lots of non-home educators will question it. So here goes. No we do not always spend this much time watching movies or mini-series. Yes we do read and we do lots of other learning activities. But after doing this home education thing for years I have learnt that kids go through periods where they just want to submerge themselves in a topic and when we dive in with the kids and let them submerge themselves the learning is incredible, the amount they soak in and retain often blows my mind. And I will also say I have seen time and time again when the kids discover an audio story, a movie or mini-series that they enjoy nine times out of ten they actually search for the books to read.
I will totally admit in my mind we were going to wait and cover Pride and Prejudice in the spring when we look at Georgian History and I was planning on starting another Shakespeare work this week (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) because I thought it would be nice to tie our English literature in with our History. But my plans have changed. I can see how much my daughter is loving all the Jane Austen works at the moment, she is excited, constantly talking about the books and really, when it comes to learning if the kids are this excited it makes sense to go with it. So Shakespeare can wait until after Christmas and we have started reading our Pride and Prejudice book instead.