Sunday, October 28, 2012

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.

   Justice is studying The Hobbit this year. We'd originally planned to do a chapter each school day, but we've been enjoying ourselves way too much to go that fast. We're often torn between what to cut so it doesn't take all year, and wanting to delve as deep as we can. We'll get to Lord of the Rings when we get there. ;-)

   The core of our study is The Annotated Hobbit, edited by Douglas A. Anderson. You can find it at or nearly any book seller. I read through during the lesson planning stage and decide which allusions and extra rabbit trails to chase, and dig up resources to do just that. Then Justice reads through a chapter at a time, enjoying the side bars of information as he goes. This is not his first pass through the Hobbit by any means; I wouldn't hand the annotated version to a kid on their first pass. It's best enjoyed after you've already fallen in love with Tolkien's work.



   Our first week was an introduction to Tolkien, for a boy who was already fairly familiar with his work. Here's a general list of the material Justice covered. Each session wasn't considered complete until we'd had a discussion on it.
  • read pages 289-296 of Omnibus II, published by Veritas Press (scroll down to the table of contents and click on The Hobbit on the right side of the page)
  • read this biographical sketch of Tolkien from The Tolkien Society
  • used Unit One: The Oral Tradition from Houghton Mifflin, including the vocabulary, discussion topics, and some of the handouts
  • wrote a paper on eucatastrophes
  • began reading Tolkien's "On Fairy Stories" essay (we spread this out, little bites at a time)

 Chapter 1

   After that round was a soaring success, I began putting together everything I could find for chapter 1: An Unexpected Party. The more I looked, the more I found. There was no way we were going to get all that done in a day and do it any justice.
  • vocabulary options: inclined, rune, discreetly, laburnums, prosy, scuttled, depredation, conspirator, audacious, ingenious, remuneration, and necromancer (taken from Hobbit at Literary Guild Page)
  • writing topic: poetical exaggeration
  • comprehension questions from Literary Guild Pages
  • Wind in the Willows allusion (hobbit hole compared to Badger and Mole's hole, Mole's End compared to Bag End), you can find the original version in ebook format on Google Books
  • hobbit naming choices, look up belladonna plant and a few more references
  • Oliphaunt poetry
  • which could lead us to Tom of Bombadil
  • mapwork, comparing the Wilderland Map to others, pinpointing Mines of Moria in relation (The Atlas of Middle Earth will come in handy here)
  • listen the first lecture, Took and Baggins, in The Hobbit Lectures from the Mythgard Institute
  • the Christian worldview questions and Scripture tie-ins from Literary Guild Pages chapter 1
    And that's when I gave up the notion of one chapter a day. New plan: chase worthwhile rabbit trails, remember not every chapter is going to be that full

Chapter 2

  •  vocabulary options: mutton, outlandish, defrayed, esteemed, repose, requisite, paraphernalia, ambling, waning, inquisitive, canny, cavalcade, primly, purloined, copped, throttled, skewer, blighter, lout, applicable, commotion, mince, incantation, larder, waylaid, toothsome (from Literary Guild Pages)
  • comprehension questions from Literary Guild Pages
  • trolls speak with a cockney accent, write your own speech with Cockney Rhyming Slang
  • look up Tolkien's dragon drawings (Council of Elrond, Google Image), draw one or a few
  • read The Dragon's Visit
  • mapwork, draw Hobbiton Across the Water
  • read Chaucer's The Nonnes Preestes Tale (Language lovers will delight! If they want more, try The Reeve's Tale)
  • compare Bilbo's attitude to Jonah's
  • the Christian worldview questions and Scripture tie-ins from Literary Guild Pages
   Well, that one isn't quite as full, but Justice is going to love the Canterbury Tale pieces in that old language. At this point I'm getting very glad that he's taking Art of Poetry alongside this study; it's a perfect compliment.

Chapter 3

  • vocabulary options: forded, homely, gullies, ravines, faggots, reeking, bannocks, folly, parapet, venerable, provisions, lair, kin, cleaver, remnants, pondered, vexed, palpitating, solemn, bridle, gruesome, bewilder (from both vocab sources, and a smidgeon from the annotated version)
  • comprehension questions from Literary Guild Pages
  • learn about runes, translate Thror's map, write a message in runes, play with the rune generator, learn how to write Justice

  • make your own personal epithet using definition and/or meaning of your names
  • mapwork, Edge of the Wild, river that marks the very edge, Rivendell, 
  • read the Elvish Song in Rivendell (in the Annotated Hobbit), and possibly Shadow-Bride
  • learn more about Lombards, a Germanic people renowned for their ferocity, compare to Longbeards Edit: Justice really enjoyed this documentary.
  • study Rivendell pictures, copy one (Annotated Hobbit)
  • listen to the second lecture from the Mythgard Institute, The Ridiculous and the Sublime
  • the Christian worldview questions and Scripture tie-ins from Literary Guild Pages

   That one isn't quite as deep! Maybe there is hope for getting to the trilogy before he's a freshman. But a philological rabbit trail would be perfect here...

   Edit: Strike that. Reverse it. We decided to keep up the one chapter a week pace, and there will be more posts for the other chapters as I get them typed up.

No comments:

Post a Comment