Monday, April 20, 2015

Homegrown Lit Courses: Harry Potter's Bookshelf edition

     Our next venture in homegrown courses is building an inspiration of J.K. Rowling course, based on Harry Potter's Bookshelf by ..... wait for it... John Granger. Detective stories, some Austen, Bronte, boarding school stories, fabulous classics, and more. The more difficult works could be watched on DVD and analyzed through discussion, and the more accessible books still numbered more than he could probably read in a school year. Honor specifically asked for something like this for his seventh grade year, and the deeper I got into the preliminary planning, with Joy excitedly peeking over my shoulder every chance she got, Joy and I noticed there could be a large overlap with her British literature plans for next school year. I had plenty of the more difficult works marked DVD for Honor, that would be great for Joy to read herself. Joy and I used a list of commonly studied British literature and marked the books that correlated to Harry's Bookshelf, and from there we could see the holes in British literature. We made a list of titles to finish a broader coverage, and I'll work those books into the calmer areas of the Bookshelf plans. Thus, I will be writing two completely different versions of this course, each with its own syllabus.

      At first Honor wasn't so excited about Joy jumping into his idea, but the thought of enjoying the movies and discussions with big sis won him over. He may not readily admit it, but he really admires Joy. There ought to be ample opportunity for them to watch the movies together, and of course we'll have to add some Hogwarts recipes and fun activities. This will be Honor's first "Official" literary analysis course, and having big sis to bounce ideas around will be a blast. He'll see. ;)

     Harry Potter's Bookshelf has ten chapters that will serve as ten distinct units of study. Some have richer reading lists than others. Chapter 2 will be all DVD for Honor, and chapter 10 only has one easier fairy tale to read. Knowing those together will take less than a month, we have approximately a month for each of the other units. Here's a sampling of what we'll be doing.

Chapter 1 - detective stories and the Dickens orphan
  • classic detective stories like Agatha Christie, Poe, Sherlock, Hammet (Maltese Falcon), Dorothy Sayers
  • A Child's Machiavelli - This one is not mentioned by Granger, but the name Machiavelli is thrown around enough that a basic familiarity will be helpful. 
  • Oliver Twist (DVD), David Copperfield (Honor), Great Expectations (Joy)
  • this unit will likely go over the one month mark, we could easily sub DVDs to get all the characters in
Chapter 2 - Austen connections
  • Pride and Prejudice - DVD for both (Joy has already read it)
  • Emma- DVD for Honor, book for Joy (Maybe adding Clueless for comparison?)
  • Mansfield Park - DVD (maybe book for Joy)
Chapter 3 - boarding school novel patterns
  • Famous Five by Blyton
  • Tom Brown's School Days by Hughes
  • plenty more recommendations if Honor wants to go further
  • Joy will just read Tom Brown and fill this month with other Brit lit
 Chapter 4 - Gothic romance
  • Bronte - Joy will read, Honor will watch DVDs
  • Frankenstein and Jekyll and Hyde for Honor
  • Dracula DVD (the Stoker story)
  • Rime of the Ancient Mariner audio book
  • maybe Castle of Otranto
  • more Poe read aloud
Chapter 5 - Postmodern epic, how monsters are represented then and now
  • newer "monster" movies, if you can call sparkly, misunderstood vampires real monsters...
  • read Wizard of Oz, Tempest, and such
  • DVD heavy otherwise
  • The Eyre Affair for Joy
Chapter 6 - Satire
  • there are so many good, worthwhile examples this one is hard to whittle down to a month!
  • Honor: Canterbury Tales retelling (McCaughrean), Alice in Wonderland, Animal Farm, Huck Finn (probably DVD), George Cruikshanks cartoons
  • Joy: Watership Down, select parts of Canterbury Tales, Erewhon, Cruikshanks cartoons, 1984
Chapter 7 - Allegory
  • Honor: Pilgrim's Progress retelling, 
  • Joy: Brother's Karamazov, Idylls of the King
  • Phaedrus
  • Everyman play
Chapter 8 - magic
  • Nesbit! 
  • Frances Hodgson Burnett (DVD probably, to give more time to Nesbit)
  • a chapter from Unlocking Harry Potter
  • Dante retelling (familiarity of Odysseus and Aeneas could go here, but we have that covered already)
Chapter 9 - alchemical magic
  • Shakespeare, several plays, Shakespeare Stories I and II by Leon Garfield for Honor, some originals for Joy, a DVD play for both
  • The Chymical Wedding for Joy
  • Tale of Two Cities if there's time
 Chapter 10 - secret of the mirror and magic eye
  • Elizabeth Goudge
  • The Last Battle by Lewis can just be discussed, both kids know it well

    They're both excited, and I can't wait! I want to start reading down this list myself. :)

    To prepare myself to teach this course I've read Harry Potter's Bookshelf and all seven Harry Potter stories obviously. I have Unlocking Harry Potter (Granger), Harry Potter and Philosophy: If Aristotle Ran Hogwarts, and Looking for God in Harry Potter (Granger) on my personal reading list. There are so many interesting looking books out there about HP that it's hard to decide which ones!

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