The power of the pen is mighty indeed, but the ability to watch the story unfold before one's eyes is a far better tool for grasping the very essence of the emotions, and life of the characters one is studying. While not all stories are worth having a movie made about it, there are those that are excellent enough to deserve some screen time. Using this medium will help stretch your student, and cause them to truly analyse the material at hand. Including visual resources in your studies offers the unique ability to put the situation "in their face" so that they can (as a bystander removed by time, and at the mercy of Hollywood's take on things) experience the reality of the material, have the plight or victories of the characters highlighted in a more personal way, and also be drawn into the lesson where print on paper can often times come up flat, or lifeless.
Being a passive observer is not something I would encourage, especially when the story is deserving of critical thinking and debate. It is truly a valuable tool to instruct our children to consider the content of the movie, instead of always being fixated on how hot the main character is, how good the animation is, or how exciting the action scenes are. Another reason to incorporate a "picture film" [getting all old timey in my description of the motion picture genre] into one's curriculum, is that it can bring to "life" the characters and story our students have been covering in their studies-making them almost real to the viewer. Finding movies that closely resemble the written story (just try locating a Robinson Crusoe movie that is actually in sync with the DeFoe one, it simply is not possible), or are "on spot" with the main plot can be daunting and difficult. Being able to come up with the study material to present to the student can also engulf the teacher's time and energy...so what is one to do? Where can one go for a thought provoking study of such things?
Thankfully, ZeeZok has created a nice eBook [CDs are also available] series called the Z-Guide to the Movies, to address the need. This series allows for discussion and instruction in Q and A form, along with map work, internet research, thought provoking pondering concerning the story of the events, and more. The program allows for the teacher and student to pick and choose those activities which best suit their needs, which is always appreciated.
you can purchase the movie through ZeeZok too
We chose to study the Hiding Place, which depicts the final weeks prior to Corrie ten Boom's internment in prison, the subsequent nightmare of the Nazi concentration camp, Ravensbruck; to her release and life afterward. The guide contains not only a listing of the topics [for this study it highlights WWII, life in a German concentration camp, forgiveness and civil disobedience] covered in the movie (which is great when you need to tie in certain elements to your curriculum), but also 10 student activity sections, a Family Discussion section, answers to the material (plus you can score this as well-great for figuring out grades), and a listing of additional resources for further study.
Although we are not worksheet lovers or usually promote the use of such things, we did find this to be most useful in gaining knowledge of the story. I chose to revamp it a bit by having my daughter narrate the story to me (Charlotte Mason style) after watching the movie, but for the most part did require her to work through the pages of questions. I am glad they chose to tie in some map work, as it is very important that my daughter understand where exactly in the world this occurred. This study can be completed in one week's time-but due to illnesses in our home, we stretched it to two. The only change I would suggest is that the student watch the movie first, without trying to find answers to the questions as it unfolds. I found this to be a bit disruptive, and wondered if my daughter was missing the overall experience by doing so. I am thinking that watching it first just for the sake of capturing the overall message of the story-then viewing it again a few days later to glean the answers to the questions-will increase the retention and enjoyment of the movie. All in all, the guide was a very nice way to add to my daughter's understanding of this grave period in our history.
The Z-Guide to the Movies collection offers plenty of titles to match your current studies. I have no problem recommending this product to those who enjoy a more in depth view to behind the scenes of the movie and the story itself. I will say, that the Hiding Place guide was benign in that it addressed the material and what it would be like to have been in that position-there was not an overly Christian tone contained within the questions, that I could find. Although Corrie was indeed a Christian, and the movie highlights this: the actual guide itself remains neutral. Therefore, it has received the world icon.
ZeeZok Publishing homepage
$12.99 eBook download or CD (great for those with slow internet)
Movie is also available to purchase for $15.98 (check your local library, Netflex, or other movie rental places as this is a fairly easy movie to acquire)
*Don't forget to find out what my TOS mates had to say about this, and many other fine homeschool products, over on our TOS Review Crew homepage.
**ZeeZok Publishing provided me with a free download of The Hiding Place Z-Guide to Movies eBook, so that I could use and enjoy it with my family. I did not receive any financial compensation for writing this, nor for my honest opinion of the product.