Monday, 28 October 2013

Bewitching Tales

Since Halloween is just around the corner, we did some work based on the book, The Witches.  We started off using the corresponding Read & Respond activity book to aid in our study, but soon abandoned it due to the activities being too 'schooly' for us.

Instead, we read the story through once, listened to the audio book version (where Tiger pointed out quite a number of omissions from the original book), and watched the classic film based on the story.

I had never watched the film before so I was more interested than Tiger to watch Angelica Houston's wonderful depiction of the Grand High Witch.  However, Tiger was somewhat irritated by the numerous alterations or as Tiger called it, "inconsistencies", in the film (he's a purist when it comes to being "true to the original story") because he has read the story so many times that he can memorise it.  As such, my film recommendation didn't go down well with him at all.

After the unsuccessful start, we moved on to more the productive activity of research.  I asked Tiger to read as many books on witches and witchcraft as he could get his hands on.

Part of our research into witches consists of watching the following documentary, which Tiger didn't mind:

After the research, I asked Tiger to illustrate what he thought a witch would look like.  I thought his drawings show the sense of innocence and lack of horror in the pure heart of a child:

The witch disguised as a normal-looking woman carrying a handbag.
The witch in her real form: a hideous non-human creature.
You can hear the description of a witch from the Roald Dahl himself:

Tiger also made a few items that are commonly associated with witches: foam spider, spider web (made from paper plate and yarn), and a multi-eyed creature.

He then decided to complete this study by making a few spells of his own, after looking into it using The Guide to Wizards of the World.  I don't know what his spells are, but I wouldn't be surprised if they were about having more fun days and field trips.  Life can be very hard when your mother puts you to work all the time.

This post is linked up to:
  1. Look What We Did!
  2. Hip Homeschool Hop - 10/29/2013
  3. Entertaining and Educational - Letter Learning Obstacle Course
  4. Collage Friday - Math, Friendship, Shoeboxes & More
  5. Creative Learning On Friday #19
  6. TGIF Linky Party #100
  7. Weekly Wrap Up: The One with the Solo Drive
  8. The Homeschool Mother's Journal {November 2, 2013}


  1. How wonderful that Tiger loves to read and go on field trips so much.
    We had a similar experience recently with Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters. My two are extremely familiar with all the books, whereas I had only listened to the first. So I came out of the film thrilled, they were both disgusted by the inaccuracies and omissions! So far as possible I try and make sure they read a book before seeing the movie but I can see that sometimes one gets a better cinematic experience without having done so! :-)

  2. I can't decide which is better, Lucinda, whether to read the book first or not. On the one hand I'm glad that Tiger is so familiar with the story to be able to spot the inaccuracies, on the other I thought he might enjoy the film more if he didn't. Perhaps at a later stage it will be useful for us to learn about the art of adaptation of a written story for other genres. It's interesting to know that your children also respond the same way to film adaptations. :-)

    As for field trips, I think I enjoy going on them as much as Tiger does!

  3. I've read lots of posts concerning Halloween activities, but this is the most unique. Tiger's oh so innocent pictures are precious.

  4. Thank you for such a lovely comment, Julie. :-) I'm starting to think that Tiger is getting a bit old for cutesy Halloween activities, but his drawings show that he is still a young child. It's easy to forget that sometimes. :-)

  5. I've always thought the Roald Dahl Witches book was rather creepy.

  6. Roald Dahl's books can have some pretty dark humour, especially "The Witches". It's slightly creepy, being set in England, since England still has quite an active pagan community and people identifying themselves as "white witches" and such like. If nothing else, the story certainly conveys the stranger-danger idea pretty well! :-)

  7. I wonder if the film thing is a homeschool thing? C11 read Pride and Prejudice just recently and declared the BBC adaptation of it 'one of the most true to book adaptations she had seen'!
    We're going to let them watch some of Kingdom of Heaven and I shudder to think of the outrage I'll hear after that one!
    I too love Tiger's pictures.

  8. While there are too many news about literacy problems these days, I'm grateful that our children have all read the original stories and can identify the differences/omissions when they watch the film adaptations. How many people have only watched films based on classics and thought that's all there is to it?

    Good luck with watching Kingdom of Heaven, Claire! Let us know what you and the children think of the movie afterwards. :-)

  9. We recently had that experience with Tuck Everlasting. My girls were outraged at the inconsistencies. No matter how many times we talk about adaptation, they still expect a movie to stay true to the book. Imagine that. I enjoyed the movie for what it was, but it did not even come close to the book.

  10. Thank you for stopping by, Jessica, and sharing with us your girls' experience with film adaptation. It certainly sounds like many homeschooled children who have read the original literature respond to film adaptations in pretty much the same way. :-) That's very interesting to note.

  11. Loved this post! I'm going to have to remember to pull out The Witches next October for Firecracker and Rose. It's lurking on my bookshelf, but they're just starting to get old enough for enjoying books like that :-)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...