Saturday, 1 November 2014

Scaring Ourselves Silly

This week we have been indulging ourselves scary stories.

Individually, Tiger has been reading horror stories written separately by Ted Hughes and Brian Jacques,

while I have been enjoying reading Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and following the book discussion that took place at the AO Book Discussion (which can be found by joining the Ambleside Online Forums).

W also let ourselves be entertained by more-humourous-than-scary Victorian ghost stories,

and making a not-so-scary skeleton puppet (named Jonathan by Tiger, in honour of a friend he made at last year's science class):

We also read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow together.  I first read the story to Tiger as a bedtime story a while ago but I decided that we ought to do a little bit more than mere reading to learn more from the story.  Therefore, this week we shared the reading of this story by reading alternate paragraphs to each other and writing down every word that we were unsure of.  We filled both sides of four A4 sheets by the end of the story!  We then looked up each word and satisfied ourselves that our vocabulary has increased through this process of slow reading and not skipping over words that we haven't fully understood.

Following the word study, we discussed the story using the lesson plan here and also watched an animation of the story, which met with little enthusiasm from Tiger due to its inevitable abridgement and adaptation:

I agree with Tiger that much of the beauty and nuance of the language in the original written story has been lost in the film adaptation, even though the above is one that I found to be least offensive in this regard.  Tiger is still annoyed by last year's experience whereby the film version of The Witches made several alternations to the original story, which he found to irritate more than entertain him .  I think that means we shall stay with reading the original books rather than watching film adaptations, suits me just fine.

Although I did not succeed in getting Tiger to enjoy the animation of the story, we did, however, got quite excited when we came face-to-face with the headless horseman!  Unlike Ichabod Crane who could not wait to get away from the headless horseman, Tiger and I gazed at him and walked around him several times (I would have touched him to find out where his head was, if I thought that was appropriate), admiring him and our good luck at meeting him. I certainly didn't know he was going to be there!

We were at the Warwick Castle's Halloween event when we chanced upon the horseman.

At dusk, we entered "The Haunted Hollows" and were greeted by three talking pumpkins:

We took our time and walked the trail twice just to admire the various Halloween decorations that were put to good use.

The event was very well organised, especially after it got dark, where the lighting was used to create a very spooky atmosphere.   We took the "ghostly castle tour" where we were told stories that happened within the castle related to:
  1. apparitions of servants who used to work in the castle and atristocrats who used to live there appearing in certain rooms in the castle;
  2. the links between Aleister Crowley and the practice of Satanism to Warwick Castle;
  3. the secret corridor that led to a flight of stairs where a servant girl, impregnated by an aristocrat, was murdered to prevent the scandal from emerging;
  4. the organ in the small chapel that sometimes plays by itself;
  5. a room where another servant girl was bricked up alive.

Suffice to say, it is all rather grim.

This post is linked up to:
  1. Hip Homeschool Hop - 10/28/14
  2. Finishing Strong - Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years Week 35
  3. Hearts for Home Blog Hop #89
  4. Collage Friday - Developing the Habit of Attention in Your Homeschool
  5. Weekly Wrap-Up: The one with gymnastic team practice, prodigal cats, and car problems


  1. What an awesome tour of the castle. I would loved to have seen that.
    Blessings, Dawn

    1. It was very interesting indeed, Dawn. We learned quite a lot from that tour that we didn't know before, even though most of what we learned was quite unpleasant facts. :-)

  2. I always forget to add the Roald Dahl books into my list of book/movie combos to try on the kids.

    1. Roald Dahl is definitely one of Tiger's favourite authors, although he doesn't like the movies. However, your children might like the movies too (I did!), so it's worth a try. :-)

  3. How clever is their use of lighting? What a cool tour! I've been to Warwick castle years ago, but not for any special tour. You do the best outings!

    1. Thanks, Claire. It was one of the better tours we've been on, and very much tied to Halloween, so it was a worthwhile trip. :-)


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