Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Robinson Crusoe

I have to admit. I had never even thought of reading this book. Never. Nothing about it ever caught my interest. It was completely off my radar. This year 10yo is supposed to read an abridged, retold version for literature. I dutifully sent her to her room to read the first few chapters and waited for her to emerge. After nearly an hour she had not yet come out of her room. It was really quiet. I thought she must have really been enjoying the book. When I called out to her, I realized she had fallen asleep. I let it go, and thought we'd go back to it another day. Round 2. Same thing happens. I can't figure out why she's falling asleep. How is it happening? So I decide that I will bite the bullet and read the book too. I never made it past page 2. Not only is it an abridged version, it is a complete snore fest. DON'T bother to have your child read k12's version of Robinson Crusoe. Several of my friends have commented it was so boring, it had to be read out loud to their kids.

After discovering that we were sent such a bland version of a classic book, we talked it over and decided to check the real version out at the library. When we arrived we found there were 3 to choose from- One illustrated kids version, and 2 "full length" versions. We chose one of the later and brought it home. Again, I have to mention, I didn't even crack it open. I wasn't even sure what the book was about, other than some sort of sea type adventure.

Last night I decided to open the book and get a preview of what 10yo and I would be reading. I thought perhaps we could sneak a chapter or two in before bedtime. Wrong. When I flipped to the first page and began to read, I discovered just how old Robinson Crusoe is. (I wasn't exactly sure though.) The opening sentence looked more like a paragraph. I had to stop every few words to explain what it meant. King James English, many commas, colons, and semi-colons. Wow. I knew there was no way 10yo was getting through this one all by herself. This is the kind of stuff I read to keep me sharp and make me pay attention. One of the reasons my study bible is KJV is because I can't just gloss over the words. I have to think about what I'm reading. Today I set to work looking for teachers guides. I found quite a few resources to use. Cliff notes had quite a bit of information. I also found an audio version.

This evening while the kids were watching one of their shows, I sat down at the computer, opened the book, and hit play on the audio book. Immediately I was sucked in. What a great story. Since endeavoring to try to help my child understand it, I've learned much as well. I love it when that happens. Accidental educational moments. Of course, not everything in the book is PC. It was written, afterall, in 1719. People weren't too PC then. It will provide ample opportunity for discussions of all sorts. What's even better, is that thanks to homeschooling, I actually understand the geographical places and historical times that the book takes place in. Yeah me!