The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis is a novel in which the power of children to make a difference is affirmed. It is a wonderful read, and explores the direct influence youth have over presumed insurmountable obstacles. It provides a great learning tool for both secular and religious-based education. Members of the Christian community can delve into the correlations to Biblical messages within the book, while others can focus on the life lessons.
For any child who struggles with self esteem issues or shyness, the tale of the four Penvensie siblings lets them know that other children deal with the same concerns. Children of any age, or gender, can identify with the characters in the novel. There are two girls and two boys, each at a different maturity level. Their personalities vary as well, and the Penvensie children frequently quarrel with one another. Since homeschooling siblings are constantly with each other, they can understand this type of discord. The novel can provide a way to discuss sibling relationships.
Forgiveness, jealousy, and other strong emotions are clearly depicted in this book. Edmund, the youngest boy, and third child in the family, evolves from a bully to a heroic character. He is also the lost sheep that comes back to the fold. All of these themes, whether an educator applies religious significance or not, provide ways to make connections to real life topics and personal experiences. The fact that the four children defeat the White Witch, and save a world (Narnia), is particularly exciting for young readers. While children may feel they are constantly confronted with rules, and a feeling of powerlessness, this story shows that this perception is not always correct.
C.S. Lewis was a well known Christian writer. He wrote many other eccumentical works, in addition to his best selling Narnia novels. Since many homeschooling families use Bibical-based curriculum, the Narnia novels can provide a perfect accompaniment to lessons. The character of Aslan can be related to Jesus. However, one of the best things about the Narnia series is that the books can be enjoyed on any level, whether you use a Christian-based, or secular, curriculum.
For any educator that wants their students to understand the impact of World War II on civilians in England, this book provides a great example. Students can learn about the Blitz, or perhaps build a model bomb shelter with their parents. The Penvensie children have to leave London, and go to live with a professor in the country. The children experience boredom while living with the professor, and this eventually leads them on a grand adventure. The story touches on the amazing capacity of the imagination. It is the game consol that never needs batteries or electricity.
There are many movie and play adaptations of the Narnia novels. Two recent movies by Disney: "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" and "Prince Caspian", are great tools to compare the differences between a book and a film adaptation. While watching the movies, children might want to try out Turkish Delight, instead of snacking on popcorn. The lesson plans below are another good treat to go along with the novel.
"The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" Lesson Plans:
The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe: Literature and Theater has many neat exercises that involve the whole body. Children can take an imaginery trip to Narnia as well.
The White Witch Verses Aslan is a great game of tag using the characters and the story.
Open the Doors to Imagination has children construct mental images through imagination. It is a great tool to show how the mind is more intricate in detail then any physical drawing.
There's Only How Much? Rationing in World War II discusses how rationing occurred, and shows its effect on young people.
1940s House: Making a Connection between WWII and Rationing has students use mathematical skills to figure out how to ration needed supplies