Sunday, February 28, 2010

Have you thought of taking a school trip into Narnia?

I hope that you will consider a family trip to Narnia. It is so worth the investment. The power that you leave with knowing that once a king or queen in Narnia, always a king or queen in Narnia. (That picture is taken from a great website with all kids of interesting ideas. Visit them at The

I want to share with you how wonderful a family read aloud can be and how we have turned some simple books into a rich experience for all members of the family. Some books are just too great to hand to your child and say read this we will talk about it later. Unfortunately that is how I handled most of the great works of literature that I required our oldest child to read. Looking back I am sad that I let those moments that we could have shared slip away. Pooker now sees how excited we are getting into our daily adventures in the Chronicles of Narnia and feels a little left out. Sorry Pooker.

Our adventures in these books started with our last minute choice for a New Years Eve movie. As a family we always watch a series of movies together. This year it happened to be The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe with Prince Caspian to follow. I refer to how great that has been for the family here in a post from our family blog. That all being said we dove into this series and have loved every day. On the weekend the little ones ask why I am not reading. That is a true sign that they are enjoying the books. Not many of us want to do school work on the weekends.

A few ideas on how we have added to our read alouds. It is hard to entertain the mind of the older children and those of the younger children at the same time. I decided to notebook our adventures, having each child create a "notebook" about this time we are spending on this book. We are including all kinds of wonderful tidbits. Copy work, coloring pages, word games, narrations in pictures or words depending on age, and then a completed book report at the end.

Each book of the Narnia series is separated by a page that we create. After a Google search of the book title I then save the pictures of the various covers that have been used over the years in the different publications of the books. You might be surprised how many different cover pages will apply to just one book. After printing several small copies of each cover and cutting them out evenly I pass them out. I give each child their choice of the cover copies and a piece of card stock paper. They create a college of the various covers. That is placed in a protective sheet. This makes a perfect divider in the notebooks. We have been using the cheap paper 3 ring folders for now but will move those into a more permanent plastic folder as soon as we are finished. We plan to make elaborate covers for our notebooks soon as well.

Coloring Sheet links:
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (there are more sites but they all seam to offer the same pictures.)

Prince Caspian (This is a french site, the pictures are great. Click on "fermer" to close.)

Unfortunately these are not easy always to find. For the other books I google anything that I have taken from the books to create coloring sheets. The mythical character of a faun will produce many possible coloring sheets. Often this means that I need to do some reading ahead to find something for them to work on. When nothing is found a blank piece of paper with a handful of coloring pencils give an opportunity for a simple narration of what is being read.

Word searches for each book.

Activities for all the books are linked here.

This is such a wonderful set of books in so many ways. The literature is so good. I love to hear the children quoting the books. I have found inspiration and growth in our faith in these delightful tails. I did break down and purchase a book to help with all those connections. This was a book that I stumbled upon but often the references are easily found in general searches of the title on the Internet. We are using the book "Believing in Narnia, A kid's guide to Unlocking Secret Symbols of Faith in C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia" by Natalie Gillespie. This is a simple little book that lays out the symbolism. It is a reference to me and to the children guiding some of our discussions. I have found that once one child makes one little connection on their own it takes off from there. We don't really need this book but I like referring to it when the conversation is dying.

I am not a good cook so this did not appeal to us, but if you like to dive into a book through cooking you will enjoy this link. We don't try to cook we shop instead. I did buy some Turkish Delight Candy while reading the Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. It was OK.

Another thing to remember is that these books bring alive the imagination. They are great books for boys and for girls. Everyone has a beautiful place in Narnia. Each child will pick out their own favorite character. They will all want to dress in nice flowing clothes, borrow a sword and defend their great kingdom. They will love Aslan, and hopefully make the connection to Christ, so much that they will do their other homeschool work "For Aslan". If you let yourself go along for the ride you will begin to see some wonderful things as well. Another family post describing just that.

So if you are looking at March, April and May at the end of your school year and wanting something different, something fun , something that might just reunite and excite the mind; then allow me to suggest planning a family trip to Narnia. For your family it might be a second or third visit but it doesn't matter. Let the imagination run with this. Let your children enjoy this read aloud. Let yourself cry every time to meet Aslan in the book. Let the family laugh together when Edmund leaves his new torch in Narnia. Let your children believe that they themselves are called to greatness. Let your children remember that they are to someday share in His Kingdom, making them true Kings and Queens in the eyes of their creator.

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