Thursday, 20 August 2009

There's always a feeling of satisfaction knowing something is complete

We put aside our weeping and wailing for one day to visit the Northampton Fishmarket for a one-man performance of Robinson Crusoe.

I need to write that here because this blog is very useful for recording these educational projects in the life of Shark, Tiger and Squirrel.

And this performance marks a sort of a closure to our several-month project on Robinson Crusoe.

For several weeks this year I forced everyone to listen to mama reading the Puffin Classics edited version of this Defoe story, starting from the basis that it is a flippin good read for children and they should know about it, because I say so.

Foolishly I never got around to reading this work myself in childhood. I had to wait until I hit an undergraduate course at York when it wasn't fun at all. There, the last thing on Grit's Must Do list was hide in a hole and start working out how to carry blackberries home to a shelter made of twigs and mud. But aged 9, this book would've been a perfect source.

The little Grits have truly enjoyed listening to Robinson Crusoe, although we'll leave the grown up version including all the moral wrangling until later. It has been a perfect back story for all the den building activity and has greatly assisted in Grit's master plan: that cunning weeze where all the gritlets flee to separate parts of the garden and set about creating primitive societies using planks of wood and grass clippings.

But now the day is duly recorded. We have read Robinson Crusoe, talked about themes, characters, plots, narratives, what makes up a novel, found out about trade routes, old ship sailing, Alexander Selkirk, drawn pictures of goats and listed their uses, invented a map, found a variety of islands on the light-up globe, built some dens, waved to passing ships from a perch in a tree, and today finally sat in a fishmarket and watched an actor talk to a teddy bear called Friday on the basis that teddy bears lack colour, religion, dietary requirements and anything else which makes them controversial.

Really, we have enjoyed ourselves, but I do not know whether all this Crusoe inspired study counts as educational in the eyes of the local authority. Anyone there could of course say we have failed. If Badman has his way, they probably will, and could choose anything they like to show us up as an example. Like, we did not convert to Christianity in the course of our labours.

However, I feel secure that should the local authority knock at the door demanding to see evidence of education, we can easily show off our knowledge by recreating that discussion about whose leg we would stew first if we were all stranded on a desert island pissing each other off.

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