The real home ed, of course, continues to happen between times and probably the best times of all are the car ed moments. They always have been.
Fran has been reading the Diary of Anne Frank; I think I read this at 14 but she is at a great age to read it, as she is almost exactly the age Anne was. She’s been incredibly moved by it and really stuck at it too, also looking up various bits of information and asking questions along the way.
In the car the other day, she suddenly choked up. “How could they do that to people? it just isn’t human.” How indeed? We talked for a long time about the death camps, the way people were treated, the nature of gas chambers and death marches, the concept of genocide as opposed to just racism, why the camps have been left as memorials. We discussed Schindler’s List, the feelings of the Germans as opposed to the Nazi’s, the difference in residual feelings in this country about that war now, as opposed to how it was when I was growing up, when it still didn’t seem that long ago.
This is big stuff when you are 12; it is even bigger stuff if you are 8 or 6 and listening in.
We talked lots about whether it is ‘racist’ to prefer to send you child to a predominantly English speaking school, for example and how complex the lines are when you start to draw them around wanting safety, protection or good opportunities against wanting to not be with people purely due to colour, race or religion. We discussed how people might begin with one mindset but fall into another, positively or negatively and how we have to guard against beginning to hate people for simply what they are, not who.
I’m reading The Hare with the Amber Eyes, which happens to be discussing who Jews were seen in Paris at the end of the 19th century so that was an interesting part of the discussion. We talked more about whether it is right or wrong to make money from Anne Frank’s house as a museum, or use pictures of piles of bodies, even anonymously, to remind people of that horror. We have to remember, but it is also true those are people, someone’s son or daughter. It’s a complex issue.
For the girls, the hardest thing was understanding that this happened again only recently in Europe, still happens. History is a great distancing agent for kids; they believe we get better and horrors from the past are because people were less aware then but of course, the truth is that bad people are just bad people.
The girls have been loving Dad’s Army recently – it was interesting to set Anne Frank clearly against that and see how they felt about the funny side of the home front (or that side made funny) alongside the brutality and the fact that we knew it was happening and did so little to stop it until we were threatened ourselves.
However hard, it was a fascinating conversation. Must hurry up and do that side of the war with them.
Other stuff going on – Fran blogged our day out at Wood Green Animal Shelter. (She’s her mother’s daughter when it comes to proof reading!)
Today we went to the Stockwood Discovery Centre, fairly briefly, but will definitely go back as it looked excellent.
We’ve done lots of gardening but that’s another blog.
We had another trip into Oundle and this time the girls and I browsed the bookshop there while Max shopped; it is lovely and we’ll be using it much more I think. Loved how much the girls enjoyed just settling into the arms of a bookshop and enjoying it. Fran wants to know about Huckleberry Finn. All I can remember is I fancied the boy who played him in the series