Friday, December 2, 2011

For The Wizard of Oz, There's no place like home(school)

The Wizard of Oz has always been a childhood favorite of mine. My mom and I watched it every year. I cannot listen to Judy Garland's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" without feeling the rush of nostalgia that seems to carry me like a wave right back to the vulnerable, cherished time of being a little girl. Seeing as how OZ is any unattainable place, as an adult it may just as well be the innocent center of childhood you're wishing to be sent away to, beyond the rainbow.
While I surely cannot return to my childhood, I have been blessed to re-experience and share in it through the wondrous eyes of my children.
Our most recent literature read-aloud for our homeschooling was L. Frank Baum's classic Wizard of Oz, which was already a favorite movie for my kids. We were blessed to be given the Sonlight curriculum's accompanying study guide from a friend, and also blessed to receive a gorgeous Dorothy dress from another friend earlier in the year which my daughter wore for Halloween. The blessings kept trickling in, we found a local opportunity to enjoy the Wizard of Oz musical at the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre.

It was an amazing show, my daughter and I went together, she dressed in full costume. What a magical experience, the performance and special effects (stage flight, smoke, fire, etc.) were very impressive and watching it with my daughter was priceless. Her eyes danced and her face filled with joy throughout. Everyone ooh-ed and ahh-ed her attire during intermission and after the show we even got to meet Dorothy, who graciously gushed with excitement to my daughter for looking just like her.

On the way home, my daughter initiated the conversation in which we compared and contrasted the similarities and differences between all three: the book, the movie and the musical.

Along with assorted wizard of oz coloring pages and a homemade lapbook, here are a few more related activities we've done which were not mentioned in the study guide but were fun ways to expand our studies.
Science experiments:
Water melts the Wicked Witch of the West: In Baum's book, Dorothy says the witch melts like brown sugar. Make small brown-sugar witches in shallow bowls and melt them by slowly pouring a cup of water on top. Explore what else is water soluble by attempting to dissolve different solids in water.
Exploring Emeralds and Rubies: Gemstones are common in Oz. Dig into geology lessons as you discuss what gems are, how are they made, and why are they so valuable. Could you really make a city of emeralds, or wear a pair of ruby shoes?
Weather: Make a Tornado in a jar, and experiment with rainbows and bending light.
Math Connection:
Make a Yellow Brick Road of paper for your floor. Count how many bricks it takes to make your road cross the house? Outside? Down the street? What about if the individual bricks were smaller or larger? Measure and make your way through the room, and your kids will also love skipping along their own homemade yellow brick road to continue imaginative play.
Story Retelling sheets: Follow the Yellow Brick Road
And most of all, remember, when it comes to loving and learning, there truly is no place like home.

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