Jane Austen has not been easy going with my kids at home. I started Pride and Prejudice with my fifteen year old. We made it to chapter five, but he struggled to understand it, and I did not press him.
Since we were going to see the a first rate production of the play, Sense and Sensibility, we tried reading that too but found it to be even more difficult than P & P. Both the vocabulary and the idioms were just a little too much for him to digest.
Still, that does not mean we have to give up on these great stories all together. A play is a perfect way to introduce a child to a great author. A movie works well too.
Many of Jane Austen’s works can be found on DVD and these delightful movies provide plenty of fodder for discussion.
This movie was made many years ago, but the acting is first-rate. (And isn’t it fun to know that in real life, Eleanor ended up running off with Mr. Willoughby?)
Getting your children to sit down for one of these movies could be a little tricky, but you’d be surprised what allies you might find in a bucket of popcorn, Junior Mints, and a frothy root beer float. So think about it next Sunday night or Friday afternoon when the kids might have a bit of downtime.
And then the movies is done, ask them a few worthwhile questions. You’ll be surprised how much your children understood.
How have you introduced the great authors to your children?