Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Classics

My daughter has a sudden interest in one of literature's great classics: The Phantom of the Opera.

Remember a few weeks back when Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber was on American Idol? Yeah, that's what sparked it. She saw that chandelier fall and she was immediately enthralled. When we were at the library the other day, she came across the book, and insisted we check it out. She proudly handed it to the librarian who asked, "How old is she?" LOL I said "Five. She has good taste." :o)

So we're about 5 chapters into the book. She begs me to read it about every 30 minutes, and if I'm unavailable for reading, she will sit and look at the pictures (there are only a handful of pictures, and she can already tell you about each one of them, but still insists on looking at them some more.) She was even trying to sound out a sentence, but when she got to the word "graveyard" she gave up.

Did you ever see Jersey Girl? Where the little girl has to perform in a talent show and all the other kids pick that song from Cats and she picks Sweeney Todd? That's kind of how I feel. LOL Normal children love classics like Anne of Green Gables or Little House on the Prairie. Mine has opted for ghosts and grave yards and threat letters and crashing chandeliers. Sweet. No wonder she has nightmares.

So I see a ton of opportunities for homeschooling in this interest she's formed. There is, of course, the study of opera music. There is also France itself, where the story takes place, mostly in the city of Paris. She has informed me that she would like to go to Paris. I told her to talk to her step father. :o) Tomorrow we're going to make a French recipe out of a multi-cultural cook book I picked up at the library along with our beloved novel. We can draw the French flag, learn a few French words (I took French in high school, and loved it.) We can talk about what it must have been like to perform in front of all those people, something she loves thinking about ever since the first time I took her to see a live play. I saw Phantom when I was 11 or 12, with my aunt for my birthday. We took a special trip into LA. I remember the awe I felt. When she's a bit older, I hope take her to see a showing of it. In the meantime, I still have my playbill and some other little souvenirs that I need to dig out of the basement. There's also the author of the book, and what his life was like, living in France as a little boy. She went to sleep last night listening to the Phantom theme song, creepy as it is.

She has this sort of fascination with graveyards. Not in a twisted way, in a relatively innocent five-year-old sort of way, just that curiosity that sparks whenever something is unknown. Part of me is tempted to take her to visit my brother's grave. She's seen his pictures, and knows that he was my brother, as well as she can for her age and ability to understand. I'm not sure though, that might be pretty heavy for a little girl. It might be better just to let her use her imagination and think what she wants to think for awhile, until she's old enough to really understand. The concept of death is becoming real to her though - if you step on a bug, it dies. If a dog gets cancer, it dies. We have to be careful what we talk about in front of her now, because she understands that death is permanent. How awful. I don't remember when I first understood about death, but it's certainly not a fun subject to discuss with a little girl!

Anyhow, I suppose it's time for me to start researching Phantom-era Paris. I'd love to find some real photos of old opera houses. And I need to find a picture of baby squirrels. She asked me today what they look like.

Wikipedia, here I come. How did anyone homeschool before the invention of Wikipedia? I'll never know...


Deb said...

Wow! I loooove Phantom of the Opera! I've seen it many times... mostly in San Fran. I took Dyan there when she was 12. It was her Christmas gift that year. We sat 7 rows from the stage, dead center, right under the chandalier. It was simply wonderful! Oh, and on Christmas morning, that year, instead of Christmas music waking my girls up, it was the Phantom of the Opera waking them up.... lol. Hilarious...

I say that your daughter has marvelous taste. And I love graveyards too! LOL

I have a picture somewhere of an opera house in Munich, Germany... If I can find the disk it's on, I'll zip it to ya... It's very cool.

Dani said...

Lilli LOVES the cemetary here. We talk her a few times a year to see my grandfathers, my dad's mom, and a few other relatives. She totally "gets it" and it doesn't seem to phase her one bit. Infact, she likes to pick dandelions and put them on the graves of our family members. It's kind of sweet, actually.