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Monday, September 3, 2012

Back To School On September 4

(Two posts today. Keep scrolling for today's political humor)

The homeschool classes that I teach resume tomorrow. 

As a result of the anticipated work load this first week of classes, I am turning over to Sam the management of this blog through Thursday.

This term I am scheduled to teach the following at middle-school and high-school courses: Literature, Composition, English Grammar, Public Speaking/Current Events, Western Civilization through Filmography, Spanish, Latin, and SAT Verbal Prep.  The filmography course is a new course for me to teach, and the parents and I are designing the course ourselves.


  1. Suggestions welcome for the Western Civ through Filmography course.

    So far, I've chosen these as the first three:

    1. Patton

    2. A Face in the Crowd

    3. The Agony and the Ecstasy

    Only films rated G, PG, or PG-13 are eligible for inclusion in this course.

  2. In Which We Serve (British - Noel Coward)

    The Best Years of Our Lives

    All Quiet on the Western Front


    Gentleman's Agreement

    To Kill a Mockingbird

    Inherit the Wind

    The Crucible

    More later ...

    ~ FT

  3. Thanks, FT. I appreciate your suggestions.

  4. One more, AOW. This is probably THE most important one.

    Knight Without Armour 1937. Marlene Dietrich and Robert Donat.

    A British historical drama made by London Films and distributed by United Artists, directed by Jacques Feyder and produced by Alexander Korda from a screenplay by Lajos Biró adapted by Frances Marion from the novel by James Hilton.

    Music by Miklós Rózsa, his first for a motion picture, with additional music by Tchaikovsky.

    The picture, which has been virtually suppressed for several decades, gives a memorably poignant evocation of the epic horror and brutality of The 1917 Communist Revolution in Russia.

    I remembered seeing it on television when TV was still new. I was just a little boy then, but I never forgot the distressing impact of this film, and somehow I understood, even then, what it was really about.

    Your students MUST see this film.

    ~ FreeThinke

  5. Some suggestions:

    Spartacus - Stanley Kubrick(ugh)

    Becket - Peter Glenville

    The Passion of John of Arc - Carl Dreyer (silent film featuring the greatest female performance in film history)

    A Man for All Seasons - Fred Zinnemann

    Ivan the Terrible Part 1 - Sergei Eisenstein

    Essex and Elizabeth - Michael Curtiz

    A Tale of Two Cities - Jack Conway(1935)

    Drums Along the Mohawk - John Ford

    That Hamilton Woman - Alexander Korda


  6. What a different country this would be if we had a few hundred thousand more teachers like you, AOW. I hope your students appreciate how lucky they are.

  7. Glory - Edward Zwick

    The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance - John Ford

    Breaker Morant - Bruce Beresford

    The Battleship Potemkin - Sergei Eisenstein

    Lawrence of Arabia - David Lean

    The Plow that Broke the Plain - Pare Lorentz

    The Grapes of Wrath - John Ford

    Kanal - Andrez Wajda
    Ashes and Diamonds - Andrez Wajda
    Ivans Childhood - Andrei Tarkovsky

  8. The list is immense AOW, what happens is that it gets a little too weighted toward war epics.

    I hesitated to add foreign films except silents or those dealing with WW II because I think it is absolutely critical to see that war trough the perspective of the European especially Eastern Europe.

  9. Patton bored me to tears.

    I like Free Thinke's list, mostly....and wouldn't leave out GRAPES OF WRATH.

    By the way, are there any films which celebrate America instead of dwelling on the negatives? (racism, religious persecution, depression, war..) So SO much better in this country than ANY OTHER and, of course, the difficult times are the most interesting stories for films; many reasons for films like that!

    Hey, how about I'M A YANKEE DOODLE DANDY! Or how's about a Cagney prison film? You can throw INCARCERATION into the negativity of American film! :-)

    How's about Schindler's List?
    Diary of Ann Frank?

  10. One thing you might try AOW is documentary. In presenting documentary you have to be very careful to avoid suggesting they are necessarily objective. I'd try this list as a sample of relatively recent American culture.

    1. Louisiana Story - Robert Flaherty
    A boy and his pet racoons in the bayous bump into some oil drillers but they don't disrupt anything. Beautifully filmed and the boys story will absolutely hold class interest.

    2. Monterey Pop - D. A. Pennebaker
    The coming of the hippies as Otis Redding, Ravi Shankar and Janis Joplin tear it up. Hendrix sets his guitar on fire.

    3. Harlan County U.S.A. Barbara Kopple
    Universally acclaimed (and balanced) look at a coal miners strike. Critical look at U.S. labor history.

    4. High School - Fred Wiseman
    The only time Wiseman ever used non-diagetic sound. He opens with Otis Redding's "Dock of the Bay" and decimates the American high school.

    5. Point of Order - Emile de Antonio
    The McCarthy hearings.


  11. conservativesonfire

    "I hope your students appreciate how lucky they are."

    If not yet I'm sure that they will. In the meantime their parents and thousands of the rest of us do!

  12. AOW, in one of my rare agreements with, z. Patton is a stone bore.

  13. With due respect to the intelligent comments, I have another list of movies necessary to understand Western Civilization.

    1. History of the World Part 1 (Mel Brooks)
    2. The Search For The Holy Grail (Monty Python)
    3. Animal House (John Belushi)
    4. Smokey And The Bandit ( Bert Reynolds and Jackie Gleason)

    I know this is a bit low-brow for most folks on this blog. However, it is helpful to look at where we are to understand Western Civilization.

    Good luck on the Western Civ course, and don't pay any attention to me.

  14. A brief thank you here before I head for the VFW open house....

    I chose Patton for several reasons, a few listed below:

    1. The score by Jerry Goldsmith.

    2. The stained-class-window connection, in San Gabriel, CA, I think.

    3. The students in the class had never seen the film.

    4. The many conundrums about General Patton.

    5. DVD availability via NetFlix and the public library.

    Most of the students in the class have already seen To Kill A Mockingbird and A Tale of Two Cities.

    Not sure how many films we are going to cover. At least 10?

    These students have taken history classes. I'm looking for "a broader scope."

    Oh, and one more thing....At this point, only girls are enrolled in the course.

    BTW, I'm considering The Trial. I haven't seen that film in ages, so I'll need to preview it first.

  15. If I was school-age I would DEFINITELY enjoy your classes, it has all of my favorite subjects.

    Good luck, your blog is an awesome and intelligent hands.

    Sometimes I wish I had someone to help with my blog.... *sigh*

    God bless you, teacher!

  16. Z,
    Yes, I need to choose a musical. I need to poll the class to see which ones they've already watched.


  17. AOW

    I just saw "2016:OBAMA'S AMERICA". Although some of us would not find much new I thought that it could be informative for those still caught up in B.O. ruse. There was one scene toward the very end that made me want to puke (I'll bet you know which one). Without exposing that to those yet to see the movie I'll simply say that our Public excuse for education has taken a toll on our children and continues to do so. I realize that this is not available for your program, at this time, but would you consider it if and when possible? I think that it was rated PG-13.

  18. I would argue, AOW that Meet Me in St. Louis is a much stronger advocate for so called "family" values and American optimism than anything you're liable to find.

  19. We do actually appreciated AOW- well I do at least! She's an amazing teacher.

    Patton boring? Its easily becoming one of my favorite films!

    Good luck with classes tomorrow- hehe.


  20. Patton is one of your favorites?

    I envy you with so much to look forward to.

  21. Jon,
    I, too, have seen 2016: Obama's America.

    As you mentioned, it is not yet available on DVD.

    I will offer it as extra credit to any enrolled in the Western Civ course.

    One of the students enrolled in the course has already read The Roots of Obama's Rage.

  22. Wildstar,
    Thank you for the compliment.

    I know that most of the students in our group appreciate me -- at least, to a point.

    But, clearly, not all the students have bonded with me as you have. We butted heads for a while. But now we've come out on the other side. **smile**

    Yesterday, V, a friend of mine and a former homeschool parent from years ago came over to help Mr. AOW, and we watched the videos from the 2011 and 2012 pageants. Wildstar, you were a standout in those pageants, and she kept asking me, "Is that Wildstar?" Thought that you'd want to know what V said.

    Can hardly wait for the Patton discussion today!

    We have several new students in the group this year. Should be an interesting school term.

  23. Patton is always a winner. Good luck and have a great week!


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