Everything is Educational, Even Disney Princesses


I’ve been thinking…

Are some things more educational than others? And what makes something educational anyway? Can Disney Princesses be educational? Or are some things only fun things?

The other evening I discovered my teenage daughters, Imogen and Charlotte, in the family room deep in conversation. One had a white-board. The other was typing furiously on her computer.

“What are you girls doing?”

“We’re planning a new novel,” Charlotte told me. “We’ve brainstormed ideas on the whiteboard. Now Imogen is making detailed notes on the computer.”

“Who’s writing the novel?”

“We both are.”

How can two people write one novel? Apparently they are writing alternate chapters.

“We have two main characters,” said Imogen. “I’m going to write my chapters from the view point of one, and Charlotte the other.”

“What’s the novel going to be about?”

“It’s going to be a fairy tale, an old tale rewritten.”

And then I understood. We’d all been to see the latest Disney movie Frozen only a couple of days before… a rewritten fairy tale.
“We might make our fairy tale a modern day story.”

I remembered Regina Doman’s stories. These are all rewritten modern fairy tales for teens and young adults. When I told the girls about these books, they sounded interested, so I’m going to buy one.

“We might rewrite Sleeping Beauty,” said Charlotte.


“Another time you could choose a more obscure fairy tale to rewrite,” I suggested. We then talked about The Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale. It’s based on the lesser known Brothers Grimm fairy tale, Maid Maleen.

Charlotte remembered a Grimms Fairy Tale book we have on our shelf. That would contain loads of novel ideas. (There is a free e-version of this book.)

Then we started talking about how Shakespeare used other people’s stories for his plays. We’ve got a book called Shakespeare’s Story Book which contains 7 tales that inspired Shakespeare.

“I’m going to draw the characters of our novel,” added Charlotte. “This will help us visualise them while we’re writing.”

It all sounded good to me. So for the past week or more the older girls have been planning and writing and drawing. Their fairy tale is coming alive.

Yesterday Charlotte wrote a post for our Mother, Daughters, Sisters blog called In My Disney Place. It’s about how she and Imogen are writing their novel. She posted pictures of the two main characters.

I read the post: “… It’s full of magic, has a couple of curses and a dragon…”  and then said, “I thought you were writing a modern fairy tale.”

“We changed our minds!”

So the girls went to see an animated movie. Now they are writing a novel. They’ve discussed other novels and plays, authors and playwrights along the way. Charlotte has been drawing and has written a blog post. Would you call that educational? Do you think they are learning? Or perhaps they’re just having fun.

“What are you doing girls? Are you doing something educational? Or are you just having fun?”

“Everything’s educational, Mum!”

Even Disney princesses.

“And we’re also having fun.”

I go into Sophie’s and Gemma-Rose’s room to say goodnight. They are deep in conversation. Gemma-Rose is making notes. Sophie has a white-board. “What are you two girls doing?” I ask.

“We’re writing notes for a novel.”

Let me guess. They’re doing something educational? They’re having fun?

I bet they’re writing a fairy tale too!

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Comments

  1. Reply

    They're so creative! My kids always start out with great ideas, but THEY NEVER FOLLOW THROUGH! It drives me crazy!

    1. Reply

      Shelly,

      Kids can be creative in lots of different ways. My girls love reading, writing, drawing and music. I wonder what your kids strengths are. Did I read they like science and exploring?

      Great ideas… I think we all have lots of those that we never follow through on! I start to put one idea into action and then think of another bigger and better ones.. The world is just too interesting at times! At least we all have ideas!

  2. Reply

    Pretty cool. My girls have never done this. Amy hated reading and writing, until I took her out of public school and let her come to it on her own, in her own time. For Christmas she asked for literally a list of books and a big bookshelf. I'd say she's come a long way! 🙂 And writing? She has written fanfics. Top secret stuff, you know. 🙂

    Robyn does not write much. She cannot see well and has poor motor skills. But Robyn likes cooking and makes up menus. She wants to write her own cookbook one day. I think she will.

    Probably neither of my girls will write about dragons. But I LOVE dragons, and will be happy to read anything with dragons in it!! 🙂 I read what Amy allows me to read. Robyn.. I read anything she writes. 🙂 What a joy to read what our kids have creatively come up with on their own! You're so blessed to have so much to read, Sue!! 🙂

    1. Reply

      Susan,

      Top secret stuff… Oh that made me smile! I know all about that. Charlotte likes to keep her writing to herself. I'm the opposite. I'm always saying, "Do you want to read what I wrote?" Everyone must get fed up with me! But yes, it is good to share with my children. The younger girls especially like to read their stories to me.

      Oh, I can just imagine Robyn writing a cook book. You should write one too! You could be famous and have your own TV show and I could watch and say, "That's my friend Susan!"

      If the girls finish their novel to their satisfaction maybe you'll get to read about their dragon! So far the writing is going very well.

  3. Reply

    So fun! One of the advantages of seeing everything as educational is that there is no end point. Learning and growing as a person becomes an end in itself (not the end, although not far from the ultimate end of growing into who God created you to be).

    I love the Regina Doman books, although they are geared for older teens. There is one which deals with abuse which wouldn't be appropriate for my younger teens and tweens. She writes carefully, though: it's very well done.

    1. Reply

      Wendy,

      It must be frustrating for kids when they are engrossed in an activity (and having fun) and a parent insists they leave it to do something 'educational'. I'm trying to decide what makes something educational (in most people's eyes). Yes, there are great advantages in seeing everything as educational. I like your thoughts!

      Another friend also reminded me one of the Regina Doman books comes with a warning, maybe not suitable for some teens. I will read it first! Actually I can't wait to read these books after all the good things I'm hearing about them!

  4. Reply

    The girls are absolutely right! Education is fun, especially when you are your own director 🙂

    1. Reply

      Kelly,

      Your own director? Yes! I love how that refers to both education and movies. Very appropriate!

  5. I love reading these kind of stories of yours, Sue. (Well, I love all your stories, to tell the truth!) Children – people – are so creative if we just give them the time and space to create. Inspiration is wonderful to experience personally and to behold in others, isn't it?

    1. Reply

      Lucinda,

      Time and space to create… yes! And I do love that feeling of inspiration!

      The younger girls are indeed working on a fairy tale of their own. They were sharing their ideas with me the other night, as I was saying good night to them. I asked if I could be involved. They gave me a character and said I can write every third chapter from his point of view. The girls were so excited because I want to write with them. We worked out how to share a document via Google Docs so we are all ready to start! This morning Sophie said, "This will be a new experience for you, Mum. We've done this before but you've never ever written a fantasy." She is quite right. I hope my chapters are good enough!

      Thank you for reading my stories, Lucinda!

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