A Week of Rapunzel!

This week was our official start of Fairy Tale funschool and we had a wonderful time! (To read about the resources we are using, etc., check out this post.)

MOTHER CULTURE
Something that I absolutely LOVE from Charlotte Mason and echoed in contemporary ideas like Mom’s Morning basket and Brave Learner’s “awesome adult” chapter is the fact that enrichment for you as teacher/mom/fellow braver learner is so incredibly important.

So, whenever it applies, I’m going to include what *I* did to prepare/enrich myself before jumping into the week. 🙂

The weekend before we started Rapunzel, I road-mapped what we would probably cover when– but then I jumped into some amazing podcasts that I heard about to get me geared up.

My undergrad and Master’s degrees are in performing arts and English, so I’m not a stranger to the importance of myth and story to cultures, history, the arts, etc. But even with my degrees and background, these two podcasts by Angelina Stanford were amazing!

I HIGHLY recommend you listen to them! They are so thought-rich and inspiring!

There are a few more podcasts I have on a list for this coming weekend, and I’ll share them another time.

Now that we are done with the dose of Mother Culture, let’s move on to what we actually did over our 4 day week.

DAY ONE
E was super excited for Monday to come! We began the morning with a trip to the zoo– which wasn’t Rapunzel-related at all. But playgrounds, animals, and picnics with siblings and a cute cousin isn’t a terrible way to start summer/funschooling. 🙂

In the afternoon, we talked about what fairy tales are and that they HAVE to have a happy ending or they aren’t a true fairy tale. (That’s the difference between fairy tales and cautionary ones.) We talked about how they used to be called Wonder Stories which eventually evolved into “fairy tales,” as more and more stories included fairies and wands, etc.

These are some “Wonder Woods”– my version of Story Stones. I have a craft swap coming up in June, and all the talk of tales inspired me to make these for it!

Next, we read the “original” Rapunzel story, as found in Andrew Lang’s, The Red Fairy Book. It was the first time she had heard about the prince falling from the window and the thorns gauging out his eyes and how tears from your true love can apparently fix that. (A great quotation from her was, “I thought that you only got one set of eyes…” :D)

It was a good introductory day, and definitely set the stage for the week.

DAY TWO
I’ll have to be honest, *I* was sooo looking forward to this day!

We began the day by starting the baking process of “Rapunzel bread.” (Otherwise known as challah bread. We made this recipe from http://www.savortheflavor.com.

We wove in some math while using the scale to measure the ingredients in grams (versus measuring cups like we normally do) and decided to knead it by hand instead of pulling out the kitchenaid. Does that count as P.E.??? Ha! (Those pioneer women must have been beasts!)

It rose well, we beat it down, and then we followed instructions on how to plait it. E got the pattern down quickly (more math?)… and we think it turned out fantastically!

During the afternoon, we read three different culture’s versions of the Rapunzel story: the German, Filipino, and Italian adaptations. The most familiar was the German one… and the Filipino and Italian ones were so interesting and different! We had a great Big Juicy Conversation about how the versions were alike and how they were different, and then we voted on which one was our favorite.

We both picked the Italian version! The magic gallnuts that saved Petrosinella from the ogress made the story extra exciting!

Fun fact: Petrosinella means “parsley” in Italian, and is a change from the rampion from which Rapunzel was named. In the Italian version, not only did the mother steal parsley (which is why she had to give up her child), but the baby girl was also born with a sprig of parsley on her chest. Thereyago.

DAY THREE
We moved on from the written renditions of Rapunzel and decided to watch Disney’s Tangled to compare to the four different versions from Day 1 and 2. There’s enough funny physical humor in it to amuse J (my 3 year old boy) along with E. The baby even woke up half-way through and seemed enchanted by it as well.

E decided to get out pillows and stuffed animals and turn our living room into a theatre. So of course, we had to bring out some popcorn and make it official. I’m not sure why E decided to wear a cloth easter basket on her head during the Tangled debut at our home, but I’m sure it felt right.

It’s said that experts on Wonder Stories/Fairy Tales/Myths didn’t care for the animated versions, as they project the ideas that attractive people are typically good and ugly/unattractive people are typically bad, and generally ignore the tradition of the tales. (Angelina Stanford in the Myth podcast linked above gives an excellent example about how the dwarves– which typically represent wisdom– are dumbed down and made clowns in Disney’s Snow White. Tolkien and Lewis lovers might find this tidbit interesting: supposedly, the two friends bought tickets to see Snow White, went together, and didn’t like it. I don’t know about you, but the thought of the two of them going to the movies and talking themes, plot points, and likes/dislikes like people do now about Marvel’s Endgame just kind of blows my mind a little.)

I had seen Tangled a long time ago when it first came out (9 years ago?!?! Whatthewhat!), but the kids hadn’t– and I had forgotten about Eugene dying at the end. When we watched it, I was afraid that E would get upset because she’s typically sensitive to when characters she likes gets hurt, let alone completely perish. But she didn’t seem phased by it.

When Flynn cuts off Rapunzel’s hair and the way for him to get well disappears, E gasped, but recovered quickly and turned to me and said, “It’s gonna be okay, Mommy.”

“How do you know?” I asked.

“Because see her eyes filling up with tears? Remember, they are magic!”

Of course, they were.

I loved seeing her take a common thread from the Rapunzel stories we read and apply them to this version, although the circumstances were different. Instead of restoring sight, the tears of Tangled’s Rapunzel restored life. (Another interesting sidenote: not every Rapunzel story blinds the prince. It is a plot point in Lang’s version and in the German version… which actually might be the same? Lang collected most of the fairy tales from the oral traditions of Germany, Italy, and France… so his version very well could be the German, as they are super similar.)

We finished up the day talking about what all the Rapunzel versions had in common and what they didn’t. (We did that some on Day 2, but she wanted to revisit it after watching Tangled.) Something E noticed about all of them were that they all had towers, they all had a villain, that the villain was punished (although I do disagree with that a little bit– in the Lang and German versions, it doesn’t actually punish the witch. The stories just kind of ignore her once Rapunzel and the prince reunite… but I’m not going to “correct” her observation), and that each ending had a happily ever after.

The other things like the iconic long hair, magic tears, stolen vegetables, etc., weren’t actually common among all the stories, which I found interesting.

DAY FOUR
This was our final day with the Rapunzel part of our fairy tale/wonder project… and it was my absolute favorite day with E during the week.

Day 4 ended up falling on Friday, which is music day for E and for Jboy. Most of our day was out-and-about, and frankly, a bit on the rough side. (I’m employing understatement here. Sheesh.)

By the time we got home and dinner was made, honestly, I was feeling D.O.N.E. (Anyone else been there?) E had been asking for some momma/daughter time and even though I felt like just hiding in my master bathroom, I decided to take my girlie and my notebook and head to a coffee shop to do our writing together. I figured it would give her the time she was asking for, it would finish up our week, and maybe the change in scenery would reset all of our moods.

It worked wonderfully.

I am just so pleased and proud of the Rapunzel version she came up with at the end of our date! We started with a treat– and coffee for me– and spent an hour or so letting her think about and brainstorm how she wanted her story to go. She talked it out, I wrote it out, and let her use the Rocketbook to illustrate it. If you haven’t heard of the Rocketbook, check it out! E loves drawing in it, and I love that I can directly send her drawings and handwriting to her homeschool file on Google Drive. And the pages? Completely erasable, so they can keep up with all her doodles. They are in black and white, so once we print the story and illustration out, she can color on it like a coloring sheet.

Her version of Rapunzel? Definitely imaginative, and I’ll be honest; there were several times I had to keep my “straight face” on. Particularly when the farmer (yes, farmer) sees the tower and says, “This is the life I need.” And a horse tries to throw her “calf” in the tower with Rapunzel, but it doesn’t work… and finally, the farmer’s neighbor man rescues her. At one point in the story, Rapunzel is eight, and a few sentences later, she is 25. The explanation? “She was 25 now, because time flies when you are having fun.” Ohmyhead!

We spent the last 20 minutes or so of our momma/daughter writing date discussing what’s next: the Frog Prince. She had some ideas to bring to the table, such as making a crown for our frog puppet and putting on a show and having another movie day.

She’s looking forward to next week already, and I have to admit…

I am, too.

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