Heading Back to High School

High school can be really hard at times. I should know, this is my second and third time around!

Our eldest girls are in year eight and year seven, and I’ll be the first to admit that I really did not enjoy high school the first time around. I am hoping that the fourth (Chanel) and fifth (Jaden) time around will be a little easier!

Fingers crossed.

This term Amy had to read ‘The Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boom, for English. One of her assessment pieces required her to pull it apart, and put it back together in the form of an analytical essay. ‘We’ finished her analytical essay this week, and I am now really hoping that ‘we’ get a good mark for it!

I wasn’t going to read ‘The Hiding Place’, but I picked it up to have a quick flick through, and then of course, I found it difficult to put it down again. I had no idea how enthralling ‘The Hiding Place’ was going to be.

“She turned to the sunlight And shook her yellow head,And whispered to her neighbor_ %22Winter is dead.”-2

‘The Hiding Place’ is a true story about a family who protected Jews in their home just after the Nazi Germans invaded Holland in 1939. Corrie Ten Boom was the only surviving member of her family who was imprisoned on that fateful day, and ‘The Hiding Place’ is her memoir.

After being tricked, The Ten Boom family home was searched, and the family members present at the home at the time were taken captive by the Nazi Germans and imprisoned, and then later sent with thousands of Jewish men, women and children to Nazi concentration camps across Germany. Sadly, Corrie and Betsie’s elderly father died not long after their arrest.

What the Ten Boom family, and thousands of Jews were forced to endure over the years of the war can only be described as inhumane. The guards treated the prisoners with contempt, the beds were lice ridden, there weren’t enough beds so prisoners had to sleep four to a bed, they were lucky to get a cup of soup and a bread roll each day, their day started at 4.30 am with a parade (anyone found sleeping in or late would be beaten), and they were expected to work hard each day – no rest days. Their toilet was a hole in the ground, and they were expected to line up naked in front of male prison guards, who would ridicule them, for their medical checks.

‘The Hiding Place’, is a not just a recount of events, it is also a story of two women who stood strong in what they believed and trusted God with everything they had. Throughout their time in the concentration camp, they read a bible to the other prisoners who felt down trodden, and over time their small group of women grew to a stage where they were reading the bible to numerous large groups of women each day. They were seen by the other women in the concentration camp as their pillar of strength.

“She turned to the sunlight And shook her yellow head,And whispered to her neighbor_ %22Winter is dead.”

Sadly, Betsie (Corrrie’s sister) became very sick and died in the December of 1944.  A week later Corrie was released from the concentration camp.

In the weeks after her release, Corrie found out that her release was due to a clerical error, and if she had not been released when she was – she would have been executed along with all the other women in her age group two days after her release.

Sometimes stories really grab your heart, and teach you a few lessons. They challenge your beliefs and values, and push you to evaluate not only who you are, but what you stand for, and what you want your life to mean long term. ‘The Hiding Place’ is one of those stories.

I know many parents don’t believe they should get involved in their children’s school curriculum. They leave it too their kids to get their reading and the assignment work done, but I would like to challenge parents to get more involved in what their kids are reading for school. Obviously there are some books I won’t be as inclined to read, but having read ‘The Hiding Place’ alongside Amy, we have been able to have many incredible conversations about many aspects of the book, Corrie’s life, and then when we saw the movie, we were talked about the similarities and differences of the book and the movie, and what we wish the movie could have captured from the book.

As this term comes to a close at the end of this week, I smile. Its been a great term 1 for so many reasons. Not always easy. In fact, some days have been incredibly challenging, but one thing I have really enjoyed this term, is how the girls English and SOSE subjects have interconnected. Bethy and Chanel have had to look at different aspects of our family, and in the later part of the term we had to interview two grandparents about their childhood and what it was like to grow up in their households. It was so great to get a glimpse into our parents lives from a different perspective.

The girls had to come up with about 20 questions, and then interview two grandparents and record their findings, so they chose one grandparent from my side and one from their dad’s side. It was very interesting to learn that one grandparent was born at the end of 1945 – the year World War II ended. So this then bought up another list of questions about the kids great grandparents and how the war affected their lives. So much learning has been going on in our little household!

Oh, and Jaden’s survived his first term of prep….but that is a whole other blog post!