I keep meaning to mention some movies we’ve watched and songs we’ve listened to that others might want to check out. Entertaining with an educational edge.
First up, Wordplay. I know, it’s been out for ages. But I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who has missed a lot of movies. Also, it looks geeky and you might really wonder why your kids would watch it but it is fascinating. Tigger liked it. And it does give you some insight into how other people’s minds work. For example, while most people think that crossword puzzle afficionados (the kind that can do a New York Times Saturday puzzle in 5 minutes) might be people who work with words in their everyday lives, they are actually mostly mathematicians, scientists, musicians, and others who work with patterns. Makes sense when you think of it. And geeks can have fun too. Got Tigger doing the Guardian quick crossword again.
Next up, Gigantic: A Tale of Two Johns. I should really be more in the loop on things like this because I really like They Might Be Giants * and this has been out for years. But I only found out about it recently when someone on one of my lists recommended it. Great movie. It is about an indie rock band so there is a bit of swearing and at least one mention (only a mention) of pot smoking but I’m betting Tigger didn’t even notice the latter. They are mostly really talented, geeky, musicians who have known each other since junior high and have managed to make a living making the kind of music they want to make. Unschooling creative learners might find it particularly uplifting but any of us who wonder whether nurturing our kids particular talents is going to do them any good will also be reassured.
Which leads me to the songs, because I do have the greatest hits album that these guys put out a few years ago and there are great songs on there for kids. I notice you can listen to clips of the songs on that Amazon link (click through to “see all 26 songs”). Try “Mammal” about mammals, their characteristics, etc. “Why Does the Sun Shine” is a great explanation of solar fusion. “James K. Polk” would make a great addition to your study of American presidents (for those of you who do that). “Meet James Ensor” is about “Belgium’s famous painter”. Actually, I like a lot of their stuff but it isn’t all educational. “No!” might be a good listen if you are having a particularly difficult time with you kids at the moment. The movie suggests that they wrote a bunch of songs for an educational TV series (maybe where the Sun song came from?) so maybe if we look around we’ll find more. I also see that 2 of the CDs listed on the Amazon site are categorized as children’s music. I haven’t heard either (though I do have a book they wrote for children a few years ago, so it doesn’t surprise me) but I suspect they would be worth a look.
* finding all the links for those paragraphs made me realize that they are doing LOTS of kids stuff. I’m going to check out the educational resources on that link to the band name because I’m betting they are worthwhile.
While we are on the topic of creative folks and what kinds of careers they might have that don’t require them to follow rules and work work 9-5, I might as well plug a movie we watched a while ago. Sketches of Frank Gehry is actually quite an interesting film about the architect. Although rated PG, there is really not a lot of swearing in it and all of it pretty minor and in passing. If you want to see what a right-brained creative learner looks like when he gets beyond childhood, this is a good way to do it. I was fascinated by how Gehry works and how he works with others to compensate for areas that he is not skilled in so that he can build better buildings. Even if you don’t like his buildings this insight into his creative process is probably worthwhile.