Matilda and Miss Honey


Today was our highly anticipated Roald Dahl Day, in celebration of the great man’s birthday earlier in the week.

Our first lesson was conducted in our pyjamas, which we think would be met with his approval, watching Matilda the 1996 movie. LM had seen the movie before so she was happy to work on some companion material at the same time. We began with a review of the story.

I asked: who are the main characters, who is the intended audience, what is happening in the story, what did the story make you think about, where is the story set, why do you think Roald Dahl wrote this story, how did this story make you feel? LM provided insightful responses that made me truly think about our role as parents.

This was followed by the spelling squiggle [made up term] using words and characters from the film – it is in the picture above. I am surprised that LM is mastering her words each day rather than weekly, and retention tests a few days later suggest that they have stuck. So I am trying to be inventive in ways that we select and learn words.

Back to the film. At the end Matilda and Miss Honey are at a blissful picnic, so LM suggested that not only should we go on a picnic, we should dress in character to do so. I suggested we do so immediately. I popped the lenses out of some broken sunnies and blow-dried a flick into my hair, the little one donned her cutest denim and a bow and off we went – with our treasured hardcover edition of Matilda in hand.

Our picnic took us to the new skate park, which was childless so LM ran and slid around like a lovely loon. When she was eventually exhausted she sat down for some food and a chat about Roald Dahl’s Matilda. By this time our friend MB had joined us for lunch. We discussed ways that films differ from books, and specifically how Matilda differs. I asked whether LM thought Roald Dahl would prefer films or books and she answered ‘books’ and cited evidence from his poems and plots to support her case – I was Oh So proud. We ended with a comparison of the theatre show, the movie and the book, agreeing that they have different strengths.

As we are in literature mode, we introduced a new daily story-writing exercise where two random words are put together to trigger a story plot that LM then sinks her mind into. I suspect that today’s ‘classes’ will continue well into the evening.

Bless you Roald Dahl.

Yours sincerely,

an aspiring Miss Honey.



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