Homeschool Essentials

Whether unschooled or highly structured, religious or secular, all homeschools encounter the same challenges. All successful homeschools exhibit the same essential qualities. This weblog will help you understand and apply those qualities, minimize frustration, and enjoy more success sooner.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Another Essential DVD

I'll get to essential skill #3 tomorrow. Today I want to talk about an excellent DVD for anyone serious about working with children.

It's The Horse Whisperer, released in 1998. The story is compelling and deeply moving, but for homeschoolers, it's even better-- it's deeply instructive.

A young girl named Grace, out for a ride with a friend, becomes a victim of a horrific accident. Her friend is killed, Grace loses one leg below the knee, and her horse is deeply traumatized. The mother, who has been a high pressure NY editor, used to having her way, immediately tries to fix everything. A leg can be replaced with a prosthesis, but scarred emotions and fractured relationships are much harder to deal with.

The stable owner recommends that Grace's horse be "put down." The angry, frightened Grace says to go ahead, an while they're at it to put her down, too.

So the mother goes looking for someone who can heal the traumatized horse, tacitly hoping that will bring Grace back, too. When she locates a renowned "horse whisperer" across the country in Montana, he refuses to help, even when she offers to fly him both ways first class, just for one day's time.

Unaccustomed to being denied, she then has the tranquilized horse loaded into a horse trailer, and she and Grace head across country, the beginning of an emotional odysey that eventually brings healing to the whole family.

"Tom Booker," the horse whisperer (played by Robert Redford) quietly assesses the needs, both of Grace and her horse, alternately soothing and challenging them, but always realizing the responsibility lies within each. It's a masterful example of how to mentor.

Time and again, the mother tries to evade her own responsibility, but Booker calmly brings her back to it. "It's not that simple," she says. "It's as simple or as hard a s you make it," Booker replies.

Booker's young nephew, the cutest cowhand in a genuine "aw shucks" way, almost steals every scene he's in. And he and his whole family are a testament to traditional family values, and how they foster integrity.

A treasure.

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